But, who should we thank for these developments? And who are the up-and-coming tech moguls who are literally building our future? Take a look at this list to find out the net worth as well as the secrets of tech tycoons.
Microsoft’s Main Man ($124B)
The man, the myth, the founding father of Microsoft! Estimated at $124B, Bill Gates has been featured on Forbes' richest list from 1995 to 2017. Many think Gates became a billionaire overnight, but really, it took a good 20 years before he reached billionaire status.
The only person to surpass this tech tycoon is the owner of Amazon. Gates is at the center of many rumors, and while we don't know if any of them are true, we know that there's no doubt that when it comes to tech, he knows best.
The Amazonian Feat ($202.B)
Bezos is the name that's on everyone’s lips at the moment — or at least for the past few years. Lately, he surpassed Bill Gates as the richest man on the planet, with a staggering $202B to his name.
His very public split from his wife, MacKenzie, was definitely a shock, and it will reduce his net worth, but in total, it can't be denied that he has reached an amazing achievement. Technically, he could end world hunger, which has left people wondering why he’s taking part in the Space Race instead of doing more for the planet we live on.
The Face of Facebook ($121.1B)
Facebook came into the scene in 2004 and quickly became the biggest and most used social media network. Former Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, alongside Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz, hit the jackpot.
Since 2012, the site has gained over a billion users. Staggeringly, half of Facebook's users use it every day, and we bet that you do too, making Zuckerberg one of the most influential men in the world.
The World’s Oracle ($111.4B)
With a fortune of $111.4B, he can have anything he wants, and he makes us feel like packing our bags and heading to Silicon Valley! The founder and CEO of Oracle, a company that sells database software as well as technology and cloud-based systems, is none other than Larry Ellison.
Granted, he stood down from the CEO spot in 2014 after thirty-seven years! Yes, thirty-seven! He has since pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to science and medicine. And, just four years after stepping down, he joined the board of Tesla in 2018.
How Do You Google? ($108.8B)
It’s pretty cool when your creation becomes part of every person’s vocabulary. Have a question? Google it. Need to know a currency's conversion rate? Google it. Want to check the weather before you step outside? Just say Hey Google! And your Google Home will light up and tell you instantly.
No wonder Larry Page (alongside co-founder Sergey Brin) is worth almost $100 billion. After he founded Google, Page went on to become the CEO of Alphabet, which was Google’s parent company. He is also funding a couple of “flying car” start-ups: Kitty Hawk and Opener. That’s the type of stuff you can pursue when you have a net worth with that many zeros!
No, But How Do You Really Google? ($105.1B)
After founding Google in 1998 while studying for his degree in computer science, Sergey Brin helped to found the Google algorithm which was the core in powering the search engine. The company had since grown from strength to strength, and it is obviously still dominant today.
He also had a controlling interest in parent company Alphabet, but took a brief hiatus to spend time at lab X, a moon research program! What else are you going to do when you have $105 billion and don’t have to work another day in your life? Work some more!
Alibaba and His 40 Billion Dollars ($48.4B)
Honestly, if you had to choose between being a tech mogul-billionaire-tycoon and being a schoolteacher, what would you choose? It isn’t all about the money though, even if you do have almost $50 billion! Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group, is yet another success story in e-commerce.
When it was made public in 2014, the IPO in NYC set a world record – it was the biggest public offering, raising a staggering $25 billion!
Ma Has Entered the (We)Chat ($53.9B)
Have you noticed everyone on Instagram likes to call themselves entrepreneurs? Well, Ma Huateng provides a new meaning to the word, with his astonishing net worth, which amounts to over $50 billion!
He co-founded Tencent, the Chinese internet mammoth, in 1998. It owns China’s most popular social messenger app, WeChat. The app boasts over 1 billion users, and while it's wildly popular, Pony Ma (a moniker of sorts for Huateng) prefers to keep a low profile. He also has business stakes in Tesla, Snap Inc., and Spotify!
He’s Definitely Ballin’ ($81.2B)
Hired back in 1980 by none other than Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer headed software giant Microsoft’s operations for almost 15 years. Whilst his tenure at Microsoft earned him millions and millions, his personal wealth is ranked at over $80 billion.
He’s also the owner of the LA Clippers! A former MBA dropout from Stanford, a phrase of his that perhaps is so telling for the future is “computer science is the operating system for all innovation.” Food for thought, eh? Most recently, he was ranked 14 out of the top 20 of Forbes’ billionaires.
PC Owner’s Dell-ight ($47.9B)
Have you ever owned a Dell computer? Well, you have Michael Dell to thank for that! His company, Dell Technologies, has over 158,000 employees, making it one of the world’s biggest MITT companies. In 1984, at just 19, with only and $1000 to his name, he founded Dell.
With his business vision and tenacity, by 1992 he’d earned bragging rights of being the youngest CEO to be listed on Fortune 500. He’s also a philanthropist, setting up a foundation to improve the number of opportunities available for kids in urban poverty, mainly in South Africa, India, and the U.S.
Japan’s Richest ($33.4B)
Taking the top spot in Japan as Japan’s wealthiest man, the founder and managing director of mobile and telecommunications giant SoftBank Group is Masayoshi Son. The UC Berkeley alum also runs Vision Fund, which has a number of billionaires investing in it, including Larry Ellison.
SoftBank got caught up in the WeWork IPO crash, but luckily its smarter investments in DoorDash allowed its shares to bounce right back up! Son also has a number of IPOs backed by the Japanese firm, including Didi Chuxing (a ride-share in China) and the Indian PolicyBazaar.
The father of X Æ A-12 ($158.4B)
Whether you know him for his electric cars, or for his baby’s questionable given name, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Elon Musk. His latest project, SpaceX, is worth a cool $74 billion.
This business giant was born and raised in South Africa, before crossing the ocean to live in Canada. From there he transferred to UPenn and the rest is history. X Æ A-12 though, how do you pronounce that? The first one talks, the next one walks?
Helping, One Shop at a Time ($12.4B)
Tobi Lutke, The German-Canadian CEO of Shopify, a company which he founded in Ottawa, likes to live with a loosely defined schedule. The company, which provides a platform to enable e-commerce transactions, was founded as a personal solution to a problem his friend was having.
His friend was trying to sell snowboards online, but couldn’t find the right software. In 2019, Shopify boasted a staggering $1.6 billion in sales, with companies like Kylie Cosmetics and Rothy’s using the software to conduct their online business.
The Modern Father of Samsung ($17.3B)
Sadly, Korea’s former richest man passed away in 2020, but he passed on with a net worth of $17.3 billion. Kun-Hee’s famous philosophy was that he could transform anything!
And he did when revealing a number of reforms at Samsung. His tenure at the global smartphones and tech provider allowed him to enact significant changes which grew the business and led to its success with manufacturing smartphones, TVs, and memory sticks.
Wipro Continues to Grow ($9.2B)
Next up is the tech magnate Azim Premji, originally from India, he turned oil (of the cooking variety) into software. Seems like an interesting alchemy lesson, something he probably learned during his time at Stanford.
Wipro works with start-ups and entrepreneurs to develop the newest technologies. Collaboration leads to innovation after all! The billionaire decided to step down as the chairman a few years ago, passing on the reins to his son, Rishad. Mr. Premji is also one of the most generous of the world’s billionaires — did you know over his life he’s donated $21 billion to his foundation?
Ding, Ding, Ding Alright! ($34.5B)
Ever heard of NetEase? Neither have we. Well maybe you have — if you’re into mobile games. William Ding is the Chinese-born CEO of NetEase, a mobile gaming company that partners with companies like Mojang (a Microsoft subsidiary) and Blizzard.
To differentiate itself and take up a distinctive market sector, Ding expanded into film, music, and even e-commerce. Fun fact: very recently, Ding purchased one of Elon Musk’s Los Angeles estates! For how much you ask? A cool $29m. Basically loose change for these guys.
Snap Goes the Spiegel ($11.3B)
"What’s your snap?" Is a common question these days (okay, maybe if you’re 12-17), and that’s thanks to Evan Spiegel, the man behind Snapchat and Snap Inc. Imagine being a billionaire at 25? Crazy. Oh, and then marrying Aussie supermodel Miranda Kerr and having babies with her.
Half your luck! The Stanford alum graduated after he dropped out originally to go and start Snapchat. This successful man has “made it” in the conventional sense, but on a much, much, grander scale. He’s still so young, so we'll surely see more of him in the future!
Your Wish Is My Command ($1.7B)
Acting as the middleman for buyers and merchants through his e-commerce platform Wish, Peter Szulczewski still retains an 18% share. The company, which had an IPO of $17 billion, was founded after Peter already held a job at Google, and then founded a company called ContextLogic.
It was in 2011 that he started Wish. So you know how you all are being targeted by ads that sell the things you want and love? This is one of the guys behind it!
Doing a Flip After Amazon ($1.2B)
Once a board member at Amazon, Sachin Bansal decided to buddy up with a friend and founded Flipkart — an online bookseller! With their joint savings of around $6,000, the pair set up their office from their apartment. Around 10 years later, Walmart took interest, and purchased a staggering 77% stake in the company for $16 billion! Isn’t that insane?
Instead of continuing to ride the wave of billionaires, Bansal decided to cash out with a very nice $1 billion. Since then, it’s been reported that Bansal started a privately owned company that deals in financial products!
Need a Place to Stay? ($9.4B)
Over 500 million people have used Airbnb. The company now boasts locations in over 100,000 cities! Pretty amazing. Airbnb has an astonishing business model, Joe Gebbia, who founded Airbnb alongside Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky, originally dreamt of becoming a painter and hosting shows in the Big Apple!
The idea for Airbnb came from a personal anecdote: Gebbia and Chesky were broke and rented out an air bed in their apartment. The rest is Airbnb history!
Brian, Brawn, and Brains ($10.5B)
Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky used to be a bodybuilder, that’s around the time he met his business partners, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk at Rhode Island School of Design.
We’re sure he likes to keep in shape and pump the iron, but apparently, there is such a thing as brawn and brains! With a net worth of over $10 billion he probably has the best bodybuilding equipment, one can get their hands on.
Pinterest’s Third Kingpin ($1B)
Ever caught yourself browsing Pinterest? Well, thank Evan Sharp, the co-founder of the site, for bringing free browsing of style and inspiration to the world. Whether you share images or use it as a social media app, it allows you to have a cloud-based mood board or a “pin board.”
The company boasts almost 500 million users worldwide and continues to grow. With the addition of product catalogs and recommendations which link to a website, it’s been able to grow its revenue even further. Not bad for a history major.
Facebook Stowaway ($18.8B)
So once you cash out after co-founding Facebook, where do you go? Singapore. To make more money. Like, hedge funds and ventures and such. There’s a word for it but it’s more of a hobby, especially when you own a valuable chunk of Facebook!
It was big news when Eduardo Saverin renounced his US citizenship and decided to base himself in Singapore but we’re guessing there was a business reason for it! He’s since gone on to start B Capital, which invests largely in developed tech firms in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Spotify It! ($4.1B)
It seems that success in business at a young age has led entrepreneur Daniel Ek to want more and going on to create even more opportunities.
The Swede, who is now known for helping to found Spotify, one of the world’s largest music streaming services, actually made his first million at 23 with a digital marketing company named Advertigo. Apparently, this CEO doesn’t earn a salary, but rather earns a bonus based on subscriber sign-ups and activity, which rounds out to around $1 million.
Hailing a Ride With Uber ($1.1B)
Another one of our younger billionaires is Ryan Graves, who was Uber’s first employee! Cool! He even held tenure as CEO for a period. While there isn’t too much known about Graves, he was known as one of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs under the age of 40 (Forbes), and still owns 2% of Uber. He decided to step down and out of Uber following the initial IPO.
Fun fact: Graves was hired via tweet, cheekily tweeting at Travis Kalanick “here’s a tip: email me :).” From there, the pair went on to establish Uber together.
The King of IG ($2.3B)
Instagram is the app that so many people check, scroll, and post on every single day. You can thank Kevin Systrom for launching the mobile app, back in 2010. Can you believe Instagram has been around for over 10 years? Pretty wild!
The app was quickly gobbled up by Facebook, which bought out Insta for $1 billion in both stocks and cash! However, they decided to keep Systrom on, and he didn’t leave until a few years later.
Facebook’s Other Half ($24.3B)
What we find astonishing is that over the course of a trading day, you can start poor and then end at 5 pm being worth $199 million more. How would that make you feel? Anywho, the reason Moskovitz is worth so much is due to being the co-founder of Facebook along with Mr. Zuckerberg.
When you own a stake in Facebook, all you need is 2% to have enough wealth for the next 10 generations of your family. He and his wife engage in philanthropic causes, with a focus on marriage equality as well as freeing the world of disease!
A Whole New World ($17.2B)
Pavel Durov is known as “Russia’s Zuckerberg” (Forbes), creating the free messaging app Telegram. With over 500 million users, his net worth is at around 17$ Billion.
Before he was in charge of Telegram, he built VK, a Russian equivalent of Facebook. Unlike others on this list, who continued working, Pavel and his brother actually decided to take a trip around the globe, which is a great call, if you ask us!
More Convenient Than Mom’s Kitchen ($21.2B)
Pretty cool to make it on the 40-under-40 list. Wang Xing was there for good reason — through his group, Meituan. The company went public on the HKSE in 2018 and then merged with Dianping.com. Meituan, which has a Groupon-inspired website, turned Xing into a self-made billionaire.
But it wasn’t his first choice: initially, Xing wanted to start a social media platform, like Twitter or Facebook, but he failed. Nowadays, Meituan has a running saying among millennials in China: “Meituan is even more convenient than Mom’s kitchen!”
MicroProcessin’ Since 1976 ($23.8B)
One of India’s richest men, Shiv Nadar started out in his garage. It was 1976, and microprocessors were his thing. Since then, Nadar built HCL Technologies, a company that welcomes over $9.9 billion in revenue, providing software services to its global markets. Nadar, who didn’t speak English until he was 22, now employs over 150,000 people in almost 50 countries.
HCL Technologies has a great program where it hires young grads from high school and provides on-the-job training. Sounds like a great system. We also love that he’s donated over $660 million to philanthropic causes.
If You Can’t Find It, Look It up on eBay ($26.1B)
Before Amazon, many people’s favorite online marketplace was eBay. That’s all thanks to Pierre Omidyar, a French-Iranian whose background in computer science and coding allowed him to build the site. Founding the auction platform in 1995, Omidyar continues to serve on its board, albeit from his island home of Hawaii.
One of the best decisions eBay made was purchasing PayPal, before selling on in 2014. Omidyar still owns stakes in both eBay and PayPal, as well as a number of resorts in California and Mexico.
From Alphabet to Saving the Planet ($22.2B)
After almost 20 years in the corporate offices of Alphabet, Eric Schmidt decided to hang up his boots and try something new. Among his list of achievements is being CEO of Google and CTO at Sun Microsystems.
A lot of billionaires decide to fund their own projects, but Schmidt and his family feel that environmental sustainability is more important for our immediate future, and invest heavily in projects to facilitate renewable energy.
The No-Strings-Attached Billionaire ($17.7B)
Ever heard of Ubiquiti? The wireless equipment maker works in the business of manufacturing and selling broadband to emerging markets. Robert Pera has such a huge fortune because he owns almost 75% of the firm. A former employee of Apple, he didn’t last too long: ten months in, Pera founded Ubiquiti.
What is he doing with his wealth? Well, he bought the Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) in 2012, making himself the youngest owner in the National Basketball League.
Zoom, Zoom, Zooming ($15.4B)
How many of you were made to work from home recently? 1? 2? 3? All of you? And how were most of your meetings conducted? Did you say Zoom? Zoom?…and Zoom? Eric Yuan, originally from China, moved to Silicon Valley in the 90s. He wanted the American dream and he got it.
With a 22% share of the now-public company, Yuan and his family are set for life. He now enjoys watching his kids play basketball as he is a big fan of the game!
Thriving With Twitter ($14.4B)
In the last photo we saw of Jack Dorsey, he was giving off all of the wonderful enlightened, tie-dye beach vibes. When you’re a billionaire you can truly embrace any whim and basically do anything you like. He's the CEO of both Twitter and Square (they do smaller business payments).
A massive proponent of Bitcoin, he believes it will become THE currency. He put his money where his mouth is too, with his company Square buying up $50 million worth of bitcoin! Pre-Twitter Dorsey was a masseur and also enjoyed fashion.
Don’t Doubt the Duff! ($13.6B)
David Duffield is a testament to the statement that “you’re never too old” to accomplish great wealth. Now an octogenarian, he was over 40 when he founded both PeopleSoft and Workday. Pretty amazing to found not just one, but two successful enterprise software firms.
Get this: Duffield sold PeopleSoft in 1987 to Oracle (founded by Larry Ellison, who is also featured on this list), for…$10.7 billion in 2005. Today he's worth around $14 billion, we hope David is enjoying his late early retirement!
He Comes From a Land Down Under ($16.4B)
Scott Farquhar, The Aussie tech tycoon who co-founded software giant Atlassian, started up the business on credit cards. The collaboration software firm brags about its high-profile customers the likes of NASA, SpaceX, and Tesla.
He and his business partner, Mike Cannon-Brookes have been friends since university and now own the priciest real estate in Australia!
The Word-of-Mouth Billionaire ($16.6B)
The co-founder of Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, is a Sydneysider. Atlassian, which boasts its lack of sales team managed to build itself to a worth of over $20 billion.
They used word-of-mouth and the idea that the product sells itself. So if you have a remarkable product (a buzzword at Atlassian), and its price is affordable, then throw in the AI and make it automated! The so-called “low-touch” model worked insanely well, just look where Cannon-Brookes is today!
Xiaomi’s Founding Father ($22.3B)
Lei Jun graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering! Jun, currently one of the richest people in China, is both the co-founder and the chairman of Xiaomi. It’s one of the world’s most well-known brands of smartphones. He started on his gravy train in 2004, after selling up to Amazon (he passed on his online retail platform, joyo.com) for a lovely $75 million.
Recently, Xiaomi passed Apple and became the world’s second-largest smartphone supplier (Samsung took the top spot). Phones are life, so they're bound to make someone rich.
The King of Computers ($13B)
A pioneer from way back when, Gordon Moore is passed his 90th birthday! He’s worth $11.3 billion as he founded Intel in 1968. The company, which supplies microprocessors for computer manufacturers — think HP, Dell, Lenovo — is basically the bread and butter of all computing.
Moore was something of a psychic in his prediction that “computer processing power would double every year”. It’s now called Moore’s Law. Pretty neat, eh? He also continues to give away money to worthy causes and grants for the environment and science research.
Snap’s Other Half ($13B)
Imagine meeting someone at a fraternity who would help to make you a billionaire — that was exactly the case for Bobby Murphy. We love his quote “we weren’t cool. So we tried to build things to be cool.” The co-founder of Snapchat, alongside Evan Spiegel, is also Snapchat’s CTO.
The truth of the story is that Spiegel recruited Murphy. Together, after one failed startup attempt, they founded Picaboo, which then became Snapchat! The son of Filipino emigrants, he now, combined with Spiegel, owns over 30% of Snap, with the all-important voting shares that allow them to still maintain control.
The Mobile Messaging Tycoon ($9.9B)
It’s been a wild ride for Jan Koum, who relied on food stamps for a period of his life. The Ukrainian immigrant arrived in America when he was 16, and worked pretty hard to earn enough for food for himself and his mother. The self-made billionaire is the founder of WhatsApp, which reigns supreme as the king of mobile messaging.
The billionaire is also among some of the most charitable, sending more than $1.15 billion worth of Facebook stocks to charities.
The King of Cybersecurity ($13.1B)
When Jay Chaudhry moved to the U.S. from the Himalayas in the 1980s, he had no idea he’d be where he is today; that is, owning 45% of a firm that’s listed on NASDAQ and estimated at $13.1B. Chaudhry has a classic rags-to-riches tale. When he lived in India, he did not have access to running water, nor to electricity.
His career has seen him found four tech companies, all of which were so successful they were quickly acquired. Those include SecureIT, CipherTrust, AirDefense, and CoreHarbor. He’s basically “the guy” when it comes to cybersecurity.
Upcoming: Head of Wise Systems
While we love writing about rich people and their success, what we love even more is writing about the up-and-coming entrepreneurs that have a ton of potential. Enter Chazz Sims, the CEO of Wise Systems. An MIT graduate, he is one smart cookie!
His company provides routing software that creates a perfect delivery experience from receipt to hand-off. Their advanced machine-learning models aid them in analyzing a company’s data and providing recommendations for the most efficient delivery.
Upcoming: A State of Flow With Your Data
One half of Yogi is Chad Becker, the other is Gautam Kanumuru. Don’t be fooled by the name — it has nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with balance and ensuring content customers!
The company, which hasn’t hit the billions just yet, draws on information from companies like Amazon, Sephora, Best Buy, Target and others in order to provide the most accurate consumer data. At the beginning of 2020, Kanumuru and Becker managed to secure $2.4 million to help their business start to grow.
Upcoming: Boston’s Community Phone
We love ideas. We love young people. We love great ideas from young people, like James Graham. His idea? To transform the telecommunications industry with Community Phone.
The company, which makes dealing with your landline and wireless a one-stop shop, is particularly geared towards seniors and those with special needs. He made the 30 under 30 with his idea in the Enterprise Technology section. Idea + communication + human connection = future success story!
Upcoming: Snowflake Computing
Rosemary Hua, a UC Berkeley alum heads Snowflake Computing’s Retail Strategy, devising the best way to market its retail as well as its consumer product goods. She’s also founded a number of non-profits, including Empathy FX International, as well as Revolution Robotics.
The two non-profits pursue wildly different outcomes: the former has built and continues to fund five schools in Ghana, while the latter encourages students to learn robotics so that they have access to STEM. We’ll be interested to see where this woman ends up.
Upcoming: Not a Billionaire. Yet.
Most people have at least looked at learning to code after realizing coding is the skill of the new generation. Zach Sims, a coder himself, decided to start the online learning platform that teaches you to code! With options for a free membership and paid one, literally anyone can learn!
Whilst he’s not a billionaire yet, Zach Sims and CodeAcademy have raised almost $100 million. And we’re betting you might see more of him and his company very soon.