Of the world's 10 richest tech billionaires, four are college dropouts. All are men, all are from two countries (the United States and China), and all currently are or were heads of companies.
These are some seriously wealthy folks — the entry level to this list is $18.2 billion net worth (that includes cash, stock, and various other holdings). Some now spend their time trying to change the world, others spend their time owning sports teams, and some are still running the company that made them rich.
Heck, one of them is launching stuff into space:
This list of the 10 richest tech billionaires in the world comes from a collaboration between Business Insider and wealth analytics firm Wealth-X, which recently created a list of the top 50 richest people on Earth.
Emmie Martin and Tanza Loudenback contributed research to this report.
Let's jump in, starting with number 10:
10. Pony Ma
Net worth: $18.2 billion
Source of wealth: Tencent Holdings
Having made money early on in the stock market, Ma Huateng (Pony Ma) started Tencent with college friends. The company's first major product was a messaging service in China named QQ, which cost nothing and became a standard in early online messaging services. Tencent has since expanded dramatically, investing in a variety of different business types, from music distribution to major video game studios like Riot Games (makers of the world's most popular game, "League of Legends").
9. Michael Dell
Net worth: $18.9 billion
Source of wealth: Self-made; Dell
While a premed student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984, Michael Dell started a company called PC Ltd. — the predecessor to Dell. He soon dropped out of college to build computers full-time, which became one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.
By the time he was 23, the company went public and raised $30 million — $18 million of it going to Dell personally. Outside of a brief period, Dell has run his namesake company since its inception. The company employs over 100,000 people in several countries, and remains based in Texas where it's the second largest non-oil company behind AT&T.
8. Steve Ballmer
Net worth: $25.9 billion
Source of wealth: Self-made; Microsoft
Steve Ballmer dropped out of business school at Stanford in 1980 to join Harvard friend Bill Gates at Microsoft as the company's first business manager, earning a $50,000 salary and a stake in the company. He went from business manager to CEO during his time at Microsoft, and that early stake in the company paid off handsomely: He's only the second person, not including founders and their family, to ever become a billionaire from employee stock options.
Nowadays, he's no longer with Microsoft. He paid $2 billion in a deal to buy the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2014. He's also fond of slamming basketballs, as seen to the right.
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