What is Niklas Zennstrom's Net Worth?
Niklas Zennstrom is a Swedish entrepreneur who has a net worth of $1.3 billion. Niklas Zennstrom earned his net worth through his investments in Skype, Kazaa, and over thirty other companies. Niklas's biggest win was Skype. He sold Skype to eBay in 2005 for $3.1 billion. In 2011 Microsoft acquired Skype from eBay for $8.5 billion. Niklas actually made another $1 billion off that sale.
Niklas Zennstrom was born on February 16, 1966, in Järfälla, Sweden. He attended Uppsala University in Sweden and spent his final year at the University of Michigan and graduated with dual degrees in Business Administration and Msc Engineering Physics/Computer Science. He embarked on his professional career in 1991 by joining Europe's first competitive phone company, Tele2.
And only one year later, Niklas Zennstrom teamed up with Janus Friis, and together, they set up Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file sharing application. Under Niklas's term as CEO, the program became the world's most downloaded Internet software in 2003.
Zennstrom and Friis then co-founded Skype in 2002 with the goal to free consumers and business associates from the need to pay for talking to each other across the globe. It didn't take much time for Skype to turn into the chief leader in Internet voice communications worldwide, attracting more than 276 million registered users within less than four years of its launch. Skype crowned its success in September of 2005 when eBay Inc. purchased the company for $3.1 billion. Zennstrom served as Skype's CEO from its initiation until September of 2007. Then, the partners changed the way people experience television when they co-founded Joost, an internet TV service and online video distribution service.
In 2009, Zennstrom re-joined the Skype board when his investment consortium bought Skype Technologies from eBay. In May of 2011, Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion. It's been reported that Zennstrom and Friis both made $1 billion each between the sale.
Zennstrom runs London-based Atomico, a firm that invests in fast growing tech companies with the potential to transform their respective industries. Atomico has invested in over 50 companies spanning four continents, including Last.fm, Supercell, Fab, Rovio, and Skype.
Awards & Accolades
Zennstrom was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2006. Also in 2006, he was voted Entrepreneur of the Year in the European Business Leaders Awards. In 2009, Zennstrom was awarded the KTH Great Prize by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology for displaying outstanding entrepreneurial and technological skills.
In 2011, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute. Zennstrom was awarded H.M. The King's Medal in 2013 for his contributions to Swedish industry and society. In October of 2013, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) awarded Niklas Zennstrom the gold medal for entrepreneurial achievements, leadership, and creative innovation.
Niklas is married to Catherine Zennstrom. The couple founded Zennstrom Philanthropies to raise funds and donate to causes like climate change and social entrepreneurship.
Apart from being an innovative businessman, Niklas Zennstrom loves to spend his time offshore racing, sailing, and skiing. Even though he is a Swedish citizen, he currently resides in London.