Before Amazon, many people’s favorite online marketplace was eBay. That’s all thanks to Pierre Omidyar, a French-Iranian whose background in computer science and coding allowed him to build the site. Founding the auction platform in 1995, Omidyar continues to serve on its board, albeit from his island home of Hawaii.
One of the best decisions eBay made was purchasing PayPal, before selling on in 2014. Omidyar still owns stakes in both eBay and PayPal, as well as a number of resorts in California and Mexico.
More Convenient Than Mom’s Kitchen ($21.2B)
Pretty cool to make it on the 40-under-40 list. Wang Xing was there for good reason — through his group, Meituan. The company went public on the HKSE in 2018 and then merged with Dianping.com. Meituan, which has a Groupon-inspired website, turned Xing into a self-made billionaire.
But it wasn’t his first choice: initially, Xing wanted to start a social media platform, like Twitter or Facebook, but he failed. Nowadays, Meituan has a running saying among millennials in China: “Meituan is even more convenient than Mom’s kitchen!”
MicroProcessin’ Since 1976 ($23.8B)
One of India’s richest men, Shiv Nadar started out in his garage. It was 1976, and microprocessors were his thing. Since then, Nadar built HCL Technologies, a company that welcomes over $9.9 billion in revenue, providing software services to its global markets. Nadar, who didn’t speak English until he was 22, now employs over 150,000 people in almost 50 countries.
HCL Technologies has a great program where it hires young grads from high school and provides on-the-job training. Sounds like a great system. We also love that he’s donated over $660 million to philanthropic causes.
From Alphabet to Saving the Planet ($22.2B)
After almost 20 years in the corporate offices of Alphabet, Eric Schmidt decided to hang up his boots and try something new. Among his list of achievements is being CEO of Google and CTO at Sun Microsystems.
A lot of billionaires decide to fund their own projects, but Schmidt and his family feel that environmental sustainability is more important for our immediate future, and invest heavily in projects to facilitate renewable energy.
The No-Strings-Attached Billionaire ($17.7B)
Ever heard of Ubiquiti? The wireless equipment maker works in the business of manufacturing and selling broadband to emerging markets. Robert Pera has such a huge fortune because he owns almost 75% of the firm. A former employee of Apple, he didn’t last too long: ten months in, Pera founded Ubiquiti.
What is he doing with his wealth? Well, he bought the Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) in 2012, making himself the youngest owner in the National Basketball League.