Over the years, we have heard about billionaires like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and many others. We know about their creations, investments, and we have learnt about their success strategies in articles, videos and even audio tapes. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla and SpaceX creator Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos turned their startup companies into successes – and made themselves billionaires in the process. Even in death, Steve Jobs’ innovation (Apple) still lives on – just recently, the new and improved iPhone was released.
However, we would like to bring it back home and know about the newest people to acquire wealth, all stars of technology who between them have a net worth of trillions of dollars. The list includes those named in Forbes wealth rankings and the Bloomberg Billionaires index and is only focused on those who made the bulk of their wealth in the past three years.
Nine men and women have been named as the second wave of company founders to join the tech billionaires club.
Jan Koum, CEO of WhatsApp; $9.7 billion
41-year old Jan Koum, CEO of WhatsApp, didn’t come from a wealthy family. He moved to California from Ukraine at the age of 16 and taught himself computer tech in high school. He started his company, Whatsapp, after being rejected for a job he applied to at Facebook. The application has morphed since the past years, allowing people to text, video call and voice call, and share status messages. In 2014, Facebook offered a $22 billion bid for WhatsApp but it was declined. That couldn’t have been a better choice from WhatsApp
Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp; $6.7 billion
Acton, 45-year old, co-founded WhatsApp with Koum after first meeting him while working for Yahoo. He left the company in September to start a non-profit that will be ‘at the intersection of nonprofit, technology, and communication,’ he announced on Facebook.
Rishi Shah, CEO of Outcome Health; $3.6 billion
Shah dropped out of Northwestern to launch his business. He set up a health technology firm, Outcome Health selling tablets and touchscreen devices to healthcare providers, which also helps doctors communicate easily with patients. In May, Outcome Health was valued at $5.6 billion, with Shah owning a cool 80 percent of the company.
Frank Wang, CEO of DJI Technology; $3.2 Billion
Wang started his company in his bedroom at Hong Kong University and was one of the first to market a ready-to-fly drone that actually flew, becoming Asia’s youngest tech billionaire in 2017. The 31-year-old created DJI Technology – a drone making company – in 2006, before drones became big business. DJI’s sales accounted for 70 percent of all consumer and commercial sales of drones last year, according to Goldman Sachs.
Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork; $2.6 billion
Adam Neumann created work space provider WeWork when he moved to the US after serving as an officer in the Israeli army. The 38-year-old got the idea for WeWork while running his previous business, a baby clothing company, in Brooklyn. That was the basis of his coworking company, which now has offices in 40 cities across the US. WeWork was recently valued at $21 billion.
David Zalik, CEO of GreenSky; $2 billion
43-year old Zalik moved to Alabama from Israel when he was four and proved to be something of a protégé. He enrolled at Auburn University but left without graduating to start his first business, MicroTech, a computer assembly company. He started financial tech provider, GreenSky, which helps home improvement contractors, healthcare providers and other small businesses allow their customers to pay for their services on credit.
John and Patrick Collison, President and CEO of Stripe; $1.1 billion each
Irish siblings John, 27 and Patrick, 29, grew up in Ireland, teaching themselves to code at a young age. Patrick graduated from secondary school at 16 and then enrolled at MIT and John enrolled at Harvard. They both dropped out in 2009 to head to Silicon Valley to start what would become Stripe, an online payment processor. Today Stripe counts Lyft, Best Buy, and Google as customers. They are the youngest billionaires to make the list.
Lucy Peng, Executive Chair of Ant Financial; $1.14 billion
44-year-old Peng heads up mobile payments provider Ant Financial. She now serves as executive chair for the company – which was recently valued at $74.5 billion. She cracked the Forbes billionaire list in March this year.
Satoshi Nakamoto, Creator of Bitcoin
The enigma that is Satoshi Nakamoto – likely a pseudonym – means little is known about the bitcoin creator. He or she – it could be a group of people – has never been photographed and their identity has never been confirmed, while the net worth of the company has only ever been speculated. In 2013, bitcoin developer Sergio Lerner estimated that Nakamoto owned nearly $1 million worth of bitcoin. With bitcoin’s price having risen exponentially since then, Nakamoto could have a fortune in the millions or billions of dollars.
The stories of these people are really inspiring. While they don’t encourage you to drop out of school, it is worthy to note that, regardless of your background, your future is not defined by it.