The Richest Of The Rich: Bloomberg's Top 20 Tech Billionaires

Technology's Big Earners

The Bloomberg Billionaires list, a ranking of the world's richest people, has had several mainstays holding down the list for a while. Not surprisingly, many of those folks have cultivated their fortunes after their budding tech companies took off. Each billionaire on the list has a unique story about how he got to where he is today, and passions outside of work that might be surprising to some, ranging from kiteboarding to space exploration.

Here are the world's 20 richest tech billionaires of 2015, according to Bloomberg, in order from the least rich to the richest. (The rankings listed next to their names are their rank on the overall billionaire's list.)

111. Jim Goodnight

Net worth: $10.1 billion

Goodnight derives most of his fortune from his 66 percent stake in SAS Institute, based in Cary, S.C., where he serves as CEO. SAS Institute is the world's largest closely held software maker, which also ranked No. 4 on Fortune's 2015 Best Companies list.

Alongside his wife, Goodnight co-founded Cary Academy, a prep school that focuses on integrating technology into all facets of education.

109. Dustin Moskovitz

Net worth: $8.3 billion

Moskovitz is the co-founder of Facebook, as well as its largest shareholder after Mark Zuckerberg. Moskovitz and Zuckerberg were roommates at Harvard and dropped out in 2004 to start the world's largest social network, now based in Menlo Park, Calif. Moskovitz served as Facebook's first chief technology officer in 2004 and later served as vice president of engineering. He left the social network in 2008 to start Asana, an online and mobile task management software company, which he co-owns.

Moskovitz joined the Giving Pledge alongside Zuckerberg in 2010, committing to donate the majority of his fortune to charity. He started his own foundation, Good Ventures, in 2011.

102. Hasso Plattner

Net worth: $10.4 billion

Plattner is the co-founder of SAP, the world's largest manufacturer of business-management software. Plattner founded SAP, which has its U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, Pa., after leaving his first job after college, IBM, with three other colleagues when the company rejected their suggestion to build financial software packages for business customers.

Today, Plattner invests in European and South African companies through his own venture capital firm, and also has a stake in the San Jose Sharks NHL hockey team. An avid golfer, the billionaire owns two golf resorts, one in South Africa and another in California.

96. Elon R Musk

Net worth: $10.7 billion

Musk is the chairman of Fremont, Calif.-based Tesla Motors, maker of the first all-electric sports car. Musk is also a clean energy and space enthusiast and serves as the chairman of SpaceX, a Hawthorne, Calif., rocket maker that has helped NASA restock the space station, and SolarCity, San Mateo, Calif., the nation’s largest installer of solar panels.

Like several other billionaires on Bloomberg's list, Musk has taken Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, joining in April 2012, and has said he intends to retire on planet Mars.

95. Yeung Kin-Man

Net worth: $10.7 billion

Yeung is the chairman of Hong Kong-based Biel Crystal Manufactory, a closely held supplier of mobile phone touch screens. The company makes glass covers for smartphones and watches for suppliers like Apple, Samsung and LG.

Despite taking management courses, Yeung never attended college and considers himself an entrepreneur.

82. Lee Kun Hee

Net worth: $11.9 billion

The richest man in South Korea, Hee is at the helm of Seoul-based Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest maker of televisions, memory chips and mobile phones.

Samsung was founded by Hee's father, and Hee was sued by his older siblings, who sought to acquire $3.7 billion of his Samsung shares in 2012. His siblings lost the suit in 2013. Hee underwent surgery last year after suffering a heart attack and is still recovering.

81. Shiv Nadar

Net worth: $14.1 billion

Nadar is the founder of Noida, India-based HCL Technologies, India's third-largest software exporter, and also the company's majority stakeholder. The billionaire and his family also own 50 percent of HCL Infosystems, a computer maker and services company.

In 2010, Nadar pledged to set aside more than 10 percent of his wealth, or about 20 percent of his net worth, toward philanthropy. In 2013, Nadar announced that his daughter would take over as chairwoman of holding company HCL Corp.

58. Robin Li

Net worth: $14.1 billion

Li was inspired by Yahoo co-founder and billionaire Jerry Yang, and created Baidu, incorporated in 2000, China's No. 1 Internet search engine and the world's fifth-most-visited website. The founder of Beijing-based Baidu has received takeover offers from Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, all of which were north of $1 billion.

Li went on to start a search engine in Japanese in 2008, followed by websites in Thai, Vietnamese and Arabic. The billionaire has been focusing on branching out into mobile services and social media since 2012.

55. Azim Premji

Net worth: $14.4 billion

Premji earned his wealth from inheriting his family business, now called Wipro, which has become India's third-biggest software exporter. When his father founded the Bangalore-based company in the 1940s, the company was called Western India Vegetable Products and processed and sold cooking oil. Premji began guiding the business toward computers and software in the late 1970s and then changed its name.

Today, Premji is the chairman and largest shareholder of Wipro, owning 56 percent of business. He has transferred more than $4 billion worth of shares to his foundation and private-equity fund PremjiInvest, which manages an estimated $1 billion of his money and an interest in JM Financial.

41. Paul Allen

Net worth: $17.8 billion

In 1975, Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. After leaving the Redmond, Wash.-based company in 1983, Allen reduced his 28 percent stake to less than 2 percent and has since collected more than $20 billion. The proceeds have been reinvested through his diversified company Vulcan Capital, which has developed 6.6 million square feet of Seattle real estate, including online retailer giant Amazon.

Allen has donated more than $1.7 billion of his fortune to charities including funding brain science, and music and arts education in the Pacific Northwest. He enjoys traveling and sailing, and says that his primary focus today is on commercializing the space travel industry.

40. Michael Dell

Net worth: $18.4 billion

The youngest CEO (now 50) to appear in the ranks of the Fortune 500, Dell is the founder and CEO of Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, the world's third-largest computer hardware manufacturer by shipments, according to Bloomberg. Dell also created two investment firms, MSD Capital and MSD Partners, which have more than $16 billion of assets under management, including stakes in publicly traded companies including BP, DineEquity and Time Warner.

Dell took the company private in 2013 and still has a 75 percent stake, according to Bloomberg. Last month, he agreed to buy EMC Corp. for about $67 billion in the largest technology acquisition to date.

Dell established the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in 1999. The philanthropic foundation aims to improve the lives of children living in poverty around the world.

39. Pony Ma

Net worth: $19.1 billion

Ma is the chairman of Tencent Holdings, a Shenzhen, China-based business that provides Internet, mobile and telecommunications services. Ma has derived most of his fortune from his 9.37 percent stake in Tencent Holdings. Publicly traded Tencent is the operator of China's largest Internet community, offering services including chat, group messaging, news portals, entertainment and e-commerce.

Tencent is widely known for its QQ and WeChat instant messaging platforms, which have more than 1 billion users combined. Ma met his wife over the QQ instant messaging service after chatting for three months.

30. Steve Ballmer

Net worth: $23.1 billion

Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, and lived down the hall from the company's co-founder Bill Gates at Harvard University. Ballmer succeeded Gates as CEO in 2000 and was behind the company's acquisition of Internet communications firm Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Ballmer stepped down as CEO in February 2014 and today remains the largest individual shareholder of Microsoft. He bought the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team in 2014 and 4 percent of Twitter in 2015.

20. Jack Ma

Net worth: $29.1 billion

Ma founded and served as CEO for Alibaba Group, the world's largest collection of e-commerce websites. The Chinese company, based in Hangzhou, operates Taobao, the nation's biggest shopping site, and Tmall, a platform for brands and retailers. The sites process more than 11 billion orders a year from 334 million active buyers in more than 190 countries, according to Ma. He also owns a stake in an online-payment service he created for Alibaba and Taobao called Alipay.

Ma stepped down as Alibaba Group CEO on May 10, 2013. Despite his success, Ma has expressed unhappiness toward being China's richest man. The billionaire recently bought a $23 million property in New York's Adirondacks for conservation, and the billionaire plans to go back to school and teach someday.

11. Sergey Brin

Net worth: $37.4 billion

One of Google's co-founders, Brin is president of Alphabet, the Mountain View, Calif., holding company that owns Google, the world's largest search-engine operator. Brin has derived his fortune through his ownership of about 6 percent of the world's most visited website. In 2001, he stepped down as Google chairman and become the company's president of technology. After that, Brin took on the new role as director of special projects and now heads up Alphabet alongside fellow Google co-founder Larry Page.

The billionaire also owns a small stake in electric-car maker Tesla, as well as 23andMe, a genome-mapping company started by his ex-wife, Anne Wojcicki. With Page, Brin executive produced the 2007 drama film "Broken Arrows."

Brin has donated millions of dollars to research on Parkinson's disease and co-founded the philanthropic organization

10. Larry Page

Net worth: $38.3 billion

Page is the CEO of Alphabet, the holding company that owns Google, the world's largest search engine operator, which he co-founded with Sergey Brin in 1998. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company handles more than 3 billion searches a day and reports annual revenue of more than $60 billion.

Throughout the years, Google has entered into other businesses. In the mobile space, the company's Android operating system powers 40 percent of all mobile phones in the U.S., according to Forbes. After Page and Brin stepped down as co-presidents of Google in 2001, Page returned to his post as CEO in 2011 after criticism that Google was losing its nimbleness. Last month, Page became CEO of Alphabet, the holding company structure that Google announced in the summer of 2015.

In his free time, Page is an avid kiteboarder, and has invested in Planetary Resources, an asteroid-mining company.

9. Larry Ellison

Net worth: $40.3 billion

Ellison is the founder and largest shareholder of Oracle, the world's biggest database company. The billionaire has made his money through his ownership of one-fourth, or more than 1.1 billion shares, of Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle, as well as stakes in database company NetSuite and educational platform maker LeapFrog Enterprises.

The billionaire also controls real estate around the globe. Ellison bought 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million in 2012, a Mansion in Newport, R.I., that was once a summer home to the prominent Astor family, and owns several properties in Malibu, Calif. His hobbies include flying planes and playing tennis and guitar, and Ellison has publicly pledged to give the majority of his fortune to charitable causes.

8. Mark Zuckerberg

Net worth: $45.4 billion

Zuckerberg is the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, the world's largest social-networking company with more than 1 billion users. In 2004, Zuckerberg started Facebook from his dorm room with three friends, including Dustin Moskovitz. When the site began to take off, Zuckerberg dropped out of college and move to Silicon Valley that same year. Since then, the social networking giant has continued to grow. Facebook went public in 2012 and was the biggest technology IPO in history at the time.

Zuckerberg has pledged to donate the majority of his fortune to charity. In September 2010, he donated $100 million of Facebook shares to the Newark, N.J., public school system. He has also donated 36 million shares of Facebook -- or $500 million -- to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

4. Jeff Bezos

Net worth: $56.7 billion

Born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, Bezos is the chairman and largest shareholder of Amazon, owning an 18 percent stake. The Seattle-based business also offers cloud computing services through its Amazon Web Services platform. The company operates retail websites and serves as a platform for more than 2 million third-party vendors.

Bezos started his career as a Wall Street computer engineer and created in 1994 to sell books online. Ten years later, he started Blue Origin, a space exploration company that seeks to lower the cost and increase the safety of spaceflight, and still oversees its operations. Bezos was also an early investor in Google, Airbnb and Business Insider, and bought the Washington Post newspaper for $250 million in 2013.

1. Bill Gates

Net worth: $83.1 billion

Bill Gates has once again held onto the No. 1 spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires list as the richest person in the world.

The world's richest person is known for creating and serving as CEO of Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, along with Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen. Gates owns 3 percent stake of the Redmond, Wash.-based company, which represents about one-tenth of his total wealth, and serves as Microsoft's technology adviser today. He has derived most of his fortune from Cascade Investment, a holding company that has stakes in dozens of companies.

Gates signed the giving pledge in 2010 and has donated $30 billion to the philanthropic foundation he and his wife created in 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.