Alexandra Andresen is the youngest billionaire in the world.
A record number of billionaires under the age of 40 appeared on last year’s billionaires list. This year that number of young 10-figure fortunes dropped by 10 from 66 to 56 on the 2017 World’s Billionaires List, in part because of volatile markets in China and India. Thirty of the world’s youthful billionaires are self-made entrepreneurs, only one of whom is a woman. Twenty-three under 40 billionaires made their fortunes in tech, more than any other industry, followed by seven in healthcare.
The youngest billionaire in the world for the second year running is 20-year-old Alexandra Andresen. She and her sister Katharina Andresen, 21, joined the World’s Billionaires List in 2016 when their father transferred control of their family’s investment company to the sisters, who each have a $1.2 billion fortune.
Stripe cofounder John Collison, who is 26, is newly minted as the youngest self-made billionaire on earth. He and his brother Patrick Collison, 28, joined the three comma club when Stripe, the payments startup they cofounded, raised funding at a $9.2 billion valuation in November 2016. Each brother has a $1.1 billion fortune. John Collison is only two months younger than Snap Inc. cofounder Evan Spiegel, who was previously the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. Spiegel and his cofounder Bobby Murphy, 28, are now the only billionaires under the age of 30 to run a publicly-traded company after Snap’s IPO on March 2. Together the two sets of cofounders are the only four twenty somethings on the planet to have billionaire dollar fortunes of their own making.
While the number of young billionaires is down this year, their combined net worth is up $11.8 billion to $208 billion. Almost all of that gain is attributable to the richest billionaire under 40, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who added $11.4 billion to his net worth in the past year. At 32, Zuckerberg is $44.7 billion richer than anyone else in his age group; Forbes estimates his net worth at $56 billion. Zuckerberg holds a quarter of the total wealth of these young billionaires and controls one of the world’s largest tech companies. He’s also the fifth richest person in the world, despite being at least two decades younger than the rest of the top five billionaires globally.
The U.S. has more young billionaires than any other country with 24 calling the country home (including four immigrants). Seventy percent of these youngsters live in the state of California. Twelve of America’s young billionaires live in San Francisco and cofounded tech companies Airbnb, Uber, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. They make up just over half of the 23 tech billionaires under the age of 40.
There are 10 under 40 newcomers on the 2017 World’s Billionaires List, 17 fewer than last year. In addition to the Collison brothers, there are five others who made their fortunes: Chinese gas distribution billionaire Zhou Yifeng, Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, Indian mobile payments entrepreneur Vijay Sharma, Chinese auto parts billionaire Liu Ruopeng and Chinese mobile games tycoon Xu Bo. In Sweden, sisters Katarina Martinson and Louise Lindh joined the list with a $1.1 billion fortune apiece, after each inherited a 14% stake in their family’s investment company. American Bryan Sheffield, 38, who took over old wells his grandfather had drilled in Texas to found Parsley Energy in 2008, entered the 10-figure club after shares in Parsley Energy climbed 94% in the past year.
Only a quarter of the billionaires under the age of 40 are women, and just one of those women is a self-made billionaire–Chinese newcomer Zhou, who chairs Oriental Energy Co., which imports and distributes liquefied petroleum gas. One young woman who’s missing: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Forbes cut its estimate of her net worth from $3.6 billion last Billionaires list to zero in June 2016, after the blood-testing startup she founded was rocked by allegations that its products don’t work, leading to investigations by federal authorities. The richest female billionaire under 40 is Chinese heiress Yang Huiyan, who inherited her 55% stake in Country Garden Holdings from her father in 2007. The 35-year-old’s fortune is up 80% to $9 billion.
Ten of last year’s youngest billionaires turned 40 in the past year, including Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Another 10 fell off the list. mainly in Asia, entirely as their fortunes dropped below $1 billion. These billionaires included Flipkart cofounders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal and Didi Kuaidi CEO Cheng Wei.
Photo Credits: Janne Møller-Hansen / VG/Sipa USA