A year might not seem like a long time, but a lot can go wrong over 12 months. From the summer of 2020 to the summer of 2021, the tech industry looked like it couldn't be stopped. New startups were getting millions of dollars from venture capitalists. The stock market was soaring, with tech companies leading the way. Businesses were growing and innovation was flowing.
Fast forward to now and the stock market has cratered, with a possible recession looming on the horizon. Meanwhile, inflation has gone up, which means people who were investing in these tech companies are now rethinking their priorities. Even the companies themselves are shifting strategies, from new focus areas to significant layoffs in an effort to cut costs.
As a result, the 400 richest people in the world lost about $500 billion from September 2021 to September 2022. And tech titans have been hit the hardest, losing a collective $315 billion during that same timeframe.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos suffered the most damaging loss, losing $50 billion or about 25% of his net worth. He also lost the title of the wealthiest person in America, now sitting at #2 behind Elon Musk.
Another Internet mainstay, Google, has also been struggling. At the end of 2019, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two co-founders of the company, stopped operating both Google and its parent company Alphabet. Despite a brief uptick, shares have plummeted, and Page and Brin have lost $40 billion and $38 billion, respectively.
Two other billionaires lost quite a bit of money over the past year, though that was more of their own volition. While Microsoft's stock dropping hurt Bill Gates, he also donated $20 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In total, his net worth has declined by $28 billion. Meanwhile, Bezos's ex-wife MacKenzie Scott's net worth declined by $20.8 billion in part due to her Amazon shares dropping, but also because she's donated to charities all across the country.
But out of all the tech billionaire losers in 2022, none can hold a candle to Mark Zuckerberg. In the 12 month period between November 1, 2021 and November 2022, Mark Zuckerberg's net worth has been cut by $100 billion. A year ago he was worth $140 billion and was the third richest person in the world. As of this writing, Zuckerberg's $36 billion net worth isn't enough to place him in the top 30. Obviously Mark's fortunes have fallen as a result of Facebook's plummeting stock price. Since January 1, 2022, Facebook's stock price has dropped a mind-numbing 70%.
Other tech mainstays who had a rough year:
- Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle and owner of the island Lanai, lost $16.3 billion.
- eBay founder Pierre Omidyar lost $15.4 billion after shares of PayPal dropped (PayPal acquired eBay in 2015).
- Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO and Los Angeles Clippers owner (and consistent presence at Clippers games) lost $13.5 billion.
- Zoom was the tech darling at the start of the pandemic, but it's fallen back to earth over the past year — and founder Eric Yuan has lost $10.6 billion, or 73% of his wealth.
- Jack Dorsey co-founded Twitter and is a major investor in Block, the parent company of Square. Both of those stocks are in freefall, and Dorsey has lost $10.4 billion, or just under 70% of his net worth.
Of course, these tech giants are all still tremendously wealthy and worth billions of dollars. Still, it can't be a good feeling to watch a large chunk of your wealth disappear — with possibly no end in sight.