The 5 richest people in the world and how they became billionaires

Technology, e-commerce, construction, luxury goods and commodities – these are some of the industries behind the wealth of the world’s richest people. Your journey to becoming a billionaire involves one investment at a time. In other words, making money makes more money.

Take a look back at how the world’s richest people got started, how they became billionaires, and how much they’re currently worth.

Elon Musk

The Tesla CEO has a net worth of $273.9 billion, according to Forbes real-time billionaire rankings. As of September 13, his real-time net worth had increased by $3.2 billion.

Though known for Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk was an early investor in some of today’s most innovative companies. Together with his brother Kimbal he founded the company Zip2. Compaq later bought Computer Corp. Zip2. He used the money from the sale to start X.com, which later merged with Confinity to create PayPal. PayPal was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion.

Elon’s 11.7% stake in PayPal was $180 million after taxes. He then invested it in various ventures, including $100 million for SpaceX, $70 million for Tesla, and $10 million for SolarCity. Today, part of the 51-year-old billionaire’s fortune comes from tunneling startup Boring Company and Neuralink.

Bernard Arnault

As Amazon stock plummeted, a French fashion mogul, Bernard Arnault, overtook Bezos as the world’s richest man.
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The second richest person in the world is the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët, Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company. In Forbes real-time list, Arnault and his family’s current net worth is $160.2 billion. LVMH is behind brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Givenchy, Guerlain, Marc Jacobs and Sephora, along with Tiffany & Co, which it acquired in January 2021.

Arnault’s wealth came from construction. He persuaded his father, Jean Leon Arnault, to disband the construction division of his construction company and expand into more profitable businesses. Arnault then used the money to invest in real estate. The family moved to America in 1981, branching out their real estate investments in the process.

When Arnault returned to France in 1983, he expanded into the textile industry. Working with Antoine Bernheim, a managing partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault bought the recently bankrupt Boussac Saint-Frères company. He sold most of the shares, keeping only the Christian Dior brand and the Le Bon Marché department store. In 1985 he became CEO of Dior.

According to Forbes, LVMH’s performance was “pandemic-defying” after sales skyrocketed from March 2020 to May 2021. Today, the LVMH empire includes 70 fashion and cosmetics brands. Luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Dior also invest in brand ambassadors to further expand their market reach.

jeff bezos

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Jeff Bezos built one of the most successful global companies in the world from his garage startupAFP / Jim WATSON

The Amazon chairman and founder is worth $159.8 billion, according to Forces’ real-time rankings, making Jeff Bezos the third richest person in the world.

Bezos’ fortunes came mostly from the e-commerce giant, which he founded in his Seattle garage in 1994. His wealth comes from a series of investments and acquisitions over the years. He invested $112 million in AirBnb, $1 million in Google in 1998, and $37 million in Uber in 2011, to name a few. His investment company, Bezos Expeditions, also invests in health and wellness companies, investing $56 million in Juno Therapeutics in 2014, $100 million in Grail in 2016, and $15 million in Mindstrong Health in 2018. The 58-year-old self-made billionaire also owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin.

Bezos also acquired Elemental Tech in 2017, which was renamed Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elemental; IMDb, Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics) in 2012, Souq.com in 2017, Zappos in 2009, and Whole Foods for $13.2 billion.

In 2021, he topped the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $201 billion. He was Amazon’s CEO until July 2021, when he resigned to become executive chairman. He also sold $8.8 billion of his Amazon stock and gave away some of his shares.

Gautam Adani

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Chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani smiles

Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani smiles after addressing the media in Ahmedabad July 21, 2009. Adani spoke about the IPO of Adani Power Limited which will open on July 28th. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

Fourth on Forbes real-time list of the world’s richest people is infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani with a net worth of $150.5 billion. His family controls Mundra Port, the largest port in India.

Adani dropped out of college to work in the diamond trade and eventually burst into the world of global trading as an importer of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, for his brother’s plastics business. In 1988, he founded Adani Enterprises as the group’s flagship company for the import and export of raw materials.

After receiving approval from the Gujarat government to build a port facility at Mundra Port in 1994, Adani built rail and road links to transform Mundra Port into a commercial port.

It became the country’s largest airport operator after acquiring a 74 percent stake in Mumbai International Airport in September 2020. He also owns Abbot Point, a coal mining project in Australia.

Adani’s revenue derives from Adani Group’s diverse investments in infrastructure, commodities, real estate, and power generation and transmission. In May 2022, he acquired Swiss giant Holcim’s cement business in India. The acquisition reportedly cost $10.5 billion.

He plans to invest up to $70 billion in renewable energy projects with the goal of becoming the world’s largest producer of green energy.

Bill Gates

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American billionaire Bill Gates is co-founder of TerraPowerPOOL via AFP/Evan Vucci

The fifth richest person in the world is Bill Gates, the man behind Microsoft. He founded the company in 1975 with his school friend Paul Allen.

Gates’ journey to wealth began when he was 13 years old. He recalled being a student at Lakeside Private School in Seattle, Washington. When his school bought a telex, it sparked his love of computers, hacking and programming.

Gates and Allen created a computerized scheduling system for Lakeside Private School in exchange for more computer time. The duo also developed a computerized traffic analysis system, Traf-o-Data, which they sold to the Washington State Highway Department for $20,000.

Gates attended Harvard Law School while Allen was enrolled at Washington State University in the early days of microcomputers. Gates reportedly called the maker of the Altair 8800 microcomputer to offer to write software for them. By 1975, they sold the programming software called BASIC to MITS, the creator of Altair 8800, for $3,000 plus royalties.

That same year, they founded Microsoft, which retained the rights to the programming language they developed. They sold this software to PC hardware manufacturers, which led to rapid growth for Microsoft. Three years after its founding, Microsoft’s annual revenue exceeded $1 million.

With a current net worth of $109.1 billion, Gates’ revenue comes from his software company and diversified holdings, including investments in zero-carbon energy, the Canadian National Railway and AutoNation. Gates is also one of the largest farmland owners in America.

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Fry Electronics Team

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