America is an innovative nation. Successful entrepreneurs drive the country, sharing a massive amount of wealth between a select few. From age-old companies like Ford Motor Company and Standard Oil to newer companies like Google and Facebook, American entrepreneurs have shaped the economy. Entrepreneurs’ business strategies are fruitful for the nation and the world. Many business tycoons are global personalities and their net worths have greatly increased through their work.
Some began their success journey from small home businesses. From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, these people have fueled their businesses to unimagined heights. Their current success and as a result, their net worths, serve as an inspiration to future leaders learning their own business strategies and how to serve the world. Check out the net worths of American’s top 20 business tycoons via Forbes in our list below.
20. John Mars – $28.9 billion
John Mars, an American businessman, has a net worth of $28.9 billion. He’s from Virginia and was born in October 1935. Mars graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville in 1953 and Yale University.
He is a member of the Mars family, and his share of the company are in the billions making him among the wealthiest people in the world. Furthermore, the company is the best-selling candy in America. Despite his popular name, John has generally been seen outside the spotlight, living in a private place. John and his siblings inherited stakes on Mars Inc. when his father died in 1999.
19. Sheldon Adelson – $33.5 billion
Sheldon Adelson, an American entrepreneur, has a net worth of $33.5 billion. He is a serial entrepreneur and a Jewish advocate. Adelson’s net worth is impressive, to say the least. Adelson is CEO of Las Vegas Sands, a casino company that owns other hotels and China casinos. He owns more than half of the gambling empire.
Adelson originated from humble roots. Nevertheless, the hard work and pensive decisions placed this man among the wealthiest people in the casino industry. He started entrepreneurship as early as 12 years old. He borrowed $200 from his uncle for purchasing a license for selling newspapers in Boston. Adelson focused on making money since his childhood. When he was 16, he borrowed $10,000 from his uncle to start a candy vending machine business. Over his lifetime, he created 50 of his own businesses, giving him a serial entrepreneur reputation.
18. Jacqueline Mars – $42 billion
Jacqueline Mars has a net worth of $42 billion. She is Forrest Edward Mars’s daughter and the granddaughter of Frank C. Mars, the founders of Mars, a famous American candy company. Jacqueline’s share in the Mars family made her one of the wealthiest people across the globe. Over time, she earned an anthropology degree from Bryn Mawr College and held American citizenship.
Her net worth mainly comes from the Mars family that gave her a distinctive name and established the Mars, Incorporated candy company. The company produces many of the popular candy brands in America, including M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers, and Starburst. However, she does not hold any official position in the company.
17. Charles Koch – $44.9 billion
Charles Koch is an American businessman with a net worth of $44.9 billion. At the age of thirty-two, Charles became CEO of famous Koch Engineering after his father’s death. In his adult life, Charles Koch was the co-owner of Koch industries with his sibling David. Koch Industries is among the largest privately-held companies in the United States by revenue. Koch has a 42 percent stake and invested in many companies such as Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Flint Hills, Koch Fertilizer, Molex, Koch Pipelines, and more.
Kocj also holds a stake in the family’s private equity fund known as Koch Equity Development and has $2 billion in cash investments. He is the writer of three books related to business philosophy: The Science of Success, Good Profit, and Market Based Management. Koch was born in 1935 in Kansas, and his parents were the co-founder of Koch industries. He attended the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering and Chemical Engineering.
16. Julia Koch (And Family) – $44.9 billion
Julia Koch & her three children joined the billionaires after inheriting a 42% stake in Koch Industries. Her husband David died at the age of 79 in August 2019. She moved to New York City in the 1980s and worked as an assistant to Adolfo, a fashion designer. She has a net worth of $ 44.9 billion. Julia worked with many high-profile clients such as First Lady Nancy Reagan.
She married David Koch in 1996. Both of them donated $10 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center and $10 million to Standford’s Children’s Hospital. Julia’s source of wealth is the Koch industries. Revenue for Koch Pipelines, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Fertilizer, and its chemical business is enormous. It’s an example of generational wealth and how it can change your family’s lives forever.
15. Phil Knight (And Family) – $48.9 billion
Philip Hampson Knight is an American business tycoon and philanthropist from Oregon. Knight has a net worth of $48.9 billion. He is the current Chairman and co-founder of Emeritus of Nike Inc. He also owns ‘Laika,’ a production company for stop-motion film, and is one of the wealthiest American entrepreneurs.
Knight was born in February 1938 in Portland, Oregon. His father was a lawyer turned newspaper publisher. Knight used to work the night shift dedicatedly tabulating sports scores and ran full seven miles to home every morning. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse. After that, he became an accounting professor at Portland State University.
After graduating from the University of Oregon, Knight enlisted in the Army where he served for one year. Again he enrolled at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Knight sent two pairs of shoes to shoe company Bowerman. Later the company name transformed into Nike. In 1969, the sales allowed Knight to leave the accountant job and work for Blue Ribbon Sports. Nike’s “swoosh” logo is considered to be one of the most powerful logos.
14. Michael Bloomberg – $58.4 billion
Bloomberg is a co-founder of the media and financial information company Bloomberg LP in 1981. As of today, he owns 88% of the business with revenues of $10 billion. Bloomberg has donated much to gun control and other causes like climate change. He spent millions in 2020 to try to defeat US President Donald Trump. He was the mayor of New York City and served for 12 years. Bloomberg was born in 1942 in Boston as the son of a bookkeeper. After attending Johns Hopkins University, he went to Harvard University to earn a Master of Business Administration degree in 1966. At his initial job with Salomon Brothers, he climbed the ladder of success, becoming a partner in 1972.
Bloomberg is among the richest men in the world with a net worth of $58.4 billion. He has built an empire in New York. At the age of 78, this American tycoon, author, philanthropist, and politician served as Chairman of the board of trustees at Johns Hopkins University from 1996 to 2002.
13. Alice Walton – $62.3 billion
It’s nice to see another woman on this list of the richest American tycoons. Alice Walton, the only daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, has a net worth of $62.3 billion. She focused on the art world and was awarded the Getty Medal for her contributions to art. Walton established the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2011, home to Walmart’s corporate headquarters.
In 1949 in Newport, Arkansas, Walton was born and was bought up along with three brothers, and in 1966, she graduated from Bentonville. She was a money manager and equity analyst in her career and was a broker for EF Hutton. Walton founded Llama Company in 1988, where she was chairwoman, president, and CEO. Walton was the first woman to chair the Northwest Arkansas Council and played an essential role in developing the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The airport authority recognized Walton’s contributions to the airport.
12. Rob Walton – $63.9 billion
Rob Walton, an heir to Walmart, the largest retailer globally, is the eldest son of Helen and Sam Walton. This heir to the retail throne served as Chairman from 1992 to 2015. Samuel Robson Walton has a net worth of $63.9 billion, earning him a place among the world’s wealthiest people. We still have one more Walton to go on this list. The oldest still isn’t the richest.
Walton was born in October 1944 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and attended the College of Wooster. He graduated in 1966 from the University of Arkansas and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1969 from Columbia Law School. The Walmart heir left Tulsa in 1978 to join the department store as a senior vice president and was appointed vice president in 1982. Rob was named as Chairman of the board of directors in 1992. He was married twice and had five children. Despite being the most prosperous American family, they live a low-profile lifestyle.
11. Jim Walton – $64.2 billion
Of course, you have heard of Walmart. Jim Carr Walton is an heir to Walmart, the largest retailer in the world. He is the youngest son of Sam Walton and belongs to the wealthiest families in the world. So how much is he worth? Walton has a net worth of $64.2 billion as of 2020. This rich man was born in June 1948 in Arkansas. However, he is the third child of the Walmart heir.
Walton graduated in Business Administration in Marketing from the prestigious University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Walton family started the store called Walmart and are the retail largest shareholders. The family holds more than 50% of the company’s stock, and Walmart is the largest retail company with several stores worldwide. It has $514 billion in sales and the world’s largest retailer in terms of revenue. There are more than 11,000 stores around the globe.
10. Larry Page – $64.6 billion
Page was born in Michigan in 1973. His net worth is $64.6 billion. His parents were computer experts, and following their legacy, he also studied computer engineering at Stanford University. He met Sergey Brin at the University, and they developed a search engine that displays results according to the popularity of pages. Google has become the most popular search engine across the globe since its launch in 1998.
He and Brin then took charge of Google’s new parent company, Alphabet, until 2019. In 2006, Google purchased the world’s most popular website YouTube for user-submitted streaming videos for $1.65 billion in stock. In 2013, Page was ranked thirteen on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people in America. He was ranked No. 17 on the Most Powerful People list on Forbes 2013.
9. Sergey Brin – $66 billion
Brin is a computer scientist and entrepreneur that founded the famous search engine Google. Presently, over one billion users of this search engine were founded in 1998 by Brin and Larry Page. Brin has a net worth of $66 billion. Google was created to make people’s lives more comfortable. They offer varieties of products and services to accomplish that goal. Brin was born in 1973 in Russia to Jewish parents. His father was a mathematics professor, and the mother was a NASA researcher. His family was migrated to America when he was only six years old to search for a better future.
After creating Google, the company released numerous newer and upgraded services that can be used in offices, classrooms, and homes each day. In 2005, Google Maps, blogger Mobile, Google Reader was brought and acquired YouTube. Google collaborated with China Mobile and Salesforce.com in 2007 and signed to develop Google’s educational apps for Rwanda and Kenya. In 2008, the latest version of Google Earth was launched.
8. Mackenzie Bezos – $67.8 billion
Mackenzie Scott is the former wife of Jeff Bezos, who is Amazon’s founder. She has a net worth of $67.4 billion. Since the beginning of the pandemic this year, the rise in Amazon’s stock from $2,000 to $3,500 per share propelled Bezos to take her place on the billionaires list. After her divorce, she became the fourth richest woman globally.
In 2019, her fortune was at $36 Billion as per Amazon’s share price. After the separation from Bezos, she retained 25% of Amazon’s stock and a 4% stake in the company. Since her divorce, she emerged as a philanthropist and revealed several charitable commitments with a total of $1.7 billion given over the year. The donations also include historic gifts to Black colleges and Universities. She pledged to provide a significant portion of money throughout her life, and she independently made this decision, whereas her former husband Bezos has not made the promise.
7. Steve Ballmer – $74.7 billion
You probably know Microsoft and Bill Gates. However, do you know the face behind the stock? Ballmer is an eminent American businessman with a net worth of $74.7 billion. Balmer is popular for his association with Microsoft and for owning the Los Angeles Clippers. His high net worth puts him among the wealthiest individuals in the world. His shares in Microsoft are the primary source of his wealth.
The majority of his net worth is derived from 333.3 million shares of Microsoft stock. He has sold $3.4 billion worth of stock over the years and collected $4.5 billion from dividends. Ballmer is a multibillionaire but lives a simple life. His father served as manager for the Ford Motor Company, and to honor his father, he reportedly drives a Ford. Ballmer was born in 1956 in Detroit, Michigan. He was raised in an affluent community and attended the International School of Brussels.
6. Larry Ellison – $75 billion
Ellison is an America-based entrepreneur with a net worth of $75 billion. He earned a massive fortune from software giant Oracle. Until 2014, Ellison served as CEO of the company. For a time in the 1990s, he was the wealthiest person on the planet. Ellison owns 22% of Oracle today. He has earned $9 billion since 2003 from Oracle stock sales and dividends. Ellison’s real estate properties include homes in Japan, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Malibu, Rhode Island, and San Francisco. Between 2004 and 2005, he spent $180 million to overtake 12 properties in Malibu, California. He also paid $10.5 million to overtake the Astor family mansion in Rhode Island.
Ellison’s primary residence is a 45-acre estate in Woodside, California, worth $200 million. The mansion features a two-bedroom guest house, a gym, three cottages, and a three-acre lake featuring two waterfalls. The chief technology officer and Chairman of Oracle has enlisted engineers from Oracle this year to build a coronavirus data website for the Trump administration.
5. Warren Buffet – $78.9 billion
Buffet is an American business tycoon and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is an investor and philanthropist and is considered one of the best investors with a $78.9 billion net worth. Since a very young age, he had keen business skills. As a result, in 1956, he laid the Buffet partnership Ltd. foundation and took total control in 1965. Buffet is a business-minded person, and at the age of six, he bought his first stock for about $38. He created Buffett Associates Ltd. in 1956 and made his first million-dollar investment in a company of windmill manufacturing in Dempster. Berkshire Hathaway bought GATX and Arcata in 1981 and 10% of Wells Fargo by 1990. Furthermore, Berkshire also invested in many companies that generated high revenues.
In June 2006, Buffet had announced that he would be giving the entire fortune to charity. In turn, he committed 85% of it to the foundation of Bill Gates. This donation became the most massive act of charitable giving in United States history. He is popularly known as Oracle of Omaha and owns more than sixty companies including Duracell and the Dairy Queen restaurant chain. Gates and Buffet launched the Giving Pledge in 2010, requesting billionaires to donate half of their money to a charitable trust.
4. Elon Musk – $82.3 billion
Musk, an American entrepreneur, has a net worth of $82.3 billion. He is the chief executive officer of reputed automaker Tesla, a maker of electric vehicles, and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, a rocket manufacturer. He was born in June 1971 in South Africa. Musk also co-founded a famous electronic firm PayPal. Furthermore, he was the first significant investor and CEO of Tesla. He was born to a Canadian mother and a South African father. Early on, he displayed talent in computers and entrepreneurship at a young age. Not surprisingly, he created a video game at the age of 12 and sold it to a computer magazine. In 1988, he obtained a Canadian passport, and after that, he left South Africa because of the search for bigger economic opportunities in the United States.
Musk attended Queen’s University in Kingston and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and physics in 1997. Afterward, he enrolled at Stanford University but left after two days because he realized that the internet could change society more than physics. In 1995 he founded a company named Zip2 that provided business directories and maps to online newspapers. Musk founded X.com, an online financial services company that later became Paypal.
3. Mark Zuckerberg – $102 billion
Zuckerberg, 36, is an American entrepreneur with a net worth of $102 billion. He is a philanthropist the youngest among the hundred wealthiest people across the globe. His fortune is attributable to the Facebook shares. He owns 400 million current shares of Facebook that is broken up into several classes with different voting privileges. There is around 12 million class A shares of Facebook and Class B shares of 365 million. Furthermore, Zukerberg has 53% voting rights through the Class B supervoting shares over the company. He controls Dustin Moskovitz’s voting rights; thus, Zuckerberg has 58% of its total voting power. The entrepreneur topped $100 billion in August 2020 for the first time.
By the time Zuckerberg got to Harvard, he had a reputation as a programming prodigy. Zuckerberg studied computer science and psychology and was a member of Kirkland house and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. To work on Facebook, he dropped out of Harvard. He pledged to give 99% of the wealth in the lifetime and owns $200 million in real estate in the US. With his fortune, he paid $43 million to overtake four homes in the vicinity of his home in Palo Alto and paid $145 million for 840 acres on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.
2. Bill Gates – $114 billion
William Henry Gates III is an American business tycoon who held the prominent Chairman, CEO, and Chief Software Architect position at Microsoft’s. As a result, Gates’s net worth is $114 billion as of 2020. Because of his amassed wealth, he and his wife Melinda own the charitable foundation Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the world’s largest charitable foundation. It works to eliminate polio, improve global health, and save lives.
Gates founded Microsoft in April 1975 with childhood friend Paul Allen. Originally it was based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and relocate to Washington State in 1979. At that time, Microsoft was a budding multinational technology company specializing in computers and software that become an international giant. Microsoft’s most significant success came in 1980 when IBM made a contract to pay $430,000 to Microsoft.
1994 was a marked year for Gates, who became the richest man in America at 38 with $9.35 billion in combined wealth. In turn, the company entered the commercial consumer market with sales reaching $3.7 billion, and 1995 was a new era of success and wealth for Gates. He prepared the staff for an internet tidal wave that made hopes to place Microsoft at the forefront of the worldwide web industry. In March 2020, he announced to step down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway. However, his charitable foundation spent up to $100 million on the COVID pandemic.
1. Jeff Bezos – $205 billion
Bezos, a 56-year-old American entrepreneur, founded an e-commerce solution in 1994 in Seattle, Washington. Currently, he has a net worth of $205 billion that, as a result, makes him the world’s wealthiest person. He is the Chairman and CEO of Amazon. Bezos is a Computer Science and Electrical Engineering graduate from Princeton. He began his career in 1987 with Fitel and worked with many prestigious organizations. In 1988, he worked with Bankers Trust and D.E Shaw & Co. from 1990 to 1994.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 followed by Blue Origin in 2000. Blue Origin is working on building and launching reusable rockets. Blue Origin, Boeing, SpaceX, and NASA work jointly on a project working towards sending humans to the Moon by 2024 and colonies on Mars by the 2030s. This billionaire has many ideas that span a wide range of investments from real estate to the retrieval of rocket ship engines from the ocean floor. Furthermore, Bezos has substantial holdings in traditional investments like real estate. He owns two huge homes in Beverly Hills and an apartment in Manhattan’s Century Tower. He also owns lavish lakeside property in Washington State with a living space of around 3,000 square feet thanks to his pace-setting net worth.