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Monday, August 25, 2008

The Next Generation of Billionaires

"Building a billion-dollar fortune. This group has an early start."

Michael and Xochi Birch [internet]

When Michael Birch met an American brunette named Xochi at a college bar in London, he wasn't just meeting his future wife; he was beginning a beautiful business partnership.

With Michael handling the programming and Xochi running the business side, the couple began building Web sites.

They founded Bebo in 2005.

They were two of the first people to sign up for the social-networking site, which now has 20 million members. The growing popularity drew the attention of media giants, and AOL shelled out $850 million for Bebo earlier this year. Michael and Xochi's cut? About $600 million.

Tiger Woods [sport - golf]
(Age: 32)

Earlier this summer Tiger Woods captured the U.S. Open despite a torn knee ligament. That accomplishment is just as impressive as the golf virtuoso's bank account.

Forbes estimates Woods will become a billionaire in 2011.

Where's all the money coming from?

Woods' extraordinary marketability.

He has earned more than $750 million from endorsement deals during his career--and he's only 32. Big companies paying for the Tiger brand name include Nike and Accenture.

Nishita Shah [family business]
(Age: 28)

"My dad said I could study anything I wanted as long as it was business," cracks the glamorous Nishita Shah.

All joking aside, a business degree from Boston University has come in handy for the Thailand resident. She's just 28 but is one of the richest people in Thailand because of her stake in the sprawling family business.

Last month we estimated her net worth at $375 million.

When the stunning heiress is not poring over financial reports or gracing the pages of Thai magazines, she's planning her upcoming fashion line.

Elon Musk [internet]
(Age: 37)

Musk pocketed $22 million at age 27 after selling the dot-com company Zip2.

He then co-founded PayPal, and when the online payment processor was sold to eBay, Musk received nearly $170 million in eBay stock.

At 37, Musk isn't splitting time between vacation homes but between a group of ambitious new businesses, including SpaceX, which aims to provide cheap, reliable space travel for clients such as governments and satellite companies.

Tyler Perry [entertainment]
(Age: 38)

Producer, director and actor Tyler Perry earned $125 million last year, the sixth highest payday on our most recent Celebrity 100 list.

The New Orleans native banked more than Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise and Bon Jovi combined, thanks to his three movies and the sale of his sitcom to TBS. Next up is a role in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek prequel.

Building a billion-dollar fortune in the entertainment business is extraordinarily rare but certainly not impossible, as evidenced by Steven Spielberg, worth an estimated $3 billion, and George Lucas, worth an estimated $3.9 billion.

Kenji Kasahara [internet]
(Age: 32)

If you're Japanese and online, you probably have an account with Mixi, Japan's leading portal and social-networking destination. It's also what makes Mixi creator Kenji Kasahara worth $740 million at just 32.

One of Kasahara's plans to keep the company growing is to tap into the Chinese market--just last month Mixi established a subsidiary in Shanghai.

"I want to create a service that enriches people's lives and changes the world with the power of the Internet," says Kasahara.

Roelof Botha [venture capitalist]
(Age: 34)

Botha, a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital, was one the first investors in YouTube. When the hit video Web site was sold to Google, Sequoia reaped a 65-fold return.

What did Botha see that others didn't?

The South African native says YouTube's founders "were always talking about ways to draw people in and make it better, not how they could tweak it so they could get a better acquisition price. That is a hallmark of all the great companies."

He sees more greatness in his latest round of investments, which include the instant messenger service Meebo and the Jawbone headset maker Aliph.

Chase Coleman [hedge fund]
(Age: 33)

This direct descendant of early New York Gov. Peter Stuyvesant learned from one of the best.

Coleman worked under billionaire Julian Robertson Jr. at Tiger Management. Robertson has an astounding track record of training rich-listers.

Other "Tiger Cubs" already on our list of the world's richest include Lee Ainslie III and Stephen Mandel. Coleman is well on his way to joining them.

According to Bloomberg, Coleman's fund, Tiger Global, returned over 70% after fees last year. Compare that with the 11% return that hedge funds averaged last year.

Coleman's amazing performance means a big paycheck: One estimate has him taking home up to $400 million.

Read the full article at FORBES.com

[All photos & article are belongs to their respective owner.]

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