Net Worth: $72.7 billion
Starting off our list is none other than Bill Gates, the embodiment of the words “rich” and “nerd”. Born in 1955, Gates showed an interest in computers at an early age. After attending Harvard University for two years, he dropped out to work for Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) and later create Microsoft along with friend Paul Allen for the IBM personal computer. Though he has a net worth of $72.7 billion, he has already noted that most of his wealth will be donated. Along with his wife, he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 1997 to help under privileged children gain technology experience.
Net Worth: $41 billion
Larry Ellison grew up in Chicago with his aunt and uncle as his caregivers. While attending the University of Chicago for one term, he first encountered computer design. At age 22, he moved to California and worked for Ampex Corporation. Along with two partners, Ellison founded Software Development Laboratories, which was later renamed Oracle. It is reported that Ellison is one of many billionaires to have signed The Giving Pledge, committing most of his wealth to philanthropic causes.
Net Worth: $14 billion
Mark Zuckerberg picked up writing software at an early age, described by his tutor as a “prodigy”. Along with his friends at Harvard University, Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004. At first, the social network site was only meant for Harvard students but the group decided to reach out to other college campuses: Stanford, Yale, Columbia, NYU, etc. and as the saying goes, the rest was history. After his sophomore year, Zuckerberg left Harvard and moved to California to pursue the development of Facebook. In 2013, his estimated net worth was $14 billion.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Page’s Net Worth: $23.4 billion
Brin’s Net Worth: $23 billion
Larry Page grew up in Michigan in a computer-enthused household. Both of his parents were computer science professors at Michigan State University. His interest in computers started when he was only six years old, no doubt fueled by his surrounding environment.
Sergey Brin was born in Moscow and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was six years old. Brin also grew up in a scientifically-motivated home, and his family left the Soviet Union in search of more opportunities.
Page and Brin met when they were both PhD students at Stanford University. Originally working on a dissertation, Page and Brin joined forces to co-found Google in 1998. They scrounged up enough money to rent out a garage in Menlo Park to get their business started; together, they own about sixteen percent of the company.
Net Worth: $16 billion
A Texas native, Michael Dell first started a business during his first year at the University of Texas at Austin selling upgrade kits for personal computers. Noticing that selling personal computers directly from the manufacturer as opposed to the typical retailer channel would have its advantages, Dell started his company “PC’s Limited” in 1984. Later that year, the company was renamed Dell Computer Corporation and moved to a business building in North Austin.
Net Worth: $20 million
Ben Stein is a man of many hats: actor, lawyer, political writer, just to name a few. After attending Columbia University, Stein worked as an economist for the Department of Commerce before enrolling at Yale Law School. He worked as a lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission after graduation and wrote articles defending Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Through these articles, he was recruited to work for the Nixon administration. He became a successful speechwriter for Nixon and then Gerald Ford before moving to California where he contributed to multiple screenplays and books, became a film and television critic, and began acting, his most notable role being the monotone, unexcitable teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Net Worth: $1 billion
Jack Dorsey grew up in St. Louis, Missouri interested in creating dispatch software for taxi companies. Inspired by instant messaging and texting, he came up with idea of real-time updates between friends while attending New York University. Enter Twitter.
Net Worth: $400 million
Originally from New Jersey, Craig Newmark received his undergraduate and Master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University. After working for IBM for nearly two decades, Newmark moved to San Francisco where he created Craigslist, which started off as a list serve to send emails in bulk. It became web-based in 1996 and began expanding to other cities within the country. What began as just a hobby for Newmark soon escalated, and he devoted himself to the company full-time in 1999.
Net Worth: $25 billion
Like many of our innovative nerds, Jeff Bezos showed a keen interest in science at an early age. After attending Princeton University and graduating summa cum laude in computer science and electrical engineering, Bezos worked at different companies including Fitel, Bankers Trust, and D. E. Shaw & Co. During a cross-country trip, Bezos drew up the business plan for Amazon.com. Inspired by the fast-growing internet,Bezos set up shop in 1994 in his garage in Washington. Amazon went public in 1997 and has since outpaced other e-commerce competitors.
By: Emily Joyce of Fueled, mobile app developers in NYCSuscribe to the podcast