Musk, Bezos, Gates: How these billionaires got their start
We can all remember the controversy when was named the youngest ‘self made’ billionaire by Forbes, only to be within 14 months.
There was as many argued that someone who grew up on one of the most popular reality TV series could be classified as having done it alone.
The backlash hit critical mass when Forbes took the title away, accusing Jenner of having inflated the size of her Kylie Cosmetics business.
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But, what about the other household name billionaires? How did they get their start and were they really self made? You can be the judge.
Jeff Bezos made his massive AU$275.4 billion (US$201 billion) fortune with the creation of Amazon.
He went from selling books online to selling everything online.
Since then, Bezos has stepped down as Amazon CEO and taken his business savvy to space with the launch of Blue Origin.
But, when it comes to how he got Amazon off the ground, a 1997 found that his parents, Jackie and Mike Bezos, invested AU$333,432 (US$245,573) in 1995 to help fund their son's budding business.
Elon Musk is known for being the CEO of electric car company Tesla and space exploration company SpaceX. His controversial tweets also often make headlines.
Musk was born and raised in South Africa before moving to Canada and then eventually going to the United States to study.
His first foray into business was with PayPal, which he was instrumental in creating.
Musk earned his first billion when he sold PayPal to eBay for AU$2.06 billion (US$1.5 billion) in October 2002. Since then he has grown his fortune to AU$385.5 billion (US$281.6 billion)
But it is his childhood that is particularly interesting. In an interview with Business Insider South Africa, Musk’s father Errol Musk said he negotiated his way into having partial ownership of an Emerald mine in Zambia along with other assets to amass a vast amount of wealth.
This has led many to believe that Musk grew up in a life of privilege with his father telling stories of private jets and a lavish lifestyle.
However, Musk himself has argued against this narrative.
He didn’t own an emerald mine & I worked my way through college, ending up ~$100k in student debt. I couldn’t even afford a 2nd PC at Zip2, so programmed at night & website only worked during day. Where is this bs coming from?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 28, 2019
He left South Africa at the age of 17 to chase his dreams in the US and, it would seem, did not leave on the best terms with his dad.
Musk described his father as "a terrible human being... Almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done,” in a 2017 interview with .
Bill Gates, with a net worth of AU$188.9 billion (US$137.9 billion), is a household name thanks to being the co-founder of Microsoft.
Born and raised in Washington, Gates and his childhood friend Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975.
Gates is no stranger to wealth, having been on the Forbes list of the world's richest people every year since 1987.
So, how did he go from founding a company with his friend in 1975 to being one of the world's richest people in just over a decade?
Well, it's partially to do with the help of his mum, Mary Gates.
She was on the board of United Way, where she met the CEO of IBM, John Opel.
She put in a good word for her son, convincing Opel to take a chance on Gates.
Opel obliged and IBM reached a deal with Microsoft in 1980 concerning the software for a computer IBM was launching.
The rest, some say, is history.
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