Billionaires who've made their fortunes 'overnight'

Published Apr 13, 2018


DURBAN - Some billionaires take years to build their fortunes while other people can make bank in a short period of time. 

According to Forbes, a record 2,208 billionaires made the Forbes annual ranking of the world’s billionaires. The publication rates the 20 richest people on the planet are worth a staggering $1.2 trillion, altogether the world's billionaires are worth a record $9.1 trillion, up 18% from a year ago.

Most billionaires needed a lifetime of work to amass their fortunes, yet a few of them in the world have made their fortunes figuratively 'overnight' in comparison. 

We take a look at the billionaires who have made their money in the quickest time: 

Eduardo Saverin: 1 year

Saverin was one of the co-founding members of popular social networking site Facebook. Although he worked at Facebook for less than a year, he kept a small stake in the company the worth of which was more than a $1 billion by 2010. He also invested in startups like Qwiki and Jumio. Saverin has a net worth of about $9 billion. 

Eduardo Saverin Photo: Facebook

Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy: 3 years

Spiegel and Murphy are the co-founders of Snapchat. The founded the multimedia messaging app in 2011. By 2014 their big stock holdings made their net worths over $1 billion. 


Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy Photo: Facebook

Sean Parker: 1.5 years

Parker is a co-founder of the music-sharing service Napster which was released in the early 2000s. However, it was Parker's short time as the President of Facebook that made him a billionaire. He served as the Facebook president from 2004 and then left the social networking company in 2006. 

He kept almost 70 million of his Facebook shares but sold around 3,5 million of them before Facebook's 2012 IPO, which firmly put him in the billionaire club. 

Sean Parker Photo: Facebook

Pierre Omidyar: 3 years

Omidyar launched online auction site eBay. com in 1995 when he was 28. The first item sold by eBay was a broken laser printer. After three years, eBay went public. It cost 18 dollars for a single share. Stocks attained the $300 mark within three months and the creator of eBay became a billionaire. 

Pierre Omidyar Photo: Facebook

Jeff Bezos: 6 years

Jeff Bezos was an investment banker that started an online bookstore called Amazon in 1993. In 1999, he was on the Forbes' World Billionaire list. 

His net worth was strained in the mid-2000s but now his net worth is $118, 5 billion according to Forbes. The Amazon founder is the richest man in the United States according to Forbes.

Jeff Bezos Photo: Facebook

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Jay S. Walker: 1 year

Walker may be the fastest person to become a billionaire. He joined the billionaire club in 1999, just a year after he founded 

He dropped down the billionaire's list just one year after joining the club. His company took a hit during the dot-com bust and in 2000 he left Priceline. A year later he sold his stock for $426 million. 

Jay S. Walker Photo: Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg: 4 years

The Facebook CEO and co-founder debuted on the Forbes World Billionaire list in 2008 because of large holdings in Facebook. Now Zuckerberg is worth over $60 billion. 

Mark Zuckerberg Photo: Facebook

Jerry Yang and David Filo: 4 years

Filo and Yang are the co-founders of Yahoo. They founded the company in 1994 and two years later they took Yahoo public. By 1998, the Yahoo co-founders had become billionaires.

Yahoo Photo: Facebook

Eric Lefkofsky, Andrew Mason, and Brad Keywell: 3 years

The co-founders of Groupon all made bank when their company went public in 2011. The three men started Groupon in 2008.

Groupon Photo: Facebook

Mark Cuban: 4 years

Cuban is one of the most famous billionaires in the United States. He became a billionaire in 1999 when Yahoo purchased, Cuban's internet radio company. The $5,7 billion buy added $1,6 billion to his net worth. That was also Yahoo's most expensive buy up till now. 

Mark Cuban Photo: Facebook

Patrick and John Collision: 4 years 

The Collision brothers became billionaires in 2016 after their company Stripe was valued at $9 billion. Stripe streamlines online payments. 

The valuation made the younger brother John the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. Till date, he still holds that title. 

Patrick and John Collision Photo: Facebook

Gary Winnick: 2.5 years

In 1997 Winnick, founded Global Crossing a telecommunications company which assisted companies like Microsoft and AT&T to get their Asian customers. A year later Global Crossing went public and its valuation made Winnick $4,5 billion. 

By 2002, Global Crossing was bankrupt, however, Winnick had sold most of his shares by then. 

Gary Winnick and former US President Ronald Reagan  Photo: Facebook


Sandile Shezi: 5 years

At the age of 23, Shezi became one of the youngest millionaires in South Africa. His career in business started in high school when he would sell muffins to pay for his tuition fees. 

Then he made his move into Forex exchanging, an over-the-counter market in which currencies of the world are exchanged. Now he is a millionaire.  

Sandile Shezi Photo: Facebook

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