Youngest billionaires in America

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April 20, 2021
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Youngest billionaires in America

While the wealth gap between rich and poor was growing before the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession it caused, the last year has been a boon for the world's wealthy. Most billionaires added more billions to their personal fortunes, potentially increasing the equality gap even more.

While the world's working poor dream of economic stability, the 50 people on this list of the youngest billionaires have it in spades. The oldest billionaire comes in at 47, while the youngest, who was born in 1995, is only 26. Stacker compiled net worth data from Forbes' Real-Time Billionaires List as of March 17, 2021. The list is in real-time, and any ties in age were broken by net worth.

Included are those who received their billions as heirs to family fortunes, as well as those who are self-made—though even many of the world's "self-made" wealthy start with many advantages in life, including start-up funds from family. Fortunes come from tech companies including WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook, though technology isn’t the only way to strike it rich. Others have made their money through hedge funds, retail, and even by creating a burger that relies upon the simplest recipe and ingredients.

While many came from backgrounds that allowed opportunities only afforded to those with money, others came from more humble beginnings. Some immigrated from other countries seeking opportunity, while others were born to single parents who struggled to provide for them. While several billionaires on the list attended and graduated from top-notch colleges, including the Ivies, others never went to college or dropped out, sometimes to pursue the ideas that made them rich. 

Readers will also notice that women are glaringly few in numbers on this list, pointing to the continuing discrimination and sexism they face in the boardrooms where billionaires are often minted, and the broader inequality in access to capital frequently necessary to turn a good idea into big money. 

Many of the billionaires on the list are well known, others are less obvious. Curious to see if you can guess who the youngest billionaire is? It may be a snap to figure it out, or you may really have to think about it. Continue reading to find out who made the exclusive and enviable list.

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Kimberly White // Getty Images

#50. Ben Chestnut

- Age: 47
- Net worth: $3.0 billion (#988 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: email marketing

Georgia born and bred CEO and co-founder of email marketing giant, Mailchimp, Ben Chestnut learned about business from his mom. The company that started off as a side gig has grown into a multi-billion dollar business without the help of outside investors, and both Chestnut and his partner Dan Kurzius hold 50% ownership.

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#49. John Arnold

- Age: 47
- Net worth: $3.3 billion (#927 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: hedge funds

Once a successful energy trader, John Arnold reportedly earned Enron $750 million in the year the company went bankrupt. Arnold went on to build hedge fund company Centaurus Advisors and shocked the industry when he retired from hedge fund management at 38. He currently runs Arnold Ventures LLC with his wife, Laura.

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#48. Niraj Shah

- Age: 47
- Net worth: $3.9 billion (#752 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: online retail

CEO and co-founder of Wayfair Niraj Shah is the son of Indian immigrants and was born in Massachusetts. He met his business partner Steve Conine when the two studied together at Cornell University. Shah currently sits on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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#47. Nicholas Woodman

- Age: 46
- Net worth: $1.1 billion (#2,309 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: GoPro

Nicholas Woodman founded GoPro in 2002 with the help of his mom’s drill and sewing machine, which he used to make a prototype. The GoPro CEO peddled the wearable video camera on QVC in its early days. GoPro went public on June 26, 2014, and made his mother, father, and two sisters millionaires.

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#46. Chris Sacca

- Age: 46
- Net worth: $1.2 billion (#2,197 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: venture capital investing

Venture capitalist Chris Sacca acquired his fortune by making smart and early investments in companies like Twitter, Instagram, and Uber through his company Lowercase Capital. Sacca has also worked at Google and as an attorney at Fenwick & West. Known for his appearance on the television show “Shark Tank” and wearing cowboy shirts, Sacca attended Georgetown University.

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#45. Max Levchin

- Age: 46
- Net worth: $2.0 billion (#1,512 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: fintech

Once a co-founder of PayPal, Max Levchin owns 27.5 million shares in online lender Affirm, as the company’s founder and CEO. Levchin is also considered a member of the PayPal Mafia, a group of 23 entrepreneurs that were essential in the early days of PayPal, and who have gone on to have a major impact in Silicon Valley.

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BEST-BACKGROUNDS // Shutterstock

#44. Jeffrey Talpins

- Age: 46
- Net worth: $2.1 billion (#1,448 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: hedge fund

Jeffrey Talpins is the founder and chief investment officer of Element Capital Management, a hedge fund company focusing on macro trading. The company often boasts annualized returns topping 20%. Talpin attended Yale University and worked as a trader at both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs prior to founding Element Capital.

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#43. Chase Coleman III

- Age: 46
- Net worth: $10.3 billion (#215 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: investments

While Chase Coleman III started out as a hedge fund investor, it was his company, Tiger Global Management, that made him a billionaire. The son of an attorney and an interior designer, Coleman grew up in Long Island and attended an elite boarding school. Coleman was entrusted with $25 million by investment legend Julian Robertson who ran Tiger Management.

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#42. Travis Kalanick

- Age: 45
- Net worth: $2.8 billion (#1,132 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Uber

As a teen growing up in Northridge, California, Travis Kalanick went door to door selling Cutco knives and started his first company. Before co-founding Uber in 2009, Kalanick co-founded tech startups Scour and RedSwoosh, which he sold for $23 million. In January 2018, he became a billionaire, but in December 2019, he stepped down from Uber’s board of directors and severed all ties with the company.

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#41. Behdad Eghbali

- Age: 45
- Net worth: $2.9 billion (#1,049 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: private equity

Iranian-born Behdad Eghbali is the co-founder and managing partner at Clearlake Capital. The private equity firm oversees $10 billion and has a history of scoring stellar returns. In January 2020, Eghbali purchased a home in Brentwood, California for $21 million only months after Forbes declared him a billionaire.

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Manuel Blondeau - Corbis // Getty Images

#40. Jan Koum

- Age: 45
- Net worth: $10.0 billion (#226 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: WhatsApp

Born in Ukraine, Jan Koum immigrated to the United States with his mother in search of a better life at age 16. The co-founder and former CEO of WhatsApp, became a billionaire when Facebook purchased the mobile messaging app in 2014 for $19 billion. When Koum left Yahoo in 2007, he applied to Facebook and Twitter, both of whom turned him down, which led to him starting WhatsApp.

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#39. Jack Dorsey

- Age: 45
- Net worth: $13.6 billion (#157 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Twitter, Square

Jack Dorsey co-founded Square and Twitter, though it is the latter that made him a billionaire. Within hours of Twitter going public in November 2013, Dorsey was a billionaire. Though Dorsey attended both Missouri University of Science and Technology and NYU, he never finished college.

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#38. Kanye West

- Age: 44
- Net worth: $1.3 billion (#2,090 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: music, sneakers

Forbes finally declared Kanye West an official billionaire in April 2020. The majority of the rapper and entrepreneur’s fortune comes from his streetwear brand, Yeezy. Though West owns 100% of the brand, he has deals with both Adidas and Gap.

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Sportsfile // Getty Images

#37. Jeff Lawson

- Age: 44
- Net worth: $2.4 billion (#1,281 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: software

Jeff Lawson is the co-founder and CEO of the cloud communications platform Twilio. While a student at the University of Michigan, Lawson launched his first internet startup. Though Lawson didn’t make any money from it, he found it to be a valuable learning experience.

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#36. Alejandro Santo Domingo

- Age: 44
- Net worth: $2.9 billion (#1,032 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: beer

While Alejandro Santo Domingo works at New York investment advisory firm Quadrant Capital Advisors as a senior managing director, his fortune comes from his family. His father, Julio Mario Santo Domingo, passed down the 15% stake he had in SABMiller, a business division of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, to his sons and grandchildren upon his death in 2011. Santo Domingo holds a 1.75% stake in the family beer fortune.

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#35. Jeff Green

- Age: 44
- Net worth: $4.2 billion (#676 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: online advertising

Chairman and CEO of The Trade Desk, Jeff Green attended USC where he studied marketing communications. Prior to founding The Trade Desk, Green founded AdECN in 2004. The company, an online advertising exchange, was acquired by Microsoft in 2007.

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#34. Ryan Smith

- Age: 43
- Net worth: $1.5 billion (#1,905 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: cloud computing

Acquired by SAP, a German software company, for $8 billion in cash just days before the scheduled IPO, Qualtrics made its co-founder and CEO, Ryan Smith, a billionaire. The sale of the cloud-computing company also made fellow co-founders, Jared Smith and Scott Smith, Ryan Smith’s brother, and father, respectively, millionaires as well.

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#33. Andres Santo Domingo

- Age: 43
- Net worth: $1.8 billion (#1,688 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: beer

Brother to Alejandro Santo Domingo and son to Julio Mario Santo Domingo, the majority of Andres fortune is in Anheuser-Busch InBev, which acquired SABMiller in 2016 for $100 billion. Santo Domingo was educated at Brown University, and while his family fortune comes from the beer industry, he has a passion for music. In 2002, he co-founded record label Kemado Records.

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#32. Bom Kim

- Age: 43
- Net worth: $7.7 billion (#324 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: online retailing

While Bom Kim was born in South Korea, he was raised in America and attended Harvard Business school, though he dropped out after only six months. Kim’s company Coupang has been referred to as the South Korean version of Amazon, and it has given the American company a run for its money. The company raised $4.6 billion and was valued at $109 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, the biggest IPO to date in 2021.

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#31. Robert Pera

- Age: 43
- Net worth: $19.3 billion (#91 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: wireless networking gear

Robert Pera began working at Apple in 2003, and by 2005 was working full-time at Ubiquiti Networks, a wireless equipment maker that he founded. In 2012, he also became one of the youngest controlling owners in the NBA after purchasing the Memphis Grizzlies.

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#30. John Bicket

- Age: 41
- Net worth: $1.1 billion (#2,265 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: sensor systems

Currently the co-founder and chief technology officer of Samsara, John Bicket was the co-founder of Meraki. The company came out of research Bicket did while a Ph.D. student at MIT. Cisco acquired Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash, though it is actually Samsara that made Bricket a billionaire.

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#29. Orion Hindawi

- Age: 41
- Net worth: $2.0 billion (#1,509 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: software

Orion Hindawi followed in his father’s footsteps by attending the University of California, Berkeley, though he dropped out. He and his father, David, co-founded Tanium, a cybersecurity firm, in 2007. After a $150 million financing round in October 2020, the company’s valuation was more than $9 billion.

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#28. Joe Gebbia

- Age: 40
- Net worth: $13.6 billion (#156 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Airbnb

Joe Gebbia co-founded Airbnb in 2008 with business partners Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky. Airbnb’s humble beginning was in Gebbia’s San Francisco apartment. The company now offers more than 5.6 million accommodations across more than 220 countries and regions.

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Kurt Krieger/Corbis // Getty Images

#27. Brian Chesky

- Age: 40
- Net worth: $15.0 billion (#134 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Airbnb

Co-founder and CEO of lodging rental giant Airbnb Brian Chesky attended Rhode Island School of Design. In December 2020, the company’s valuation jumped past $100 billion in its U.S. initial public offering.

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#26. Sanjit Biswas

- Age: 39
- Net worth: $1.1 billion (#2,265 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: sensor systems

Sanjit Biswas holds degrees from Stanford and MIT and is the co-founder of Meraki and Samsara, though it is the latter that made him a billionaire. Biswas is the CEO of San Francisco-based Samsara.

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Raquel Baranow // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Trevor Milton

- Age: 39
- Net worth: $1.5 billion (#1,898 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: electric vehicles

Founder and executive chairman of Nikola Motor Company Trevor Milton dropped out of college after just one semester. Not only did Milton drop out of college, but he also dropped out of high school, though he went on to get his GED. His company produces electric- and hydrogen-powered, zero-emission semi trucks and made Milton a multibillionaire after the June 2020 IPO.

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MediaNews Group/Orange County Register // Getty Images

#24. Lynsi Snyder

- Age: 39
- Net worth: $3.6 billion (#827 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: In-N-Out Burger

Lynsi Snyder’s grandparents founded the iconic West Coast burger joint In-N-Out Burger in 1948. Snyder, the company’s president, became a billionaire on her 35th birthday and was the youngest woman on The Forbes 400 in 2018. The nostalgic draw of the chain comes in part because the recipe for its staple items, burgers and fries, remains almost the same as it did more than 70 years ago.

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#23. Ben Silbermann

- Age: 39
- Net worth: $4.1 billion (#699 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Pinterest

Co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann grew up in Iowa and attended Yale. Silbermann worked at Google and tried out several product ideas, including iPhone apps, before hitting it big with the money-making Pinterest.

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shinobi // Shutterstock

#22. Scott Duncan

- Age: 39
- Net worth: $6.0 billion (#453 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: pipelines

Scott Duncan is the heir to his family fortune. His father, Dan Duncan, founded the pipeline firm Enterprise Products Partners, and left Scott and his three siblings a stake in the company when he died in 2010. The company went public in 1998, and from the time of the IPO until Dec. 31, 2020, the company's asset base increased from $715 million to more than $64 billion.

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#21. Ernest Garcia III

- Age: 39
- Net worth: $7.8 billion (#315 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: used cars

Ernest Garcia III started his ecommerce platform, Carvana, as a subsidiary of DriveTime Automotive, one of the largest used car dealerships in the United States, run by his father, Ernest Garcia II. Garcia’s father is still the company’s largest shareholder, which also makes him a multibillionaire.

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#20. Ryan Graves

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $1.3 billion (#2,133 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Uber

In 2010, Ryan Graves was the first employee hired by Uber, the ride service that took the world by storm, and what a ride it has been. While he resigned from the company in 2017, after serving in a variety of positions, Graves still remains an Uber board member, and owns 2% of its shares.

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Vivien Killilea // Getty Images

#19. Kevin Systrom

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $2.0 billion (#1,548 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Instagram

Facebook purchased Instagram, the picture-sharing social media app Kevin Systrom co-founded in 2012, for a cool billion in cash and stock. Systrom’s time at Stanford University may have inspired the idea for Instagram—he built a site for photo sharing for his fraternity brothers.

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Handout // Getty Images

#18. Drew Houston

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $2.1 billion (#1,493 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: cloud storage service

Not only is Drew Houston the co-founder and CEO of online backup and storage service Dropbox, but he is also the company’s largest shareholder, with more than 20% ownership. In February 2020, Houston was appointed to social media giant Facebook’s board of directors.

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PATRICK T. FALLON // Getty Images

#17. Jared Isaacman

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $2.6 billion (#1,200 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: payment processing

As founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, Jared Isaacman owns 38% of the company’s shares. The payment processing firm was not Isaacman’s first venture, though. Draken International, a defense firm he founded in 2011, earned him a nine-figure sum when he sold a majority stake in the company in 2019 to Blackstone, a Wall Street firm.

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Phillip Faraone // Getty Images

#16. RJ Scaringe

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $3.4 billion (#891 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: electric vehicles

With a doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT, RJ Scaringe founded electric car company Rivian Automotive in 2009. Scaringe’s dream of a zero-carbon future made him a billionaire, though the company’s first vehicle won’t be available until the summer of 2021.

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Steve Jennings // Getty Images

#15. Brian Armstrong

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $6.5 billion (#401 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: cryptocurrency

Brian Armstrong’s cryptocurrency business Coinbase was valued at an estimated $68 billion in March 2021, prior to the expectation of a direct listing on the NASDAQ. Achieving billionaire status led Armstrong to philanthropy. In December 2018, he even signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate much of his fortune to philanthropic causes.

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#14. Nathan Blecharczyk

- Age: 38
- Net worth: $13.6 billion (#155 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Airbnb

Nathan Blecharczyk’s sizable fortune is a direct result of co-founding the lodging site Airbnb. Also the company’s chief strategy officer and first engineer, Blecharczyk serves as chairman of Airbnb China. In October 2019, Blecharczyk gifted his alma mater, Boston Latin Academy, $1 million, with a promise to match any other donations to the school of up to $1 million.

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Steve Jennings // Getty Images for TechCrunch

#13. Baiju Bhatt

- Age: 37
- Net worth: $1.0 billion (#2,329 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: stock trading app

An Indian-American billionaire, Baiju Bhatt is the co-founder of Robinhood, a commission-free stock trading and investing app that filed for an initial public offering on March 23, 2021. He attended Stanford University, which is where he met fellow Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev, who was his roommate at the prestigious college.

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Noam Galai // Getty Images for TechCrunch

#12. Tony Xu

- Age: 37
- Net worth: $2.4 billion (#1,284 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: food delivery service

In 2013, Tony Xu co-founded DoorDash with Evan Moore, Andy Fang, and Stanley Tang, and in December 2020, the company’s IPO made Xu a billionaire. The Stanford graduate is the son of Chinese immigrants. Xu was just 5 years old when his parents immigrated from Nanjing to the U.S. in 1989.

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#11. Dustin Moskovitz

- Age: 37
- Net worth: $18.8 billion (#98 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Facebook

In 2004, Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from their dorm room at Harvard. Leaving Facebook in 2008, Moskovitz co-founded the workflow software company Asana, though most of his wealth comes from Facebook. He still holds an estimated 2% stake in the company.

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#10. Mark Zuckerberg

- Age: 37
- Net worth: $102.2 billion (#5 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is the most well-known and wealthiest of the men who co-founded Facebook. Ranking #7 on Forbes 2020 Ten Richest People in the World, Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard when he launched the social media site that would change the world and eventually make him a billionaire at 23.

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Kimberly White // Getty Images

#9. Arash Ferdowsi

- Age: 36
- Net worth: $1.0 billion (#2,340 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: online file storage

Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi launched the file sharing and storage service as a student at MIT. He owns close to a 10% stake in the company. Ferdowsi wrote about being the son of immigrant parents and acknowledged how hard his parents worked and how supportive they were of his pursuits.

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#8. Lukas Walton

- Age: 35
- Net worth: $16.0 billion (#120 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Walmart

Lukas Walton is a member of one of the wealthiest families in the United States. His grandfather, Sam Walton, founded mega superstore Walmart. Walton acquired his fortune under tragic circumstances when his father, John Walton, died in a 2005 plane crash.

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Noam Galai // Getty Images for TechCrunch

#7. Vlad Tenev

- Age: 34
- Net worth: $1.0 billion (#2,329 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: stock trading

Co-founder of Robinhood, the commission-free stock trading app, Vlad Tenev was born in Bulgaria and raised in Washington, D.C. His rise to billionaire has not been without its problems, including many wondering whether Robinhood has gamified trading, making it dangerous.

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Drew Angerer // Getty Images

#6. Bobby Murphy

- Age: 33
- Net worth: $12.7 billion (#172 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Snapchat

Co-founder and chief technology officer of Snap Inc., Bobby Murphy came up with the idea for the social media app Snapchat with his fraternity brothers Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown when the trio attended Stanford University. While Murphy’s billions come from Snapchat, he has invested millions in Southern California real estate.

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Jerod Harris // Getty Images for Fortune

#5. Whitney Wolfe Herd

- Age: 32
- Net worth: $1.5 billion (#1,925 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: dating app

Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder and CEO of social and dating app Bumble. The app is different from other dating apps because it is up to women to make the first move. Wolfe Herd left Tinder and launched Bumble in 2014.

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Steve Jennings // Getty Images

#4. Evan Spiegel

- Age: 31
- Net worth: $11.8 billion (#182 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: Snapchat

The youngest billionaire on the list and the flashier co-founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel married supermodel Miranda Kerr in 2017. Spiegel dropped out of Stanford to start Snapchat, though he finally graduated from the illustrious university in 2018 with a degree in product design. Both he and fellow Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy own an estimated 18% of the company, where he serves as the CEO.

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#2. Andy Fang (tie)

- Age: 29
- Net worth: $1.7 billion (#1,723 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: food delivery app

Not only is Andy Fang a co-founder of DoorDash, but he is also the company’s head of consumer engineering. His 4% stake in the food delivery app made him a billionaire in December 2020.

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Michael M. Santiago // Getty Images

#2. Stanley Tang (tie)

- Age: 29
- Net worth: $1.7 billion (#1,732 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: food delivery app

The head of labs at DoorDash, Stanley Tang is also one of the four co-founders. Within days of going public in December 2020, DoorDash shares soared to $189, making Tang a billionaire, along with fellow co-founders Tony Xu and Andy Fang. Evan Moore, the fourth co-founder, only remained with DoorDash for a short period of time.

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JHVEPhoto // Shutterstock

#1. Austin Russell

- Age: 26
- Net worth: $2.8 billion (#1,083 Forbes rank)
- Source of wealth: sensors

The youngest billionaire on the list dropped out of Stanford after receiving a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship. Austin Russell also came up with the idea for his company Luminar while studying at the prestigious university when he was just 17 years old. Russell’s automotive sensor company, Luminar Technologies, made him a billionaire at the ripe old age of 25.

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