It’s one thing to inherit a business and take it to new heights, but what’s really impressive is when an individual comes from nothing and makes a small fortune. These are the people who are truly inspiring, encapsulating the idea that anything is possible. Here are the billionaires who came from nothing.
JAN KOUM, CEO OF WHATSAPP
Net worth: $6.8 billion
Koum epitomises the rags to riches cliche. Upon arriving in American when he was sixteen, he and his family lived off food stamps, that is of course until he launched WhatsApp, which was an instant success. Earlier this year, it was sold to Facebook in a $19 billion deal, making Koum one very rich man.
RALPH LAUREN, FASHION DESIGNER AND BUSINESSMAN
Net worth: $7.7 billion
The legendary Ralph Lauren dropped out of college to join the army. It wasn’t until he worked at Brooks Brothers that he discovered his undying passion for menswear and he would later go on to form his iconic, eponymous brand.
FRANCOIS PINAULT, LUXURY GOOD ENTREPRENEUR
Net worth: $15 billion
Earlier in his lifetime, Pinault dropped out of high school due to receiving abuse for being poor. He would later go on to form PPR, a luxury brand that owns the likes of Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney. He’s also a majority shareholder of Christie’s.
GEORGE SOROS, INVESTOR
Net worth: $20 billion
Before he migrated to London, George Soros narrowly escaped the Nazi occupation of Hungary. He worked as a waiter, a railway porter and a souvenir shop worker in the UK before gaining a banking position in New York City. He later became known for his infamous bet against the British pound, which crashed the market and gifted him a billion dollars.