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Net Worths Of America’s Top 30 Business Tycoons

TristaNovember 25, 2020
This is the real face behind the Nike brand. Photo Credit: New York Post

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 films, 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.

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After leaving Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse, 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 one of the most powerful logos ever created in marketing history. Nike continues to flourish and grow.

You probably recognize him for his wealth and his political career. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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.

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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. He ran for president in an ultimately relatively unsuccessful bid in 2020, failing to gain much of any support in the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses in February 2020.

If you shop at Walmart, you contribute to her wealth. Photo Credit: Crystal Bridges

13. Alice Walton – $62.3 billion

It’s nice to see another woman on this list of the wealthiest 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 from a young age, eventually opening museums, 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. She owns numerous original paintings that she displays in the museum, including Georgia O’Keeffe’s works and Andy Warhol pieces. The museum can also be rented as an event venue.

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In 1949 in Newport, Arkansas, Walton was born and was brought 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. She has been the least involved of any of the Walton’s in the family business, preferring to pursue other ventures.

And there are still more in his family that can almost match his wealth dollar for dollar. Photo Credit: Forbes

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 of the company 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, although none of the siblings are hurting for money, given they are all worth many billions of dollars. The Walton siblings’ father, the company’s founder, wisely set up his children’s inheritance to minimize taxes owed.

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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. They have massive homes but don’t flaunt a wealthy jet-set lifestyle.

He has more money than his siblings, but they aren’t too far behind. Photo Credit: Business Insider

11. Jim Walton – $64.2 billion 

Unless you haven’t ventured outside in the US in the last several decades, you have probably heard of (and visited) Walmart. Jim Carr Walton is an heir to the Walmart enterprise and fortune, the world’s largest retailer. He is the youngest son of Sam Walton and belongs to one of the world’s wealthiest families. So how much is he worth? Walton has a net worth of $64.2 billion as of 2020. This wealthy man was born in June 1948 in Arkansas. However, he is only the third child of the Walmart heir and competes for the wealthiest title among his several siblings.

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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 its 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. The majority of the Walton family’s children and heirs are involved in business and still make active decisions about the Walmart brand and business model.

The digital age made a lot of people wealthy, including this computer engineer from Michigan. Photo Credit: Fortune

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. Their creation, Google, has become the most popular search engine across the globe since its launch in 1998. Far from just a search engine anymore, Google has morphed into a provider of data services, hosting, and more that have led to it becoming truly ubiquitous in virtually every business and home through much of the world.

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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. YouTube has continued to thrive alongside Google, with more content being created and hosted on the site than can be watched in a human lifetime. YouTube now also offers premium on-demand rentals and exclusive content, increasing its revenues.

Not all computer scientists are billionaires, but this one is courtesy of Google. Photo Credit: CNBC

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.

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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 were launched, and they acquired the massive streaming video site YouTube, which was still in its infancy at the time. 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. Google is now genuinely ubiquitous, offering services that have integrated it into almost every business and home in the world.

She divorced one of the richest men in the world. Photo Credit: The New Yorker

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. While some have tried to portray Mackenzie negatively, the reality is that she was one of Amazon’s earliest employees and married Jeff Bezos before Amazon existed. She helped Amazon grow throughout the entire length of their marriage, hence why she was found legally entitled to much of the profits.

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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 due to helping Bezos build it throughout their marriage. 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.

Another member of the billionaire club on behalf of Microsoft. Photo Credit: CNBC

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. Ballmer served as the CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014. He was an early employee and business manager of the company, which allowed him to gain an ownership stake in the organization.

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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. Ironically, the very same year that he sold a portion of his stocks to the tune of almost $100 million, he removed the stock ownership option from Microsoft so no future employees can ever reap similar benefits to those he had.

He has houses all over the globe thanks to his software fortune. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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.

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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 have enlisted engineers from Oracle this year to build a coronavirus data website for the Trump administration. The Oracle Corporation continues to thrive thanks to its focus on creating much-needed human resources software, supply chain management software, and more. That allows it to stay relevant, unlike many other dot.com era companies. Despite being founded over 40 years ago, the company is just as relevant today.

Buffet donates most of his money to charity. Photo Credit: StockBasket

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.

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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.

Musk has many endeavors from cars to spaceships. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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.

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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.

He created Facebook, a social media giant. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

3. Mark Zuckerberg – $102 billion

Zuckerberg, 36, is an American entrepreneur with a net worth of $102 billion. He is a philanthropist and the youngest among the hundred wealthiest people across the globe. His fortune is attributable to the Facebook shares. He owns 400 million current Facebook shares that are 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, Zuckerberg 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.

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By the time Zuckerberg got to Harvard, he had a reputation as a programming prodigy and tech wunderkind. Zuckerberg studied computer science and psychology and was a member of Kirkland house and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. To work on Facebook full-time, he dropped out of Harvard. Zuckerberg pledged to give 99% of the wealth in his lifetime and owns $200 million in real estate in the US. With his fortune, he paid $43 million to overtake four homes in Palo Alto’s vicinity and paid $145 million for 840 acres on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

The average American can recognize Bill Gates. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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. 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, 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 relocated to Washington State in 1979. At that time, Microsoft was a budding multinational technology company specializing in computers and software that became an international giant. Microsoft’s most significant success came in 1980 when IBM made a contract to pay $430,000 to Microsoft.

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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.

Mr. Amazon tops the list with over $200 billion. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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. This billionaire 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.

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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 assets 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.

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