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You Don’t Have to Sell Your Soul to Be Rich – Socially Responsible Billionaires

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socially responsible billionaires

Do rich people only care about making more money? Not anymore. There’s a new generation of socially responsible billionaires looking to make the world a better place (at the same time as counting their cash).

From investors placing their money in green companies only to entrepreneurs who want to be known for the issues they care about, check out four of the most famous socially responsible billionaires below–and how they’re changing the world.

Larry Page

Larry Page is the co-founder of Google and number 12 in the Forbes List of Billionaires, with a net worth estimated at $39 billion. Besides his interest in consumer data, this entrepreneur puts a lot of effort into developing the charitable side of Google.

Thanks to Larry Page, Google develops technological solutions to help charities and organizations that fight hunger and poverty. The tech giant has adopted a series of green policies to reduce its carbon footprint and invests in renewable energy as well.

Evan Spiegel


Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and CEO of Snapchat. Even if his company did lose almost 40% of its value since its launch on the stock market, Spiegel is still worth around $2.5 billion and is one of just four self-made billionaires under 30.

Spiegel is only 28, but he has already stated his vision of the world on several occasions. Spiegel said at Code 2018:

“Life is really about having an impact on the world, changing the way that people experience the world, changing the way that you experience the world.”

Evan Spiegel contributed to raising money for AIDS research and community service in California. In 2017, the founders of Snapchat started the Snap Foundation, an organization that supports art and education.

Nathan Blecharczyk

Nathan Blecharczyk is co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Airbnb. Despite his growing fortune (estimated at around $3 billion), he still rides his bike to work. And stays in Airbnb homes when traveling.

The billionaire stated more than once that he feels responsible to do good. He and his wife support St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children and contribute to College Track, a nonprofit in California that supports students from under-served communities.

Blecharczyk, together with the other co-founders of Airbnb, also announced that they join Bill Gate’s Giving Pledge, meaning that they committed to donating at least 50% of their wealth in their lifetime or in their will.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s passion for renewable energy makes him one of the most famous socially responsible billionaires of his generation. He’s permanently investing in innovative technology that could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. He also has a well-known penchant for all things green.

Musk is interested in educational projects as well and donates high amounts to charity. Among the Tesla CEO’s benevolent acts, he donated $15 million to the Global Learning program by XPRIZE, $250,000 and battery systems to support hurricane victims, and $480,000 to fix the water system in 12 Flint schools.

Musk also joined the Giving Pledge started by Bill Gates. More than half of his wealth will support charity for good.

These four socially responsible billionaires are playing their part in keeping our planet clean. They also donate large amounts to charity and support hundreds of smaller organizations around the globe, proving that you don’t have to sell your soul to be a billionaire. You can give back some of your success as well.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Christina is a B2B writer, MBA, fintech and crypto reporter with a fascination for technology and a passion for starting interesting conversations. When not at her computer you can find her surfing a wave or sipping on wine. Sometimes, at the same time.

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Billionaires

Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes Buys Australia’s Most Expensive Home

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Mike Cannon Brookes

Despite all the worry over Australian home prices, it didn’t take Mike Cannon-Brookes long to spend a pile on the Fairwater estate in Sydney’s Point Piper. The home was recently vacated by Mary Fairfax, who died a little over a year ago. The home has been in the Fairfax family for more than 100 years, and now it looks like Mike Cannon-Brookes will be raising his family in the 11,000+ square-meter property.

The actual sales price for Fairwater hasn’t been disclosed, but it is thought to have sold for more than $100 million USD. That would make it the highest price paid for a home in Australia by a wide margin.

The previous record was set when the house next door to Fairwater sold to the other Atlassian co-founder, Scott Farquhar, last year. Mr. Farquhar paid $71 million USD for the property, called “Elaine,” which had also been the property of the Fairfax family.

Unlike Elaine, Fairwater has sat unoccupied for the last 25 years or so and was seldom used by Lady Fairfax. Despite the remodeling that is sure to begin soon, Mike Cannon-Brookes is happy to have made the purchase. In a statement, he said that:

“We are delighted with the purchase of Fairwater for our young family and look forward to continuing the legacy of this beautiful Sydney home… We love the idea of raising our four young children in this historic property.”

Fairwater

Fairwater, image by Wikipedia

Big Money in Sydney

Atlassian has been a massive success for Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. The pair met while attending the University of New South Wales. In 2002 they used $10,000 in credit card debt to found Atlassian. The company has grown into a global presence, and in 2017 Atlassian created revenues in excess of $600 million USD.

Their most popular product is Jira, which was introduced in 2002. Jira started life as a bug tracking software that is still used by software developers all over the world. According to Atlassian, more than 75,000 companies in 122 countries use Jira. It has evolved into a project management tool that has expanded beyond software development.

Given the taste in real estate the founders have, Atlassian will have to keep doing well. The property taxes on a $100 million dollar property have to be eye-watering. The two co-founders have made off like bandits in the wake of Atlassian’s IPO in late 2015.

Like many companies in the tech space, equity investors can’t seem to get enough of Atlassian shares. Even after the shares fell sharply earlier this week on a revenue disappointment, they are still up by more than 100% over the last 12 months at the time of writing. They saw their adjusted quarterly earnings rise by more than 50% YOY, which may help to justify their current valuation.

Investors Love Atlassian

Last year Atlassian lost around 50 cents a share, which makes paying nearly 20 billion dollars for their platform a little rough. Despite the increasing competition from other project management platforms, most notably Slack, there are many in the investment world that see Mike Cannon-Brookes’ company as a herald of things to come.

Atlassian stock 6 months

Atlassian stock 6 month period

Tim Garratt is a partner at Bailie Gifford, a Scottish fund that owns hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Atlassian’s equity. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that:

“Mike Cannon-Brookes has a focus on the next coming decades rather than the next quarter or two. He’s prepared to invest for the long term and we are strongly supportive of that approach… We see the long-term potential for Atlassian to service a hundred million users across the world […]So it is still early days for this exciting business and we’re looking forward to seeing how it develops over the next decade and beyond.”

Despite the optimism that Mike Cannon-Brookes has generated from investors who are already riding high on triple digits yearly gains, his company has something of a spotty record when it comes to gender issues.

A few years ago, one of Atlassian’s employees decided to compare a new piece of software to a complaining girlfriend, which did nothing to sure up the image of an industry that is constantly being accused of a latent gender bias. While Mike Cannon-Brookes scolded the employee after the presentation went viral, he actually gave the offending presentation himself at a conference!

The gaffe clearly hasn’t dented investor confidence in the company, and Atlassian remains one of the biggest software development tools out there today. If Mike Cannon-Brookes’ luck holds up, he may be able to hold on to his brand new house on the water in Sydney.

Featured image by TEDx Sydney

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