The 10 Richest Tech Billionaires4:35 PM EST Thu. Mar. 07, 2013
Each year, Forbes ranks the richest people in the world, as measured by what the publication calls its "global wealth team." The 2013 list has now been released. It includes 1,426 names, with an aggregate net worth of $5.4 trillion, which is up from $4.6 trillion last year. A total of 210 people have been added to the list, which now includes 442 billionaires from the United States, 386 from Asia-Pacific, 366 from Europe, 129 from other countries within the Americas, and 103 from the Middle East and Africa. Here's a list of the Top 10 representatives from the tech sector. For each person, the first number represents their standing in the overall worldwide Billionaire's Club, and the second number shows where they stand among tech leaders. We've also manufactured a little extra suspense by presenting them in reverse order.
Mark Zuckerberg has a really big bank account. Oh wait, no he doesn't. Nevermind, it's back again. Our 10th-place finisher in the tech sector is Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortunes largely ride a roller coaster called the Facebook Stock Price. But among the overall list of the astoundingly wealthy, his paltry $13.3 billion only gets him to 66th place on the Forbes list. Aside from running things at Facebook, Zuckerberg has made some major contributions to educational causes, and also has dipped his toe in the political king-making arena by hosting a fundraiser for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last month.
At No. 53, we find Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who tips the scales at $15 billion, and takes the ninth spot among the super-rich techies. Late last year, Allen scored a few bucks through his real estate company by selling a 12-building campus in downtown Seattle to Amazon for a whopping $1.15 billion. Aside from real estate, Allen also has sunk some capital into a company specializing in natural-gas-energy conversions. Then there's the sports portfolio. According to Forbes, Allen owns the Seahawks, the Trail Blazers and a piece of the local Seattle soccer team. He also placed his yacht at the disposal of a team that unsuccessfully tried to recover the ship's bell from the HMS Hood, a British battle cruiser sunk by the Germans in an epic World War II sea battle.
How time flies. Steve Ballmer is now in his 13th year at the helm of Microsoft where he continues to do battle against the likes of Apple and Google. He ranks 51st in the overall countdown with an estimated $15.2 billion. Although Ballmer has refuted rumors of a forthcoming retirement announcement, part of his after-hours efforts have been focused on a campaign to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The son of a Swiss immigrant, Ballmer reportedly scored a perfect 800 on his math SATs and graduated Harvard with a B.A. in Math and Economics. He joined Microsoft in 1980 through an invitation from his Harvard classmate Bill Gates.
Michael Dell has been extensively in the news lately for plans to take his company private. His $15.3 billion bankroll earns him the No. 49 position in the Forbes worldwide countdown. According to the publication, much of Dell's assets are now in his investment firm, MSD Capital, which is active in the banking, real estate, dental and landscaping sectors. He also has taken to philanthropy, focused mostly on urban poverty and health of children. Dell also announced plans for this foundation to donate $50 million to the University of Texas for the construction of a new medical school, which is expected to be named in Dell's honor.
Hitting the charts at No. 21 with $22.8 billion, Google co-founder Sergey Brin is currently focused on a variety of Jetsons-style technologies such as driverless cars. His role at Google is mostly focused on special projects while Larry Page tends to the ongoing business at hand. Brin and his wife have additionally been active in philanthropic pursuits, and, according to Forbes, have donated more than $5 million to the Parkinson's Institute. Meanwhile, his wife runs a biotech startup focused on using individuals' DNA as a means of identifying and addressing potential future health issues.
Brin's Google co-founder Larry Page takes the No. 20 position with $23 billion to his credit. His company stock is up nearly 30 percent over the past year, yielding a personal impact in excess of $4 billion. Page has recently been focused on mobility technologies, and also has been evaluating opportunities in the area of clean energy, such as innovative fuel cells, geothermal energy and rainwater capture, according to Forbes. Both Page and Sergey Brin also have invested in electric cars, and Page reportedly also has invested with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a forward-looking initiative to mine asteroids in space.
In the 19th position, Amazon's Jeff Bezos is enjoying a 40 percent spike in his company's stock value, which has pumped up his personal net worth by $6.8 billion to an estimated $25.2 billion. While his company continues to report increases in sales, Bezos can afford to pursue a variety of other activities, including last year's expedition to the ocean floor in search of the lost rocket engines from the Apollo 11 moon mission. The rockets have not yet been brought to the surface, but reports suggest that such an effort is under development. Forbes reports that Bezos also has invested in the development of a rocket that can take off and land vertically, and also purchased a robotics firm as part of an effort to accelerate his order-fulfillment process.
With an estimated $43 billion in his pocket, Larry Ellison takes the No. 5 spot on the worldwide list, and the No. 3 spot in America. Although famous for pioneering Oracle, where his shares are reportedly up more than 20 percent year-over-year, Ellison lately has been in the news for his extracurricular activities. Last year, he bought nearly the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai for a sum believed to be in excess of $500 million. More recently, he also purchased two homes in Malibu for a combined $55 million. It also has been widely speculated that Ellison will likely buy the Sacramento Kings as part of an effort to prevent the basketball team from moving to Seattle. His interest and investment in yacht racing is also widely known, particularly as it relates to the Americas Cup regatta, which will take place in the San Francisco Bay this year.
At $67 billion, Bill Gates takes the No. 2 position in the overall countdown, as well as our tech group. In case you're new to the planet, Gates had something to do with the formation of some company called Microsoft. But more recently, he's been focused on philanthropy, particularly in the area of fighting diseases including polio and malaria. According to Forbes, Gates already has donated more than $28 billion to various social causes. He's also combined philanthropic forces with various other folks on the Forbes list, including Sir Richard Branson and Carlos Slim Helu, with whom he funded a new $25 million agricultural research center in Mexico. The publication quotes Gates as saying that the only thing left on his bucket list is, "Don't die." But we're not sure money can buy that concession.
Carlos Slim Helu rocks the top of the chart for the fourth year in a row. His estimated net worth of $73 billion is a full $4 billion more than it was just one year ago. While his portfolio appears to be pretty heavily diversified, he qualifies as a techie by virtue of his Latin American mobile telecom company, America Movil, in which he currently holds a stake worth approximately $36.3 billion. The company also has acquired holdings in KPN Dutch Telecom and Telekom Austria. According to Forbes, he holds no executive positions in any of the companies that he controls, yet remains engaged in an advisory capacity.