Apple is the richest company, so where are the billionaires?


Finding billionaires in Silicon Valley isn’t hard. Dropbox Inc.’s Arash Ferdowsi and Veeva Systems Inc.’s Peter Gassner have both crossed the threshold this year, and tech fortunes make up a fifth — or about $1 trillion — of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

But tracking down members of the three-comma club at Apple Inc. is a less fruitful endeavor, even though the iPhone-maker is the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of $879 billion.

Chairman Art Levinson is the only insider to make the cut, and Apple stock accounts for just 20 percent of his $1 billion fortune, according to regulatory filings. The rest comes from his long tenure at Genentech Inc., where he was chairman and chief executive officer, and an early stake in Google Inc.

No other Apple insider comes close.

I think one core attribute of any huge company with few or no billionaires is a long legacy. A tech company born in current times that then grows huge is much more likely to make a billionaire or two. Or three.

Apple’s big growth curve happened long before billion dollar valuations were common. They went public in 1980, fragmenting their ownership stake, making it that much harder for a single person to emerge as a billionaire.

Thoughtful article.