Ever since Facebook announced its decision to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion, the rags-to-riches story of its founder has been all over the news.
Howard Schultz. The long-time Starbucks CEO now worth $2 billion dollars says he grew up “on the wrong side of the tracks.” He lived in a housing complex made for poor people and managed to make his way through college by dint of receiving a football scholarship.
Ken Langone. The Home Depot Founder is now worth $2.1 billion, but in order to make it through college at Bucknell, his parents had to mortgage their home.
Oprah Winfrey. Before becoming the first African American TV correspondent in Tennessee at the age of 19, Oprah grew up dirt poor in Mississippi. She’s now worth $2.9 billion.
Shahid Khan. Khan immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan and started off by washing dishes for $1.20 an hour. Now he owns Flex-N-Gate, one of America’s largest private companies, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Premier League soccer club in Fulham. He’s worth $3.8 billion.
John Paul DeJoria. Today, DeJoria is worth $4 billion and owns Patron Tequila. As a youth, though, he was sent to a foster home. He briefly joined a gang before joining the military and afterward he lived out of his car while launching his product line.
Do Won Chang. Chang and his wife Jin Sook launched the clothing line Forever 21 in 1984 and today they are worth $5 billion. When they first moved to the U.S., though, Chang had to work three jobs to pay the bills.
Ralph Lauren. Lauren is now a household name and he’s worth $7.7 billion, but in the 1960’s, he was just a college dropout working a low-paying job at Brooks Brothers.
Leonardo Del Vecchio. Del Vecchio is worth $15.3 billion thanks to his sunglass-making empire. As a youth, though, he got sent to an orphanage because his family was so poor they couldn’t care for him.
Harold Simmons. Simmons was estimated to be worth $40 billion at the time of his death. He made his fortune in purchasing a drugstore chain and later multiplied it by becoming an expert in corporate buy-outs. Growing up, though, he lived in a shack without plumbing or electricity.
Larry Ellison. Ellison is now famous as the founder of Oracle, a software development company. Before founding Oracle and raising his net worth to $41 billion, though, Ellsion