FORBES magazine has released its first-ever list of the world’s 100 Richest People In Tech, which features over half of them from the America, with thirty-three people hailing from the Asian region, eight people coming from Europe and two from the Middle East.
Here are the world’s 10 richest billionaires in technology as profiled by Forbes.
10. Michael Dell | Chairman and CEO of DELL | Net worth: $19.4 Billion USD
Ever since Michael Dell bought out his computer company two years ago, he has been trumpeting the virtues of private ownership. “As a private company, Dell now has the freedom to take a long-term view,” he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last year. “No more pulling R&D and growth investments to make in-quarter numbers. No more having a small group of vocal investors hijack the public perception of our strategy while we’re fully focused on building for the future.” He has reason to be pleased. His business is kicking off more than $2 billion in free cash flow each year, and he is using it to chip away at the $18 billion in debt he and private equity partner Silver Lake Management assumed when they took control over the company in 2013. Dell started the computer giant at age 19 in his Texas dorm room with $1,000. Four years later, it went public with a market capitalization of $85 million. By the time he took it private again in 2013, the company was worth $25 billion. He still holds a 70% stake but keeps most of his fortune in his private investment firm MSD Capital, whose wide array of investments includes car deal Asbury Automotive, PVH Corp. (parent to Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and DineEquity (operator of IHOP and Applebee’s).
9. Laurene Powell Jobs | Founder and Chair, Emerson Collective | Net worth: $21.4 Billion USD
Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of the late Steve Jobs, is keeping a low profile and using part of her wealth for social causes. She is the founder and chair of the Emerson Collective, an organization that focuses on using entrepreneurship to advance social reform and help under-resourced students. She also co-founded College Track, a nonprofit program that helps disadvantaged students prepare for and graduate from college. In conjunction with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program, Emerson Collective and its partners announced a $50 million commitment in 2014 to collaborate with certain school districts to design better high school programs. She is among the top donors to super PAC Ready for Hillary. She makes occasional visits to Capitol Hill to discuss pathways to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. The Laurene Powell Jobs Trust is the largest individual shareholder in Disney, with a 7.7% slice of the company; that stake stems from Disney’s purchase of animation studio Pixar, then led by Steve Jobs, in 2006. An angel investor, Laurene Powell Jobs is a backer and board member at startup Ozy Media. She also sits on Stanford University’s Board of Trustees.
8. Steve Balmer | Former CEO of Microsoft, Inc. | Net worth: $22.7 Billion USD
When Steve Ballmer left his posts as Microsoft CEO and board member in 2014, he made it clear he wouldn’t be selling his Microsoft shares anytime soon. “I’d like to own Microsoft shares until I either give something to charity or I die,” Ballmer told FORBES in 2014. Ballmer became the company’s largest individual shareholder in 2014, with a 4% stake. That’s higher than the nearly 3% currently owned by Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, who has diversified his wealth over time. Ballmer’s main focus now is the Los Angeles Clippers, which he bought for $2 billion in August 2014, the highest price ever paid for an NBA team. He failed in two previous bids, one to buy the SuperSonics in 2006 and another to acquire the Sacramento Kings in 2013. Ballmer and his wife, Connie, have started on the philanthropic path, announcing a $50 million gift to the University of Oregon and an undisclosed donation to Harvard’s computer science department in November 2014. A Detroit native, he dropped out of Stanford’s MBA program to join Harvard classmate Bill Gates in 1980 as employee number 30. He took over for Gates as CEO in January 2000.
7. Jack Ma | Founder and Chairman of Alibaba Group | Net worth: $23.2 Billion USD
Former English teacher Jack Ma captured the world stage like no other Chinese businessman in September 2014 with the record-breaking $25 billion initial public offering of his e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group on the New York Stock Exchange. His Ant Financial Services Group, best known for Alipay, is now pushing into financial services, including a consumer money market fund and a private bank. Ma has said he plans to take it public in China. He also has more than a dozen other investments, from a stake in a soccer team to a film production studio. An active philanthropist, he sits on the board of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences with fellow billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Yuri Milner. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Ma claimed that he applied to Harvard 10 times (and got rejected) and that he was also turned down for jobs to work at KFC and to become a police officer. Ma paid $23 million in May for 28,100 acres in the Adirondacks.
6. Sergey Brin | Co-founder of Google, Inc. | Net worth: $32.8 Billion USD
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has never been richer. The company’s stock surged to an all-time high in July 2015 after new Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat promised to rein in expenses and after the company reported growth in mobile search and strength at YouTube. For his part, Brin has been trying to convince shareholders that spending on moonshots is worth it. In a June 2015 letter filed with the SEC prior to Google’s annual shareholder meeting, Brin defended the ambitious, uncertain projects that his Google X division oversees. Besides the ill-fated Google Glass, the projects include self-driving cars, which hit public roads for the first time last summer, and contact lenses that can monitor glucose levels in people with diabetes. In May 2015, Brin quietly finalized his divorce with Anne Wojcicki, CEO of genetic testing firm 23andMe, nearly two years after his affair with a young Google manager made headlines. The son of two academics, Brin emigrated to the U.S. from Moscow when he was six. He founded Google with Larry Page in 1998, when they were both computer science Ph.D. students at Stanford University.
5. Larry Page | Co-founder and CEO of Google, Inc. | Net worth: $33.4 Billion USD
Google CEO Larry Page must be pleased with the search giant’s new Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, a former Morgan Stanley executive who joined Google in May 2015. She has impressed shareholders by promising more disciplined spending. That promise and success in mobile search and with YouTube helped propel Google stock to an all-time high in July. Earlier this year Google unveiled Sidewalk Labs, a new subsidiary to improve quality of life in cities, as well as plans to provide mobile phone services in the U.S. Page co-founded Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford Ph.D. student Sergey Brin and was its first CEO until 2001. After serving as president of products, he took the helm again in 2011. In October 2014, he transferred most of his daily responsibilities to Sundar Pichai in order to focus on longer-term strategy. A clean energy advocate, Page’s network of houses in Palo Alto use fuel cells, geothermal energy and rainwater capture.
4. Mark Zuckerberg | Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook, Inc. | Net worth: $41.2 Billion USD
With Facebook’s stock up 20% between January and the end of July, cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth has reached new heights. With a net worth estimated at $41.2 billion, he is the 8th richest person in the world. The social networking site drew 1.49 billion monthly users as of June 2015, up 13% from a year earlier, and growth in its mobile ad business has boosted revenues. A year after buying virtual reality startup Oculus, Facebook announced that the Rift virtual reality headset would start shipping to customers in early 2016. Zuckerberg founded the site in 2004 and dropped out of Harvard to move the company to Silicon Valley. Facebook now has nearly 11,000 employees in 48 offices around the globe. Since launching its Internet.org initiative in July 2014, Facebook has given free basic Internet services to more than a billion people in 17 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were among funders that invested a combined $100 million in AltSchool, an education initiative that promotes high-tech, personalized education. Last summer they also donated $5 million to a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants. In a surprisingly personal Facebook post in late July, Zuckerberg revealed that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting a baby girl after three miscarriages.
3. Jeff Bezos | Founder and CEO of Amazon, Inc. | Net worth: $47.8 Billion USD
It’s been a good stretch for Jeff Bezos of late. In July, Amazon.com announced a rare profit – $92 million – for the quarter through June 2015; the company typically loses money each quarter. The good news boosted the stock considerably, and made Bezos one of the 10 richest people in the world. As CEO of Amazon, Bezos continues to make bold bets on new technologies like cloud computing and drone delivery. In late July, the company announced a plan for a high-speed drone air traffic zone that would enable flying robots to potentially carry packages to consumers. It is part of the company’s effort to improve Prime, its members-only fast-shipping service, which now encompasses music and movie content. As more retail moves online, Amazon is hoping that it can be consumers’ one-stop shop for anything, and it’s delved into everything from home services to guaranteed one-hour delivery in some cities. Bezos, who still owns 18% of Amazon’s shares, will guide the company to keep on investing in new businesses that he believes will make customers more and more dependent on the brand.
2. Larry Ellison | Founder and CEO of Oracle | Net worth: $50 Billion USD
Larry Ellison is no longer running the show at database software firm Oracle. He stepped down from the CEO seat in September 2014 but remains the company’s chairman and chief technology officer. After building databases for the CIA, Ellison founded Oracle in 1977 and has overseen its tremendous growth –although not so much of late. Revenues in fiscal 2015, (through May 2015) fell slightly from the previous year to $38.2 billion. Ellison, who never met his biological father, was raised in a middle-class Chicago home by his great aunt. A sailing fanatic, he’s the main backer of America’s Cup winner Oracle Team USA. Ellison purchased a number of properties on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which he bought for a reported $300 million in 2012, and is said to own every hotel room on the island. Both of his children are looking to leave their mark on Hollywood. His daughter, Megan Ellison, has financed films like Zero Dark Thirty and American Hustle through her Annapurna Pictures; his son, David Ellison, is a coproducer of mainstream franchises like Terminator and Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible through his company, Skydance Productions.
1. Bill Gates | Co-founder of Microsoft, Inc and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Net worth: $79.6 Billion USD
It’s been 40 years since Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen. At the time, Gates’ goal of getting a computer on every person’s desk seemed audacious. Under his leadership, Microsoft became a giant in software and helped make PCs commonplace. Having left his role as chairman of Microsoft last year, the world’s richest man is focused more fully on using his billions to improve the quality of life of people around the world. In June, European regulators gave the green light to the world’s first malaria vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline in conjunction with PATH, a nonprofit group supported by the Gates Foundation. The foundation is also working toward eliminating polio completely. In the U.S., its focus is on improving education. Each year, Gates sells more of his Microsoft shares. His stake in Microsoft, now just under 3%, accounts for roughly 13% of his estimated fortune.