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The 20 Richest Tech Billionaires in the World

Bill Gates

There are many different industries that have led to entrepreneurs and businessmen becoming successful and rich. One of these is the tech industry. As the world is becoming more technology oriented each year, there is a massive consumer demand for technological devices, equipment, apps, and software. As the demand is so high, there is the potential for financial growth for the innovative individuals who design these things and for the companies that manufacture and sell such items. In fact, some of the world’s wealthiest people work in the tech industry.

Here are 20 of the richest tech billionaires in the world:

20. Hasso Plattner

Hasso Plattner has a net worth of $12.9 billion. He worked for IBM before leaving in 1972 with four of his colleagues to launch a software company in Germany called SAP. In 1988, this company went public. In May 2003, he stepped down as the CEO of SAP and became the chairman of the supervisory board. Plattner also has Hasso Plattner Ventures which is a venture capital fund and business incubator that aims to support young entrepreneurs starting out in the IT sector. He is also the majority owner of the ice hockey team San Jose Sharks. Plattner has signed the Giving Pledge and promoted health education and health care in South Africa. He set up a foundation to support research into HIV and AIDs. He lives in Heidelberg, Germany.

19. Dustin Moskovitz

Moskovitz was Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate when they both studied at Harvard University. They co-founded Facebook together from their dorm before both dropping out of Harvard to focus on establishing the social media networking site. Although he left Facebook in 2008, he retained shares in the company and made an agreement with Mark Zuckerberg that allows Zuckerberg to vote on these shares. In 2008, he co-founded a workflow software company called Asana. Moskovitch is married to Carri Tuna, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and they live in San Francisco, California. The couple founded ‘Good Ventures’ together. This philanthropic foundation has donated millions to causes such as marriage equality and the eradication of malaria. Dustin Moskovitz is worth $13.8 billion and the majority of this is from his 3% stake in Facebook. He is the second richest entrepreneur under 40 in the United States.

18. Shiv Nadar

Shiv Nadar is an Indian IT pioneer who is worth $13.5 billion, making him the eighth richest man in India. In 1976, he co-founded HCL in a garage. This business made microprocessors and calculators. He is now the chairman of HCL technologies which is the fourth largest software provider in India and has an annual revenue of $7.5 billion. HCL invested $780 million into an intellectual property partnership with a large company called IBM in an attempt to offset the slowing down of the traditional side of this IT business. HCL Technologies employs approximately 120,000 people and is known for hiring high school graduates and then training them on the job. Nadar is also one of the leading philanthropists in India. He established the Shiv Nadar Foundation which focuses on causes related to education. He has donated $662 million to this charity. Nadar lives with his wife in Delhi, India.

17. Robin Li

Robin Li is the founder and CEO of Baidu which is the leading search engine in China and also one of the most popular websites in the world. Baidu is part of BAT which is a group of the country’s three largest businesses; Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent. In 2016, Robin Li faced criticism after he tried to buy Baidu’s iQiyi video channel from the publicly-traded company for a bargain price. He later dropped this plan. Li is married with four children and lives in Beijing, China. He is worth a cool $16.6 billion and is the seventh richest person in China.

16. William Ding

William Ding, also known as Ding Lei, is the CEO of Netease and this is one of the world’s leading mobile and online games businesses.The company is famous for games such as the Westward Journey series of games, Kung Fu Panda 3, mobile game, X-World, and Heroes of Warcraft. In 2003, Ding was China’s first gaming and Internet billionaire and the richest man in the country. In 2016, the revenue of Netease rose by 67% to a staggering $5.5 billion. Ding studied at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and lives in Guangzhou, China. He is ranked at number five on China’s rich list and 52 in billionaires in the world.  His net worth is currently $16.9 billion

15. Azim Premji

Azim Premji is the chairman of Wipro Limited (ADR) which is the third largest outsourcer in India and it is worth $8.5 billion. Premji has a personal net worth of $19.6 billion and is the fourth richest person in India. He was studying at Stanford University when he decided to leave in 1966 to take care of the family’s cooking oil business. When his father died, Premji expanded the business into software. The innovation center for Wipro is based in Silicon Valley and the main focuses of this business are collaborating with start-ups and developing new technologies. Premji has a son called Rashid who is responsible for overseeing the company’s $100 million venture capital fund, sits on the board and heads the strategy department. Azim Premji lives in Bangalore, India.

14. Lee Kun-Hee

Lee Kun-Hee is worth $18.8 billion and he is the chairman of Samsung Electronics. The Samsung Group is the largest conglomerate in Korea and it is best-known for its electrics division. In addition to ranking 14th in the list of richest people in the tech industry, he is also the richest man in South Korea. Currently, Kun-Hee is inactive in the business following a heart attack which he suffered in May 2014. Since then, he has been hospitalized in Seoul’s Samsung Medical Center. He has one son, Jay Y., who is heir to his businesses and fortune. Unfortunately, Jay Y. was arrested, indicted and jailed in February 2017 on bribery charges. These are charges which Kun-Hee’s son continues to deny. Lee Kun-Hee also has two daughters.

13. Paul Allen

Paul Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates. They met at high school and s=established this company in 1975. Allen decided to leave the company after just eight years following a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease, an illness which he later beat. He went on to battle cancer a second time later in his life. He has invested heavily into sports and has a stake in Seattle Sounders soccer team as well as owning the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. He is worth $20.6 billion and has given away $2 billion to charity, including $500 million to his own charity, Allen Institute for brain science. Paul Allen lives in Mercer Island, Washington.

12. Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the CEO and chairman of Tesla and he has a net worth of $20.8 billion. He is in revolutionary space and land transportation businesses. His auto manufacturer, Tesla Motors, is aiming to bring electric cars to the mass market. One of its most popular models, the Model 3, is available from a starting price of $35,000. Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, has been valued at a whopping $20 billion. Musk was born and raised in South Africa but immigrated with his family to Canada when he was 17 years of age. Elon Musk is also the co-founder of PayPal. When eBay acquired this business in 2002, Musk found his bank balance increase by $1.4 billion. Elon Musk studied at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Los Angeles, California.

11. Masayoshi Son

With a net worth of $22.4 billion, Masayoshi Son is the richest man in Japan. He is the CEO of a mobile telecom and investment firm called SoftBank. Although he can boast about his wealth, he also has the dubious claim to fame of being the man who lost the most amount of money as he lost approximately $70 billion in just one day. Son founded the SoftBank Vision Fund and Saudi Arabia’s government is the biggest investor in this. He has promised Donald Trump that the fund will donate $50 billion into US firms. In 2013, SoftBank acquire Sprint Nextel for $22 billion.

10. Michael Dell

Worth $22.9 billion, Michael Dell is the chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, which was formed in 2016 when his company Dell merged with EMC, a computer storage giant. This merger was worth a whopping $60 billion and was the largest technology acquisition of all time. He first started in business by selling computers out of his dorm when he was studying at the University of Texas. In his freshman year, he grossed $80,000. A large proportion of Dell’s fortune is because of his investment in MSD Capital. This is a company that has stakes in restaurants and hotels, including Four Seasons Maui. It also has indirect stakes in companies such as Calvin Klein, Grand Central Station, IHop, and Applebees. Although he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife; he has a second home valued at $1 billion in an exclusive neighborhood called Kukio in Hawaii. This property boasts seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

9. Steve Ballmer

Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft. He left Stanford University to join the company in 1980 and was employee number 30 when he joined. He is a Harvard graduate who led the company between 2000 and 2014. When he stepped down as CEO of Microsoft, he bought the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for a cool $2 billion. Over the years, he has made major investments in modern tech innovation. One example of this is that he acquired 4% of Twitter in 2014. Steve Ballmer lives with his wife in Hunts Point, Washington, and is worth $33.6 billion.

8. Ma Huateng

Ma Huateng is the chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings and is worth $36.3 billion. Tencent Holdings is a Chinese Internet Giant that in terms of market cap has ranked amongst the top businesses in China. Throughout 2017, Ma Huateng and Jack Ma have both ranked in first position for Asia’s richest man. Although he has an ongoing rivalry with Jack Ma’s company, Alibaba; he has a rather different style as he prefers to keep a low-profile. Huateng is married and lives in Shenzhen, China.

7. Jack Ma

Jack Ma is a former English teacher who became the founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group. This is one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world. In 2014, the IPO of this company in New York set a record as it was the biggest public stock offering in the world. Alibaba’s revenue rose by 56% to $23 billion in the year ending in March 2017. Jack Ma has a range of other investments beyond Alibaba. These include owning a vineyard and two Chinese entertainment companies called Beijing Enlight Media and Huayi Brothers. Ma is married and lives in Hangzhou, China. Jack Ma has a net worth of $37.4 billion.

6. Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin is the president of Alphabet, the parent company of Google which he co-founded with Larry Page while both studying for degrees in advanced computer science. When Google went public in 2004, it changed its name to Alphabet the following year. At one time, Brin was the president of the mysterious Google X division. It was this division that made the unsuccessful Google glasses. Sergey Brin is worth $43.7 billion and lives in Los Altos, California.

5. Larry Page

Alphabet is the parent company of Google and sitting at the helm of Alphabet is Larry Page. Alphabet is also the parent company of a healthcare division called Calico and Nest, a home appliance division. Page co-founded Google along with his fellow student Sergey Brin in 1998 while they were both studying at Stanford. Page was the CEO from then until 2001 when he became the president of products. He returned to his CEO position in 2011. Larry Page is now worth $44.8 billion. He is married with one child and lives with his family in Palo Alto, California. As an advocate of clean energy, Page's home uses geothermal energy and fuel cells. It is reported that Page's latest adventure is to personally fund Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero. These are two flying car start-ups.

4. Larry Ellison

When Ellison dropped out of college, he started out building databases for the CIA. Ellison then identified a growing need for customer relationship management databases and co-founded a software firm called Oracle in 1977. Over the years, this successful business developed a range of software depending on consumer needs. In 2010, they acquired Sun Microsystems at a cost of $7.4 billion as they were moving into hardware. Ellison stepped down from his role as CEO in 2014 but still serves as chief technology officer and chairman of the board. The company then moved into cloud computing and in 2016, they acquired Netsuite, a cloud-software firm, for $9.3 billion. Larry Ellison now has a net worth of $62.7 billion and gave away $200 million of his fortune in 2016 to the University of Southern California to support a cancer treatment center.

3. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of social media website Facebook. While studying at Harvard, Zuckerberg created Facebook as a way of matching together the names and faces of students. He dropped out of Harvard when he launched this website in 2004 and he was just 19 at the time. In May 2012, he took his company public but still owns 17% of the business. As the site’s stock price has skyrocketed, so has Zuckerberg’s net worth which is now a whopping $72 billion. Along with his wife, Priscilla Chan, he has said that 99% of their stake in Facebook will be given away over their lifetime.

2. Jeff Bezos

In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon from a garage in Seattle. Prior to establishing Amazon, Bezos went to Princeton and then worked for a hedge fund. He quit his job to sell books online and this was the beginnings of Amazon. He now owns approximately 17% of Amazon and remains the CEO of this company. Bezos also has other business interests. He bought The Washington Post for $250 million in 2013 and has also founded an aerospace company called Blue Origin. He is passionate about space travel and founded Blue Origin to develop reusable rockets that will carry passengers. The financial success he has achieved through his various business ventures has allowed him to amass a fortune of approximately $83.4 billion. In July 2017, Bezos briefly overtook Bill Gates taking first position on the tech rich list when Amazon’s stock surged.

1. Bill Gates

Bill Gates is the richest person in the tech industry in the world and has a net worth of $84.9 billion. Out of the past 23 years, Gates has topped this rich list on 18 occasions. He achieved this wealth despite dropping out of Harvard University. Along with Paul Allen, Gates founded the software company ‘Microsoft’ in 1975 and he remains a board member of this company. He now concentrates on running the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation along with his wife, Melissa. Bill Gates is the chair of this foundation, which is the largest private charitable foundation in the world. The aim of the charity is to improve health globally and to save lives. One of the specific focuses in polio and the charity is working alongside Rotary International to eliminate this illness. Gates and his wife live in Medina, Washington.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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