San Antonio, TX

The 10 billionaires who live in Austin

Ash Jurberg
David Suarez/Unsplash

Every year Forbes releases its lists of billionaires across the globe. This year 2,755 billionaires lucky people made this list. Plenty of them live in Texas - 57 in total.

Dallas/Fort Worth boasts 27 billionaires, followed by Houston with 17, Austin with 10, and San Antonio with 3.

Let's take a quick look at the ten billionaires who reside in Austin.

Elon Moves to Austin

Elon Musk grew up in South Africa before moving to Canada at age 17. In 2020, he moved his businesses to Austin and so is now considered an Austin resident. Musk was briefly the richest person in the world but currently sits 2nd behind Jeff Bezos. His net worth is $151 billion, up from 'just' $24 billion this time last year. His fortune comes from his electric car maker Tesla as well as his rocket producer business, SpaceX.

" I operate on the physics approach to analysis. You boil things down to the first principles or fundamental truths in a particular area and then you reason up from there." Elon Musk

The UT computer whiz

One man who has been in Austin a long time is Michael Dell. Long before many tech companies moved to Austin, Dell established his company Dell Computers in Austin back in 1984 while still studying at the University of Texas.

Dell is worth $45 billion, which places him at number 30 on the Global Billionaires list. He is known for his philanthropy - in 2017, he donated $1 billion to his foundation, which focuses on child poverty.

"I'm guilty of doing too much, and I'm guilty of not seeing mistakes coming. What I'm not guilty of is making the same mistake twice." Michael Dell

The vodka king

Coming in fourth is Bert "Tito" Beveridge, founder of the iconic Tito's craft vodka. Beveridge (who has the nest name for a drinks company) started Titos in 1997 with $90,000 borrowed using 19 credit cards. In the early days, he slept on floors and couches while he built the business. Now he has a net worth of $4.6 billion; his days of sleeping on floors are long behind him.

If someone tells me my brand isn't a craft-distilled spirit because it's too big, I just say, 'I make it the same way I've always made it. I just have a lot more stills.'" Bert Beverirdge

From Bangkok to Austin

Thai Lee is the CEO of IT provider SHI International, which has 20,000-plus customers, including Boeing and AT&T. She was born in Bangkok and moved to the US for high school. She bought SHI in 1989 for less than $1 million, an intelligent investment considering it nows has over $10.7 billion in sales. This has helped contribute to Thai's net worth of $3.2 billion.

"We have no executive parking. We don't have a special executive compensation plan. We try to make sure that everybody feels valued." Thai Lee

The youngest female unicorn

I wanted to quickly look at number 10 on the Austin Billionaire list- Whitney Wolfe Herd.

Whitney is the co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. Having worked at Tinder, Whitney left in controversial circumstances to form her own dating app- in which women make the first move. It has been an enormous success, and when Bumble Inc went public on February 11, 2021, she became the youngest self-made woman billionaire. She is now worth $1.3 billion.

It is a fantastic story of triumph over adversity and will hopefully inspire other female entrepreneurs.

"The power lunch is no longer just for men. We all deserve a seat at the table." Whitney Wolfe Herd

The other Austin billionaires

There are, of course, five other billionaires in Austin. They include:

  • Robert F. Smith, Founder of Vista Equity Partner, private equity company. Net Worth $6 billion.
  • Joseph Liemandt, Founder of ESW Capital, a software company. Net Worth $3 billion
  • John Paul DeJoria, founder of Patron Spirits and Hair Care Company John Paul Mitchell. Net Worth $2.7 billion
  • Jim Breyer, Founder, and CEO of Breyer Capital (and early investor in Facebook). Net Worth $2.5 billion
  • David Booth, Chairman and CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors. Net Worth, $1.8 billion

In 2020 the rich got richer.

Despite 2020 being a terrible year for most people, the billionaires' wealth on the Forbes list increased from 8 trillion to 13.1 trillion. That’s a whopping 63%. So in total, 86% of the people on this list are richer than they were this time last year. In addition, there was a new billionaire added every 17 hours — a total of 493 who didn't make the 2020 billionaires list.

While Austin has ten billionaires, it is a city outside the US that boasts the title of most billionaires. Beijing has more billionaires than any other city in the world, having overtaken New York City.

Let's hope more people from Austin make the 2022 list!

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