The Strategist

Nine newly-minted tech billionaires

11/16/2017 - 04:48

You've probably heard about Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, but do you know something about David Zalik, Patrick Collison or Lucy Peng? A lot of new members have joined the club of "technological billionaires" recently, and many of them are still little known.

John Collison, photo by TechCrunch via flickr
John Collison, photo by TechCrunch via flickr
This list was initially compiled from Forbes and Bloomberg ratings, after which the rating was narrowed to those who had earned most of their fortune since 2014. These people from different parts of the world manage companies in various sectors of the technology industry and own assets, the total value of which amounts to trillions of dollars. So, meet the new generation of technological billionaires:

Rishi Shah

Age: 31 
Capital: $ 3.6 billion
Firm: Outcome Health, a healthcare technology solutions provider 
Position: General Director, Founder

Shah, who himself comes from a family of doctors, dropped Northwestern University to found Outcome Health. His friend Shradha Agarwal, who now holds the post of the company’s president, was the co-founder. The company delivers tablets and other touch screen devices for medical institutions, and also provides software that helps doctors be in touch with patients when discussing diagnosis, treatment and other issues. In May 2017, Shah’s brainchild was estimated at 5.6 billion dollars. 

Frank Wang

Age: 37 
Capital: $ 3.2 billion
FIrm: DJI Technology, Chinese manufacturer of drones
Position: Founder, General Director

DJI Technology was manufacturing and selling unmanned aerial vehicles long before they got into fashion. Now it's big business. According to Goldman Sachs, buyers in various markets will spend about $ 100 billion on drones in the period from 2016 to 2020. At the same time last year, DJI accounted for about 70% of sales in the commercial and consumer markets of unmanned aerial vehicles. Wang founded the company in 2006, still being a student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His first office was a room in a hostel. Since then, he has been rightfully considered the market leader, and in 2017 became the most young "tech" billionaire in Asia.

Jan Koum

Age: 41 
Capital: $ 9.7 billion
Firm: WhatsApp, messaging service
Position: General Director, Co-Founder

Born in Ukraine, Jan and his mother moved to Mountain View when he was 16 years old. The family lived poorly, and they would starve without social benefits. In school, Jan began to study programming on his own, and a few years later he was invited to work at Yahoo!. Having helped his family, Koum left the company and tried to get a job on Facebook, but he did not qualify. Then he and his friend Brian Acton founded WhatsApp. At first, the application was intended to share statuses with friends, yet soon turned into an instant messenger. In 2012, WhatsApp drew the attention of Mark Zuckerberg. Negotiations lasted for 2 years, and finally in 2014, Zuckerberg offered to purchase WhatsApp for $ 22 billion in shares and cash. Since then, the stock price of Facebook has grown significantly, just like Koum’s capital.

Brian Acton

Age: 45 
Capital: $ 6.7 billion
Firm: WhatsApp
Position: Co-founder (left the company)

Acton spent most of his career along with Koum. They worked together at Yahoo!, together traveled throughout South America and together unsuccessfully tried to get a job in Facebook. Finally, Acton co-founded WhatsApp and stayed with the firm after it was acquired by Facebook. However, he recently broke up with Koum. In September, he left WhatsApp and Facebook to found another company, which, according to his posts on Facebook, will be engaged in application of "technological and communication solutions in charity."

Adam Neumann

Age: 38 
Capital: $ 2.6 billion 
Firm: WeWork, provider of coworking space 
Position: General Director, Co-Founder

Neumann came to the United States from Israel more than 15 years ago. The idea of creating WeWork came to him when he was working on his prior business, a children's clothing firm in Brooklyn. He saw that an adjacent warehouse was not occupied and eventually rent out the premises. This was the beginning of GreenDesk, his first provider of coworking services. In 2010, Neumann and his co-founder Miguel McKelvey got rid of their stakes in GreenDesk to start WeWork. Nowadays, coworking spaces of WeWork are located in 40 cities in the USA. Recently, the company received $ 3 billion of investment from Japanese investor Softbank, after which its estimated value rose to $ 21 billion.

David Zalik

Age: 43 
Capital: $ 2 billion
Firm: GreenSky, a provider of financial technologies
Position: General Director, Co-Founder

Zalik and his family arrived to Alabama when he was 4. He was a child prodigy: he passed the entrance examination to the university at the age of 13, and instead of a secondary school he entered the University of Auburn. Several years later Zalik dropped his studies to found his first company, MicroTech, which assembled computers. He sold his business in 1996, and after several less successful projects founded GreenSky, that facilitates credit payments. In 2014, one of the founders of Capital One, Nigel Morris, poured in GreenSky a quite significant sum. The same autumn, the company attracted attention of venture investors. They bought out 17% of GreenSky shares, raising its estimate to nearly two billion dollars. In 2016, when the company invested in Fifth Third, GreenSky’s value doubled.

John and Patrick Collison

Age: 27 (John), 29 (Patrick)
Capital: $ 1.1 billion each
Firm: Stripe, online payment platform
Positions: John is President and Co-founder; Patrick - CEO and Co-founder

Brothers Collison were born and raised in a small village in Ireland. Since the childhood, the boys were fond of programming. At the age of 16, Patrick graduated from high school and entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A few years later John joined him in the US to go to Harvard. In 2009, both brothers left their universities to go to the Silicon Valley and found Stripe. The company’s current list of clients includes Best Buy, Lyft and Google. In 2016, Stripe attracted $ 150 million in financing and was valued at more than nine billion, which instantly made Collison brothers billionaires.

Lucy Peng

Age: 44 
Capital: $ 1.14 billion
Firm: Ant Financial, mobile payment service
Position: Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors

Peng is one of 18 co-founders of Alibaba. During her career, she held various positions in the company, and at some point was appointed director of AliPay, the mobile payment service company. Alibaba then separated AliPay and turned it into the independent company Ant Financial, and Peng remained at the head of the company. Recently, Ant Financial received an estimate of nearly $ 80 billion, and Peng currently holds the position of executive chairman. In March 2017, she was first listed among the billionaires of Forbes.


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