Young and filthy rich: how they made their billions

By Mieke Vlok
01 February 2016

Apart from wealth, these billionaires have one crucial thing in common.

Most people their age are still working their way up the career ladder but these techno geniuses have already arrived. Apart from wealth they have something else in common – they made their money online.

1. Bobby Murphy (26): R29,7 billion

He’s only 26 but is already worth R29,7 billion. Bobby is a co-founder of popular photo-sharing app Snapchat, which was launched in 2011. This American has a degree in computer science and maths from well-known Stanford University in California and is apparently a dedicated businessman. “He’s almost like a monk,” a colleague once said, referring to his self-control. His Snapchat co-founder, Evan Spiegel, is worth an estimated R34 billion.

2. Dustin Moskovitz (31): R140,3 billion

Dustin and other techno-geniuses such as Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook together. Dustin later left Facebook. In 2011 Forbes named him the youngest self-made billionaire. Despite his wealth Dustin rides to work on a bicycle and flies economy class. He’s known for his charity work and as remarked that he sees no point in having plenty of money left by the time he dies. “I see no strong reasons to try to set up a system that perpetually invests this capital after I die, so I'd like to be rid of it before then.”

3. Evan Sharp (34): R18,1 billion

While Evan was studying architecture at Columbia University in New York he came up with an idea for a website where visitors could store and share ideas, recipes and photos. Pinterest was launched by him and two co-founders in 2010 and quickly became a success. Evan has said in interviews he believes in hiring nice people. “There’s definitely a stereotype of a successful startup that it’s often this aggressive, type A place, but that’s not necessarily true.”

4. Mark Zuckerberg (31): R680,3 billion

Mark Zuckerberg PHOTO:

Facebook’s most famous face needs no introduction. The CEO of the popular social network was only 19 when he and a number of co-founders started Facebook. He gave up his studies at Harvard University to run the business. He and his wife, Dr Priscilla Chan, have given an estimated R26,4 billion to various charities.

5. Garret Camp (37): R99 billion

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

His clever plan to enable people to order a taxi by means of an app on their phones was so popular that during 2013 and 2014 the number of new drivers signing up doubled every six months. Uber is today found in more than 300 countries.

6. Brian Chesky (34): R54,5 billion

When Bryan couldn’t pay the rent one month in 2007 he and his flat mates decided to rent out their flat online to raise the money. Air BnB was born and is today a popular online portal whereby renters or home owners can rent their homes to visitors. He’s such a loyal supporter of his product that he hasn’t had a permanent home since 2010. He rents a place to sleep through Air BnB and has even slept on people’s couches.

7. Drew Houston (32): R21,5 billion

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve ever had to send a pile of photos or documents to someone online Drew’s creation has probably helped you do so. Dropbox is an online portal you can use to upload and share a lot of data. He was only 24 when he started his multi-billion-dollar business.

8. Sean Parker (36): R41,2 billion

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

At the age of 19 he started Napster, a website whereby users could share music free. The business grew at the speed of lightning but later ran into trouble with authorities because of copyright issues. But the business had earned Sean a sizeable fortune. When he was 24 he was appointed Facebook’s manager, but he later resigned. He’s now on the board of music website Spotify.


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