1. Bill Gates ($75 billion)
Bill Gates is perhaps equally known for creating Microsoft (MSFT )
as well as his and his wife's charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world and funds efforts to increase access to healthcare, technology, and education around the world. Gates' other investments are diverse and include Canadian National Railway (CNI )
, Deere & Co. (DE )
, waste collection outfit Republic Services (RSG )
and hygiene and water technology firm Ecolab (ECL )
. Privately, Gates invested in the Impossible Foods project, which hopes to create plant-based "meat" options that take significantly fewer resources to produce, helping solve a potential water shortage.
© Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
2. Amancio Ortega ($67 billion)
Amancio Ortega of Spain gained wealth by founding popular worldwide fashion chain Zara. Little is known about Ortega as he prefers to keep a low-profile and mysterious presence. He doesn't wear a tie or suit, but instead prefers a generic blue blazer and white shirt. Most interestingly, Ortega was not even photographed until 1999. Rather than simply focusing on the business aspects of Zara and its parent textile company, Ortega is rumored to be an active participant in creating and testing the chain's designs and having a final say in all products.
3. Warren Buffet ($60.8 billion)
Warren Buffet's empire is largely composed of his holding in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A )
, the fifth-most valuable corporation in the United States. Berkshire owns some of America's biggest consumer businesses, like ice cream chain Dairy Queen, soda company Coca-Cola (KO )
and underwear seller Fruit of the Loom. His preference for Hillary Clinton over all others in the 2016 presidential election is well known, as he publicly donates money former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Interestingly, Buffet still lives in Omaha, Nebraska in the house he purchased in 1958 for $31,500.
© ITU Pictures / Flickr.
4. Carlos Slim Helu ($50 billion)
Carlos Slim Helo used to be the world's second richest man, but had financial difficulties in the past year. He's suffered from a weaker Mexican peso and further economic decline in Brazil, as well as increased governmental regulation in his mobile phone operator, America Movil. Over the course of the rocky year, he lost $27.1 billion. Despite major holdings in Latin America, Slim is the largest shareholder of The New York Times
, with a 17% stake.
5. Jeff Bezos ($45.2 billion)
Jeff Bezos is founder of popular e-commerce site, Amazon(AMZN )
, as well as recent owner of nationwide news publication, The Washington Post
. Bezos was also one of Google's (GOOG )
first investors, which makes up a significant chunk of his current wealth. Like fellow billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group and Virgin Galactic, Bezos founded Blue Origin in hopes of making space flight and exploration accessible to the masses.
© Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com
6. Mark Zuckerberg ($44.6 billion)
Mark Zuckerberg is perhaps the most well-known billionaire on this list, largely because of Facebook's (FB )
popularity as well as the acclaimed biographical movie The Social Network
. Zuckerberg's quirks are well documented, especially his odd social style, but his commitment to growing Facebook has led the company to be social media's powerhouse following its acquisition of Instagram. Recently, he committed to giving 99% of his Facebook shares to charitable means, though that effort came under fire recently. At only 31 years old, Zuckerberg has the potential to continue to disrupt the tech industry as well as the philanthropic field as him and his wife hope to donate in a similar fashion to Bill and Melinda Gates.
© Oracle PR / Flickr
7. Larry Ellison ($43.6 billion)
Larry Ellison is former CEO and current chairman of the board of tech company Oracle (ORCL )
. The company is currently battling rival Amazon (AMZN )
for control in the cloud-computing space. But Oracle had a head start over Amazon, being founded in 1977 compared to Amazon's 1994-though it lacks significant name recognition as opposed to its competitor. Though Ellison is a business powerhouse himself, both his children are prominent Hollywood producers after entering the industry using their father's money as seed investment in their projects. Megan Ellison financed Oscar competitors Zero Dark Thirty
and American Hustle
while her brother David is producer of the popular Terminator
and Mission: Impossible