A record 66 members of the 2016 Forbes Billionaires List are under the age of 40
The world’s youngest billionaire is a Norwegian teenager, Alexandra Andresen, who spends most of her time riding horses.It’s never been so easy to get rich so young. A record 66 members of the 2016 FORBES Billionaires List are under the age of 40, more than triple the number four years ago and a seven-fold increase since 2010.
Alexandra, 19, and her sister Katharina, 20, a college student, both inherited big stakes in their family’s investment company.
They are among 30 billionaires under 40 who were given the silver spoon at a very young age.
More notable is the fact that the majority of these youthful billionaires have created their own fortunes through innovation and imagination with a hefty dose of some good luck.
Of the 36 who made their own way, more than three-quarters got rich in the tech sector, including 25 billionaires whose fortunes come from unicorn startups valued at more than $1 billion.
Many of these companies, like Snapchat, Uber, Pinterest and Airbnb, didn’t even exist 10 years ago.
The youngest of these self-made tech mavens is 25-year-old Snapchat cofounder Evan Spiegel, who first appeared on the Billionaires List last year with a net worth of $1.5 billion.In May, Snapchat raised $538 million in funding, valuing the ephemeral messaging company at $16 billion and increasing Spiegel’s net worth to $2.1 billion.
Spiegel seems to be settling into his new high profile life, escorting his model girlfriend Miranda Kerr all around town.
His cofounder and Stanford friend, 27-year-old Bobby Murphy is the next youngest self-made billionaire with a net worth of $1.8 billion.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was the world’s youngest billionaire when he debuted on the list in March 2008 at the age of 23 with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Today, the 31-year-old is not the youngest but he’s definitely the richest by far of the under 40 crowd.
The year’s biggest gainer, the new dad is also the sixth richest person on the planet with a net worth of $44.6 billion (£31bn).
In December, Zuckerberg pledged to donate nearly all of his wealth to charity during his lifetime through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
The wealth gap between Zuckerberg and all the rest is a staggering $34.2 billion. That’s the gap between him and Lukas Walton, the second richest under 40.
Walton, who inherited his $10.4 billion fortune after his father, John Walton, died in a plane crash in 2005, joins the wealth rankings for the first time this year after previously sealed court documents revealed that he received a third of his father’s Walmart fortune.
Only 20% of the billionaires under 40 are female.
Twelve of these 14 female billionaires inherited their fortunes in Europe, and just one of them built her own fortune.
Elizabeth Holmes, now 32, founded her blood-testing company Theranos at the age of 19. The company has come under fire in the past year for shipping an unapproved blood-collecting device and having unsafe lab practices.
As a result, Walgreens stopped sending blood tests to Theranos’ Newark, California lab and closed its Theranos lab services in Palo Alto.
While the startup is still valued $9 billion based on its last round of funding, these troubles led FORBES to lower our valuation of Theranos, dropping Holmes’ net worth $900 million to $3.6 billion, for now.