Of the roughly 7 billion people on the planet, 1,645 have earned dollar amounts topping the one billion mark. Of those, just over a thousand are “self-made,” meaning they did not inherit the majority of their wealth. And of that small percentage, only 13 are under 40 years old.
Don't worry – you won’t find the Justin Biebers, Paris Hiltons and other rich celebrities who make you question your work ethic and life accomplishments on this list. These young millionaires didn't inherit their fortunes or catch a lucky break, and have yet to reach the coveted and elite status of Billionaire. The billionaires on this list are the result of hard work, relentless ambition, street smarts and, likely, a lot of luck, too.
Notably missing from this year’s youngest billionaires lists are two of the most recognizable names in the tech business: Sergei Brin and Larry Page, who both turn 40 this year. However, not surprisingly, the majority of this list also made their fortunes in the tech industry, founding small startups that turned out to be gold mines. If you’ve seen The Social Network you can likely guess the names of at least 4 of these young billionaires, but you’ll find a fair mix of industries and nationalities in the list below:
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13 Ryan Kavanaugh
- Age: 39
As founder and CEO of Relativity Media, Ryan Kavanaugh has made a name for himself as the “Billion Dollar Producer.” After getting his start in Hollywood by funneling money from Wall St. to Universal and Sony before founding his own studio, Relativity. Throughout his career, he’s financed more than 200 films that earned a combined total of more than $17 billion. His “Moneyball” model of film finance involves producing a number of independent films that cost relatively nothing to produce (as far as Hollywood budgets go) – but that clean up at the box office. Recent hits that follow his unique financing model include Limitless, The Fighter, Mirror Mirror and Safe Haven.
Today, Kavanaugh enjoys the company of major movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper (who both helped throw his bachelor party) and a net worth of $1 billion.
12 Jan Koum
- Age: 38
After coming from humble beginnings in Kiev, Jan Koum made headlines in 2014 when fellow tech entrepreneur (and self-made billionaire) Mark Zuckerberg bought his company, WhatsApp, for a record $19 billion. Today, Koum’s brainchild is the largest mobile messaging service on the planet and has more collective users than Skype and Snapchat combined. Koum himself has a net worth of $7.3 billion.
11 Nicholas Woodman
- Age: 37
In 2004, this self-made billionaire released his first video camera, a 35-mm waterproof film camera. That initial product made its way into surf shops all over the West Coast and even onto the home shopping network. But you're probably more familiar with his latest inventions – the GoPro camera series.
Woodman's beginnings were humble – his first prototypes were built in his bedroom with a drill and his mom’s old sewing machine, and he raised his first few dollars for the company by selling bead and shell belts out of the back of his VW van. Today, the company – and its CEO Nick Woodman – is valued at $3 billion.
10 Jack Dorsey
- Age: 37
Of all the tech entrepreneurs on this list, Jack Dorsey may be the most talented – or the luckiest. In 2006, he founded his first billion-dollar startup, Twitter. Then, four years later he struck gold again with another billion-dollar idea – Square, the mobile payments company. Additionally, he continues to invest in up-and-coming startups, sits on the Board of Directors at The Walt Disney Company and is a certified masseur. His net worth is estimated at nearly $2 billion.
9 Maxim Nogotkov
- Age: 37
This young self-made billionaire hails from Russia, owning that country’s second-largest cell phone merchant Svyaznoy. Additionally, Nogotkov has invested in online stores, jewelry franchises and banks. His net-worth is estimated at roughly $1.3 billion.
8 Yoshikazu Tanaka
- Age: 37
You can almost think of Yoshikazu Tanaka as Japan’s Mark Zuckerberg. After launching his social networking service, GREE, in 2004, he soon became Asia’s youngest self-made billionaire and even the world’s second youngest self-made billionaire – second only to the Zuck – in 2010. And despite his young age, his wealth also broke the list of Japan’s 40 richest billionaires and continues to expand his empire through mobile games and lucrative Internet services.
7 Naruatsu Baba
- Age: 36
Based in Tokyo, Naruatsu Baba and his company Colopl, Inc. own 5 of the world’s top-grossing apps for Google’s Android phone. The company, valued at just over $2 billion, is credited with games like “Catastrophic Zombies,” “Treasure Detective” and “Dino Dominion.” And Baba has no plans of slowing down. He plans to continue the exponential growth of his company – and wealth – by producing 30 new games every year.
6 Robert Pera
- Age: 36
After working as a wireless engineer at Apple for a few years, Robert Pera realized he wanted to have his own success, faster. He founded his own wireless tech startup, Ubiquiti Networks, in 2005. Today, he’s also the principal owner of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA franchise and has a net worth of roughly $1.5 billion.
5 Sean Parker
- Age: 34
The oldest of the Facebook gang, Sean Parker had already gained worldwide notoriety long before serving as the social network’s first president. At the young age of 19, Parker launched the revolutionary program Napster, which has been called the fastest growing business of all time, and the invention that flipped the music industry on its head. In addition to stirring up controversy over his lavish wedding last year, Parker serves on the Board of Directors for major internet companies including Spotify and Yammer and has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion.
4 Drew Houston
- Age: 31
The founder of Dropbox met his life-changing business partners at a very young age, when they were all still undergraduates at MIT. Today, Houston has been showered with accolades, from being named one of the “most promising players aged 30 and under” to heading up one of the “20 best startups in Silicon Valley.” Drew Houston’s net worth is currently estimated at $1.2 billion – and rapidly growing.
3 Eduardo Saverin
- Age: 32
Another product of the Facebook empire, Saverin was one of the five original founders of the mammoth social network, serving as chief financial officer and business manager in the early days in Palo Alto. Today, Saverin holds a stake of less than 5% of the company he helped create and continues to invest in up-and-coming tech startups in Singapore, where he’s lived since renouncing his US citizenship in 2011.
2 Mark Zuckerberg
- Age 30
Zuckerberg is not only one of the youngest self-made billionaires in world history, he’s also one of the richest. His net worth is estimated at more than $25 billion due to his huge stake in the company, despite receiving an official annual salary of only $1 as CEO of Facebook.
1 Dustin Moskovitz
- Age: 30
The co-founder of Facebook and Asana, Moskovitz clocks in at just 8 days younger than his more famous former roommate, Mark Zuckerberg. Today, his 2.34% stake in the planet’s biggest social network helps bring his net worth to nearly $3 billion. However, despite his outrageous wealth and young age, Moskovitz puts his pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us, often riding his bike to work, only flying commercial and he even still pitches his own tent every year at Burning Man.
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