- These self-made billionaires made the 2018 Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the U.S.
- Among the billionaires are people who made their riches in social media and tech.
- The wealth of these billionaires ranges from under $2 billion to almost $60 billion.
Aside from the fact that all of the people on this list are self-made billionaires under the age of 40 who made the 2018 Forbes 400 list, there are other things they have in common. Some have made their wealth with social media, like Mark Zuckerberg, whereas others, like Drew Houston, have scored big with tech. But all of the billionaires on this list have something else in common: They all call California home — a state which lays claim to Silicon Valley.
Known as an innovation hub, Silicon Valley is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The area houses some of the biggest names in tech, boasts some of the biggest names in media, and serves as home to thousands of thriving start-ups. Silicon Valley and similar areas in California have been booming centers for new ideas and growing exponential wealth, where clusters of companies seem to be catalysts for each other’s innovations and financial growth.
But simply living in the Golden State is not what helped these self-made titans amass their incredible riches. Aspiring entrepreneurs can take a note from these self-made successes: Make sure you’re in the right environment for growing your business. Read on to see how these young billionaires built their astounding wealth.
9. Bobby Murphy: $1.8 Billion
Co-founder of the popular messaging app Snapchat, Bobby Murphy serves as the company’s chief technology officer. But Murphy isn’t just focused on reaching more users for the sake of growing the company. Instead, he wants the multimedia app to really connect.
“We’re not just chasing growth,” Murphy said in a 2017 LA Times interview. “It’s engagement that leads to growth.” Murphy currently resides in Venice, Calif., which is an anchor to Silicon Beach and home to various tech firms, such as Snap Inc. But Snap Inc. has outgrown its digs in Venice and is largely relocating to Santa Monica, according to the LA Times.
8. Evan Spiegel: $1.8 Billion
As the other co-founder of SnapChat, Evan Spiegel became one of the youngest public company CEOs at age 26.
“Life is not about making money,” Spiegel told Recode during the 2018 Code Conference. “Life is really about having an impact on the world, changing the way that people experience the world, changing the way that you experience the world,” said Spiegel. He lives near near Snap Inc.’s Venice headquarters in Los Angeles, which has been called “the Silicon Valley of social impact” by Forbes.
7. Drew Houston: $2.2 Billion
Drew Houston is the co-founder and CEO of file-sharing service Dropbox, which has over 500 million users. Houston’s advice is to make your company evolve with the world. Although Dropbox started out as a cloud file-storage service, it now focuses on helping companies achieve creativity and productivity.
“The problems we are solving today are not the problems we were solving 10 years ago,” Houston said in a 2018 MIT interview. Houston’s residence is currently in San Francisco, which is close to the Silicon Valley area and also the headquarters for Dropbox.
6. Sean Parker: $2.7 Billion
Sean Parker achieved his wealth as Facebook’s founding president, and his portfolio contains the likes of billion-dollar companies like Spotify. He believes that the biggest challenge as an aspiring entrepreneur lies within your ability to convince others to join you: “Your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is not concealing your idea from others or keeping your idea secret. It’s actually convincing people that you’re not crazy and that you can pull [it] off,” Parker said.
Parker, a venture capitalist and philanthropist, resides in Los Angeles — a hub for various venture capitalist firms.
5. Nathan Blecharczyk: $3.7 Billion
Blecharczyk is one of three co-founders of online rental marketplace Airbnb and serves as the company’s chief strategy officer. Although other sharing-economy headliners, like Uber, have ended up in tense relationships with local governments in cities that they serve, Blecharczyk stresses the importance of positive ones.
“I think we’ve always thought that it’s important to have a positive relationships with local government, rather than taking a confrontational kind of stance,” Blecharczyk said in a 2017 CNBC interview. “We’ve always been very clear that we are willing to draw compromises, that we want to be a long-term partner. So it’s a little bit of a different strategy.”
Blecharczyk calls San Francisco — which is becoming popular with tech firms as Silicon Valley experiences growing pains — a home for himself and for his company.
4. Brian Chesky: $3.7 Billion
As another co-founder of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, the company’s CEO, is worth billions. Due to Airbnb’s sparring matches with regulators all over the world, Chesky admits that tech platforms that have astronomical numbers of users need to realize that their decisions have a huge impact on the world: “This is a huge amount of responsibility, and I think we are all coming to terms with this responsibility,” Chesky said in a 2018 interview with Reuters.
Like Blecharczyk, Chesky resides in San Francisco.
3. Joe Gebbia: $3.7 Billion
Joe Gebbia is also a co-founder of Airbnb. Gebbia’s advice to other startups seeking success is: “One of the important lessons that we learnt early on was to go meet the people, to go talk to the customers, to achieve what I would call enlightened empathy which is getting into the shoes of the customers as close as you possibly can, to see the world through their eyes and to bring those insights back, combine them with your own point of view to create a new idea,” Gebbia said in a 2018 interview with CNBC.
Gebbia is also currently a resident of San Francisco, where he’s among those who share his tech genius, just like his co-founders.
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2. Dustin Moskovitz: $10.5 Billion
Moskovitz’s wealth comes mostly from his 3 percent stake in Facebook, according to Forbes. He is also co-founder of workflow software company Asana.
Moskovitz gave advice on his blog on how to approach the search for your first startup after attending a startup-focused conference in New York City: “My first piece of advice is to work for a company that’s growing quickly in terms of headcount, revenue, or product adoption (and hopefully all three) that will also invest in you as an individual. At a growing company, you’ll gain responsibility quickly and observe multiple stages of a startup without needing to switch companies,” Moskovitz said.
The billionaire resides in San Francisco, which is also home to Asana.
1. Mark Zuckerberg: $58.8 Billion
Topping the list in net worth is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In a 2018 podcast interview with Recode, Zuckerberg shared that he’s much of what he’s learned about leadership and business success has been from people he works with every day, like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“I always tell people that you should only hire people to be on your team if you would work for them,” he said.
Zuckerberg resides in Palo Alto, Calif., which is part of Silicon Valley and which was formerly the location of Facebook’s headquarters until it moved to nearby Menlo Park in 2011.
Click to keep reading about the Zuck and 20 other billionaires with big, bold ideas.
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All net worths taken from Forbes, which updates figures in real time. Net worths here subject to change after publication.