Top Social Networking Billionaires 2011

Forbes revealed that billionaires from social networking made the Forbes World’s Billionaires list.

1.

Mark Zuckerberg

United States

Net Worth:  $ 13.5 billion

Company: Facebook

The first on the list is a guy who everybody has heard of and that’s Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. It was only in January that we wrote of his personal fortune being $9 billion and his personal net worth is now put at $13.5 billion after a growth of 238% in the last year.  President Obama even praised Facebook as an example of American innovation in his State of the Union Address. A month later Zuckerberg attended an Obama dinner with Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Larry Ellisonand John Doerr. This year his fortune surged 238%, the biggest percentage gain of any American, to $13.5 billion as investments from firms like Goldman Sachs boosted Facebook’s valuation to $50 billion.

2.

Eduardo Saverin

United States

Net Worth: $ 1.6 billion

Company: Facebook

Eduardo Saverin started Facebook with Zuckerberg while at Harvard but was later involved in a legal wrangle with the site. His net worth is now put at $1.6 billion. When others moved to California, Saverin stayed behind.  Later, Facebook sued him for allegedly interfering with business and insisting on keeping a 30% stake; Saverin countersued. The parties settled; Saverin apparently got a 5% stake and a co-founder bio on Facebook’s site. Now living in Singapore, he recently invested in hot start-up Qwiki.

3.

Sean Parker

United States

Net Worth: $1.6 billion

Company: Facebook

Silicon Valley strategist and former Facebook president makes his billionaire debut. His reported stake: just under 3%. At 19, the serial entrepreneur co-founded Napster in 1999; brought free music to the masses, but quickly collapsed under piracy allegations. Parker joined Facebook in 2004. Recently made more famous after being played by Justin Timberlake in the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network.” He’s currently a managing partner at Founders Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in tech companies. He’s diving back into digital music with an investment in Spotify.

4.

Dustin Moskovitz

United States

Net Worth: $2.7 billion

Company: Facebook

The world’s youngest billionaire, Moskovitz was Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard roommate and Facebook’s third employee. He is just 8 days younger than his friend. The two dropped out of Harvard and moved to California to work for the social-networking firm full-time; he was its first chief technology officer and then vice president of engineering. He left in 2008 to start Asana, a software company that allows individuals and small companies to better collaborate.

5.

Peter Thiel

United States

Net Worth: $ 1.5 billion

Peter Thiel cofounded PayPal in 1998, sold it to Ebay in 2002 for $1.5 billion personally netting $60 million from the sale. Invested $500,000 in Facebook in 2004. Opened hedge fund Clarium Capital in New York in 2005 but moved operations back to California reportedly because the firm was facing losses; its assets fell to $1.4 billion in January this year from a peak of $7.4 billion two years ago. Thiel, who has apparently sold much of his Facebook stake, puts his money into companies and causes that are involved in trying to extend life, start new countries on ocean platforms, commercialize outer space, promote artificial intelligence and leapfrog DNA sequencing.

6.

Yuri Milner

Russia

Net Worth:  $ 1.0 billion

Companies:  Facebook; Groupon; Zynga

Savvy internet investor divided his Digital Sky Technologies into two parts last year. The first was the IPO of email portal Mail.ru Group; the second, DST Global, remains a private fund investing in global internet companies, for example, paid $200 million in 2009 for stake in Facebook; the value of this initial investment has jumped an estimated five-fold. Now planning a bolder move: to invest in every startup that comes out of Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley-based startup incubator without reading the business plan. DST also has stakes in Groupon and Zynga.

7.

Mark Pincus

United States

Net Worth: $1.0 billion

Company: Zynga

In 2007, the Wharton and Harvard Business School grad founded social media gaming company Zynga, named after his beloved late bulldog. Today, following the latest round of funding, the firm is worth between $7 billion and $10 billion. Zynga’s staggering success is tied to Facebook’s; its popular interactive games including FarmVille, FrontierVille and Mafia Wars are played via the social network, and Pincus is reported to be an investor. Its latest game, CityVille, attracts 20 million players per day.

8.

Eric Lefkofsky

United States

Net Worth: $1.6 billion

Company: Groupon

Chicago investor is cofounder and 30% owner of the fastest-growing company ever, Groupon, providing audiences with discounts on products and services. Lefkofsky met Groupon founder, Andrew Mason, at Chicago firm, InnerWorkings. He later gave Mason $1 million in angel capital for another startup idea he had. While Mason runs Groupon, Lefkofsky looks for other investments. Cofounded a venture fund LightBank, which has stakes in nearly a dozen companies. “The Accelerated Disruption” author is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

9.

Yoshikazu Tanaka

Net Worth: $2.2 billion

Company: Gree

Founder of Gree, Japan’s largest social networking Web site (having overtaken rival billionaire Kenji Kasahara’s Mixi), may be facing off with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook  soon; setting up shop in California. Stock of firm, known for its fun, easy mobile games and avatars that people can accessorize, is up 35% over the past year. He started out at Sony, and worked for fellow billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani at online shopping site Rakuten. Left in 2004 to set up Gree at a tech incubator; eventually transitioned the site into mobile gaming to better compete with rivals.

10.

Rupert Murdoch

Net

worth: $7.6 billion

Company: Myspace

Cautionary tale: not all social media companies are hot. Murdoch is rumored to be looking to sell money-losing Myspace that he bought in 2005 for $580 million. His traditional media fares better; Fox News made $700 million in operating profit in 2010. The Super Bowl on Fox was the most-watched TV broadcast ever. His Wall Street Journal keeps expanding while others shrink. Thanks to a close relationship with Apple, his News Corp.added digital subscriptions on the iPad with the $30 million launch of The Daily in February.

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