Aug 21

The Upcoming Batch of Billionaires

The current batch of billionaires are old timers. We’ve all heard about them and most of them are already senior citizens. The average age on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest is 61. Sooner or later, these old timers will move aside to make room for the next generation. What are the profiles of the prospective billionaires?

This year, Michael and Xochi Birch sold their social networking site, Bebo, to AOL for $850 million. The two met at a college bar in London and started a beautiful relationship . . . and big business. From the sale, they received $600 million. It is an impressive haul considering that Michael is only 38 years old and Xochi at a ripe young age of 36.

The 32-year-old Tiger Woods is also part of the list since the golf champion is expected to be the first billionaire to make his money through sports. Despite his current knee injury, he is expected to recover and still make lucrative income from his endorsement deals. And there is deal maker Roelof Botha, a 34 year old venture capitalist who hit a grand slam with an early investment in YouTube. The deal gave him a 65-fold return for his company, Sequoia Capital.

From the financial market, 33 year old Chase Coleman returned a stunning 70% (after fees) last year for his company, Tiger Global. It is an unbelievable performance which is 6 times better than the hedge fund average. Whoever said that hedging is unpredictable seems to have got it wrong. His estimated earnings from his banner year was pegged as high as $400 million.

The youngest in the list is Nishita Shah at 28 who increased her family’s business empire in Thailand and is estimated to have a net worth of $375 million. She is currently planning her upcoming fashion line if not gracing pages of Thai magazines or scrutinizing financial reports. And another prospective billionaire now in his 30’s is Elon Musk, who earned $22 million when he was only 27 after selling the dot-com company Zip2. He also co-founded Paypal where he received almost $170 million in Ebay stock when the auction company bought the online payment processor. His stake continues to increase as Ebay’s continues to expand worldwide. When asked what qualities a successful entrepreneur has, he simply answers “drive.” It’s something he seems to have a lot of, including vision. He is currently working on a his company, SpaceX, which aims to provide cheap, reliable space travel to clients such as governments and satellite companies. Another venture he is working on involves electric cars and solar panels.

With the prospective billionaires on the list barely in their 40’s, I’m currently under pressure considering I am a few years older than these guys. Yet, I’m still following the pack making pennies from the internet. My big idea has to come soon. I can’t let these kids say that my generation is uninspired.

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