This article will examine the projected top 5 richest people in the world in 2024 and how they built their massive fortunes. These visionary entrepreneurs have created some of the most influential companies today, including Tesla, Amazon, Facebook, and LVMH. Though predicting net worths years in advance contains some degree of uncertainty, current trends suggest these 5 individuals will top the list of world’s richest in 2024 based on the continued growth and success of their companies. By exploring their backgrounds, business strategies, and sources of wealth, we’ll gain insight into how these billionaire fortunes are created. While billionaires contribute greatly to technological innovation and economic growth, their wealth concentration also raises concerns about inequality. This article will attempt to take an unbiased look at the projected richest people in 2024 and the implications of their tremendous fortunes. The goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of who these individuals are, how they built their empires, and what their level of wealth means on a global scale.
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur and business magnate who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and former chairman of SolarCity and Tesla. As of 2024, Musk has a net worth estimated at $251 billion. Musk was born in South Africa and emigrated to Canada at age 17 before obtaining citizenship in the United States. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics. In 1995, Musk co-founded web software company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal, which was acquired by Compaq in 1999. The same year, Musk co-founded online bank X.com, which later became PayPal after merging with Confinity. PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
After the sale of PayPal, Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has developed launch vehicles and spacecraft like the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule. In 2020, SpaceX flew NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, the first private company to do so. In 2004, Musk was an early investor in electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors (now Tesla). He served as chairman and CEO before stepping down in 2018, though he remains a major shareholder. Under his leadership, Tesla brought electric vehicles into the mainstream with models like the Model S and Model 3. Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 to develop friendly artificial intelligence. In 2016, he launched Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain-machine interfaces. He maintains ambitious visions for all his companies, with the goal of revolutionizing transportation, infrastructure, and technology.
Bernard Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), the world’s largest luxury goods company. Born in France in 1949, Arnault graduated from École Polytechnique and joined his family’s construction business in 1971. In 1984, he bought the bankrupt company Boussac Saint-Frères for $15 million, gaining control of Christian Dior as part of the purchase. Arnault then expanded into luxury brands, acquiring LVMH in a boardroom coup in 1989. Under his leadership, LVMH acquired renowned brands like Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, and Tiffany & Co. Today LVMH comprises over 75 prestigious brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Celine, Fendi, and Dom Pérignon. With over $70 billion in annual revenue, LVMH dominates the global luxury market.
Driven by his vision to make LVMH the world leader in luxury, Arnault has built a reputation as a shrewd and aggressive dealmaker. Dubbed “the wolf in cashmere” in France, he is renowned for identifying iconic brands and transforming them into lucrative properties. Even during the pandemic, LVMH revenue grew rapidly. At 73 years old, Arnault remains deeply involved in running LVMH, with his children positioned to inherit control. As of 2024, Arnault’s net worth is estimated at $197 billion, making him the second wealthiest person in the world. His fortune stems mainly from his 97% stake in Christian Dior, which controls 41% of LVMH.
Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon, the e-commerce giant and one of the most valuable companies in the world. Born in 1964 in New Mexico, Bezos displayed an early aptitude for science and technology. After graduating from Princeton in 1986 with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering, he worked on Wall Street before deciding to launch an online bookstore in 1994. That humble beginning as an online bookseller expanded into selling all types of products, making Amazon the dominant force in online retail. Under Bezos’s leadership, Amazon pioneered innovations like one-click ordering, customer reviews, and free two-day shipping for Prime members. The company has also expanded into cloud computing services, streaming media, artificial intelligence, and other technologies.
In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post newspaper. And in 2000, he founded the aerospace company Blue Origin to develop technologies for private space travel. With an estimated net worth of $174 billion in 2024, Jeff Bezos has been ranked as the richest person in the world by Forbes magazine. He lost that title briefly in 2021 when Tesla founder Elon Musk surpassed him. But Bezos reclaimed the top spot through the continued growth of Amazon, which now accounts for over 40% of U.S. e-commerce sales. Bezos has faced criticism over Amazon’s market dominance and treatment of workers. But he remains focused on the long-term, aiming to make Amazon an “everything store” selling every product imaginable and ultimately expanding human settlement beyond Earth through Blue Origin. His vision and business acumen have made him one of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world.
Larry Ellison is the co-founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation. Born in New York City in 1944, Ellison dropped out of college twice before moving to California in 1966. After working as a computer programmer for several companies, Ellison founded Oracle in 1977 with two partners. Initially funded with just $2,000 of Ellison’s own money, Oracle focused on building databases for corporate clients. Under Ellison’s leadership as CEO, Oracle grew rapidly through the 1980s and 1990s, both organically and via acquisitions. By the early 2000s, Oracle had become one of the world’s leading enterprise software companies.
In 2004, Ellison stepped down as CEO but remained with Oracle as chief technology officer. He later took on the executive chairman role as well in 2014. Over the decades, Oracle has become a tech giant, providing database software and technology solutions to top corporations worldwide. The company has over 130,000 employees globally and generates around $40 billion in annual revenue. Ellison has led Oracle to become a dominant player in the database management space. He has pioneered many innovations in database technology that have become industry standards. Ellison is also known for his lavish lifestyle and ambitious pursuits like yacht racing. His fortune comes mainly from his approximate 35% stake in Oracle. As of 2024, Ellison is estimated to be worth $135 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.
Mark Zuckerberg is an American technology entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is known as one of the co-founders of social media giant Facebook (now Meta Platforms) and as its chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder. Zuckerberg attended Harvard University where he launched Facebook from his dormitory room in 2004 at the age of 19. The site was originally designed for Harvard students, but quickly expanded to other colleges and the general public. Within a few years, Facebook had become the world’s largest social networking platform. Zuckerberg took the company public in 2012 and has since overseen its growth into a digital behemoth. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014, moves that significantly expanded its global user base and strengthened its position in mobile technology. In 2021, Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook as Meta and pivoted the company’s focus to developing the metaverse. Despite some controversies surrounding data privacy and the spread of misinformation, Zuckerberg remains one of the most influential figures in Silicon Valley. At just 37 years old, Zuckerberg has amassed a personal fortune of over $125 billion. While he has pledged to donate 99% of his Facebook shares through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, he remains firmly in control of the company he founded in his dorm room almost 20 years ago.
The list of the world’s richest people in 2024 is an exclusive club and prospective members almost need to be larger than life figures like the top 5 featured in this article. While many build their fortunes from the tech sector, luxury goods still hold influence as seen with Bernard Arnault’s rise to the #2 spot. Although these billionaires sit at the peak of the financial world, the road to such vast wealth has not come without controversy. Critics point to issues such as tax avoidance, anti-competitive practices, and labor rights abuses. The gap between the ultra rich and average citizens continues to widen. Still, the top billionaires wield immense power to shape society, and some like Bill Gates have pledged to use their wealth for positive change through philanthropy. Only time will tell if the next generation follows suit or if global sentiments shift to rein in billionaires’ influence. The exclusive billionaires club shows no signs of shrinking. But the future outlook depends on many complex factors. Global events, disruptive innovations, and changing societal attitudes can all impact who climbs to the top in years to come. One thing is certain – following the rise and fall of fortunes at the very peak makes for an intriguing story.