(Top) (From L to R): Rajiv Jain, founder, GQG Partners; Romesh T Wadhwani, chairman, Symphony AI. (Bottom) (From L to R): Vinod Khosla, founder, Khosla Ventures; Jay Chaudhry, CEO, Zscaler. Image (Vinod Khosla): Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images T
he wealthiest individuals in the US have seen their wealth increase by $500 billion compared to a year ago, according to Forbes, due to a resurgence in the stock markets and a surge in the AI (artificial intelligence)-driven technology sector. Their collective wealth stands at $4.5 trillion, matching the previous record set in 2021. The minimum wealth required to join the elite club has risen to $2.9 billion, up from $2.7 billion last year, reaching an all-time high.
Elon Musk retains the top spot on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list with an estimated net worth of $251 billion, the same as the previous year, despite a tumultuous year that included his costly acquisition of Twitter and a decline in Tesla's stock value. Musk's wealth surpasses that of Jeff Bezos, who is in second place by $90 billion, and Larry Ellison who’s ranked third by $93 billion.
There are 18 newcomers on the list. The most notable among them is basketball legend Michael Jordan with an estimated net worth of $3 billion, making him the first professional athlete to make it to the Forbes 400 list. The richest new member this year is Elisabeth DeLuca, with an estimated net worth of $8.2 billion, who inherited a 50 percent stake in Subway in August.
Among those who dropped off the list are Donald Trump, whose social media platform and commercial real estate holdings are struggling; Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who have witnessed a decline in the value of their Snap Inc stock; and Sam Bankman-Fried and Gary Wang, who are facing federal fraud charges following the collapse of their cryptocurrency empire last autumn.
The youngest member of the Forbes 400 is Lukas Walton, the 37-year-old grandson of Walmart co-founder Sam Walton, while the oldest is David Murdock, the billionaire behind Dole Food Products, who is 100 years old.
The Forbes 400 list comprises self-made billionaires, with 70 percent (279 individuals) on the 2023 list having earned their fortunes rather than inheriting them. The list remains predominantly male, with women representing only 15 percent (60 individuals) of its ranks. The wealthiest woman on the list is Alice Walton, heir to the Walmart fortune, who has reclaimed the title she held from 2015 to 2022, surpassing Julia Koch, heir to Koch Industries, who is now the second-richest woman in America. Of the women on the Forbes 400, only 12 are self-made, with the richest among them being Diane Hendricks, co-founder of roofing supply company ABC Supply.
People of Indian-origin on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans 2023 list Jay Chaudhry
Net worth: $9.2 billion
Jay Chaudhry is the CEO of Zscaler, a cybersecurity firm he founded in 2008 which went public in March 2018. Before Zscaler, Chaudhry founded four other tech companies that were all acquired: SecureIT, CoreHarbor, CipherTrust and AirDefense. He hails from a small village in the Himalayas, and moved to the US in 1980 to attend graduate school. Vinod Khosla
Net worth: $6.5 billion
Vinod Khosla is the founder of Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm which invests in experimental technologies such as biomedicine and robotics. Khosla co-founded computer hardware firm Sun Microsystems in 1982 with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy and Scott McNealy, and spent 18 years at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (now called Kleiner Perkins) before launching his own fund. Romesh T Wadhwani
Net worth: $5.1 billion
Romesh Wadhwani is the chairman of Symphony AI, an enterprise AI firm with operations in retail, financial services and manufacturing that he founded in 2017. He stepped down as CEO of SymphonyAI at the start of 2022 in a move to start to ready the firm for a potential public offering. He is also chairman of ConcertAI, an AI company focussed on health care and life sciences. He is an IIT graduate and has received a PhD in 1972 in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon. Rajiv Jain
Net worth: $3.1 billion
Rajiv Jain is the founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Fort Lauderdale-based asset management firm GQG Partners. Jain co-founded GQG with Tim Carver, the firm's CEO, in 2016; they took it public on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2021. Born in India, Jain moved to the US in the early 1990s to pursue an MBA at the University of Miami. He joined Swiss firm Vontobel Asset Management in 1994 and rose through the ranks to become co-CEO in 2014 until his departure in 2016.