Each year, Forbes publishes an updated list ranking the world’s billionaires. Unlike many industries, tech billionaires are mostly self-made. Many of these billionaires came from humble means and, through their genius, changed the world.
As of Nov. 2019, these are the ten richest, most successful tech geniuses out there. The estimated net worth of each member on this list has been updated as of Nov. 6, 2019.
10. Michael Dell ($34.3 Billion)
Michael Dell is probably not the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of tech geniuses, simply because his company’s technology has been stale in recent years. But Dell's tremendous journey, growing his company from a home-based business to a formerly publicly-traded firm, is remarkable.
The company’s claim to fame was a direct-to-consumer business model that saved cost and helped maximize efficiency, leading to lower-priced PCs. In 2013, Dell took his company private again.
9. Jack Ma ($37.3 Billion)
Former English teacher turned tech entrepreneur Jack Ma is the richest man in China. In 1999, Ma and a group of friends launched Alibaba Group (BABA) to address the lack of e-commerce presence in China.
Presently, Ma's Alibaba Group is valued at $480 billion and includes properties such as Alibaba.com—a wholesale e-tail site similar to eBay Inc. (EBAY) and Overstock.com Inc. (OSTK)—Alitrip, Alipay, and more.
8. Ma Huateng ($38.8 Billion)
Ma Huateng is the CEO of Tencent Holdings—a Chinese conglomerate that he co-founded in 1998 that has grown into the world’s largest gaming company. Tencent is the owner of the popular messaging app, WeChat, which has a billion users. Huateng keeps a relatively low-profile, unlike his Chinese rival Jack Ma at Alibaba.
7. Steve Ballmer ($41.2 Billion)
Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft, running the tech company from 2000 to 2014. He took over Microsoft following the dotcom bubble, having started out at Microsoft in 1980 after dropping out of Stanford’s MBA program. He’s now the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, buying the team in 2014 for $2 billion.
6. Sergey Brin ($49.8 Billion)
Sergey Brin is one of the co-founders of Google (GOOG), the online search and tech powerhouse whose name is now synonymous with online search itself. It reorganized under the name Alphabet in 2015, but most people still refer to it as Google. Google is one of the most important tech companies in the world today, with business units that go far beyond search.
5. Larry Page ($50.8 Billion)
Larry Page is the other co-founders of Google Inc. (GOOG). The company’s PageRank algorithm for generating search results, named after Page, helped propel Google from a research project to a public corporation in just five years.
4. Mark Zuckerberg ($62.3 Billion)
Facebook, Inc. (FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to launch a business that has changed the social media landscape on a massive scale. Along the way, he lost a few friends (as told in “The Social Network”), and showed incredible moxie by turning down a $1 billion buyout offer from Yahoo! only two years into Facebook's existence when he was just 22 years old.
3. Larry Ellison (estimated net worth: $62.5 Billion)
Oracle Corp. (ORCL) founder Larry Ellison is well known for his rags-to-riches story. He went from college dropout to self-taught programmer to billionaire, and through Oracle's success, he has become the third richest person in the world.
Ellison is famous for his extravagant lifestyle. He owns yachts and 98% of a Hawaiian island, but he is also a tremendous philanthropist. Perhaps the most interesting fact about Ellison is that he wasn't exposed to technology from a young age and didn't start programming until college.
2. Bill Gates ($96.5 Billion)
Bill Gates, the co-founder and mastermind behind Microsoft (MSFT), is well known for his giving nature through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but he was less than giving in business. Gates was known for his competitive and ruthless nature as well as his tech prowess.
Gates founded his first company, Traf-o-Data, at age 15, and then founded Microsoft at age 20. He was a billionaire by age 31. Once Microsoft entered the operating system business, it became a success, with the Windows operating system serving as the standard across the personal computer market throughout the 90s.
1. Jeff Bezos ($131 billion)
In 1994, Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) after leaving a well-paying job at a Wall Street hedge fund. By starting Amazon as a simple online bookseller, Bezos was hoping to cash in on the rapid growth of Internet businesses in the 90s. Yet, through the years, both he and Amazon have proved to be transformative.
Today, Amazon is a multi-platform e-commerce and technology giant that is in the business of everything from tablets, streaming movies, and e-tailing. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post, and though many predicted big changes, he has left the paper largely unchanged. Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017. Amazon.com became the first trillion-dollar company by market cap in history last year, but Amazon's stock price has since retreated, now trading with an $890 billion market cap.