Being a Geek pays! A run down of the top 30 Geeks (who happen to be millionaires, too!)

So here we have it, the lowdown on the 30 richest kids who use their brains to get what they want. You will not find any selfies on Instagram from these guys – this is what’s it all about, making the most of what you have got.

Here goes!


1. Michael Moritz & Harriet Heyman
1,125 million
Venture capital
A Welshman of humble beginnings, Michael Moritz is one of the most influential men in Silicon Valley. He is considered one of a handful of “Super VCs” – an elite group of investors who have repeatedly bet on technology start-ups, with many going on to enjoy multibillion-dollar paydays. Moritz’s father fled Nazi Germany as a teenager and the family settled in Cardiff. Moritz said recently he went “to an ordinary comprehensive school, and was the only pupil in my year to go to Oxbridge”. After being a journalist for Time magazine, Moritz joined Sequoia Capital, a leading venture capital firm, as a partner in 1986. He was among the earliest backers of Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, PayPal and many more. When these companies made it big, he too benefited, making a fortune of more than 1 billion. His biggest miss was Facebook. He declined to invest in the social network after a young Mark Zuckerberg showed up late to a funding pitch dressed in pyjamas. Moritz lives in San Francisco with his wife, Harriet Heyman, the American novelist, and his two children but retains his British roots and is a Manchester United fan. He is the chairman of Sequoia but is no longer involved in its day-to-day operations after announcing last year he has been diagnosed with an incurable, but manageable, medical condition. Since the diagnosis, he has turned his focus to philanthropy. In July 2012, he donated 75 million to the University of Oxford to fund a scholarship programme aimed at students from low-income families.

2. Sir Terry Matthews
1,122 million
High-tech communications
A serial entrepreneur, Sir Terry was Wales’s first billionaire. As a young man, he travelled to Canada, where he stayed after landing a job. There, he borrowed 1,800 to start a company called Mitel, a huge success. It offered the first push-button tone phones, which replaced phones with dials. Later bets on technologies such as broadband internet have paid well. He has helped to establish about 80 companies, mostly in high-tech communications. He also owns the Celtic Manor Resort in his home town of Newport.

3. Niklas Zennström
785 million
Investor, internet
The Swedish technology entrepreneur is best known as the co-founder of Skype, the video-chatting system that was bought in 2011 by Microsoft in a deal worth 5.4 billion. He is also behind other high-profile tech outfits, such as Kazaa, a music-sharing site and Joost, an internet TV service. Today, Zennström is the chief executive of Atomico, a technology venture capital firm that has invested in some of most talked-about technology start-ups of the moment. This includes Hailo, the taxi app service, and Jawbone, the portable speaker company. He has set up home in London, where he lives with his wife. A lover of skiing and modern art, he is also a keen yachtsman.

4. Simon Nixon
733 million
The University of Nottingham drop-out founded, the price comparison website, in 1999. After a stint as the company’s chief executive, he became its deputy chairman in 2009. He is understood to own just under 50 per cent of the company, which became a billion-pound business for the first time in February after its share price climbed to an all time high.


5. Mark Getty and family
650 million
Photography, new tech, inherited wealth
The grandson of an oil magnate and son of a billionaire philanthropist, Mark Getty made his own fortune through Getty Images, the world’s biggest photo library. It was sold to the private equity company Hellman & Friedman in a deal worth 1.2 billion. Getty was also one of the owners of Hawk-Eye Innovations, the ball-tracking system that has secured a deal to supply goal-line technology to Premier League football matches. Hawk-Eye was sold to Sony for about 15 million in 2011. Getty lives at his family’s estate in Wormsley Park, Bucks,home to an opera house and cricket ground.

6. Sir Peter Rigby
550 million
As the owner of Specialist Computer Centres, Sir Peter, 69, controls the largest privately owned technology company in Europe. With just 2,000, he launched his first Specialist Computers business in 1975. Today, the company says its turnover is worth 2.75 billion. An aviation enthusiast, he also bought and turned around the ailing Coventry Airport.

7=. Andrey Andreev
500 million
Brits may not have heard of it, but Badoo is one of the world’s largest social networks, the dating site of choice in Latin America and parts of Europe. The company, thought to be worth well over 1 billion, is run from offices in Soho in London. Its founder, Andrey Andreev, 39, a media-shy Russian entrepreneur, set up Russian businesses such as SpyLog, Begun and Mamba before moving to the UK. Living in London allows him to indulge his love of food. He is fond of cooking, and at the Michelin-star L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden, there is a dish named after him called L’oignon doux – “Sweet onion soup ‘Andreï style'”. It came about after Andreev worked in the kitchen with head chef Olivier Limousin as a weekend hobby. He told Wired magazine: “I’m not sure if it was a joke, but when they got their second Michelin star, Olivier said it was because of my soup.”

7=. Kevin Cash
500 million
Internet, property
A property mogul, Kevin Cash, 49, became a millionaire in his twenties after buying up prime real estate in London. The Birmingham native also invested in a number of internet firms in the 1990s. Cash set up the Bluestar property group, which buys and sells London residences. His family trusts own property in South Africa, a Jacobean estate in Oxfordshire and student properties in the UK.

9. Mike Lynch
480 million
After founding Autonomy in 1996, Mike Lynch famously said: “No one needs a billion pounds.” Just as well, as the value of his company plummeted when the dot-com bubble burst. He stuck at it though, and sold the Cambridge-based software company to Hewlett-Packard in 2011 for $11 billion ( 6.7 billion), the biggest ever deal for a British technology company. That deal has gone sour. Lynch left HP and, in November last year, the American company accused Autonomy’s former management team of duping it into paying over the odds. HP said it would write down $8.8 billion as a result of the alleged impropriety, $5 billion of which relates to its adjusted valuation of Autonomy. US and British authorities have launched investigations into the matter. Lynch has denied the allegations. Regardless, he remains a towering figure in Britain’s technology sector. In February, he announced he has set up a $1 billion fund to invest in British technology companies. Software companies that are just starting out can look at this and see what they could aspire to if they push at it and utilize the correct ‘equipment’ to make sure they are constantly plowing away. For instance, using companies such as FastSpring to help people buy their software is one way to ensure safety, security, and compliance as they sell what they need to.

Mike Lynch

10. Peter Wilkinson
335 million
Peter Wilkinson has spent 30 years at the forefront of Britain’s technology sector. As a student, he was quick to spot money-making opportunities. He employed five classmates and took over the school’s hobs to make and sell chips to fellow pupils. He started his working life as a programmer but also started businesses in the Eighties. He made his fortune first with 40 million from the sale of the Freeserve internet service provider and 27.6 million from Planet Online. Sales of two football sites to BSkyB netted him a further 89 million.

11. Jan Mol
331 million
IT, Formula One
A Dutch computer tycoon based in London, Jan Mol sold his IT company, Volmac in the early Nineties to Capgemini. Since then, he has invested in a number of ventures run by his son, Michiel, an internet entrepreneur in Amsterdam. Mol and his son are co-owners of the Force India F1 team. He is also the main sponsor of the Howard Staunton chess tournament, held every summer in London.

12. Michael and Xochi Birch
270 million
The husband and wife team are best known for setting up Bebo, the social networking company they sold to AOL for $850 million in 2008. They met in London while working as computer programmers, and quit their jobs to set up the internet start-up. They remortgaged their home twice to fund the venture. The risk paid off after the company was sold, earning the couple $595 million. Bebo quickly foundered, and AOL sold it two years later for about $10 million. The Birchs are prominent supporters of the not-for-profit charity:water and have given $4 million to the organisation.

13. Daniel Ek
250 million
Daniel Ek, 29, has been described as “the most important man in music”. A co-founder of the music streaming service Spotify, he can be seen as an entrepreneur first and a technologist second – more Richard Branson than Mark Zuckerberg. The Swede started his first company at 14 and has been starting businesses ever since. He was a key player behind the fashion and entertainment network Stardoll and founded Advertigo, an advertising company acquired by TradeDoubler. By 23, he was a self-made millionaire with an apartment in central Stockholm and a cherry-red Ferrari Modena. Still, he was discontented. Eventually, took on an idea that married his two loves – music and technology. So he created Spotify, which allows people to access millions of tracks over the internet or on their mobiles. In December, Spotify said it had reached five million paying subscribers across the world and the company has been valued at about $3 billion. Still, some doubt its business model can turn substantial profits because record labels and music companies take hefty fees to feature their music on the service.

Daniel Ek

13=. Sir Peter Ogden
250 million
Sir Peter, 65, co-founded Computacenter, the computer hardware and services group. He was born in Rochdale, studied at a local grammar school and eventually gained a PhD in Theoretical Physics. His early career was with investment banks, but he started Computacenter in 1981. The company made its stockmarket debut in 1998, with Ogden’s stake in the company alone worth around 150 million. He also owns stakes in other software companies, as well as the MSV motor-racing circuits business.

13=. Charlie Sharland
250 million
Charlie Sharland is chairman and a co-founder of AppSense, a software company. He has big plans for it, recently accepting an entrepreneurship award by giving a two-line speech: “We are the leader in our field. We have an opportunity to be a $1 billion business and we are going to get there.” Since Autonomy was bought by HP, Appsense is seen as the standard bearer for the British software industry. The company is believed to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, with Sharland having a share of around 60 per cent.

16=. Jonathan Klein
200 million
The co-founder and chief executive of Getty Images has come off a year in which his company was the official photographic agency for the London Olympics. The company has also begun shooting in 3-D and increased its expertise in digital imaging. When a private equity firm took over Getty in 2008, in a deal worth 1.2 billion, Klein, a Cambridge-educated Briton, stayed on.

16=. Jonathan Reeves
200 million
Reeves, 53, was born in Dorset but is now based in the US, where he has had a distinguished career with a number of technology companies. He sold his first networking firm, Sahara Networks, for $212 million in 1997. In 2000, he sold Sirocco Systems for $2.9 billion. He is currently the chairman and chief strategy officer for AFORE Solutions, a Canadian technology company.

16=. Neil Taylor and family
200 million
Computer games, property, investment
Neil Taylor, 52, a former plastics engineer, was a co-founder of the Game computer games stores in 1990. When the company floated eight years later, he, along with brothers Carey and Chris, made 33 million. He made a further 15 million when Game was sold a year later. In March 2012, the company went into administration because of grave financial troubles but Taylor and his brothers have increased their wealth through building investment and property portfolios.

19. Graham Wylie
185 million
Graham Wylie, a Geordie whose father was a coal miner, co-founded the Sage software business while studying at Newcastle University. A decade ago, he made about 123 million from the sale of about 5 per cent of the company and is now the chairman and a co-founder of Technology Services Group. He is keen on horse racing and his horses have had success on the track. In 2000, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer but has recovered and says it helped him to focus on friends, family and fun.

20. Peter Harrison and family
179 million
Peter Harrison was born in Cheadle, Cheshire. After leaving school at 16, he worked in British industry before buying Chernikeeff, a computer network company, in 1978 for 133,000. Two decades later, he sold it over the course of two separate deals for a total of 300 million. Today, as a trustee of a charitable foundation that bears his name, he has distributed about 20 million to worthy not-for-profit groups.


21. Neil Hutchinson
178 million
In 2003, Neil Hutchinson, typed “make money online” into a search engine. He found an e-book called Google Cash, which told him how “affiliate marketing” worked. This is how companies use Google and other internet sites to sell advertising. It was the start of the former web designer’s fortune. He built the online ads business TrafficBroker, based in Camden, London. The 35-year-old says he enjoys tennis, sushi and is a fan of reggae. He once set up an award-winning site dedicated to Bob Marley.

22. Mark Shuttleworth
160 million
Shuttleworth is an internet entrepreneur with dual citizenship in Britain and South Africa. Best known for having gone with Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station in 2002, he founded the free computer operating system Ubuntu. He made his first millions by starting Thawte Consulting, an internet security company, in his mother’s garage in Cape Town. He sold it later for 400 million.

23. Philip Hulme
154 million
Philip Hulme, 64, co-founded the computer company Computacenter with Sir Peter Ogden in 1981. He worked at the company until 2001, when he stepped down as executive chairman. His wealth stems from his stake in the company, as well as shares in Dealogic, a software company of which he is a director.

24. Ben and Jos White
151 million
Venture capital, internet, software
The White brothers, who are based in Cheltenham, run Notion Capital, a venture capital firm focused on software and cloud internet companies. They first made their fortune by getting 35 million from the sale of their first business, RBR Networks. Later, they sold their stake in MessageLabs for 104 million.

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