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The latest news on Billionaires from Business Insider

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    prince alwaleed

    Forbes' annual "World's Billionaires List" is out for 2014 — and we've rounded up the richest in the financial and investments industries.

    Some of these people will be familiar to you (i.e. Warren Buffett and George Soros) and some of them prefer to stay in the shadows, like Taiwan's Tsai Wan-Tsai (he's a huge name in Taiwanese finance).

    According to the list, roughly two-thirds of the billionaires built their own fortunes, 13% inherited them and 21% have been adding on to fortunes they received.

    That means you could probably still make it on the list yourself, right?

    30. Rupert Johnson, Jr.

    Rank: 224

    Net-worth: $6.2 billion

    Age: 72

    Source of Wealth:  Franklin Resources

    Source: Forbes

    29. Suleiman Kerimov

    Rank: 196

    Net-worth: $6.9 billion

    Age: 47

    Source of Wealth: Investments

    Source: Forbes

    28. Eli Broad

    Rank: 196

    Net-worth: $6.9 billion

    Age: 80

    Source of Wealth:  Investments

    Source: Forbes

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    gina rinehart and queen of england

    The U.S. and China are now home to a similar number of billionaires, according to Forbes' latest billionaires list. Russia is also a strong presence in a list that encompasses $6.4 trillion in global wealth.

    Even if you can't be the richest person in the world, it's still pretty cool to be the richest person in your country.

    Many billionaires have held the title of richest in their country for a number of years, but as always, there are a number of new titleholders this year.

    Additional reporting by Max Rosenberg.

    The richest New Zealander: Graeme Hart

    Net worth: $7 billion

    Forbes rank: 191

    Background: Hart increased his wealth by $2 billion since last year. His company, Reynolds Group Holdings, which manufactures packaging material, has annual revenue of about $14 billion. Hart also owns Carter Holt Harvey, an Australasian paper, packing and building supplies company.

    The richest South African: Johann Rupert and family

    Net worth: $7.6 billion

    Forbes rank: 173

    Background: Rupert built his fortune on luxury goods, including with the Swiss-based Compagnie Financiere Richemont, which owns brands like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc. He also spent $4 million last year on a buffalo bull, used for breeding buffalo for private game reserves.

    The richest Austrian: Dietrich Mateschitz

    Net worth: $9.2 billion

    Forbes rank: 136

    Background: Mateschitz is the creator of Red Bull, the energy drink that is popular worldwide and has seen its sales increase 16% in the past two years. He also owns stakes in two soccer teams, a Formula One racing team, and a luxury resort in Fiji.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    bill gates nrk chess

    Bill Gates has been the richest man in the world for 15 out of the last 20 years. Even though he's given an astounding $38 billion to his charitable foundation, he keeps getting richer every year.

    As of March 2014, Gates is worth $76 billion, according to Forbes' annual list of billionaires. That's $9 billion more than a year ago and $4 billion more than six months ago.

    His net worth has been helped by an uptick in Microsoft's share price (up by about $10 a share since last March), but Microsoft isn't the source of most of his money, and hasn't been for a while. Microsoft accounts for less than one-fifth of his total net worth, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.

    Most of his wealth comes from his investment company, Cascade Investment. It owns stakes in Canadian National Railway, Berkshire Hathaway, Deere & Co, Liberty Global, Waste Management and other firms, according to forms filed with the SEC.

    Over the last 10 years, Gates has sold off a large chunk of his Microsoft stake, reports Computerworld's Gregg Keizer. Specifically, in September 2004, Gates had 1.1 billion shares of Microsoft. As of his last trades in February, he owned 337,991,164 shares, according to Yahoo's Insider Trading site (based on forms filed with the SEC).

    He still owns more than a 4% stake of Microsoft and is still the company's single largest shareholder, according to Bloomberg. But if Gates continues to sell Microsoft shares at the same rate and doesn't acquire more, by 2015 for the first time in the company's history, that could change. Steve Ballmer could become the company's largest stakeholder.

    In 2013, Gates sold 43,000,000 shares of Microsoft (although he also acquired a few, 5,554), according to Insider Trading records.

    Ballmer currently holds 333,252,990 shares now, according to SEC forms, and hasn't sold any in years. That's just 47,38,174 shares fewer than Gates.

    NOW WATCH: Elon Musk Explains What He Actually Does At His Companies


    SEE ALSO: The fabulous life of tech billionaire Marc Benioff

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    kowloon hong kong

    A secretive 24-year old woman from Hong Kong recently took the title of world's youngest billionaire, according to Forbes' latest data, displacing 29-year old Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.

    She's so under-the-radar, Forbes and other publications have failed to find a verifiable photo of her. But thanks to public business records, they know her name: Perenna Kei.

    Unlike Moskovitz and many of the other young billionaires on Forbes' list, Kei's wealth was inherited, not self-made.

    Her father, Ji Haipeng, is the chairman and CEO of Logan Property Holdings, where Kei is currently a non-executive director. The company focuses on residential property development and owns subsidiaries in mainland China.

    Kei's reported net worth comes out to $1.3 billion, thanks to an 85% stake in her father's company through different companies and a family trust. Her father is still listed as an interested party in her shares. Wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X estimates her liquid assets at $6.5 million, and found her listed as the sole owner of Dragon Jubilee Investments, Gao Run Holdings and Thrive Ally, all investment companies based in the British Virgin Islands.

    Several sources report that Kei graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from the University of London. Wealth-X puts her graduation date at August 2011, though she had been serving as director of Logan Property Holdings since May 2010. She also reportedly studied for a Diploma in Economics at the Singapore Institute of Management, according to Wealth-X.

    Kei's wealth reportedly increased when Logan Property Holdings was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2013. The company made some $190 million in its IPO, according to Wealth-X.

    Kei currently resides in Tsim Sha Tsui, a trendy neighborhood in Kowloon, Hong Kong, according to Wealth-X. She is one of 42 new female billionaires to make Forbes' 2014 list.

    SEE ALSO: Meet The Richest Person In 34 Major Countries

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    tatoosh paul allen yacht"Tatoosh," a 303-foot yacht belonging to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is no longer for sale after it failed to find a buyer in almost four years on the market, the Daily Mail reports (via JustLuxe).

    Allen first listed "Tatoosh" with Fraser Yachts for $160 million back in 2010.

    In addition to accommodations for 20 guests and 30 crew members, the superyacht also boasts a cinema, swimming pool, basketball court, recording studio, gym, and two helipads. 

    Allen has made an effort to draw interest to the yacht since it was first put up for sale in 2010. Shortly after it was listed, he let Paris and Nicky Hilton use it for a month-long vacation. Paris raved about it:"I'm in heaven on the water. Definitely the biggest and best yacht everywhere we go. Love it! Huge!"

    tatoosh exterior

    The yacht was also by far the largest to travel to Sochi for the Winter Olympics last month. 

    Still, the publicity hasn't helped to get "Tatoosh" off Allen's hands. 

    "‘The yacht has not been sold, and furthermore is not for sale," Stuart Larsen of Fraser Yachts said to the Daily Mail

    Allen also owns another, much bigger yacht: the 414-foot "Octopus," which has played host to some wild New Years' parties and visits from recording artists like Mick Jagger and Damian Marley. 

    SEE ALSO: Google Ventures Founder Sells Palo Alto Home Next To Tim Cook's For $3 Million [PHOTOS]

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    After Seagram billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. passed away, the family listed his penthouse at 960 Fifth Avenue for $65 million in February, The Wall Street Journal reported

    But it wasn't until recently that Brown Harris Stevens, the firm handling the sale, released interior photos of the 16-room property, according to Curbed NY. Bronfman, who sold his family's spirits empire for $34 billion in 2000, had lived in the prewar co-op for the past 40 years. The full-floor residence has five bedrooms, eight and a half baths, a library and a wrap-around terrace.   

    The official listing comes on the heels of Bronfman's younger brother Charles selling his own Fifth Avenue apartment a few blocks south.

    The decor in Bronfman's penthouse is somewhat outdated.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 1

    He and his family had lived there for 40 years.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 3

    The color palette in the 16-room apartment is reminiscent of the 1970s.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 4

    But the penthouse still maintains the architectural details common in a prewar building.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 2

    The formal dining room has a classical layout.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 5

    The apartment offers sprawling views of Central Park.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 6

    The wrap-around terrace got a lot of praise when the floor plan was released ahead of the interior photos.Bronfman Penthouse Floorplan

    SEE ALSO: Seagram Billionaire Charles Bronfman Sells His Fifth Avenue Flat For $19.9 Million

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    Dovi Frances

    A "well-known" U.S. billionaire has purchased the most expensive single-life-insurance policy in the world, according to Guinness World Records. 

    The life insurance policy the billionaire purchased is valued at $201 million. 

    Guinness World Records didn't reveal the billionaire's identity, but they did provide a couple clues.

    The billionaire lives in Silicon Valley and they're "actively known in the technology space." (That still doesn't really narrow it down.)

    The record-breaking life insurance policy was sold by Dovi Frances, a managing partner of Santa Barbara-based SG LLC— a firm that advises high-net-worth clients on their complex financial needs.

    Putting together the policy required more than two dozen insurance companies, he said in a statement.

    "Bringing this transaction together required negotiating concurrently with over two dozen insurance companies and complex underwriting requests from each insurance company."

    The previous record holding life insurance policy was $100 million.

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    larry ellison lanaiOracle billionaire Larry Ellison is no stranger to the real estate market — he's been called"the nation's most avid trophy-home buyer" and has all but taken over entire neighborhoods in Malibu and the Lake Tahoe area. 

    When asked by CNBC in 2012 why he would buy more homes than he could possibly live in, Ellison referenced his love of art. 

    "My favorite museums are things like the Frick Museum in New York and the Huntington Hartford in Pasadena where it's someone's home that you walk through," Ellison said to CNBC. "So I'm going to start these art museums that are basically converted homes, and I have one for modern art, and I have one for 19th century European art, and one for French impressionism. I've got Japanese. I own a home in Kyoto, Japan actually on the temple on grounds in Nanzenji that is going to become a Japanese art museum. So, a lot of them are museums." 

    Ellison has made headlines in recent years for his plans to develop Lanai, a Hawaiian island he purchased in 2012, into a model for environmentally sound living. Though Lanai has been his largest overall investment by far, he's made a number of blockbuster purchases over the last two decades. 

    In 1988, Ellison paid $3.9 million for a William Wurster home in San Francisco's swanky Pacific Heights neighborhood, a popular area that's now home to other tech moguls like Mark Pincus, Jonathan Ive, and Trevor Traina. Several news outlets reported that Ellison planned to buy the home next door for $40 million, but the sale never happened.

    Source: Curbed SF 


    His home in Woodside, Calif., modeled after a 16th-century Japanese emperor's palace, is worth an estimated $70 million. The 23-acre estate took nine years to design and build, and it was completed in 2004.

    Source: SF Gate


    He also owns a historic garden villa in Kyoto, Japan, which was reportedly listed for $86 million, though the price he paid is unknown.

    Source: SF Gate, Japan Property Central

    Pictured: Nanzen-ji Temple, which is right near Ellison's estate

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    david koch

    Libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch were among the first to grasp the political potential of social welfare groups and trade associations — nonprofits that can spend money to influence elections but don’t have to name their donors.

    The Kochs and their allies have built up a complex network of such organizations, which spent more than $383 million in the run-up to the 2012 election alone.

    Documents released in recent months show the Kochs have added wrinkles to their network that even experts well versed in tax law and campaign finance say they’ve never seen before — wrinkles that could make it harder to discern who controls each nonprofit in the web and how it disperses its money.

    A review of 2012 tax returns filed by Koch network groups shows that most have been set up as nonprofit trusts rather than not-for-profit corporations, an unusual step that reduces their public reporting requirements.

    It sounds complicated and arcane because it is. Some of the nation’s top nonprofit experts said they could only speculate on the reasons for the network’s increasingly elaborate setup.

    “My guess is that we’re looking at various forms of disguise — to disguise control, to disguise the flow of funds from one entity to another,” said Gregory Colvin, a tax lawyer and campaign-finance specialist in San Francisco who reviewed all the documents for ProPublica.

    Four other leading nonprofit experts and three conservative operatives with knowledge of the Koch network said the most likely reason that the Kochs and their inner circle are using this arrangement was to exert control over the groups without saying publicly who was in charge.

    In particular, they said, the Kochs likely wanted to prevent any of the groups that they help fund from going against their wishes — as happened with the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank the Kochs had long supported before they got into a dispute with its president, Ed Crane.

    After a top Cato official ridiculed Charles Koch in a 2010 New Yorker article, the brothers pushed to put allies on the think tank’s board. The following year, they pressed Cato to provide “intellectual ammunition” for their oldest politically active nonprofit, Americans for Prosperity, Cato officials later alleged. The dispute was settled in 2012, with the departure of Crane and the installation of a traditional board. (Cato previously was controlled by four private shareholders, including the Kochs, an unusual setup for a nonprofit.)

    Robert Levy, Cato’s board chairman, told ProPublica that while he didn’t disagree with the Kochs’ aims, Cato’s leaders were uncomfortable with serving as advocates for their political agenda.

    Charles Koch

    “The Kochs had their notions about what they wanted to focus on, and those tended to focus on intellectual ammunition for what their political ambitions were,” Levy said in an interview last fall. “We didn’t disagree with that, but we didn’t want to operate at the direction of the Kochs. We’re not involved in electoral politics. We are strictly nonpartisan.”

    The Kochs have disputed the allegation that they tried to force Cato to do their political bidding.

    In this story, we define the Koch network as including 12 nonprofits active in 2012 — 11 social welfare nonprofits and one trade association. These nonprofits all shared the same attributes: They used LLCs, installed Koch allies at the helm and hired the same set of lawyers. (We did not include think tanks, foundations or other charities, nor the like-minded groups that are funded by the Kochs.)

    Officials with Koch Industries and groups in the Koch network did not respond to calls or written questions from ProPublica.

    When asked about his involvement with Americans for Prosperity in a rare interview with the Wichita Business Journal last month, Charles Koch downplayed his political activity, saying he and his brother did not have day-to-day involvement with the group.

    “Listen, if I could do everything that’s attributed to me, I would be a very busy boy,” he told the Journal.

    Here’s what we know so far about how the Koch network uses trusts and LLCs, as well as the advantages they may offer.

    Disregarded Entities

    As of 2012, all 12 Koch network groups had offshoots known as “disregarded entities” — LLCs that are “owned” by their parent nonprofits and are considered part of them for tax purposes.

    The first such LLC sprang up in February 2010, when Sean Noble, the head of a Koch network nonprofit called the Center to Protect Patient Rights, formed SDN LLC, using the initials of his own name. (ProPublica wrote a story last month about Noble, the Koch network’s money man in 2010 and 2012.)

    Koch network groups came to have a total of 19 disregarded entities, tax records show; Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a trade association that distributed almost $236 million to other nonprofits in the year before the 2012 election, led the way with five.


    Unlike corporations, LLCs set up in Delaware are not required to disclose who runs them. The only documentation available is the name of the person who creates them. In the Koch network, 11 of the disregarded entities were formed by the same Chicago trust lawyer, Jonathan Graber. Most had nonsensical strings of letters for names, like SLAH, ORRA or DAS MGR. All were set up in Delaware.

    Charities typically use disregarded entities to protect themselves from liability. For instance, they’ll hold property in a disregarded entity to shield the nonprofit from lawsuits over anything from environmental pollution to slip-and-falls.

    But these LLCs appear to serve different purposes for the Koch network, experts said.

    Before the 2012 election, two groups sat at the top of the Koch money spigot. TC4 Trust, which has since folded, and Freedom Partners, which remains on top of the Koch pyramid, shelled out more than $204 million to the network’s 10 other nonprofits. But instead of giving the money directly to the nonprofits, TC4 and Freedom Partners gave those millions to the groups’ disregarded entities.

    That made the money more difficult to follow.

    Consider the case of the LLC with the inscrutable name of TOHE. (No, that’s not a typo.) Records for TC4 Trust show that it gave a $1,968,500 grant to TOHE between July 2011 and June 2012.

    So what’s a TOHE?

    You would think you could go to the Internal Revenue Service web site, punch in the magic letters, and get an answer. But that’s not how it works.

    Disregarded entities cannot be searched by name because their tax returns are filed as part of their parent nonprofit, which of course is exactly what you don’t know.

    To solve the mystery, we searched IRS databases of recognized nonprofits by the names of lawyers known to work for the Koch network. We found one, Vets for Economic Freedom Trust, that seemed like a possible match for TOHE. Then we requested the group’s application from the IRS, which showed a leader, Wayne Gable, who had deep ties to the Koch brothers, earlier serving as a managing director at Koch Industries. But still, the application didn’t mention TOHE.

    We had to wait for the group’s tax return, filed in August 2013, to become public, which took a couple of months. The return showed that Vets for Economic Freedom Trust was using a different name: Concerned Veterans for America. And it showed the group’s disregarded entity: TOHE. Concerned Veterans spent most of its money on ads criticizing the government for not doing more to help veterans vote and for the rising national debt.  

    A more recent tax filing by Freedom Partners gave the names of the disregarded entities and their parent nonprofits when listing grants, dispelling some of the confusion.

    The Center for Responsive Politics and The Washington Post have also written about how the Koch network has used disregarded entities to hide the money trail. But disregarded entities offer other advantages.

    Donors to social welfare groups and trade associations have only become public in a handful of cases, but some corporate and individual donors still worry about scrutiny from stockholders or the IRS. One operative told ProPublica he’d heard a Koch network official suggest that a donor with such concerns write checks to disregarded entities rather than to better-known nonprofits.  

    “You don’t want to just create one layer of anonymity, because that layer could be breached, maybe just by accident — you know, the memo that’s left lying around kind of situation,” said Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a law professor and associate dean at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in nonprofits and campaign finance and who reviewed the groups’ available documents for ProPublica.

    Further, while nonprofits are required to disclose their top administrators and boards in tax filings, disregarded entities can have separate managers who are not identified anywhere, said Ellen Aprill, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who has studied politically active nonprofits. Such a manager would be able to control how the money received by the LLC was spent.

    Seven disregarded entities in the Koch network took in more than three-quarters of the money received by their parent nonprofits. POFN, the disregarded entity of a nonprofit called Public Notice, for instance, brought in more than 75 percent of its parent’s $6 million in revenue from May 2011 through April 2012. POFN’s manager — whoever that may be — would control how that money was spent, nonprofit experts said.

    So far, the Koch network’s use of disregarded entities has been unique. ProPublica reviewed tax returns filed by more than 100 liberal and conservative nonprofits that reported spending money on elections in 2010 and 2012. No group unaffiliated with the Kochs had such offshoots.

    Their use might be catching on: In July 2012, the American Future Fund, a dark money behemoth that received most of its money through the Koch network but is not part of it, formedits own disregarded entity, Franklin Squared.


    Social welfare nonprofits are typically formed as not-for-profit corporations, with boards that set their policies.

    But nine of the 12 nonprofits in the Koch network were formed as trusts — an approach several tax experts said they had rarely, if ever, encountered. The first was TC4 Trust, which was established in August 2009 and folded in 2012. Eight more Koch-affiliated groups were set up as trusts in 2010 and 2011.

    Trusts are subject to little outside oversight. They don’t have to file incorporation papers or annual reports to the state. Any documents filed with the IRS take effort and time to get. “It keeps it out of the public eye a little longer,” said Lawrence Katzenstein, a lawyer in St. Louis who has formed charitable trusts.

    Trust agreements rarely have to be filed publicly, but since most of the Koch-connected trusts have been recognized by the IRS as social welfare nonprofits, their trust agreements are available from the agency. ProPublica examined six trust agreements for groups that are still active.

    The trust agreements are all “irrevocable,” meaning the trustee cannot change them, except for changing the trust’s name or anything necessary to maintain the group’s tax-exempt status. Two of the trustees are longtime Koch insiders; a third used to be a lawyer for the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Two other trustees are relatively new to the Koch fold but have long conservative pedigrees.

    Despite those credentials, the trustees can be axed at any time. Each trust agreement gives an LLC — not a disregarded entity, but a different one with a similarly nonsensical string of four letters for a name — power to remove the trustee for any reason. For instance, Daniel Garza, the trustee for the LIBRE Initiative Trust, can be removed by an LLC called THGI.

    Tax experts say that this means that someone behind that LLC can actually control the nonprofit. “It’s someone having control, and it’s that someone going to great lengths to avoid being known,” said lawyer Marcus Owens, who used to run the Exempt Organizations division of the IRS.

    Little else is known about these LLCs except that they, too, were formed by Graber in 2010 and 2011 in Delaware, a state that requires virtually no disclosure.

    Giving someone the power to remove the trustee is increasingly common, said Charles Durante, a Delaware lawyer who does work with trusts, nonprofits and LLCs. But it’s typically a named individual, he said, not an anonymous LLC.

    “That is not customarily how people structure their trusts,” he said.

    One employee of a nonprofit with ties to the Kochs, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution, said the LLC arrangement fit in with the brothers’ desire to keep a tight grip on their organizations.

    “Their level of degree to which they insist on control is truly spectacular,” he said.

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    Gennady Timchenko

    Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko sold his stake in Gunvor a day before being named in sanctions announced by the United States over the Ukraine crisis, the Swiss-based commodity trading company said Thursday.

    Forbes has ranked oil and gas tycoon Timchenko as Russia's sixth richest man, with a $15.3 billion fortune from Gunvor.

    Timchenko, reputedly a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, offloaded all his shares in the company he co-founded after "anticipating potential economic sanctions" a Gunvor statement said.

    On Thursday, the US Treasury placed the 61-year-old tycoon on a sanctions blacklist established in retaliation for Russia's absorption of the Crimean Peninsula after it voted to break away from Ukraine.

    The Treasury said Timchenko's business activities in the energy sector were "directly linked" to Putin.

    Any US assets belonging to Timchenko were frozen as a result of the sanctions.

    Gunvor said Timchenko had sold his holdings in order "to ensure with certainty the continued and uninterrupted operations of Gunvor Group Ltd's activities."

    His stake had been sold to business partner Torbjorn Tornqvist, who now controls 87 percent of the company.

    A US Treasury spokesman said the share sale made it unlikely Gunvor could now be hit by sanctions because Timchenko no longer owned 50 percent or more of the company.

    "Under the 50 percent rule, only entities in which a designated individual or entity owns a 50 percent or greater interest are blocked by operation of law," the spokesman said.

    "Our understanding is that Timchenko's ownership stake in Gunvor is less than the 50 percent required to trigger an automatic blocking."

    The Treasury had earlier said Putin held a financial interest in Gunvor, but the Swiss company denied the allegation in a comment on Twitter. 

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    airbnb founders

    Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia are all in their early 30s. And each of them will soon be worth more than $1 billion, Forbes reports.

    The trio cofounded Airbnb, a short-term, peer-to-peer apartment rental service that’s an alternative to hotels. They’re raising a new round of financing at an estimated $10 billion valuation.

    Once that fund-raising is complete, each founder will be worth a little more than $1.5 billion, Forbes’ Alex Konrad and Ryan Mac say. Chesky, 32, Blecharczyk, 30, and Gebbia, 32, will each maintain just over 15% stakes after the fund-raising, according to a Forbes source. They’ll become the first billionaires of the budding sharing economy, otherwise known as the rent-don't-buy fad. Other startups in the space include Rent the Runway (a store that rents out designer dresses) and GetAround (borrow a neighbor’s car).

    Until now, Airbnb's founders have chosen to live modestly. Chesky often rents out his pad and opts to live in Airbnbs to test the product. He and Gebbia still live in the same apartment in which they founded Airbnb in 2008. Blecharczyk rides a bike to work.

    Blecharcyzk will be the fourth-youngest billionaire, behind Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Perenna Kei.

    NOW WATCH: We Did The Math: Should You Buy Or Rent In These Major Cities?  


    SEE ALSO: BEN HOROWITZ – I Asked My Employees To Work 7 Days A Week For 6 Months And They Loved It

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    Pitbull Hollywood ReporterCuban-American rapper Pitbull, 33, has just two years to make his dream of becoming a billion-dollar brand by age 35 into a reality.

    "Do I think it's realistic to be a billion-dollar company by [age] 35?," he asks The Hollywood Reporter in a new cover story interview. "Absolutely."

    And it's hard to not to believe him.

    After just six years in the spotlight, Pitbull sums up his rise to fame into categories: "2009 is freedom; 2010, invasion; 2011, build empire; 2012, grow wealth; 2013, put the puzzle together; 2014, buckle up; 2015, make history." 

    Thanks to seven albums, nine top 10 singles, and two No. 1 Billboard hits with this year's "Timber" and 2011's "Give Me Everything," Pitbull can now boast plenty of big brand name partnerships.

    The rapper has sponsorships from Dr. Pepper, Kodak, Bud Light, Voli Vodka and, most recently, Playboy, which in March made him the new global face of the brand. He has a fragrance line, Pitbull Man and Pitbull Woman, which retail for $30 for a 1 oz. bottle.

    The partnerships, combined with 150 performances in 25 countries in 2012 alone and 8.5 million downloads in the U.S. on just his two No.1 songs, puts Pitbull's net worth between $11 and $15 million, according to THR.

    But don't expect to see any high-end collaborations from the Florida-raised musician, á la Jay Z's $1,000 T-shirt for Barneys. Instead, he says he is doing things differently from his colleagues by committing to the middle class.

    "We're at the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn," says Pitbull, a former drug dealer, quoting a "Rapper's Delight" lyric. "The only business that I knew growing up was flipping  if I invested five dollars, I knew I could get back eight. If I got back eight, that meant I could live off three, invest another five, get another eight, stack another three. That's what the music business is to me  flip after a flip, a flip after a flip."

    Pitbulls' longtime manager, Charles Chavez, echoes his client's sentiments of catering to the masses to live with the classes.

    "We have a plan  with the music, TV projects [Pit boasts a development deal with Endemol, producer of Big Brother], films [he's teamed up with Ryan Seacrest for a TV miniseries on the Bacardi family], his businesses, the brands that we get involved with," says Chavez. "You never know, but it's the plan."

    Part of that plan is playing into Pitbull's cultural roots.

    He explains, "I'll be sitting in marketing meetings where they're going, 'Well, this is our multicultural budget,' and 'We'll make this a multicultural campaign,' and I say, 'Great!' knowing that they see me in the context of the Latin boom. 'Oh, he's the next Latin this or Latin that. …' But in my mind, I know this is the general market. I touch everybody at the end of the day."

    But Pitbull knows that building an empire isn't easy, and won't happen overnight, which is why he preaches the importance of hard work to his six children.

    "Why do interns make the best CEOs? Because they got the doughnuts and coffee, they cleaned the bathrooms," he says. "They learned that building in and out." 

    And ultimately, hard work pays off  getting him fans from all walks of life.

    After headlining the recent iTunes Music Festival at South by Southwest, an inebriated Apple executive professed, "I love you, Pitbull."

    Read the rest of Pitbull's THR profile here >

    SEE ALSO: There Are Still Big Questions About Yahoo's $6 Million Katie Couric Gamble

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    Dan Loeb

    Activist investor Daniel Loeb, who runs Third Point LLC, once got in a dispute with the moms in 15 Central Park West over the temperature of the swimming pool, author Michael Gross writes in his new book "House Of Outrageous Fortune."

    Central Park West has a 75-foot lap pool. That's definitely an amenity in New York City since it's difficult to find a decent sized lap pool. 

    Loeb, who competes in triathlons and has braved the 50-something degree water in the San Francisco Bay—likes the water cold.

    Most triathletes would agree with him on this one. They want the pool cold for swimming long distances.

    Naturally, the moms and kids, who most likely aren't completing a 2-mile swim workout, enjoy a warmer pool. 

    According to Gross, a questionnaire was sent out to the residents of the building about the pool's temperature among other fitness center issues. 

    The moms were victorious in the pool temperature battle, according to Gross.

    UPDATE: They actually reached a compromise in the building where the pool temp would be set at 81 degrees until 10 a.m. and then move up to 84—5 over the course of the day to accommodate children and their moms, Business Insider has learned.

    Both sides can declare "victory" on this one. 


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    Billionaires Row San Francisco Pacific heights (1 of 1) 17

    When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire wiped the city's slate clean, the wealthy stood around the burned rubble of their Nob Hill homes and took a cool, hard look at San Francisco Bay.

    The best view in the city was in Pacific Heights, and with that swathe of real estate now up for grabs the big money built there and settled in.

    Through the Great Depression and both World Wars, the residents of Pacific Heights built mansions in an ex-frontier town that now sell for nearly $3,280 per square foot.

    Today's buyers, however, have given this slice of San Francisco the name "Billionaire's Row." And those billionaires include a lot of tech names mingling with San Fran's "Old Money" crowd.

    In the 1870s, the highest hills overlooking San Francisco Bay were filled with laborers enjoying a building boom in America's tenth largest city — thousands of miles beyond the frontier.

    Source: ZPub

    The building boom of the 1870s, however, was just a shadow of the rebuilding that took place after the the 1906 'quake.

    In the years after 1906, many of Nob Hill's wealthy residents moved to Pacific Heights and changed it from a place of plain homes built for about $1,000 on small lots, to a place like this:

    Source: StreetAdvisor

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Fifth Avenue penthouse of late Seagram billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. was on the market for 27 days before a mystery buyer swooped with a $70 million bid this week, according to the New York Post.

    That's $5 million more than the original list price, and $5 million more than another well-to-do-buyer was already offering.

    The property is currently under contract with Brown Harris Stevens and if the sale is completed, it will be the most expensive co-op ever purchased in New York City, edging out the current record: the $54 million Fifth Avenue penthouse bought by music mogul David Geffen in 2012.

    Bronfman, who sold his family's spirits empire for $34 billion in 2000, had lived in the prewar building for the past 40 years until he passed away in December. The full-floor residence has a major selling point in its wrap-around terrace, but the layout of its five bedrooms, eight and a half baths and library seem outdated.

    One real estate source told the New York Post the new owner will likely gut the place. Take a look at the photos of the most expensive co-op as it currently stands. 

    The decor in Bronfman's penthouse is somewhat outdated.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 1

    He and his family had lived there for 40 years.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 3

    The color palette in the 16-room apartment is reminiscent of the 1970s.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 4

    But the penthouse still maintains the architectural details common in a prewar building.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 2

    The formal dining room has a classical layout.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 5

    The apartment offers sprawling views of Central Park.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 6

    The wrap-around terrace got a lot of praise when the floor plan was released ahead of the interior photos.Bronfman Penthouse Floorplan

    SEE ALSO: Seagram Billionaire Charles Bronfman Sells His Fifth Avenue Flat For $19.9 Million

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    kensington palace gardens

    It is unexpectedly complicated to write about Britain's most expensive street since its inhabitants, members of a super-rich elite, are not generally willing to give interviews to the Guardian.

    More problematic still is the hostility which the street's security guards display towards people walking along the road, writing things down in a notepad.

    Kensington Palace Gardens – where global plutocrats such as Roman Abramovich, Leonard Blavatnik and Lakshmi Mittal own stuccoed mansions, and where one house belonging to a Saudi prince is discreetly on sale (which I think means it isn't on any property websites) for around £100m – is regularly listed as the most expensive place to buy a house in London.

    At first glance, there is nothing overtly ostentatious about this quiet road, where the average property was last year valued at around £41m, more than 165 times the value of the average UK home (£248,863). There are no yellow Lamborghinis or Hummers blasting music.

    The overwhelming impression is one of tasteful reserve, of glistening cream paint and shining green and black railings – until you pause to examine the enormous heft of the houses: vast, detached palaces, with too many windows to count, on a scale dwarfing other private homes in London.

    There are armed police officers at both ends of the street, and security huts, where Crown Estate officials control bollards that sink into the ground allowing cars to enter or leave once they have been cleared. It is hard to think of another road in London protected in this way.

    The need for security is intensified by the presence, just behind the street, of Kensington Palace – home to Prince William, Kate and their baby – and police officers patrol the daffodil-covered lawn in front of the building, followed by sniffer dogs.

    All of which makes for a rather unfriendly environment; weird and secretive, and slightly reminiscent of somewhere such as Minsk in Belarus, under Alexander Lukashenko's authoritarian rule.

    Construction of the street, which runs along Kensington Gardens between Notting Hill and Kensington, began in the 1840s; even then the scale and grandeur of the properties bankrupted one of the first developers, John Blashfield.

    By 1860 it was already known as "millionaires' row" and was occupied by merchants, landowners and fund managers. These huge houses required large numbers of staff to maintain them; in 1871, the census shows, one house was occupied by a team of 20 servants, tending to their two employers.

    Gradually, throughout the 20th century, the houses became unaffordable to run as family homes, even for bankers, and the buildings were sold off as ambassadors' residences.

    It is only in the last couple of decades, as oligarchs and industrialists have accumulated new extremes of wealth, that the buildings have been transferred gradually back into private hands.

    The arrival of this growing roster of private owners, ready to pay unthinkable sums to temporarily own these houses (which have 100-year leases before returning to Crown Estate), has made this street symbolic of the widening gulf that divides London, which itself has become unrecognisable to the rest of the country because of its soaring house prices (up this year by 18%, creating the biggest house price gap between London and the rest of the country since records began).

    Does it matter that bits of London feel so removed even from the rest of the capital? Should we just gawp and shrug at excesses like Kensington Palace Gardens?

    Or should the extremes here trouble us? At the very least, the road is emblematic of how peculiar London has become; a place where some people think nothing of parting with tens of millions to lease a home, while just a couple of miles away others are signing leases to move into garden sheds.

    Some anti-poverty campaigners say they don't care too much about the tiny numbers of super-rich, whose lives are so off the scale that they distract from the more pressing problems associated with getting a fairer deal for those on the brink.

    But it is remarkable how quickly, in the past 20 years, a new top strata of extreme wealth has taken hold again.

    If you walk down the street, the houses give little insight into lives of the inhabitants, because their existences are shielded behind net curtains and slatted shutters and privet hedges, which on closer inspection conceal CCTV cameras. More informative are the vans purveying luxury services to the residents.

    Eskimo Ice services draws up outside one house – the company delivers ice sculptures for parties, and its website shows glassy ice lions and carved statues of the London skyline. Elsewhere, a van – Anglo-Italian marble installation – is delivering bespoke marble, granite, limestone and porcelain tiles. Gardeners arrive in a van marked Siddeley landscape design (a company that also appears to work on mammoth private estates in China and Russia).

    British Security Technologies is parked outside another mansion, its van promising in italic lettering: "We'll Keep You Safe 'n' Sound Tonight." A vehicle drives up to provide swimming pool and whirlpool maintenance.

    There is also a fire-protection services van, an emergency plumbing car and Rentokil pest control – because, it seems, money offers no real protection against fire, rats and plumbing catastrophes.

    The plumbing vehicle is outside the Nepalese embassy, which property websites suggest the Nepalese government would like to sell, and which has fallen into a state of disrepair, particularly noticeable next to its expensively maintained neighbours.

    But someone who lives or works here has put a couple of drooping geraniums on a first-floor windowsill, a touchingly modest, personal attempt at home-making, more human in scale than all the tulips, hyacinths and pansies planted in vast quantities in the gardens along the road, which have been landscaped into luxury-hotel-style anonymity.

    Russian Embassy Residence

    While the residents are invisible, their staff can be seen: cleaning golf clubs with a hose in front of one house; wearing a black waistcoat and ironed white shirt to polish a bronze door handle; walking tiny dogs.

    Some of the houses verge on hideous, iced with yellow-cream stucco, shiny, bright and reminiscent of custard or, at the Kensington end of the road, like dreary, red-brick school buildings. There are menacing stone eagles on gateposts and disconcertingly huge flower pots, large enough to conceal a crouching human. Some of the houses look uninhabited.

    But parts of the road are lovely: the Narnia-style lampposts, and the avenue of plane trees; the lack of pollution allows the scent of frangipani from a garden to linger in the air. There is so little noise that birdsong is audible in a way that is quite rare in London. There is no graffiti and no rubbish, because a street sweeper is using a machine to blow leaves into piles.

    The signs on the doors are excessively polite, and use outmoded words such as "kindly" and residing". "Kindly do not deliver items for Mr and Mrs [...] to this address as they are no longer residing here." But it is the doorbell etiquette that is most enraging, and instructions that "for all collections and deliveries please press the housekeeper's button only" incite a sudden surge of anarchic rage and a desire to ring all the other bells simultaneously – summoning the chef/kitchen, the residence and the caretaker.

    Later I wonder if the lampposts have been wired up to CCTV because my slow progress down the road, making notes of doorbell instructions, has not gone unnoticed. Outside the Israeli embassy, which is surrounded by protective green bollards, an armed police officer stops me. "Madam, what are you doing?" he asks, his gun slung across his chest. I explain that I am writing about the street.

    "Do they know that you are doing this?" he asks.

    He tells me the road is owned by the Crown Estate and it would be better if I went to one of the security booths to get permission to walk down the street with a notepad. I explain that I don't feel inclined to do that.

    "Did you tell them what you are doing? It would be courteous to let them know. This is a private road."

    I ask if he is telling me that I have to go and register with the security officials, and after some thought he decides he won't make me turn back. "I'm not telling you that you have to. I'm just saying that it would be the courteous thing to do."

    I wonder a bit about a Metropolitan police officer giving lessons about courtesy, and move on.

    About 45 minutes later, when I am back outside the Nepalese embassy at the other end of the road, I hear a voice buzzing out of the guard's handset, describing a "lady with brown-coloured hair, shoulder length". I'm asked for the second time what I'm doing, and informed that the Diplomatic Police Corps has asked me to leave the road. "You shouldn't be walking down the road. The Crown Estate gives permission for people to walk but we can stop anyone from coming down here," a guard explains, so I leave. Diplomats and oligarchs must appreciate the vigour with which security guards approach their role.

    Mostly, residents here decline emailed requests to talk about what it is like to live here. It is uniquely difficult to report on the lives of the very rich because they are, as a rule, not anxious to be forthcoming.

    Russian Embassy LondonSomeone in Lakshmi Mittal's vast entourage emails that he does not want to talk about moving into the street.

    An assistant to Jon Hunt – who sold Foxton's estate agents for £390m in 2007 and who owns a vast, gloomy, grey mansion here – replies to say that he rarely grants interviews and adds: "This is not something he would participate in." (His house, the subject a dispute over the merits of his plan to build an underground sports centre and museum for his vintage car collection, has been left unoccupied since he bought it from the Russian embassy in 2005, but a tour of the inside is available online, as the backdrop to a peculiar motorbike stunt video.)

    Tamara Ecclestone's agent rejects a request to talk about cultural attitudes towards wealth in this country, explaining: "Sadly I will have to decline this request, whilst Tamara is appreciative of her blessed life she doesn't feel talking about money is appropriate. Best wishes …" Which is a little odd, because Hello! readers have been given detailed insights into the redevelopment work on her £45m home here, which she (apparently) updated with an underground bowling alley, dog spa and £1m bath carved from Amazonian crystal. ("But I spend a lot of time in the bath so it's worth it.'')

    Tim Wright, from estate agents Knight Frank, who handles sales over £10m, has sold three houses on the street over the past decade, but will not give details of who to or how much for. "Like a lot of big houses the type of ownership has changed. There was a period in the middle of the 20th century when people were not able to maintain these big houses, but with the explosion of wealth generation globally in the last 20 years, the use has changed back to family houses."

    He says his clients are not concerned by spending huge amounts of money for leaseholds properties, commenting simply: "Mine is not to reason why." But he thinks the prices (of around £6,000 per sq ft) are justified because Kensington Palace Gardens "is regarded as one of the most exclusive addresses in the world. That's not just hyperbole."

    Nicholas Foulkes, partner at Colwyn Foulkes architecture, has submitted plans for a new building on the site of No 3, for the owner of a global construction company. The new house – the first to be built in a century – will cost around £18m to construct and may be worth up to £40m once completed (since it is at the more modest end of the street where houses are a little smaller).

    None of which sheds much light on what it is like to live on London's most expensive street, until help comes from the Finnish ambassador, Pekka Huhtaniemi, the next-door neighbour of Leonard Blavatnik, the Ukrainian-born American businessman. His perspective, given over a herring breakfast in the ambassadorial residency's cavernous reception room, is interesting because it is coloured with the bemusement that someone steeped in Finland's more egalitarian principles feels about Britain's extremes of wealth.

    Huhtaniemi moved here from his relatively modest 150sq ft apartment on the outskirts of Helsinki in 2010. He likes to keep the vast building full of visiting jazz musicians and students and artists, and feels a responsibility to ensure that it is used to the maximum as a working space.

    He and his wife have a flat at the top of the house (which seems enormous but which he describes as the smallest on the street). Despite appreciating this is a remarkable building, he lists a number of disadvantages of living on London's most expensive street.

    Aside from the fact that the buildings are extraordinarily draughty, badly designed for insulation (by Finland's high standards) and wasteful of energy, the street is peculiar because of the marked absence of any sense of community. "You don't know your neighbours anyway these days, but no I wouldn't say that this is a community.

    The diplomats, we meet each other, we go to each other's receptions, we are sometimes invited by colleagues to attend a dinner or a working luncheon. But the wealthy businessmen, the millionaires and billionaires, they keep a very low profile," he says.

    Then there's the sense of isolation which comes with not knowing if the buildings around you are actually lived in, or are simply investment vehicles.

    "The palaces are often dark at night. You don't know if people keep lights on as a precaution, in order to perhaps to keep the burglars away," he says. "Now of course you have to be a very brave burglar to come here, through all the checkpoints …"

    The constant noise from the extravagant, wholesale refurbishment underway in at least five of the street's houses is also a significant annoyance. Like residents of all of London's most expensive areas, he has been particularly disturbed by the noise and dust involved in comprehensively gutting and remodelling houses, and digging out multilayered basements.

    "Mr Blavatnik has been refurbishing his house, which is next to us, for three years. I hope that will be finished next year. In the early days when they started, they did a lot of drilling. Then it was very noisy, let's say between 7am and 5pm. They have not worked around the clock, not in the evenings. They are working inside the house now, for the last six months it has been pretty quiet …"

    The only time Huhtaniemi met Blavatnik and Mittal was when Kensington Palace organised a garden party for the neighbours to apologise for the noise and disruption caused by their own building works in 2011. "They wanted to make a friendly gesture, so that was in 2011. That's the only occasion when it has been possible to meet the neighbours in one go."

    Finnish visitors are always impressed at the house, and never question their government's decision to keep it (the lease ends in 2040); visitors mainly want to know whether he has seen Kate pushing her baby in a pram along the pavement. "I haven't."

    The extreme wealth on display frequently makes him thoughtful about the meaning of money, and he is clear that this is not a place he would choose to live in the longer term.

    "You come to the basic philosophical question: does money make you happy? I personally don't think that money alone makes you happy. If you have a lot of money, you also have a lot of worries. You have to worry about your security much more, you have to worry about your investments. You can wake up in the morning and when you look at the share prices, you suddenly see that you have lost £50m overnight. I'm not envious of very rich people. I think that they have their own share of worries."

    But he understands the street's attraction for the super-rich.

    "Rich people want to stick together; to be close to each other. This is why they probably buy property in the same Alpine resorts – Courcheval in France, St Moritz in Switzerland. They feel comfortable when they are with their own social equals," he says. "There is a saying in Finnish: money is a little bit like snow. It tends to gather in heaps."

    This article originally appeared on

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    Dovi Frances

    At just 35, financier Dovi Frances holds the Guinness World Record for selling the most expensive single life insurance policy in history.

    Frances, who runs SG, LLC, in Santa Barbara, Calif., helped put together a $201 million policy for a "well-known" Silicon Valley billionaire in the tech space.

    It involved more than a dozen underwriters to put together the transaction. It was complicated, but Frances says that's his firm's specialty, addressing "the complex financial needs" of wealthy people.

    "Why would anyone need a $201 million life insurance policy?" I recently asked Frances over breakfast in midtown Manhattan. He said there's no more effective way to protect your estate than through life insurance.

    When you die, he said, your estate is taxed by the government at about 45 percent. If your net worth is $1 billion, then the tax would be in the hundreds of millions. The problem is that billionaires aren't necessarily liquid. 

    "The interesting thing about an event of death is this — you're not liquid. If you're worth $1 billion, you're not $1 billion liquid. You have some stocks, you have some assets," he said, adding that those things aren't easily liquidated.

    According to Frances, it's the high-net-worth folks who think ahead of time about the financial situation they'll leave behind.

    "Let's be honest. We have a very short period of time here. That's why you and I are so driven to make an impact. It's our show. The curtain will close. May as well make an impact and leave a mark and have fun while doing it. Most people don't think about the after when they're gone ... And because of that, many people ignore it. 'Oh, I'll take care of it later.' People don't do it. Sophisticated people do it because they have good advisers."

    At such a young age, Frances has drive. He considers his work his hobby. He loves building businesses. 

    Frances grew up in Israel, where he shared a bedroom with his three brothers. His father was an Israeli IRS agent who inherited a small auto garage outside Tel Aviv from Frances' grandfather. Frances' father turned the garage into a business with 400 employees and several locations. It could have been Frances' business, but it wasn't the path for him. 

    "I would have been wealthy," he said. "I wanted to do things by myself and live and die on my own sword." 

    Frances spent 4 1/2 years in the Israeli army (the requirement is 3 years for men). During that time, he was in the infantry and attended the officers' academy. He went on to graduate from business school, and then followed his older brother to Deutsche Bank in San Francisco in June 2008.

    He was a junior-level bank employee when he woke up and watched the news of the Lehman Brothers' collapse that September. 

    Despite the financial-market meltdown, Frances didn't lose his job. That's because there was one financial instrument that Deutsche Bank had that other banks didn't — loans. And Frances excelled in selling loans.

    However, when the government rolled out the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), his competitive advantage was destroyed. Other banks had started extending credit, and his pipeline was gone overnight. 

    He didn't give up, though. Instead, he thought of a new idea to get clients.

    "With that, I needed to figure out a way to reinvent myself as a banker. I decided to do something no banker has done before — direct letters to people who are not clients who reside in properties in excess of $5 million."

    Frances worked with Deutsche's legal and compliance to draft the letter. He sent out 2,000 and received two responses. One of those responses was from Sergey Grishin, a Russian billionaire.

    Frances said Grishin's chief of staff saw the letter and opened it. Grishin thought "Dovi Frances" was an interesting name. That's when the billionaire decided to reach out.

    Frances got an email from Grishin about 3 a.m., saying, "Hey, Dovi, I got the letter. I want to meet. I just bought this house for $27 million in cash! When are you available?" They met that same morning in Santa Barbara. 

    After, he managed to bring Grishin on board as a client. They did some deals together, and eight months later Frances left the bank to launch SG, LLC. (SG stands for Sergey Grishin.)

    SG was founded to help wealthy people secure jumbo loans. Since 2010, they've facilitated $550 million in loans for 450 families. Frances has built a family office for Grishin. They have an asset-management business for wealthy families as well as a venture-capital business called SG VC.

    This is only the beginning, Frances says. He plans to continue to work hard so that when he's no longer on this earth his survivors will also have a better life.

    "Hard work pays. It enables you to give better life chances to your survivors. Your kids, their kids. I want to do for my kids what my dad has done for me. I want to be able to offer them added value, to teach them discipline, creativity, and wisdom, while allowing them to go to good schools. Then they can go and find themselves." 

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    Crowded Indian Train

    It's not often that a story about a boy going missing after running away from home ends up being inspiring, but the story of Kiran from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is an exception.

    The Hindu reports that 12-year-old Kiran (not his real name, apparently) ran away from home because he was afraid of taking his school exams.

    While on his own he became an entrepreneur, selling chips.

    Narrating his experience to the volunteers of BOSCO, a city child helpline which rescued him, Kiran said he alighted from the train at Yelahanka, took an autorickshaw to Hoody and had breakfast there before walking to K.R. Puram railway station.

    There he saw hawkers selling chips, and bought a few packets with the Rs. 50 he had and sold them. According to him, he earned a profit of Rs. 30 on an investment of Rs. 50. Excited with his first earning, Kiran bought more packets of chips and sold them. In three days, he is said to have earned Rs. 750.

    After figuring out that he could make money trading chips, he really doubled down on growth, reinvesting all of his earnings, spending none of it, while completely forgetting about bathing, his clothes, and his family:

    “Excited about the earnings, Kiran had totally forgotten his exam and family. He had not even changed his dress or taken a bath as he was immersed in the business. Unlike other runaway children, he did not even spend money. He was investing all that he earned into business,” Mr. Ravindran said.

    It's really too bad that we don't know his real name, because it's a safe bet that this kid is going to be outrageously successful in the future. Probably he'll become a billionaire. When he does, this is the kind of story people will point to and note that it was obvious all along.

    Read his full story here >

    NOW WATCH: What Successful People Do On The Weekend


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    Thomas Page had no experience in the tech industry or in venture capitalism when he sat down for his first job interview, a meeting with Sequoia Capital's billionaire venture capitalist Michael Moritz.

    But he sure knew how to play poker, and that's what caught Moritz's eye. 

    Page is now the co-founder of Blonk, which makes an app that claims to be the "Tinder of job hunting."

    In a recent blog post, Page details how his first job interview experience led him to where he is today.  

    A professional poker player since 2004, Page decided to quit the game in January 2013, despite being rather good at it.

    He says he's rated among the top 500 poker players in the country and made $6,500 in his first month of playing the game.

    Page moved to Silicon Valley from Wolverhampton, England in 2012 with no technology or business experience. But he felt several of his poker skills could translate well to the industry, and here's the email he sent Moritz last year:

    Hi Mr Moritz,

    My name is Tom Page, I’m 26, I’m originally from Wolverhampton, England, but I graduated Oberlin College in 2008 with a degree in Economics and Philosophy.

    I played online professional poker for 6 years, and was ranked within the top 500 players in the world. 

    For numerous reasons, I decided I didn’t want to play poker professionally forever and entered the world of technology last year. 

    I founded formed a team, made a bunch of mistakes, learned a lot and was moderately successful, but am in the process of selling the software and moving on.

    I want to get involved in Venture Capital, and am willing to do whatever it takes you to get started. 

    When given the opportunity I believe I’ll excel for these reasons.

    1. To those that played poker against me, they know that I am able to make good strategic judgments, and that I am reasonably clever, but most importantly I also work very hard. These traits were at the roots of my poker successes.

    2. I’m a genuinely social, outgoing individual which causes me to meet and get to know a lot of people personally, which results in building a very strong Rolodex.

    3. I myself, invested in other poker players. I personally found and attracted the best deals that were available by specializing in specific forms of poker. A world that is not far away from operating within Venture Capital.

    4. I brought more to the table in terms of value than other players. That itself, gave me a real life grasp of the formula that one needs to go through in order to be a successful tech VC.

    5. I strived long and hard at learning the craft of poker. I would like to use these skills to try and become a very good venture capitalist.

    Would you be willing to meet with me and talk more?


    Page received an email from Moritz that day, agreeing to an interview the following Friday. To prepare, Page watched every interview and read every article he could find about Sequoia. 

    "It was a fierce conversation," he recalls on his blog. "I decided to ask him the toughest questions I could. I wanted to see how he would react."

    Page didn't end up getting the position with Sequoia Capital, but his meeting with Moritz is part of what led him to co-found Blonk.  After the interview with Moritz, Page played poker to raise some more money, which he used to get Blonk started. 

    "One of my co-founders was asking each of us about [our] first job interviews," he wrote. "And it brought a smile to all [of] our faces when I told my story of not having a clue and being interviewed by a billionaire." 

    SEE ALSO: Ageism In Silicon Valley Is So Bad That People In Their 20s Are Getting Cosmetic Surgery

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    larry ellison

    Larry Ellison is without a doubt one of the people who has influenced the tech industry the most. 

    In fact, CNBC just named him No. 10 in its new list of the 25 business people who had the most profound impact on business and finance in the past 25 years.

    Ellison, who is co-founder and CEO of Oracle, has influenced the tech industry, business world, and your daily lives in numerous ways, whether you realize it or not, CNBC pointed out in its profile of him.

    College degree not required

    Larry Ellison certainly isn't the only billionaire college dropout to find success in Silicon Valley but he was one of the first: Before Bill Gates, before his best friend Steve Jobs, before Michael Dell.

    Ellison dropped out of college not just once, but twice, before moving to Northern California at age 22, in 1966.

    He stayed in school long enough to learn about computer design and, a few years later,  invented a database by reading a paper about it written by an IBM scientist.

    Today that database is run by all of the world's biggest companies. Just about every time you use a credit card, book an airline ticket, or get a prescription drug, Oracle has helped you do it.

    Never retire

    In just a couple of months, Larry Ellison will turn 70. He is the longest-running founder CEO the tech industry has ever seen. He's held the CEO role at Oracle since 1977.

    Back then, a 70-year-old CEO would have been unheard of. Even today, IBM has a tradition where CEOs are asked to retire at age 60.

    Ellison has never even publicly discussed retirement.

    With Ellison as a role model, other CEOs are staying on longer, too, including Cisco's John Chambers and EMC's Joe Tucci.

    A competitive spirit is the greatest motivator

    Ask Ellison why he still comes to work every day — what drives him after all he's achieved — and he'll tell you the same answer: he loves to compete.

    "I'm addicted to winning. The more you win, the more you want to win," he says.

    More recently he described his motivation like this:

    "What drives me is this constant testing of limits. Constant learning. ... How can you move the world just a bit, make a difference, change lives ... and how much can I help [while] discovering my own limits?"

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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