- Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and Meg Whitman are some of the most powerful and wealthy women in tech whose fortunes have been entirely self-made.
- Forbes recently released its list of America’s richest self-made women, and 23 of the 80 women made their money in the tech world.
- These are the 23 richest self-made women in tech – find out below how they made their millions (and billions).
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Some of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley are industry veterans who have been steadily wading through the rankings since first coming to the scene in the early days of tech powerhouses like Google and Facebook – women like YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
Wojcicki and Mayer are just two of the 23 women in tech who made Forbes’ 2019 list of richest self-made women in the US. While the definition of “self made” may be a bit controversial, the list comprises 80 women who have built their own brands and amassed their own fortunes without the assistance of family fortunes or inheritances.
In an industry where men make up an overwhelming majority of the industry and its most powerful executives, these 23 women have made names for themselves and worked to gain net worths reaching the hundreds of millions – and even billions.
These are the 23 richest self-made women in tech according to Forbes, ranked by their net worth:
23. Angela Ahrendts — $US230 million
How she made her money:Angela Ahrendts was most recently Apple’s head of retail, where she was tasked with making the company into a luxury brand. While at Apple, she was one of the company’s highest-paid executive – she made $US24.2 million in 2017, twice what CEO Tim Cook made.
Ahrendts stepped down from her role at Apple in April 2019 for “new personal and professional pursuits.” She’s since joined Airbnb’s board of directors.
22. Whitney Wolfe Herd — $US290 million
How she made her money: Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder and CEO of Bumble, a dating app with a women-message-first approach that has almost 50 million users. Herd also cofounded rival dating app Tinder, but she left in 2012 and filed a sexual harassment suit against the company (which has since been settled).
20. Lynda Weinman — $US300 million
How she made her money: Weinman made her millions from creating the now-defunct online learning platform Lynda.com, which she sold to LinkedIn for $US1.5 billion in 2015. Lynda has since become LinkedIn Learning, which offers e-courses in business, computer software, photography, and more.
20. Ashley Chen — $US300 million
How she made her money: Chen founded the software provider ActioNet in 1998. The company’s first two clients – and still its biggest – are US government agencies: the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy. Chen serves as ActioNet’s CEO and chairwoman.
19. Martine Rothblatt — $US320 million
How she made her money: Rothblatt cofounded Sirius XM Satellite Radio in 1990, then founded a biotech company in 1996 called United Therapeutics, where she remains CEO. In 2018, she was named the highest-paid CEO in biotech by earning $US37 million.
18. Belinda Johnson — $US330 million
How she made her money: Belinda Johnson was named Airbnb’s first chief operating officer in February 2018. Before that, she served as the company’s chief legal counsel as it sued New York and San Francisco. Johnson also serves on the board of directors for PayPal.
17. Neha Narkhede — $US360 million
How she made her money: Neha Narkhede cofounded an enterprise streaming platform called Confluent in 2014 with two fellow employees at LinkedIn. At LinkedIn, Narkhede was part of the team that developed the open-source software platform Apache Kafka, which Confluent then spun out of.
Narkhede now serves at chief technology officer at Confluent, which is valued at $US2.5 billion.
16. Therese Tucker — $US370 million
How she made her money: As founder and CEO of automation software provider BlackLine, Therese Tucker is one of the most powerful women in enterprise tech. Tucker has a nearly 10% stake in the public company, making her share worth just over an estimated $US272 million.
15. Katrina Lake — $US380 million
How she made her money: Lake is the founder and CEO and Stitch Fix, a popular personal shopping subscription box service. Lake brought the company public in 2017, and became the youngest female founder to lead an IPO. Stitch Fix has a market cap of just under $US3 billion at the time of writing.
14. Adi Tatarko — $US430 million
How she made her money: Adi Tatarko and her husband cofounded a home design marketplace called Houzz in 2009. Tatarko has been Houzz’s CEO since its inception, and led the company to a $US4 billion valuation. The platform attracts an estimated 40 million unique users a month.
Forbes estimates that Tatarko and her husband own a fourth of the company.
13. Susan Wojcicki — $US490 million
How she made her money: Susan Wojcicki is a Google lifer who first came into contact with the company when she rented out her Menlo Park, California, garage to Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. She became the company’s 16th employee in 1999, and has been there ever since. She reportedly advocated for Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006 for $US1.65 billion, and has been the video platform’s CEO since 2014.
12. Theresia Gouw — $US580 million
How she made her money: Theresia Gouw is an experienced venture capitalist who made early bets investing in companies like Facebook and Trulia. She cofounded an early-stage investment firm in 2014 called Aspect Ventures, which has since raised more than $US300 million for two investment funds. Before that, she worked for 15 years at powerhouse VC firm Accel.
11. Marissa Mayer — $US620 million
How she made her money: Marissa Mayer is one of the most well-known women in Silicon Valley. When Google was founded in 1998, Mayer was brought on as employee No. 20, and the company’s first female engineer. She stayed on for 13 years, then took over as CEO of Yahoo in 2012. Mayer resigned from the company after it was bought by Verizon in 2017 – and left with a $US23 million exit package – and has since cofounded a tech incubator called Lumi Labs.
10. Anne Wojcicki — $US690 million
How she made her money: Anne Wojcicki cofounded genetics testing startup 23andMe in 2006. As its CEO, Wojcicki has led the company to a $US2.5 billion valuation, with $US300 million in investments.
Genetics testing has been dubbed the “cornerstone of healthcare,” and testing kits like 23andMe have become incredibly popular for consumers to find out ancestry information and health risks.
9. Young Sohn — $US840 million
How she made her money: Young Sohn made her money off of a 4% stake in Veeva Systems, a cloud provider for pharma companies, that went public in 2013. After leaving Veeva’s board in 2014, she cofounded cloud software provider Vlocity.
8. Weili Dai — $US960 million
How she made her money: Weili Dai is the cofounder of semiconductor supplier Marvell Technology, a company that’s been public since 2000 and has a market cap of $US16.3 billion at the time of writing. Dai previously served as Marvell’s president, but she left in 2016 – along with her husband, Marvell’s former CEO – after the company was investigated for accounting issues.
Since leaving Marvell, Dai and her husband have been investing in real estate and technology companies.
7. Neerja Sethi — $US1 billion
How she made her money: Sethi cofounded software outsourcing company Syntel in 1980 with her husband Bharat Desai. The firm was bought in 2018 by a French company called Atos for $US3.4 billion. Sethi reportedly made $US510 million from her stake in the company.
6. Safra Catz — $US1.1 billion
How she made her money: Safra Catz is the co-CEO of software company Oracle, having shared the role with Mark Hurd since the two replaced founder Larry Ellison in 2014. Catz received a $US40.7 million salary in 2017, making her one of the highest-paid female executives.
5. Jayshree Ullal — $US1.4 billion
How she made her money: Since 2008, Ullal has been the president and CEO of a computer network enterprise software company called Arista Networks. Ullal led the company in a successful IPO debut in 2014, and it now stands with a market cap of just over $US19 billion.
Arista was at one point engaged in a bitter rivalry with Cisco. The two competing companies settled a series of lawsuits in 2018, with Arista agreeing to pay Cisco $US400 million.
4. Sheryl Sandberg — $US1.7 billion
How she made her money: Sheryl Sandberg has served as one of Facebook’s top executives since 2008. Even as Sandberg faces criticism and calls she should be replaced as chief operating officer, she’s remained popular within the company and has gone to bat defending it in the wake of scandal after scandal.
3. Thai Lee — $US3 billion
How she made her money: Lee is the CEO of SHI International, an IT provider whose clients include major companies like Boeing and AT&T. Since SHI was founded in 1989 by Lee and her ex-husband, the company grew to see $US10 billion in sales in 2018.
2. Judy Faulkner — $US3.6 billion
How she made her money: Faulkner is the founder and CEO of Epic Systems, a company providing medical record software for some of the biggest medical centres. Her company made almost $US3 billion in sales in 2018.
1. Meg Whitman — $US3.8 billion
How she made her money:Meg Whitman is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and eBay. With Whitman as CEO from 1998 to 2009, the e-commerce company increased its sales from $US5.7 million to $US8 billion. She now serves as the CEO of Quibi, a short-form video platform that’s raised $US1 billion since its inception in 2018.
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