Warren Buffett, arguably one of the history’s smartest investors, earned his first billion during his 50s. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson became a billionaire at age 41. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, meanwhile, achieved the same feat at age 49. While these achievements seem extremely remarkable, millennial tech geniuses may have something more impressive to boast of. Facebook, Snapchat, and Airbnb are currently among the most popular business brands worldwide—and they were all founded by young entrepreneurs who were not yet even been born when ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ hit the cinemas.
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Evan Spiegel, 26
Co-founder and CEO of Snapchat Evan Spiegel became a billionaire in 2015 at age 25, making him one of today’s youngest self-made moneybags (along with co-founder Bobby Murphy, 28). His current net worth is at US$4 billion. His app, meanwhile, has been downloaded more than 100 million times already and is valued at around US$20 billion. Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos to friends, and then the images vanish after a few seconds.
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Mark Zuckerberg, 32
A college dropout with no background in business—and was even accused of creating an ‘improper’ website—Mark Zuckerberg is currently the sixth richest man alive and the only millennial to rank within the top 98 on Forbes’ The World’s Billionaires list. His current net worth is estimated at round US$50 billion; that is even bigger than the GDPs of many countries. Mark is the genius behind Facebook, the most dominant social media website in the world right now. Launched in 2004, the site now has more than 1.8 billion monthly active users. It has been used in a number of initiatives that go beyond simple online messaging and status updates sharing. Also a zealous philanthropist, Mark has pledged to give the majority of his wealth over the course of his life to “advancing human potential and promoting equality.”
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Nathan Blecharczyk, 33
Another self-made billionaire, Nathan Blecharczyk is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Airbnb, an international peer-to-peer accommodation marketplace that allows people to list or rent short-term lodging in residential properties. Established in 2008, the platform is available in nearly 200 countries and has been used by more than 80 million customers. Through his company, Nathan has helped many nonprofit organizations launch initiatives to fight homelessness.
Apparently, many of today’s young billionaires capitalized on digital technology to build their wealth. With many day-to-day activities increasingly anchored on cloud computing, mobile applications, and artificial intelligence, young tech geniuses will continue revolutionizing many aspects of our lives and make new cultures out of them.