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The Most Influential High-Tech Investors

The definition of welfare has evolved throughout human history. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century it was the amount of money and luxury goods acquired by man, today...

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This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

The definition of welfare has evolved throughout human history. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century it was the amount of money and luxury goods acquired by man, today it is an investment in innovation and technological development, medicine, technologies that change the quality of life of everyone on the planet, and pharmaceuticals that prolong human life, as well as space and science in a global sense for exploration and development.

mohamed_hassan / Pixabay - Valuewalk

Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Thinking about the people at the forefront of this global change, we decided to write a little about their journey, deeds, and goals. After all, we can understand what the future holds for all of us from their deeds.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the chief innovator of our time. He is now one of the most respected leaders globally, earning respect for his ambitious nature and rare determination.

On May 30, 2020, his most ambitious company, SpaceX, made its first-ever private manned launch into space with the Crew Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX is also actively working on a project to put Internet satellites into low earth orbit.

With a constellation of such devices, Musk intends to create a global network providing residents with broadband Internet access anywhere.

Other Projects By Elon Musk:

Electronic payment system X.com. Merged with Confinity, then renamed PayPal and bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion (with Musk's share of $180 million).

Tesla is a manufacturer of electric cars and their components. The company also includes SolarCity, which sells solar panels and batteries

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX. It has developed the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, and the Dragon spacecraft. The company's main business now is the delivery of cargo into Earth orbit.

The Starlink system just above the Earth will see satellites providing access to high-speed Internet worldwide. There are plans to launch 12,000 satellites into orbit by the mid-2020s. In April 2020, there were already 418 satellites in orbit, and a year later, there were already over 13,000.

The project of a super-high-speed vacuum train, Hyperloop. It has not yet been fully implemented.

OpenAI, an NGO, is dealing with artificial intelligence. The project's mission is to create powerful AI that benefits humanity.

The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company. Initially a subsidiary of SpaceX, it split off in 2018. It is based on the concept that an urban transport system could consist of a vast network of tunnels for cars with exits to the surface.

Neuralink, a neurotechnology company. In July 2019, the billionaire announced his latest development, the N1 brain chip. The tiny wireless device is installed in the brain and is designed to help people with dementia or paralysis.

Richard Branson

Richard Branson founded his first company at 16, turned it into a multi-million dollar business, wrote a book, and even flew into space. He is the head of the Virgin Group, a philanthropist, winner of a knighthood for special entrepreneurial services, and is now a space tourist.

Branson founded his first business, Student Magazine, at the age of 16. For the sake of its production, the future billionaire dropped out of school, but the magazine didn't bring him much money. Soon Branson began selling records at a discounted price. He then set up a record company, Virgin Records, where artists such as Mike Oldfield, Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, Culture Club, Genesis, and many others started recording.

Branson invested the profits from Virgin Records into new businesses. He created the retail chain Virgin Megastores in 1976 and the travel company Virgin Voyager in 1980, and Virgin Books and Virgin Video in 1981. In 1984 one of the most famous companies of the billionaire, the airline Virgin Atlantic was established. At that time, Branson's business empire consisted of more than 50 separate companies with more than 17 million dollars.

In 2004, Branson founded a company specializing in space tourism, Virgin Galactic. In April 2013, there was a test launch of SpaceShipTwo, after which more than 500 people booked Virgin Galactic's spacecraft. Then, on July 11, 2021, the billionaire and his team made a suborbital flight on their ship.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is a famous American entrepreneur; he founded Amazon. He was one of the first to realize the promise of online retail and turned his idea into a multi-billion-dollar business.

On July 20, 2021, Jeff Bezos made his first space flight, which lasted 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Along with the businessman, a crew of three went on the journey: his younger brother Mark, professional flier Wally Funk, 82, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. Jeff Bezos was due to become the first space tourist, but he was beaten by businessman Richard Branson, whose flight took place on July 11, 2021.

Amazon History

1994 - Jeff Bezos resigned as senior vice president of investment firm DE Shaw & Co and moved to Seattle to create Amazon. He named the company after the world's most full-flowing river to emphasize the scale of the business.

1997 - Amazon went public with an IPO, listing its shares on the US NASDAQ exchange at $18 apiece. As of autumn 2021, one share of the company is worth over $3400.

2016 - Goods were delivered to customers by drone for the first time.

2017 - Amazon opened the world's first automated supermarket, Amazon Go, a cashier-less shop.

Today, it is an enormous public cloud and e-commerce platform.

Jack Ma

Jack Ma is the richest man in Asia and the founder of the world's largest e-commerce platform.

He was born on October 15, 1964, in Hangzhou, located in the southeastern part of China.

To take care of his family, Ma decided to set up a small business and a translation company. In 1995 Jack's English-speaking abilities led him to a delegation of a Chinese company who were on their way to the United States. It was there that Ma was introduced to the Internet. He typed the first words into a search engine were "beer" and "China." In both cases Jack did not find anything related to his country in the search results.

Back in his home country, the future businessman gathered his friends and showed them what the Internet was all about. True, it took about three hours to load one page, but the goal was achieved. Ma soon established China Pages, a counterpart to the Yellow Pages. But China's first Internet company was bought out by monopoly China Telecom.

While working as an official in the late 1990s, Ma met Yahoo founder Jerry Yang. The future founder of Alibaba understood that many goods were made in China much cheaper than in other countries, and decided to create an online marketplace for small and medium-sized trades. Jack went to Silicon Valley with a ready-made business plan, hoping to rely on old connections. But no investors were interested.

So, Ma raised $60,000 from his friends. Each of them received a share in the company.

Jack took the name Alibaba from a fairy tale. He said that his platform would open the door to a treasure cave for small companies.

In 2013, Jack announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Alibaba because of his age: "I am 48 years old. I am no longer young enough to run such a fast-growing business." Then Ma shared his plans for the future: "In China, because of problems with clean water, air, and food, in 10 to 20 years, we will face a lot of health woes, such as an increase in cancer cases. So, this is an area where I will invest my money and time."

In 2014, Jack founded the JackMa Foundation, which focuses on education, the environment, and health. In 2015, he was recognized as China's most prominent philanthropist, donating $2.4 billion to his foundation.

Carlos Slim

Carlos Slim, the future richest man on earth, received his first lessons in growing wealthy early. First, his father gave each of his children a notebook and taught them to record their expenses and income. Then, he analyzed everyone’s fortune based on their notes.

Thanks to this simple rule, the children of Don Julián Slim learned to manage their finances and become rich.

From then on, savings and investments became part of young Carlos's life. And he gained his first investment experience at the age of 12 when he opened an account to buy shares in Banco Nacional de México.

By turning 25, he started forming his future empire, Grupo Carso.

In the 2000s Carlos Slim's company extended its dominance in the telecommunications sector.

The company's main assets turned into shares in the Latin American consortium of mobile operators, America Movil, and as well as in the financial corporation, Inbursa.

From 2000 to 2007, the organization continued to buy up telecom companies all over Latin America. He made assets purchased in Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Argentina, Colombia, and El Salvador.

In 2008 Slim purchased minor assets in Citibank and The New York Times. The businessman reportedly invested in distressed or undervalued assets, set up operations there, and resold them.

Later, the Carlos Slim Foundation was created, developing the latest and pharmaceutical innovations to provide the tools and the most relevant data to make the healthcare sector the ideal detonator for increased productivity and competitiveness. With that vision, it has benefited millions of individuals in the region.

Vladimir Potanin

Businessman Vladimir Potanin of Interros is the largest private shareholder in Russian Norilsk Nickel, a nickel producer and other metals. Potanin has adhered to the principle of developing projects that come up with tangible benefits to society throughout its existence.

The initial investments in the high technologies were made by Potanin in 2006, when he invested in hydrogen energy projects. In the year 2010, Vladimir Potanin finally announced his intention to commit his wealth to service for the well-being of society.

In recent years, Potanin has been vigorously developing his digital agenda. He is actively involved in the formulation of new legislation on digital financial assets in Russia and acts as a co-investor on several global digital trading platforms, the most important of which is Atomyze, He is currently in several stages of preparation to operate in Russia, Switzerland, and the United States.

Potanin has assisted in creating the Center for Brain and Consciousness Research in Skolkovo, which houses the Programmable Materials Physics Laboratory headed by Nobel Prize-winning Konstantin Novoselov.

Digital technologies were more actively developed in the other main portfolio asset held by Potanin: Norilsk Nickel. Such technology can effectively control the movement of vehicles in the mine, increase the efficiency of the material flow, and introduce the latest technological advancements in industrial safety and labor protection, as well as environmental control and ESG compliance.

The world's leading metal mining corporation with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, Norilsk Nickel has launched a carbon-neutral nickel with a digitized, scanned certificate of authenticity and listed exchange-traded commodities on the Vienna stock exchange.

With the immense support from the state, this year, Potanin developed the Voskhod venture fund, and the volume of its investments there will cross 10 billion rubles in the next five years. Also, he promised $1 billion for investments in high technologies.

Majid Al Futtaim

The billionaire Majid Al Futtaim controls the Majid Al Futtaim Group, a Dubai-based Emirati real estate and retail conglomerate with projects in Asia and Africa. It is a regionally focused lifestyle company that includes a range of businesses, including retail, malls, mixed-use communities, hotels, cinemas, and entertainment.

At Majid Al Futtaim believes in being creative, which means delivering the concepts that can set new benchmarks in retail, property, leisure, and entertainment.

When the pandemic raged in 2020 and customers spent more time at home, Majid Al Futtaim then decided to serve its customers with a broader set of after-sales and home-management services. After thoroughly evaluating the options, the consortium partnered with a UAE-based startup called Mr. Usta, a home service provider. This partnership in Egypt gives customers the option to enjoy benefits and pay later.

Today, the Majid Al Futtaim Group operates more than 88 individual businesses across 18 countries with over 42 million square meters of gross leasable area. It also has a portfolio of investments spanning residential communities, retail malls including hypermarkets and department stores, hospitality services such as hotels and resorts, cinemas (the largest cinema operator in the Middle East), health care facilities, and parking facilities.

Zhang Yiming

Zhang Yiming is a famous Chinese entrepreneur who founded the ByteDance company, which owns several Chinese social apps such as a WeChat competitor called FlipChat and video messaging app Duoshan.

ByteDance is one of the most valuable private tech companies in the world. It is currently valued at $75 billion, and it is considered the highest respected expensive private company in the world.

Zhang Yiming is a 35-year-old computer programmer who grew up in a rural area of China. He graduated from Nanjing University and worked for Microsoft before founding ByteDance in 2012. The company has grown to more than 700 million users, with 500 million active every month.

The company has already become one of China's top media companies.

Many people have compared ByteDance to Facebook or Google due to its popularity with young people. ByteDance started as a news aggregator but has expanded into online video, music, and games.

In 2012, ByteDance launched its first product, "Tieba," which loosely translates to "bulletin board" or "forum," but is more like an early version of Reddit that focused on Chinese users' interests and questions about politics, news, and other current events. ByteDance followed up Tieba with the short-video sharing platform Douyin, also known as TikTok, in 2017. Two years after its launch, Douyin had become the most downloaded non-game app in China.

Dilip Shanghvi

In 1983, a young Shanghvi started his own company, Sun Pharmaceuticals. Today, it is India's second-largest drugmaker with a global presence, having made its first acquisition in 2001 and its first US listing in 2006.

The group has also set up R&D facilities in the US and Europe to cater to the needs of these markets.

Shanghvi has transformed Sun Pharma from a small pharmaceutical manufacturer into a multinational enterprise. One of his primary strategies has been to keep himself updated about the latest trends in the pharma industry and to understand the changing demands of patients and doctors. He has also held a close watch on what his competitors are up to, thereby learning from their successes and failures.

With acute business acumen and strategic planning, Dilip Shanghvi is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in India.

Sun Pharma already has a presence in 55 markets, including the US and China.

Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault, the owner of the luxury goods holding LVMH, is called the "collector of brands."

In the late 1980s, the entrepreneur began buying up shares of LVMH. In the 90s, he ended up owning it.

Arnault gradually acquired other luxury brands producing clothes, cosmetics, watches, and expensive alcohol. People began to talk about Arnault as if he were a madman. Some skeptics even believed that success could be achieved by concentrating on a single direction. But Arnault succeeded in catching the spirit of his time: People wanted to own luxury goods—branded items make it possible to stand out from the crowd and emphasize their status in society.

Bernard Arnault is primarily known as a patron of the arts and an art collector. He is currently the wealthiest person in Europe and controls the world's largest luxury group.