As technology pervades into our daily lives, entrepreneurs whose efforts led to such advancements are increasingly being viewed as revered figures. Becoming a tech entrepreneur though is far from easy - one must pour time, money, knowledge and effort into one's idea. And even when the creation is finally unveiled, the entrepreneur still has to hope that it will be successful to justify the effort put into it. The truly successful entrepreneurs are therefore, those who not only came up with a visionary idea, but also relished the challenge of turning it into reality. Naturally, this risk-taking and never-say-die attitude have allowed many of these entrepreneurs to become sources of inspiration to the general public. Here is a list of the most well-known tech entrepreneurs. Who do you feel has inspired you the most? Rank this list to let us know!
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Jeffrey Preston Bezos (born January 12, 1964) is an American technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, who is best known as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon, the world's largest online shopping retailer. Bezos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University in 1986 with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. He worked on Wall Street in a variety of related fields from 1986 to early 1994. He founded Amazon in late 1994 on a cross-country road trip from New York City to Seattle. The company began as an online bookstore and has expanded to a variety of products and services, including video and audio streaming. It is currently the world's largest Internet sales online company, as well as the world's largest provider of cloud infrastructure services via its Amazon Web Services arm. Bezos added to his business interests when he founded aerospace company Blue Origin in 2000. Blue Origin started test flights to space in 2015 and has plans to begin commercial suborbital human spaceflight in 2018. He purchased The Washington Post in 2013 for US$250 million in cash. Bezos manages other business investments through his venture capital fund, Bezos Expeditions. On July 27, 2017, he became the world's wealthiest person when his estimated net worth increased to just over $90 billion. His wealth surpassed $100 billion for the first time on November 24 after Amazon's share price increased by more than 2.5%. He was formally designated the wealthiest person in the world on March 6, 2018 with a registered net worth of $112 billion by Forbes, becoming the first centi-billionaire.
Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur, business magnate, inventor, and industrial designer. He was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and a co-founder of Apple Inc., CEO and majority shareholder of Pixar, a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. Jobs was born in San Francisco, California, to parents who put him up for adoption at birth. He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s. He attended Reed College in 1972 before dropping out that same year, and traveled through India in 1974 seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism. His declassified FBI report states that he used marijuana and LSD while he was in college, and he once told a reporter that taking LSD was "one of the two or three most important things" that he did in his life. Jobs and Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. Together the duo gained fame and wealth a year later for the Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers. Jobs saw the commercial potential of the Xerox Alto in 1979, which was mouse-driven and had a graphical user interface (GUI). This led to development of the unsuccessful Apple Lisa in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Macintosh in 1984, the first mass-produced computer with a GUI. The Macintosh introduced the desktop publishing industry in 1985 with the addition of the Apple LaserWriter, the first laser printer to feature vector graphics. Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 after a long power struggle. Jobs took a few of Apple's members with him to found NeXT, a computer platform development company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, he helped to develop the visual effects industry when he funded the computer graphics division of George Lucas's Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company was Pixar, which produced Toy Story, the first fully computer-animated film. Apple merged with NeXT in 1997, and Jobs became CEO of his former company within a few months. He was largely responsible for helping revive Apple, which had been at the verge of bankruptcy. He worked closely with designer Jonathan Ive to develop a line of products that had larger cultural ramifications, beginning in 1997 with the "Think different" advertising campaign and leading to the iMac, iTunes, iTunes Store, Apple Store, iPod, iPhone, App Store, and the iPad. In 2001, the original Mac OS was replaced with a completely new Mac OS X, based on NeXT's NeXTSTEP platform, giving the OS a modern Unix-based foundation for the first time. Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003. He died at age 56 on October 5, 2011, of respiratory arrest related to the tumor.
Elon Reeve Musk (born June 28, 1971) is a South African-born Canadian American business magnate, investor, and engineer. He is the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; and co-founder and CEO of Neuralink. In December 2016, he was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People. As of February 2018, he has a net worth of $20.8 billion and is listed by Forbes as the 53rd richest person in the world. Born in Pretoria, Musk taught himself computer programming at the age of 12. He moved to Canada when he was 17 to attend Queen's University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received an economics degree from the Wharton School and a degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. He began a PhD in applied physics and material sciences at Stanford University in 1995 but dropped out after two days to pursue an entrepreneurial career. He subsequently co-founded Zip2, a web software company, which was acquired by Compaq for $340 million in 1999. Musk then founded X.com, an online payment company. It merged with Confinity in 2000 and became PayPal, which was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002. In May 2002 Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, of which he is CEO and lead designer. He co-founded Tesla, Inc., an electric vehicle and solar panel manufacturer, in 2003, and operates as its CEO and product architect. In 2006 he inspired the creation of SolarCity, a solar energy services company that is now a subsidiary of Tesla, and operates as its chairman. In 2015 Musk co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research company that aims to promote friendly artificial intelligence. He co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain–computer interfaces, in July 2016 and is its CEO. He founded The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel-construction company, in December 2016 and serves as CEO. In addition to his primary business pursuits, Musk has envisioned a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop, and has proposed a vertical take-off and landing supersonic jet electric aircraft with electric fan propulsion, known as the Musk electric jet. Musk has stated that the goals of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the "risk of human extinction" by establishing a human colony on Mars.
William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, humanitarian, and principal founder of Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft, which became the world's largest PC software company. Gates led the company as chief executive officer until stepping down in January 2000, but he remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect for himself. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was established in 2000. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie. He stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 and assumed a new post as technology adviser to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella. Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive. This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings. Since 1987, Gates has been included in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people, an index of the wealthiest documented individuals, excluding and ranking against those with wealth that is not able to be completely ascertained. From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world all but four of those years, and held it consistently from March 2014 – July 2017, with an estimated net worth of US$89.9 billion as of October 2017. However, on July 27, 2017, and since October 27, 2017, he has been surpassed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion at the time. Later in his career and since leaving Microsoft, Gates pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors. He donated large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009, Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy. The foundation works to save lives and improve global health, and is working with Rotary International to eliminate polio. As of February 17, 2018, Gates had a net worth of $91.7 billion, making him the second-richest person in the world, behind Bezos.
Lawrence Edward Page (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Google with Sergey Brin. Page is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc. After stepping aside as Google CEO in August 2001, in favor of Eric Schmidt, he re-assumed the role in April 2011. He announced his intention to step aside a second time in July 2015, to become CEO of Alphabet, under which Google's assets would be reorganized. Under Page, Alphabet is seeking to deliver major advancements in a variety of industries. As of February 11, 2018, Page was the ninth-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $51 billion. Page is the inventor of PageRank, Google's best-known search ranking algorithm. Page received the Marconi Prize in 2004 with Brin.
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (/ˈzʌkərbɜːrɡ/; born May 14, 1984) is an American technology entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for co-founding and leading Facebook, as its chairman and chief executive officer. Born in White Plains, New York, Zuckerberg attended Harvard University where he launched Facebook from his dormitory room on February 4, 2004 with college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. After the group began expanding the company across college campuses, it expanded rapidly, reaching one billion users by 2012. Zuckerberg took the company public in May 2012 with majority shares. His net worth is estimated to be US$66.4 billion as of April 19, 2018. Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year award. In December 2016, Zuckerberg was ranked 10th on Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People.
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin (born August 21, 1973) is a Russian-American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur. Together with Larry Page, he co-founded Google. Brin is the President of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. As of April 1, 2018, Brin is the 13th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$47.2 billion. Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of 6. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science. After graduation, he enrolled in Stanford University to acquire a PhD in computer science. There he met Page, with whom he later became friends. They crammed their dormitory room with inexpensive computers and applied Brin's data mining system to build a web search engine. The program became popular at Stanford, and they suspended their PhD studies to start up Google in a rented garage. The Economist referred to Brin as an "Enlightenment Man", and as someone who believes that "knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance", a philosophy that is summed up by Google's mission statement, "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and its unofficial yet sometimes controversial motto, "Don't be evil".
Brian Joseph Chesky (born August 29, 1981) is an American Internet entrepreneur who co-founded the hospitality exchange service Airbnb. Chesky is the CEO of the company and was named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People of 2015". In 2015, Chesky was recognized on the Forbes list of America's Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40. Chesky was recognized on TIME's 100 Most Influential People for 2015. In May 2015, President Obama named Chesky as an Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship. He was also named in the Youngest Forbes 400 list in 2016.
Kevin York Systrom (born December 30, 1983) is an American entrepreneur and programmer, best known as the co‑founder of Instagram along with Mike Krieger. In 2010, Systrom co‑founded the photo-sharing and, later, video-sharing social networking service Instagram with Mike Krieger in San Francisco, California. The name "Instagram" comes from the words "instant camera" and "telegram". In April 2012, Instagram was sold to Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock, along with 13 employees. According to multiple reports, the deal netted Systrom $400 million based on his ownership stake in the business. One of the key contributions to the acquisition is that Mark Zuckerberg stated Facebook is "committed to building and growing Instagram independently," allowing Systrom to continue to lead Instagram. Systrom stated in an interview with Bloomberg that the pros of becoming a part of Facebook were that “we got to pair up with a juggernaut of a company that understands how to grow, understands how to build a business, has one of the best, if not the best, management team in tech and we got to use them as our resource.”
Andrew W. "Drew" Houston (pronounced "HOUS-ton"; born March 4, 1983) is an American Internet entrepreneur who is best known for being the co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, an online backup and storage service. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is ~$3 billion. Drew held 24.4 percent voting power in Dropbox before filing for IPO on 23rd February 2018.
Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953) is an American business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He co-founded Microsoft alongside Bill Gates. In June 2017, he was estimated to be the 46th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $21.1 billion. Allen is the founder and Chairman of Vulcan Inc., which manages his various business and philanthropic efforts. Allen has a multibillion-dollar investment portfolio including technology and media companies, real estate holdings, and stakes in other companies. He owns two professional sports teams: the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association, and is part-owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, which joined Major League Soccer in 2009. He is the founder of Allen Institute for Brain Science, Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Institute for Cell Science, and Stratolaunch Systems.
Stephen Gary Wozniak (born on August 11, 1950), often referred to by the nickname Woz, is an American inventor, electronics engineer, programmer, philanthropist, and technology entrepreneur who co-founded Apple Computer, Inc.. He is known as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Wozniak single-handedly built and developed the 1976 Apple I, which was the computer that launched Apple. He primarily designed the 1977 Apple II, known as one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputers, while Jobs oversaw the development of its foam-molded plastic case and Rod Holt developed the switching power supply. After stepping away from Apple in 1985, Wozniak founded CL 9 and created the first universal remote. He then became involved in several other business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on tech in K–12 schools. Wozniak is currently Chief Scientist at the data virtualization company, Primary Data, and remains an employee of Apple in a ceremonial capacity.
Lawrence "Larry" Joseph Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who is co-founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation. As of January 2018, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the fifth-wealthiest person in the United States and as the eighth-wealthiest in the world, with a fortune of $62.4 billion. Ellison was born in New York City and grew up in Chicago. He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and the University of Chicago without graduating before moving to California in 1966. While working at Ampex in the early 1970s, he became influenced by Edgar F. Codd's research on relational database design, which led in 1977 to the formation of what became Oracle. Oracle became a successful database vendor to mid- and low-range systems, competing with Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server, which led to Ellison being listed by Forbes as one of the richest men in the world. Ellison has donated up to 1% of his wealth to charity and has signed The Giving Pledge. In addition to his work at Oracle, Ellison has had success in yachting, through Oracle Team USA. He is a licensed aircraft pilot who owns two military jets.
Ma Yun (Chinese: 马云, [mà y̌n]; born October 15, 1964), known professionally as Jack Ma, is a Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. As of March 2018, he is one of China's richest men with a net worth of US$42.4 billion, as well as one of the wealthiest people in the world. Ma is seen as a global ambassador for Chinese business and as such is frequently listed as one of the world's most powerful people by Forbes. In 2017, he was ranked 2nd in the annual "World's 50 Greatest Leaders" list by Fortune.
Mark Cuban (born July 31, 1958) is an American businessman and investor. He is the owner of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Dallas Mavericks, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment and chairman of AXS TV. He is also one of the main "shark" investors on the ABC reality television series, Shark Tank. In 2011, Cuban wrote an e-book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, in which he chronicles his experiences in business and sports.
Evan Thomas Spiegel (born June 4, 1990) is an American Internet entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of the American multinational technology and social media company Snap Inc., which he created (as Snapchat Inc.) with Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown while they were students at Stanford University. Spiegel was named the youngest billionaire in the world in 2015.
Dustin Aaron Moskovitz (born May 22, 1984) is an American Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes. In 2008, he left Facebook to co-found Asana with Justin Rosenstein. In March 2011, Forbes reported Moskovitz to be the youngest self-made billionaire in history, on the basis of his 2.34% share in Facebook.
Samuel H. "Sam" Altman (born April 22, 1985) is an American entrepreneur, investor, programmer, and blogger. He is the president of Y Combinator and co-chairman of OpenAI. Altman began as a part-time partner at Y-Combinator in 2011. In 2014, Altman was named president of Y Combinator, whose first batch of investments included Loopt. In a 2014 blog post, Altman said that the total valuation of Y Combinator companies had surpassed $65 billion, including well-known companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, Zenefits and Stripe. In September 2016, Altman announced that he would become president of YC Group, which includes Y Combinator and other units. Altman has said that he hopes to expand Y Combinator to fund 1,000 new companies per year. He has also tried to expand the types of companies funded by YC, especially 'hard technology' companies. In October 2015, Altman announced YC Continuity, a $700 million growth-stage equity fund that invests in YC companies. Also in October 2015, Altman announced Y Combinator Research, a non-profit research lab, and donated $10 million to the group. YC Research has thus far announced research on basic income, the future of computing, education, and building new cities. Altman was named the top investor under 30 by Forbes in 2015, one of the "Best Young Entrepreneurs in Technology" by BusinessWeek in 2008 and listed as one of the five most interesting startup founders between 1979 and 2009 by his colleague Paul Graham.
Peter Andreas Thiel (born October 11, 1967) is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author. He was ranked No. 4 on the Forbes Midas List of 2014, with a net worth of $2.2 billion, and No. 315 on the Forbes 400 in 2017, with a net worth of $2.6 billion. He co-founded PayPal in 1999, and served as chief executive officer until its sale to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Thiel was born in Frankfurt, and holds German citizenship. He moved with his family to the United States as an infant, and spent a portion of his upbringing in Africa before returning to the United States. He studied philosophy at Stanford University, graduating with a B.A. in 1989. He then went on to the Stanford Law School, and received his J.D. in 1992. After graduation, he worked as a judicial clerk for Judge James Larry Edmondson, a securities lawyer for Sullivan & Cromwell, a speechwriter for former-U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett and as a derivatives trader at Credit Suisse prior to founding Thiel Capital in 1996. After the sale of PayPal, he founded Clarium Capital, a global macro hedge fund. He launched Palantir Technologies, a big data analysis company, in 2004 and continues to serve as its chairman as of 2018. His Founders Fund, a venture capital firm, was launched in 2005 along with PayPal partners Ken Howery and Luke Nosek. Earlier, Thiel became Facebook's first outside investor when he acquired a 10.2% stake for $500,000 in August 2004. He sold the majority of his shares in Facebook for over $1 billion in 2012, but remains on the board of directors. He also co-founded Valar Ventures in 2010 and operates as its chairman, co-founded Mithril Capital, of which he is investment committee chair, in 2012, and served as a partner at Y Combinator from 2015 to 2017. Thiel is involved with a variety of philanthropic and political pursuits. Through the Thiel Foundation, he governs the grant-making bodies Breakout Labs and Thiel Fellowship, and funds nonprofit research into artificial intelligence, life extension and seasteading. A co-founder of The Stanford Review, he is a conservative libertarian who is critical of excessive government spending, high debt levels, and foreign wars. He has donated to numerous political figures, and provided financial support to Hulk Hogan in Bollea v. Gawker.
Wang Yue (born 31 March 1987) is a Chinese chess Grandmaster. In 2004, he became China's 18th Grandmaster at the age of 17. He is China's first player ever to break into the top 10 of FIDE World Rankings and was the highest-ever rated Chinese player, with a peak rating of 2756, until August 2015, when this record was broken by Ding Liren. In October 2007, Wang became the first Chinese player and third Asian player to cross the 2700 Elo rating mark. In October 2008, he became the World No. 11, the highest ranking a Chinese player has ever achieved, surpassing the previous record of 17th by Ye Jiangchuan set in 2000. In January 2010, he became the first Chinese world top-ten player with a world ranking of 9. His highest world ranking to date is No. 8 in the May 2010 rating list with a rating of 2752. In the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010, he was a last round victory over Teimour Radjabov away from joining Levon Aronian as an automatic qualifier for the Candidates Tournament of the World Chess Championship 2012 cycle; however, Radjabov secured a draw which allowed him to win the final qualifying position. Wang Yue was the top board of the gold medal-winning Chinese team at the 2014 Chess Olympiad.
Ma Huateng (born on October 29, 1971), also known as Pony Ma, is a Chinese business magnate, investor, philanthropist, engineer, internet and technology entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent, Asia's most valuable company, one of the largest Internet and technology companies, and the biggest investment, gaming and entertainment conglomerate in the world. The company controls China’s biggest mobile instant messaging service and its subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, payment systems, smartphones, internet-related services, value-added services and online advertising services, both in China and globally. In 2007 and 2014 Time magazine called him one of the world's most influential people, while in 2015, Forbes credited him as one of the world's most powerful people. In 2017, Fortune ranked him as among the top businessmen of the year. Ma is a deputy to the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress and served in the 12th National People’s Congress. Known for his low profile entrepreneur style as compared to Jack Ma's outgoing personality, Ma has been closely compared to Warren Buffett for their similarity in investments, and often described as an "aggressive acquisitor". As of March 2018, he is China's richest man, and the 14th wealthiest in the world, with a net worth of US$51.1 billion. On 21 November 2017, he surpassed both Larry Page and Sergey Brin to become the ninth richest man in the world, and the first Chinese to enter Forbes' top 10 richest men list.
Steven Anthony Ballmer (born March 24, 1956) is an American businessman, investor and philanthropist who was the chief executive officer of Microsoft from January 2000 to February 2014, and is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As of January 2018, his personal wealth is estimated at US$38.7 billion, ranking him the 21st richest person in the world. Ballmer was hired by Bill Gates at Microsoft in 1980 after dropping out of Stanford University. He eventually became President in 1998, and replaced Gates as CEO in 2000. It was announced on August 23, 2013, that he would step down as Microsoft's CEO within 12 months. On February 4, 2014, Ballmer retired as CEO and was succeeded by Satya Nadella; Ballmer resigned from the Board of Directors on August 19, 2014 to prepare for teaching a new class and for the start of the NBA season. On May 29, 2014, Ballmer placed a bid of $2 billion to purchase the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers after NBA commissioner Adam Silver forced Donald Sterling to sell the team. He officially became the Clippers owner on August 12, 2014; Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is a fellow owner in the NBA, having owned the Portland Trail Blazers since 1988. His time as Microsoft CEO has been seen as mixed, with critics noting the company's tripling of sales and doubling of profits, but losing its market dominance and missing out on 21st century technology trends.
Azim Hashim Premji (born 24 July 1945) is an Indian business tycoon and philanthropist, who is the chairman of Wipro Limited. He is informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry. He was responsible for guiding Wipro through four decades of diversification and growth to finally emerge as one of the global leaders in the software industry. In 2010, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek. He has twice been listed among the 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine, once in 2004 and more recently in 2011. Premji owns 73% percent of Wipro and also owns a private equity fund, Premji Invest, which manages his $2 billion worth of personal portfolio. He is currently the second richest person in India with an estimated net worth of US$19.5 billion as of November 2017. In 2013, he agreed to give away at least half of his wealth by signing The Giving Pledge. Premji started with a $2.2 billion donation to the Azim Premji Foundation, focused on education in India.
Wāng Tāo (born 1980), also known as Frank Wang, is a Chinese businessman who is the founder (2006) and chief executive officer of DJI ("Dà-Jiāng Innovations Science and Technology Co., Ltd", Chinese: 大疆创新科技有限公司), a Chinese technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, which manufactures unmanned and autonomous aerial vehicles, flight controllers, Zenmuse aerial gimbals, Ronin ground gimbals, cameras and FPV Goggles. Wang, who hails from China’s Zhejiang Province, came to Hong Kong in 2003 after enrolling for a degree course in Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST). Two years later, the university granted him HK$18,000 (US$2,300) to conduct research and develop a drone. Wang founded the company in 2006 from his dorm room at HKUST. According to The Economist in 2015, the company was at the forefront of the civilian-drone industry. Being the founder of the world’s largest consumer drone company, he became Asia's youngest tech billionaire.
Robin Li or Li Yanhong (born 17 November 1968) is a Chinese Internet entrepreneur, co-founder of the search engine Baidu, and one of the richest people in China, with a net worth of US$18.5 billion as of October 2017. Li is a member of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Li studied information management at Peking University and computer science at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2000 he founded Baidu with Eric Xu. Li has been CEO of Baidu since January 2004. The company was listed on NASDAQ on August 5, 2005. Li was included as one of the 15 Asian Scientists To Watch by Asian Scientist Magazine on 15 May 2011. On August 29, 2014, Robin Li was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, as co-chair of the Independent Expert Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.
Ding Lei (born 1 October 1971), also known as William Ding, is the founder and CEO of NetEase (163.com). Ding made significant contributions to the development of computer networks in mainland China. In late 2016, Ding was looking into investing in the property sector, and travelled to Zimbabwe] in December, and to the United Kingdom. As of February 2018, Ding's fortune was estimated to be $18.3 billion, while in 2017, was ranked at #52 on Forbes's billionaires list.
Shiv Nadar (born 14 July 1945) is an Indian billionaire industrialist and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of HCL and the Shiv Nadar Foundation. Nadar founded HCL in the mid-1970s and transformed the IT hardware company into an IT enterprise over the next three decades by constantly reinventing his company's focus. In 2008, Nadar was awarded Padma Bhushan for his efforts in the IT industry. Nadar, nicknamed by friends as Magus (Old Persian for "wizard"), since the mid-1990s has focused his efforts on developing the educational system of India through the Shiv Nadar Foundation. He is the brother of Tamil novelist Ramanichandran.
Jan Koum (born February 24, 1976) is a Ukrainian-American internet inventor and computer programmer. He is the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application which was acquired by Facebook Inc. in February 2014 for US$19.3 billion. In 2014, he entered the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans at position 62, with an estimated worth of more than $7.5 billion. He was the highest-ranked newcomer to the list that year.
Brian Acton (born February 17, 1972) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is the co-founder (with Jan Koum) of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application which was acquired by Facebook Inc. in February 2014 for US$19 billion. He was formerly employed at Yahoo Inc. In September 2017, Acton announced that he was leaving WhatsApp to start a foundation. On February 21, 2018, Acton and Moxie Marlinspike announced the formation of the Signal Foundation.
Jerry Chih-Yuan Yang (born November 6, 1968) is a Taiwanese-American Internet entrepreneur, engineer, and programmer. Yang founded Yahoo! in 1994, served as CEO from 2007 to 2009.
David Filo (born April 20, 1966) is an American businessman and the co-founder of Yahoo! with Jerry Yang. His Filo Server Program, written in the C programming language, was the server-side software used to dynamically serve variable web pages, called Filo Server Pages, on visits to early versions of the Yahoo! website.
Pierre Morad Omidyar (Persian: پیر مراد امیدیار, Persian pronunciation: [piːjeɾ moɾɑːd omiːdjɑːɾ] born June 21, 1967) is an American billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist of Iranian origin. He is the founder of the eBay auction site where he served as chairman from 1998 to 2015. He became a billionaire at the age of 31 with eBay's 1998 initial public offering (IPO). Omidyar and his wife Pamela are well-known philanthropists who founded Omidyar Network in 2004 in order to expand their efforts beyond non-profits to include for-profits and public policy. Since 2010, Omidyar has been involved in online journalism as the head of investigative reporting and public affairs news service Honolulu Civil Beat. In 2013, he announced that he would create and finance First Look Media, a journalism venture to include Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill.
Dietmar Hopp (born 26 April 1940) is a German billionaire software entrepreneur. He was one of the founders of SAP AG in 1972 with other former IBM employees Hans Werner Hector, Klaus Tschira, Claus Wellenreuther and Hasso Plattner. Hopp was the CEO of SAP AG from 1988 until 1998, Chairman of its supervisory board from 1998 until 2003 and member of the board from 2003 until 2005. He kept about 10% of the company's shares after leaving the board. After Hopp left in 2005, the street on which the SAP AG headquarters are located was renamed from Neurottstraße to Dietmar-Hopp-Allee, in honor of Mr. Hopp. In 2006, Hopp transferred 70% of his wealth (about €4 billion) to a charitable foundation, Dietmar-Hopp-Stiftung, creating one of the largest foundations in Europe. The foundation supports sports, medicine, education and social programs. Hopp is the chief financial backer of the German football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. When Hopp, who had played in the club's youth setup, started supporting the club in 2000, Hoffenheim were playing in the fifth division of German football. Today, Hoffenheim are in the First Bundesliga, and in their first season in the top flight in 2008–09, they led the league at its winter break. Hopp also spent €100 million to build a new 30,000-seat stadium called Rhein-Neckar-Arena near Sinsheim for the club. He owns a home in Naples, Florida, US. Hopp is the owner of the Domaine de Terre Blanche, a resort in the South of France, which he bought from the actor Sean Connery.
Zhou Qunfei (born 1970) is a Chinese entrepreneur who founded the major touchscreen maker Lens Technology. After the public listing of her company on the Shenzhen ChiNext market in March 2015, her net worth reached US$10 billion, making her the richest woman in China. In 2018, she was named the world's richest self-made woman, with a net worth of $9.8 billion.
James Howard Goodnight (born January 6, 1943) is an American billionaire businessman and software developer. He and several other faculty members of North Carolina State University left the university in 1976 to co-found SAS Institute. Since the first day of incorporation (July 1, 1976) he has served as the company's CEO. His leadership style and the work environment he created at SAS, now a multibillion-dollar company, have been studied by other businesses and by academics
Joseph Chung-Hsin Tsai (born January 1964) is a Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire businessman. He is the co-founder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group. Joseph Tsai was born in Taipei, Taiwan to Dr. Paul C. Tsai, a second-generation lawyer, and his wife Ruby. He has three younger siblings, Eva, Vivian, and Benjamin. At age 13, Tsai was sent by his parents to the Lawrenceville School, where he played lacrosse and was a member of the Cleve House. Tsai enrolled in his father's alma mater, Yale University, and played lacrosse there as well. He received a bachelor of arts' degree in economics and East Asian studies from Yale College in 1986, and a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1990.
Kwon Hyuk-Bin is a billionaire Korean businessman who co-founded Korea's third largest gaming company, Smilegate, maker of the popular CrossFire games. CrossFire has gone on to become the most popular first person shooter game in history. He owns 100% of Smilegate Holdings, which he founded in 2002.
Lei Jun (born 16 December 1969) is a Chinese entrepreneur and the founder of Xiaomi Inc. In 2014, he was named Businessman of the Year by Forbes. In 2017, Lei Jun has an estimated net worth of US$6.8 billion.
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies. Branson expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur at a young age. His first business venture, at the age of 16, was a magazine called Student. In 1970, he set up a mail-order record business. He opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records—later known as Virgin Megastores—in 1972. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label. In March 2000, Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace for "services to entrepreneurship". For his work in retail, music and transport (with interests in land, air, sea and space travel), his taste for adventure, and for his humanitarian work, he became a prominent figure. In 2002, he was named in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. In 2004, he founded spaceflight corporation Virgin Galactic, based at Mojave Air and Space Port, noted for the SpaceShipOne and SpaceShip Two projects. In November 2017, Forbes listed Branson's estimated net worth at $5.1 billion.
Hiroshi Mikitani (born March 11, 1965) is a Japanese billionaire businessman and the founder, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc. He is also the president of Crimson Group, chairman of the football club Rakuten Vissel Kobe, chairman of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and a board member of Lyft. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, as of August 2017, Mikitani is worth $7.1 billion.
David Arthur Duffield (born 1941) is an American businessman in the software industry. He is the co-founder and former chairman of PeopleSoft, the co-founder and co-CEO at Workday, Inc., and has been on the Forbes World's Richest People list. Duffield established two mainframe application software companies. He was CEO, chairman, and chief product architect at Integral Systems, the first company to offer DB2-based human resource and accounting systems. He also co-founded Information Associates, which specialized in applications for the higher education market. He began his career at IBM as a marketing representative and systems engineer. Duffield founded PeopleSoft in 1987 and served as the company's CEO and board chairman. PeopleSoft grew to be the world's second-largest application software company before being acquired by Oracle in January 2005. In March 2005, Duffield and former PeopleSoft vice chair and head of product strategy, Aneel Bhusri, started Workday, Inc., a company that provides financial management and human capital management software delivered in a software as a service (SaaS) model. The company is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, and employed approximately 1,000 people in 2011, with Duffield and Bhusri serving as co-CEOs at Workday. Duffield is also the company's chief customer advocate. Duffield relinquished the co-CEO role in May 2014, and became chairman of the board.
Gordon Earle Moore (born January 3, 1929) is an American businessman, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation, and the author of Moore's law. As of 2017, his net worth is $8.4 billion. Moore was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in nearby Pescadero; his father was the county sheriff. He attended Sequoia High School in Redwood City. Initially he went to San Jose State University. After two years he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, from which he received a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1950. In September 1950, Moore matriculated at the California Institute of Technology. Moore received a Ph.D. degree in chemistry and minor in physics from Caltech in 1954. Moore conducted postdoctoral research at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University from 1953 to 1956.
Pan Zhengmin (born 1969) is a Chinese entrepreneur, the co-founder (along with his wife Ingrid) of AAC Technologies of Shenzhen, an electronic components company. Pan Zhengmin was born in 1969, and educated at Jiangsu Province Wujin Teacher School. He lives in Shenzhen, China.
Garrett Camp (born October 4, 1978) is a Canadian businessman and investor. He co-founded StumbleUpon, a web-discovery platform, while in graduate school at the University of Calgary in 2002 and co-founded Uber, a transportation network company in 2009. Garrett serves as Chairman for both StumbleUpon and Uber.
Travis Cordell Kalanick (born August 6, 1976) is an American businessman. He is the co-founder of Scour, a peer to peer file sharing application, Red Swoosh, a peer-to-peer content delivery network, and Uber, a transportation network company. Red Swoosh was sold to Akamai Technologies in 2007. Kalanick is ranked 115th on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $4.8 billion.
Scott Farquhar (born December 1979) is an Australian billionaire, the co-founder and co-CEO of the software company Atlassian. Farquhar often carries the epithet of accidental billionaire after he and his business partner Mike Cannon-Brookes founded Atlassian with the simple aim to replicate the A$48,000 graduate starting salary typical at the big corporations without having to work for someone else.
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