Who are the world’s youngest billionaires?
When most of us think back to our late teens and early twenties, becoming a millionaire, let alone a billionaire, is not one of the milestones we recall from that time. However, the same won’t be said for these individuals when they look back in years to come.
Following on from our list of 12 sustainable tech entrepreneurs making a difference, for this week’s Business Leader Top 12, we’ve looked at the world’s youngest billionaires*. However, if you feel that we’ve missed out a deserving individual, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be included in the list below.
This list is in no particular order.
*Estimated net worth correct at time of publishing.
Kevin David Lehmann, 18
Incredibly, German billionaire Kevin David Lehmann is just 18 years old, but is worth an astonishing £2.6bn. His father, Guenther Lehmann, is the owner of German drugstore chain drogerie markt and transferred a 50% stake of the company to Kevin when he was 14. However, this remained under a trusteeship until he turned 18 in September 2020 and officially became the world’s youngest billionaire!
Austin Russell, 26
At age 26 and with a net worth of £1.37bn, Austin Russell is doing ‘pretty’ well for himself, despite dropping out of Stanford University in 2012. Although, his reason for dropping out was because he received $100,000 from the Thiel Fellowship, a private foundation funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. The money from the fellowship was so Russell, now the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, could start Luminar Technologies, a company that makes sensors and other tech for autonomous vehicles, and he has since gone on to amass his fortune.
Andy Fang and Stanley Tang, both 28
Chinese-American Andy Fang and Hongkonger Stanley Tang are billionaire tech entrepreneurs worth £1.73bn and £1.58bn respectively. They cofounded food delivery app DoorDash back in 2013, and unlike many businesses that floundered under the effects of the pandemic, their business became more valuable than ever as ordering food online became more commonplace. Currently, DoorDash is the largest food delivery company in the US, with a 5% market share and nearly 4,000 employees.
Johnny Boufarhat, 26
In May 2021, Johnny Bouharfat became the UK’s youngest billionaire, with a net worth of £1.5bn. The creator of video conferencing app Hopin, Bouharfat first came up with the idea in his girlfriend’s bedroom back in 2018, after being bedridden with a mystery illness. Hopin allows conferences to be live-streamed over the internet, and Bouharfat managed to raise funding for it just before the first UK lockdown. Amazingly, the app now has more than five million users and is valued at £4.1bn.
Elisabeth Furtwaengler, 29
Elisabeth Furtwaengler is the daughter of German media mogul, Hubert Burda, who is the owner, publisher and general partner of Hubert Burda Media, a global media company that operates in 24 countries. Their 600+ media brands include Radio Times, the German edition of Playboy, magazine Bunte and XING, a Hamburg-based social networking site similar to LinkedIn. Furtwaengler inherited a 37.4% stake in her father’s company and is a currently on the board of directors. However, she also studied art history at Cambridge University and performs as a singer-songwriter under her stage name Lisa Fou.
Sam Bankman-Fried, 29
The wealthiest billionaire in the world under the age of 30, Sam Bankman-Friend is currently worth an astonishing £6.29bn. A BA Physics graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bankman-Fried is the founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and he also founded Alameda Research, a quantitative cryptocurrency exchange firm, where he manages £1.8bn worth of assets in 2017. Bankman-Fried is also notable for being an advocate of effective altruism, a philosophy centred around using one’s resources to help others.
Wang Zelong, 25
Wang became a billionaire after inheriting stakes in CNNC Hua Yuan Titanium Dioxide Co., a Chinese pigment manufacturing company. The company produces titanium dioxide pigment, which is a white pigment used in coatings, plastics and ink, and trades on the Shenzen Stock Exchange, one of the two stock exchanges that operate independently in mainland China. Zhelong’s net worth currently stands at an impressive £2.1bn.
Alexandra Andresen, 25, and Katharina Andresen, 26
The Andresen sisters are the daughters, and heirs, of Johan H. Andresen Jr., the owner of FERD AS, a Norwegian holding company with partial ownership of various companies in industry and finance and an extensive property portfolio. After each sister inherited a 42% stake in the company in 2007, they became child millionaires, before the younger sister, Alexandra, became the world’s youngest billionaire at aged 19 in 2016.
Johnathan Kwok, 29
The younger son of the late Walter Kwok (d. 2018), former chairman of Hong Kong’s largest property developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Johnathan Kwok has an estimated net worth of £1.66bn. Kwok and his older brother, Geoffrey, 35, both inherited a portion of their father’s stake in Sun Hung Kai Properties, the company their father left after being ousted as chairman in 2008 during a fued with his two brothers. After their father’s death, they also took over Empire Group Holdings, the property developer Walter Kwok started after leaving Sun Hung Kai Properties.
Gustav Magnar Witzøe, 28
Norwegian billionaire Gustav Magnar Witzøe is one of the richest people on this list, with an impressive net worth of £3bn. He was a gifted a 47% stake in SalMar Asa, a Norwegian salmon producer that was founded by his father back in 1991. The gifting of such a large stake was allegedly done to avoid a large tax bill, although Magnar Witzøe is also a technology start-up and property investor, previously working for MGM property, a real estate investment trust based in Nevada, US. He’s also a model.
Lady Charlotte Wellesley, 30
With an estimated net worth of £2.4bn, Lady Charlotte Wellesley is not only one of the wealthiest people in the UK, but she’s also one of the youngest billionaires. The daughter of Charles Wellesley, the 9th Duke of Wellington, she is a descendant of Queen Victoria and the great-granddaughter of former German Emperor Wilhelm II. An Oxford graduate in archaeology and anthropology, she became a billionaire after marrying Colombian-American financier Alejandro Santo Domingo in 2016, and has consistently featured in the annual Sunday Times Rich List since.
John Collison, 31
Irish entrepreneur Collison became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in 2016 and is currently worth an incredible £6.87bn. He is the co-founder and President of Stripe, an Irish-American financial services and software as a service (SaaS) company, which he co-founded with his older brother Patrick in 2009. Collison sold software company Auctomatic for $5m in 2008 when he was just 17, and he is also a pilot and pianist.