Youngest Self Made Billionaires of 2014

By on September 22, 2014 in ArticlesEntertainment

There are about seven billion people on the planet. Roughly 1,645 of those people are billionaires. Not one of them yet? Don't worry there's still plenty time! Of the 1,645 billionaires, just a bit over 1,000 are self-made. That means they didn't inherit their wealth, they earned their fortunes themselves. And of that club of self-made billionaires, only 13 of them are under 40 years old. Not surprisingly, most young billionaires come from the tech world. Two of the most recognizable names – Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are not eligible, as both turn 40 in 2014.

A key to making this list is to have gone to Harvard at the same time as Mark Zuckerberg and have gotten involved in the early stages of Facebook – four of the 13 young billionaires owe their fortunes to Facebook. Many others come from small startups that got lucky, struck a chord with the public, and made their founders billionaires. But make no mistake, these self-made billionaires got lucky, but they also worked incredibly hard to build their companies and continue to do so even after striking it rich.  Listed from oldest to youngest, these are the youngest self-made billionaires of 2014:

Ryan Kavanaugh

Ryan Kavanaugh / Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Ryan Kavanaugh – Net Worth: $1 billion

Relativity Media

Age: 39

Ryan Kavanaugh is the founder and CEO of Relativity Media and is known as the "Billion Dollar Producer."  Kavanaugh used Wall Street connections to finance film projects at Universal and Sony before starting his own studio. The 39-year old has financed more than 200 films that have earned a combined total of more than $17 billion.  He employs the "Moneyball" model to film finance by producing a handful of independent films that are pretty cheap to make but rake in the box office receipts. Some of his recent films that use this financing theory are "The Fighter", "Limitless", "Mirror, Mirror", and "Safe Haven." Nowadays, Kavanaugh is buddies with Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio and has a net worth of $1 billion.

Jan Koum – Net Worth: $6.8 billion

WhatsApp

Age: 38

Jan Koum immigrated to the United States from Kiev, Ukraine with his mother and grandmother when he was 16 years old.  They settled in a small, two bedroom apartment in Mountain View, California, able to do so only because of the assistance of a social support program. Koum worked at a grocery store as a teenager and his mother babysat for a living so that the family could make ends meet.  When he wasn't at work, Koum immersed himself in learning computer networking. At 18, he enrolled at nearby San Jose State University to study programming. He landed a job at Yahoo in 1997 as an infrastructure engineer. In 2009, Koum launched the messaging app WhatsApp, which recently sold to Facebook for $19 billion.  When Koum was signing the papers for the multi-billion dollar acquisition of his company, he chose to do it on the steps of the welfare office where he and his mother used to go to obtain their food stamps. WhatsApp is the largest mobile messaging service on the planet and has more users than Snapchat and Skype combined.  Koum's net worth is $6.8 billion.

Nicholas Woodman – Net Worth: $2.25 billion

GoPro

Age: 37

This surfer turned entrepreneur released his first video camera, a 35-mm waterproof film camera designed to be used in action sports like surfing in 2004. That camera was an early forbearer of what would become the very successful GoPro camera line.  Nicholas Woodman built his first prototypes in his bedroom with his mom's sewing machine and a drill. His family invested in his dream and he also raised funds by selling belts out of the back of his VW bus. Today, GoPro is the go-to camera for action sports and Woodman has a net worth of $4.5 billion.

Nicholas Woodman - Billionaire Surfer

Nicholas Woodman – Billionaire Surfer / Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Jack Dorsey – Net Worth: $2.1 billion

Twitter

Age: 37

Jack Dorsey has founded not one, but two billion dollar tech companies: Twitter in 2006, and the mobile payments company Square in 2010. In 2008, he was named one of the top 35 innovators under 35 in the world by the MIT Technology Review. In 2012 The Wall Street Journal gave him the "Innovator of the Year Award" for technology. With a net worth of $2.1 billion Dorsey invests in up-and-coming startups and sits on the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company. Oh, and he is also a certified masseur.

Maxim Nogotkov – Net Worth – $1.3 billion

Svyaznoy

Age: 37

This Russian self-made billionaire owns Russia's second largest cell phone company Svyaznoy. Maxim Nogotkov began his entrepreneurial journey as a 12-year old when he convinced one of his friends to lend him some money to start a business. Together they started their first business selling software and installing caller ID devices. This allowed Nogotkov to make enough money to start his own business of selling cordless phones. By the time he graduated from high school, he had already established himself as a successful entrepreneur. Nogotkov dropped out of college in 1995 to found Svyaznoy. In 2010, Nogotkov he also founded Svyaznoy Bank and is now one his way to becoming #1 credit card company in Russia. He has a net worth of $1.3 billion.

Yoshikazu Tanaka – Net Worth – $1.9 billion

GREE

Age: 37

Yoshikazu Tanaka is the Japanese Mark Zuckerberg, basically. He founded his social network GREE in 2004 and soon became the youngest self-made billionaire in Asia. In fact, in 2010 he was the world's second youngest self-made billionaire, with only Mark Zuckerberg being richer and younger than he was. He is also one of the 40 richest people in Japan and continues to grow his empire through mobile games and other Internet services. Yoshikazu Tanaka has a net worth of $1.9 billion.

Naruatsu Baba – Net Worth – $2.2 billion

Colopl, Inc

Age: 36

Naruatsu Baba's Tokyo based company Colopl, Inc owns five of the top grossing apps for the Android phone in the world. Baba's company is responsible for such Droid offerings as "Catastrophic Zombies", "Treasure Detective", and "Dino Dominion".  With a net worth of $2.2 billion, Baba is moving ahead with plans to release 30 new games every year.

Robert Pera  – Net Worth – $1.5 billion

Ubiquiti Networks

Age: 36

Robert Pera worked at Apple as a wireless engineer for several years before going out on his own to star Ubiquiti Networks, wireless tech startup.  Founded in 2005, Ubiquiti Networks' goal is to bring affordable internet access to the emerging markets of the world.  He became a billionaire six years later at the age of 34 when Ubiquiti Networks went public. Today he is the owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and has a net worth of $1.5 billion.

Sean Parker  – Net Worth – $2.1 billion

Facebook

Age: 34

If it seems like Sean Parker has been around forever and it is impossible that he is just 34 years old, let me remind you that he was 19 when he founded Napster and changed the music industry's revenue stream forever. Napster has been called the fastest growing company of all time. Parker is the oldest of the four Facebook billionaires and he was famous for Napster long before he became the social network's first President.  These days, Parker serves on the Board of Directors for a number of major internet companies including Spotify and Yammer. He has a net worth of $2.1 billion.

Eduardo Saverin – Net Worth – $3.3 billion

Facebook

Age: 32

Eduardo Saverin is another one of the Facebook billionaires. He was one of the five original founders of the social network and was the company's Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager in the early days in Palo Alto. Today Saverin's stake in the company he helped found is less than 5%, but that is good for a net worth of $3.3 billion. Since 2009, Saverin has lived in Singapore.  In September 2011, he renounced his U.S. citizenship, in what was thought to have been an attempt to reduce the capital gains taxes Saverin would have paid after the Facebook IPO. Today he invests in up-and-coming tech startups.

girls

Drew Houston – Net Worth – $1.2 billion

Dropbox

Age: 31

The founder of online backup and storage service Dropbox met his business partner Arash Ferdowski as undergraduates at MIT.  He came up with the idea for Dropbox after he forgot to bring a USB drive with him on a road trip. Dropbox is the sixth startup he's worked for. Houston has been named one of the "most promising players under 30" and his Dropbox has also been named one of the "20 best startups in Silicon Valley." Houston has a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg – Net Worth – $33.3 billion

Facebook

Age: 30

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, net worth $33.3 billion, is not just one of the youngest self-made billionaires in the entire history of the world, he's also one of the richest of any age. His net worth is completely from Facebook, where he earns a salary of $1 per year as CEO.

Dustin Moskovitz – Net Worth – $3 billion

Facebook

Age: 30

Dustin Moskovitz won the roommate lottery when Harvard assigned him to be Mark Zuckerberg's roommate. Together, the two helped create Facebook and Moskowitz's 2.34% state in the world's largest social network gives him a net worth of $3 billion. Just eight days younger than Zuckerberg, Moskovitz hasn't let his incredible wealth go to his head. He often rides his bike to work, only flies commercial, and heads to Burning Man every year where he pitches his own tent.

Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown – Net Worth $1 billion each

Snapchat

Age: 24

Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy are the 24 year old founders of photo sharing app, Snapchat. A third founder named Reggie Brown was mysteriously ousted from the company in the very early stages. Brown actually came up with the idea and did all the original development for the company before having a falling out with his co-founders. In 2014, Brown received an undisclosed (presumably very large) settlement from his former frat brothers. Outside of this minor bump in the road, Snapchat is easily one of the most successful new social networks in the world. Spiegel and Murphy turned down a $3 billion cash buyout in 2013 from Facebook. In 2014, they accepted an investment that valued that company at $10 billion. The two founders each are believed to own 10% of the company, making them both instant paper-billionaires.

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
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