A Virus Ate The Money

11 Jun 2020

A couple of weeks ago the Sunday Times released the 2020 Rich List and for the first time in 11 years the wealth of Britain’s richest people has gone into reverse. Not that we plan to hold a collection for any of them but since everyone loves a list – especially of people who earn more in a few hours than the rest of us do in an entire year – here are the tech people who made it onto the 2020 Rich List, what they do and why they’re so successful.


Britain vs The World


The richest person in Britain is Sir James ‘Vacuum God’ Dyson with a fortune of £16.2bn but that’s mere pocket change compared to this list of the world’s richest people, interestingly all but three have made their fortunes in tech –

1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon – £119.8bn
2. Bill Gates, Microsoft – £88bn
3. Bernard Arnault, LVMH – £85.2bn
4. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook – £67.3bn
5. Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway – £62.7bn
6. Larry Ellison, Oracle – £54.9bn
7. Amancio Ortega, Zara – £54bn
8. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft – £52.8bn
9. Larry Page, Google – £51.3bn
10. Sergey Brin, Google – £50bn

That’s an eye-watering total of £623.3bn belonging to 10 men. To put that into perspective, the total wealth of the 1,000 people on the Sunday Times list is £742.6bn.


Winners & Losers


Just before we dive into the long list of the loaded, it’s worth pointing out that the coronavirus pandemic and the inevitable economic shockwave has, says Rich List compiler Robert Watts, ‘raised important and troubling questions about the resilience, conduct and even value to society of the super-rich.’

Why were so many British businesses brought to the brink of collapse only a few short weeks into lockdown and how will the damage wrought on the finances of the richest 0.01% affect the rest of us?

The truth is that right now, it’s hard to know. All will become clearer as we get back to some semblance of normality over the coming weeks and months. It’s also true to say that this period of utter unusualness has exposed who among the mega-wealthy are sitting on rock-solid wealth and whose paper fortunes are more ephemeral, being decided by the minute-by-minute fluctuations of the world’s stock exchanges. Like the Grand Old Duke of York’s 10,000 men, when they were up, they were up. And when they were down, they were down. And when they were only halfway up, they were neither up nor down…

Take Bet365. In February, the company was worth £9.5bn. Four short weeks later when the sporting calendar was wiped out and no-one was betting on anything, the company’s value took a £3bn hit. Then there’s the Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family who own most of Mayfair and Belgravia as well as huge swathes of land and property across Europe and the Americas. Their combined asset value of well over £12bn (which, lest we forget has been built up since the 17th century) will escape pretty-much unscathed. They are as near to bulletproof as is possible to get.


The Richest Tech People in Britain


First of all it’s worth noting a few things. When we say tech, we mean the internet, software, cloud security and the like, not hardware like the stuff Dyson makes although we are including computers and that sort of thing.

It’s also fair to say that this list isn’t the result of in-depth research as to who does what. It’s a break from the norm for a week and since we love putting lists together, we thought this would be a fun one to do.

Who & How Much: Denise, John & Peter Coates, £7.16bn
What: At their busiest Bet365 were taking over £2,000 a second in 2018/9 but sport has stopped, ergo sports betting has stopped. They launched the company from a car park in Stoke in the 90s and in 2019, joint CEO Denise Coates took home a staggering £323m. Nice work if you can get it.

Who & How Much: Teddy Sagi, £3.67bn
What: Sagi founded gambling software developer Playtech, selling it for near on $500m (£392m) by 2018 and he took online payments processor Safe Charge public, eventually selling it for $889m (£697m). He also owns cybersecurity business Kape Technologies as well as Camden Market.

Who & How Much: Mark Scheinberg, £3.55bn
What: Mark and his father Isai co-founded PokerStars which became the world’s largest online poker site. They sold it in 2014 for £3.3bn.

Who & How Much: Sir Michael Moritz & Harriet Heyman, £3.04bn
What: Sir Michael ran Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital, one of the most successful VC firms in the world. Their early £8m investment in Google peaked at £6.3bn, and he funded Alibaba – China’s eBay – which floated at $168bn (£131.7bn) and WhatsApp which Facebook bought for $22bn (£17.2bn).

Who & How Much: Niklas Zennstrom, £1.39bn
What: The co-founder of Skype has raised over $820m (£642.7m) this year which he’s going to pour into tech companies after funding Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds and presumably, taking out a prettier penny than he put in. He’s also a world-class yachtsman and presumably he can cook and play a number of musical instruments. We hate him.

Who & How Much: Simon Nixon, £1.35bn
What: Nixon founded moneysupermarket.com and after selling his shares, netted himself a cool £700m. He’s now backing a vegan delivery service called Allplants and has £310m-worth of property from Cornwall to Barbados.

Who & How Much: Andrey Andreev, £1.25bn
What: Moscow-born Andreev cashed in on the online dating revolution selling his majority stake in MagicLab (Bumble, Badoo, Chappy and Lumen) for a whopping $1.5bn (£1.18bn).

Who & How Much: Sir Terry Matthews, £1.24bn
What: A serial tech entrepreneur, he has founded and funded over 100 companies including broadband and VoIP business Mitel, data networking business Newbridge Networks (sold to Alcatel for $7.1bn in 2000), Bridgewater Systems (sold to Amdocs for $215m) and Ubiquity Software (sold to Avaya for $105m). He also owns Celtic Manor Golf Club.

Who & How Much: Mahmud Kamani & Family, £1.03bn
What: Kamani and his family founded the online fashion brand Boohoo (who have Dele Alli as their star man), they have 10m followers on social and they launch 500 new lines each week to keep teenagers hooked, And they are.

Who & How Much: Matt Mounding & Family, £960m
What: They founded online retailer The Hut Group in 2004 which owns over 100 brands including I Want One Of Those, Glossybox and Myprotein. His staff reward scheme has seen many become millionaires including his assistant who retired aged 36!

Who & How Much: Peter Kelly, £728m
What: The self-styled ‘weird and eccentric entrepreneur’ owns IT infrastructure reseller Softcat. He’s so odd that one of his corporate policies is to allow staff to vote on the pay rises of their colleagues!

Who & How Much: Lawrence & Gail Jones, £700m
What: While he’s currently fighting allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct (which he strongly denies), Jones has passed control of cloud-hosting company UKFast to his wife Gail. He sold a chunk of it back in 2018 for £205m but still retains a stake worth just over £400m.

We could have carried on down through the top 1,000 but we thought we’d stop at £700m, it’s hardly worth getting out of bed for less…

Before we go, it’s worth saying that each one of the businessmen and women we’ve mentioned and the countless others we’ve not written about haven’t just lucked into such vast sums. They’ve worked extremely hard and while some will say that they happened to be in the right place at the right time, you can’t accumulate uber-wealth by sitting around at home in your pyjamas playing computer games all day.

Or can you….

Let’s take PewDiePie for example. The 30-year old Brighton-based Swede, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is YouTube’s most popular vlogger with 105m subscribers and has racked up over 25bn views of him playing video games and generally goofing about. Not without controversy, he’s worth £29m.

What about Dan Middleton, aka DanTDM? Worth £28m with his wife Jemma, he has over 23m YouTube subscribers (16.7bn views) and he plays Minecraft and Fortnite all day. Before he launched his YT channel in 2012, he was stacking shelves in Tesco for £7/hour.

So you’ve got to either come up with a killer app, invent software or hardware, take your business online or play computer games all day. The choice is yours…

Contact us today on info@koncisesolutions.com or call 020 7078 0789 and we’ll talk cloud and email security, communications platforms, cutting-edge IT solutions or what’s better, working from home where you have a three-second commute and permanent access to the fridge, or going into the office that costs you £3,000 a year to get there and lunch costs you the GDP of a small nation.


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