10 People You Know Who Recently Became Billionaires

10 People You Know Who Recently Became Billionaires

By Wires | The Trent on July 7, 2014
Janet Jackson

We’re not sure what’s been in the water lately, but there seems to be an upsurge in billionaires — and we’d love to have a sip!

A whole cluster of entrepreneurs have added an extra zero to their net worth. Due to a few smart investments and well-played business moves, these people have now moved on up. Must be nice to be among the Gates, Winfreys, and Bloombergs.

Michael Jordan, as you may already know, has been initiated into the Billionaire Boys Club — thanks to his increased stake in the Charlotte Hornets. But who else has moved on up lately? MadameNoire Biz has got the scoop!

lean in book

1. Sheryl Sandberg

While Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, has been urging us to Lean In, she’s been leaning back on $1 billion in fortunes since January of this year, Time reports. She owns nearly 12.3 million shares of the popular social network; her stake is worth a whopping $750 million. When Facebook’s stock closed at a record high of $58.51 on Jan. 21, Sandberg became one of the world’s youngest billionaires at the age of 44. She currently has a net worth of $1.6 billion.


Getty Images Europe

2. Reed Hastings

While millions of Netflix subscribers indulge in House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black, Reed Hastings, co-founder of the video streaming and DVD rental company, is reeling in all the cash. Netflix’s stock surged to over $400 a share — and so did Hastings’ net worth, which has surpassed $1 billion. According to Forbes, Hastings nabbed $900 million in Netflix stock and options plus an additional $100 million in other assets. “Call him the first on-demand billionaire,” Forbes said.



3. Janet Jackson

Last May, the internet was abuzz about Janet Jackson’s upgrade into the billionaire bracket. Michael Jackson’s most famous sister is said to have collected $304 million in films (like Poetic Justice and Nutty Professor), $260 million in album sales, and $81 million in sponsorships. Oh and did I mention that she’s married to Wissam Al Mana — a billionaire retail entrepreneur?

While the web cheered for Jackson, Forbes was the only one who refused to applaud. The money ‘zine denied Jackson’s “billionaire” status because ” net worth is based on the value of the cash and assets you have at the moment, not on how much your work has brought in over a lifetime.” Fair enough, but Ms. Jackson’s still a billionaire in our eyes!


Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

4. Michael Kors

Even if you don’t subscribe to a lifestyle of $500 bags and $700 shoes, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of Michael Kors. The luxury brand name has been mentioned in The Devil Wears Prada and even in Nicki Minaj’s verse on Big Sean’s A** song . Since its inception in ’81, Michael Kors has evolved into a major household name in the design industry — and it’s paid off in Kors’ pockets. In early February, the Long Island native saw his stocksurge by almost 20 percent – and just like that — Kors became a billionaire.


Aerin Lauder at the Met Gala. FayesVision/WENN.com

5. The Lauder Sisters

Jane and Aerin Lauder were fortuitously born into a beauty empire when their grandmother, cosmetic legend Estée Lauder, transferred her lucrative legacy into her granddaughters’ hands. In April, Jane took the reigns as global brand president of Clinque, one of Estée Lauder’s 30 brands. She’s got a net worth of $1.3 billion. Aerin, creative director at the company, holds the the same value as her sister. Their fortunes surged after Estée Lauder’smarket value jumped by 23 percent last fall.


jim koch sam adams

6. Jim Koch

Have you heard of Sam Adams? Of course you have. It’s one of America’s most popular craft beers under Jim Koch’s enterprise, Boston Beer Co. In recent months, the company’s sales have increased by 17 percent. America’s obsession with craft beer has translated into $1 billion in assets for Koch. Ain’t nothin’ like grabbing a cold one while sitting on a pretty bank account!

Koch, however, has been quite humble about his newly acquired riches: “I remind people getting rich is life’s great booby prize. Any normal person would much rather be happy than rich,” he told Boston Globe.


WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

7. Jan Koum

Jan Koum is the co-creator of WhatsApp — a mobile messaging app that Facebook bought for a whopping $19 billion in late February. So Facebook turned another college dropout into a billionaire! Koum’s story is quite inspiring, too. A rags to riches tale, Koum and his mother were living on food stamps at one point . Clearly, Koum isn’t swiping his EBT card anymore. Since Koum owns 45 percent of WhatsApp, CNN Moneyestimates his net worth to be $7 billion.


Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the movie "Wall Street"

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the movie “Wall Street”

8. James Tomilson Hill

James Tomilson Hill was the inspiration behind Gordon Gekko, a character in the film Wall Street who sticks by the iconic “Greed is Good” mantra. Hill owns 17.4 million shares of Blackstone, a New York City-based hedge fund company. As of June 10th, his stake is valued at $585 million. Hill also owns an art collection valued at $500 million.


PiXXart / Shutterstock.com

9. Evan Williams

Last October, Evan Williams — co-founder of Twitter — made headlines as his 12 percent stake blossomed into $1.1 billion in value. His share in the company prospered as the social network’s value grew to $9.4 billion. Williams’ fellow co-founder, Jack Dorsey, owns a smaller share in the company: 4.9 percent, which is valued at $500 million — half of Williams’ stake value.


jon oringer

10. Jonathan Oringer

At 39 years old, Shuttershock’s CEO Jonathan Oringer will be enjoying his 40s as a billionaire. Back in 2003, Shuttershock only had 30,000 photos. Now? The tech firm offers more than 20 million photos to 750,000 customers all over the world. Oringer owns 55 percent of Shuttershock, or 18.5 million shares. As the company’s stock more than tripled since its IPO in 2012, Oringer’s stake is now worth $1 billion.

(via Madame Noire)


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