7. Larry Ellison
- Age: 77
- Residence: Lanai, Hawaii
- Co-founder, CTO, and Chair: Oracle (ORCL)
- Net Worth: $93 billion
- Oracle Ownership Stake: 35.4% ($74.3 billion)
- Other Assets: Tesla equity ($11.1 billion public assets) and $16.6 billion in cash
After dropping out of the University of Chicago in 1966, Larry Ellison moved to California and worked as a computer programmer for several companies over the years. First, in 1973, he was an employee of the electronics company Ampex, where he met future partners Ed Oates and Bob Miner. Three years later, Ellison joined Precision Instruments, serving as the company’s vice president of research and development.
By 1977, Ellison had founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL) alongside Oates and Miner, which, two years later, released Oracle, the first commercial relational database program to utilize Structured Query Language. The database program proved so popular that SDL would change its name to Oracle Systems Corporation in 1982. Additionally, Ellison joined Tesla’s board in Dec. 2018.
Oracle is the second-largest software company and provides a wide variety of cloud computing programs as well as other software, such as Java and Linux, and the Oracle Exadata computing platform. The business has also grown through the acquisition of several major companies, including human resources management systems provider PeopleSoft in 2005, customer relationship management applications provider Siebel in 2006, enterprise infrastructure software provider BEA Systems in 2008, and hardware-and-software developer Sun Microsystems in 2009.
Ellison has spent millions in luxury real estate over the last decade, predominantly in California. Likely his most impressive expenditure, Ellison bought nearly the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million, building a hydroponic farm and luxury spa there. He has also donated millions of dollars to charitable causes over the years, particularly to medical research. Most recently, in 2016, Ellison gave $200 million to the University of Southern California for a new cancer research center.