Edited by Kerry A. Dolan and Luisa Kroll
Altogether, the world’s 100 richest tech billionaires are worth $842.9 billion. Just seven women made the list, the wealthiest of whom is Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, with an estimated net worth of $21.4 billion. The average age of the group is 53, which is a decade younger than the average age of all billionaires; 15 of the 100 are under age 40. The youngest is Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, who is 25 and worth an estimated $2.1 billion; the oldest is Intel cofounder Gordon Moore, who is 86 and worth an estimated $6 billion. Nearly all of the 100 are self-made billionaires: 94 made their own luck, 3 inherited their fortunes, and 3 have inherited fortunes but have been actively expanding them.
For this list, Forbes chose to exclude telecom and media in our definition of technology. We included people active in hardware, software, social media, online gambling, and high-tech manufacturing.
20. Klaus Tschira
Net Worth: $8.6 billion
In 1972, Klaus Tschira and four colleagues left IBM to found German software company SAP (Systems, Applications, Products), which went public in 1988. Tschira retired from the company in 1998, and stepped down from its supervisory board in 2007. Now a market leader in the B2B space (enterprise and mobility applications, analytics, databases, cloud computing services, etc.), SAP has over 74,000 employees worldwide and generates annual revenue in excess of $20 billion. For many years in its estimate of Tschira’s net worth, Forbes excluded the value SAP shares held by his charitable foundation, believing them to be irrevocably owned and controlled by a charity. It turns out that the foundation, founded in 1995, is a limited liability company with a charitable purpose, over which Tschira has full control. One of Germany’s largest philanthropic organizations, it has provided over $350 million in funding and in-kind donations to promote science, mathematics and computer science in schools and extracurricular settings, and to support research projects by young scientists and to improve the communication skills of scientists. “I can create more benefit for society by directing the money than if I left it to the state through taxation,” the benefactor told the Wall Street Journal. A trained physicist, Tschira has taken up astronomy as a hobby, and has an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter named after him.
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