Becoming a millionaire by forty is a very difficult but somehow reachable goal. But how about achieving a net worth of at least $1 billion before turning 40? The seemingly impossible task has been accomplished by thirty one men and women as reported by Forbes last March. Altogether, the thirty-one billionaires under 40 have a combined net worth of $115.7 billion, and not surprisingly, of the group, 42% are former and current employees of social media giant Facebook.
The list that follows, however, is only of the ten richest billionaires under 40, and altogether, their combined net worths amount to $80.8 billion, which is close to 70% of the total net worths of all billionaires under 40. In this group, only one is a woman, three are current or former Facebook employees, and one managed to dramatically increase his net worth due to Facebook’s generous purchase of his company.
Here they are:
10. Lawrence Ho / Net Worth: $3 Billion / Age: 37
Many of the children of the world’s wealthiest men and women end up inheriting their parents’ empires and further build their fortunes. Not so for the eldest son of Hong Kong and Macau businessman Stanley Ho. Instead, Lawrence chose to build his own empire from scratch as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco International Development Limited and Co-Chairman and CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, one of the “Fabulous 50” companies listed by Forbes Asia. It didn’t come easy for him, however, as when Stanley took over Melco International, it was a failing company. But under the leadership of the University of Toronto graduate, the business started raking in profits by changing its focus to entertainment and leisure. This included the development of Melco’s first casino hotel, the Altira Macau, and the acquisition of one of Macau’s six gaming concessionaires. That was followed by a partnership with Australian billionaire, James Packer, and the opening of another casino resort, the City of Dreams. Currently, Studio City, a cinematically-themed project, is set to open in Macau in 2015, while City of Dreams Manila is under development, the market capitalization set at $20,372,150 — the amount of the entire market capitalization of Las Vegas.
9. Yvonne Bauer and Family / Net Worth: $3.5 Billion / Age: 36
It’s sometimes said that young blood brings a new and modern kind of energy to business, but 36-year-old Yvonne Bauer is more traditional rather than liberal. The fifth generation head of the Bauer Media Group is surprisingly private, her family granting only one press conference each year. In that meeting with the press, the Bauers outline what they have been busy with the previous year and mostly shun personal questions. In fact, Yvonne is still addressed as “Miss Bauer” by employees, which is reflective of the formal German upbringing she underwent. Nevertheless, the approach hasn’t seemed to hurt her company as it has been able to afford the $500-million purchase of ACP Magazines. Through the acquisition, the Bauer Media Group added titles like “The Australian Women’s Weekly”, “Woman’s Day” and “Grazia” to its U.S. titles, which include the likes of “First for Women”, “Woman’s World” and “In Touch”. All in all, the Bauer Media Group now publishes over 600 magazines in 37 countries worldwide.
8. Albert von Thurn und Taxis / Net Worth: $3.8 Billion / Age: 30
It should surprise no one that Albert, the 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, is on this list as he has often been listed as the world’s youngest billionaire since his father passed away in 1990. However, it was really only in 2001, when he turned 18, that Albert officially inherited his father’s estate, which includes real estate, art works, 36,000 hectares of German woodland, and among the largest forest holdings in Europe. Until Albert was of age, his mother, Gloria, managed his fortune, while Albert completed his high school education in Rome and his military service in Bundeswehr in Germany. Afterwards, Albert then took up theology and economics at the University of Edinburgh and successfully pursued race-car driving for which he won the 2010 GT Championship ADAC GT Masters with Peter Kox.
7. Eduardo Saverin / Net Worth: $4.1 Billion / Age: 31
Brazilian internet entrepreneur Eduardo Saverin owns less than 5% of Facebook’s shares, and yet, he has been able to build up $4.1 billion in net worth at just 31 years of age. Surprisingly though, the Saverins moved from Brazil to the United States in 1993 not entirely out of choice, but because Eduardo’s name had been discovered on a list of possible kidnapping victims by gangs in Brazil. However, Eduardo seems to have made the best of the situation, studying at Harvard University, where he was the president of the Harvard Investment Association and making $300,000 by investing in the oil industry of Brazil. Of course, the biggest investment move he made was the one involving college sophomore Mark Zuckerberg when Eduardo was a junior.
6. Scott Duncan / Net Worth: $6.3 Billion / Age: 31
The stock price of Enterprise Products Partners rose significantly in the past year, and along with that grew the riches of one of Texas’ most eligible bachelors, Scott Duncan. All in all, Scott’s net worth from last year rose an eye-popping $1.2 billion, most of the total $6.3 billion being inherited tax free from his father, Dan Duncan. Dan was a pipeline mogul when he passed away in 2010, and today, Enterprise has to its credit 51,000 miles of oil, natural gas, and petrochemical pipelines, along with 14 billion cubic feet of storage capacity for natural gas. Scott is still single, by the way.
5. Jan Koum / Net Worth: $6.8 Billion / Age: 38
In February of 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, and with the sale came lots of attention focused on WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum. Things haven’t always been so easy for the Ukraine native, however, as after he, his mother, and his grandmother moved to California from Kiev, a social support program had to help the family get a small two-bedroom apartment. Jan’s mother then had to work as a babysitter, while Jan himself cleaned at a grocery store to help out the family. It was really after Koum grew interested in programming and graduated from San Jose State University that his life started to pick up. In 1997, Yahoo! hired Jan as an infrastructure engineer, and later, in 2009, he and Brian Acton incorporated WhatsApp in California. Needless to say, the company’s mobile messaging app turned out to be wildly successful.
4. Dustin Moskovitz / Net Worth: $6.8 Billion / Age: 29
Here’s another one of the Facebook founders: Dustin Moskovitz was Facebook’s first chief technology officer and later became vice president of engineering. In those positions, Dustin oversaw the basic architecture of the site and led the technical staff that was responsible for the company’s mobile development and strategy. Then, in 2008, Moskovitz announced that he was departing from Facebook to form, with Justin Rosenstein, Asana — a software company with the goal of improving how people use project collaboration tools. Nevertheless, it’s still Dustin’s 5% stake at Facebook that makes up the bulk of his hefty fortune.
3. Yang Huiyan / Net Worth: $6.9 Billion / Age: 32
Yang Huiyan may have lost two thirds of her fortune in 2008 as China’s stock markets plummeted, but so huge was the heiress’ wealth that even after the decline in her net worth, she still managed to retain the title “richest woman in China”. She actually inherited much of her money from her father, Yang Guoqiang, who started Country Garden in 1997 and later transferred 70% of the company’s shares to Yang in 2007. Under her leadership, Country Garden’s profit rose by 24.2% in 2013, reaching a total of 8.5 billion yuan ($1.4 billion). Huiyan did so by focusing on business outside of China with the success of Country Garden Danga Bay in Malaysia. Still to come is the launch of Country Ryde Garden in Sydney, Australia.
2. Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila and Family / Net Worth: $11.1 Billion / Age: 37
In 2011, the son of the late Columbian beer king Julio Santo Domino Pumarejo, Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila, inherited 15% of SABMiller, the second largest brewer in the world. Alejandro didn’t sit on his fortune, though, as under his leadership, his stake in SABMiller has climbed to be worth close to $10 billion. The company has also become the most valuable piece in a huge portfolio of companies that constitute the privately owned Santo Domingo Group. Outside of SABMiller, Alejandro is also a managing director at Quadrant Capital Advisors, a New York investment firm, and the chairman of Valorem, a publicly traded company that manages a TV channel, a film production studio, a logistics company, and an online retailer. On the philanthropic side, Alejandro serves on the Board of Directors of DKMS Americas, the largest bone marrow donor center on the planet with 3.6 million registered donors.
1. Mark Zuckerberg / Net Worth: $28.5 Billion / Age: 29
At just 29 years of age, chairman and chief executive of Facebook Inc., Mark Zuckerberg, has now watched his formerly intimate and Harvard-based social network turn ten years old, and he certainly has reason to celebrate the milestone. The site now has more than a billion users, and despite the disappointing performance of the company’s IPO, each share has now risen more than 130% in the past few years. That impressive increase has caused Mark’s net worth to more than double in that period. In fact, that profit, largely powered by mobile revenue, allowed Facebook to purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion and for Zuckerberg to give away 18 million Facebook shares. On the political side, Zuckerberg continues to remain active, using FWD.us as his platform to campaign for immigration reform and advancements in science and technology education.