#1:. Bill Gates | Co-founder of Microsoft, Inc and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Net worth: $79.6 Billion USD
It’s been 40 years since Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen. At the time, Gates’ goal of getting a computer on every person’s desk seemed audacious. Under his leadership, Microsoft became a giant in software and helped make PCs commonplace.
Having left his role as chairman of Microsoft last year, the world’s richest man is focused more fully on using his billions to improve the quality of life of people around the world. In June, European regulators gave the green light to the world’s first malaria vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline in conjunction with PATH, a nonprofit group supported by the Gates Foundation.
The foundation is also working toward eliminating polio completely. In the U.S., its focus is on improving education. Each year, Gates sells more of his Microsoft shares. His stake in Microsoft, now just under 3%, accounts for roughly 13% of his estimated fortune.