A Decade of Unicorn IPOs and Billionaire Power

  • The 2010s was the decade of the unicorn startup and the billionaire. The number of billionaires more than tripled. One became president.
  • Here are some of the biggest names over the last ten years – and how these billionaires used their money to remake the world.
  • Plus a look at the unicorns of the decade, privately held companies worth a billion dollars or more.

Billionaire Club Boomed Over the Last Decade

The number of billionaires in the world exploded more than threefold in the 2010s. At the start of the decade there were 793 billionaires by Forbes’ count. In 2019 there were 2,604 billionaires in the world, according to the Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019.

They made their fortunes off of everything: comic book super heroes, electric cars, social media, make up, cryptocurrency, hip hop, ride sharing, and slimming undergarments.

The United States is home to most of the world’s billionaires. With 705 people who have three commas in their net worth, the U.S. has more billionaires than the next five countries combined. Their combined net worth exceeds that of the next eight countries combined.

San Francisco has the highest metro concentration of billionaires – one out of every 11,600 residents – followed by New York City, Dubai, and Hong Kong.

New Billionaires of the Last Decade

Former Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter led the march in 2010 after selling the comic book franchise to Disney for $4 billion. He’s donated $50 million to cancer research.

Facebook minted a number of three comma magnates in the last ten years. Founder Mark Zuckerberg joined the Forbes list in 2008 just before the decade started.

Early investors and employees like Sean Parker, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin followed him in 2011. COO Sheryl Sandberg joined the elite list in 2014.

In 2012, Elon Musk joined the Forbes list for the first time. He could have joined it twice, leaping from $680 million to $2 billion in personal wealth in five months.

Spanx founder Sarah Blakely…

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