Austin has had its fair share of billionaires for years now, but this year's Forbes rankings added two very-talked-about tech moguls: Elon Musk and Whitney Wolfe Herd.
While Musk is no stranger to Forbes' billionaire's list, Herd is spick-and-span new, only recently gaining the wealth to join the other local billionaires on the list this year when global dating app Bumble made its market debut.
Here's how Austin's billionaire's ranked in Forbes' 2021 world's billionaire's list:
No. 2 (+29) Elon Musk, $151 billion
Tesla CEO and new Austinite Musk landed in second place, falling behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos after briefly overtaking him earlier this year but easily supplanting longtime richest Texan Alice Walton. His worth is largely fueled by Tesla and SpaceX, according to Forbes. This is more than six times his estimated net worth in 2020 and has allowed him to climb several ranks.
No. 30 (+3) Michael Dell, $45.1 billion
While getting knocked out of his spot as wealthiest Austin resident, Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies Michael Dell still got richer. His wealth almost doubled from last year after dropping in value last year.
No. 451 (-121) Robert F. Smith, $6 billion
Founder of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith is the wealthiest Black man, although rapper Kanye West almost took the throne last month. Although going down in Forbes' ranking, he is worth $billion more than last year. Last fall, Smith reached a $140 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve issues involving undeclared offshore accounts.
No. 622 (-6) Bert "Tito" Beveridge, $4.6 billion
Founder of Tito's Vodka Bert Beveridge's net worth went up since last year by about $1.4 billion, although he went down in Forbes' rankings.
No. 956 (-276) Thai Lee, $3.2 billion
CEO of the IT provider SHI International, Thai Lee is the wealthiest woman in Austin. She is ranked No. 8 on Forbes' America's self-made women 2020 list.
No. 1,008 (-328) Joseph Liemandt, $3 billion
Founder of the investment firm ESW Capital, Joseph Liemandt's net worth has stayed stagnant the past three years.
No. 1,174 (-526) John Paul DeJoria, $2.7 billion
Both in the alcohol and beauty industry, John Paul DeJoria is the founder of tequila maker Patron Spirits Co. and co-founder of the hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems. His net worth went down this year by less than $1 billion after increasing the year before.
No. 1,249 (-341) Jim Breyer, $2.5 billion
One of Facebook's first venture investors, Jim Breyers credits investing in Facebook in early 2005 and helping Mark Zuckerberg recruit now-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as two of the best decisions of his business career.
No. 1,750 (-401) David Booth, $1.8 billion
Co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors which he launched in 1981, David Booth began a decades-long experiment in applying academic theory to real-world investing, he told Forbes.
No. 2,263 (new to the list) Whitney Wolfe Herd, $1.3 billion
And finally, Herd, co-founder and CEO of the dating app Bumble, made her debut on the list after an initial public offering of Bumble took the company to $43 a share, raising more than $2 billion for the company. Herd has been listed on Forbes self-made woman list two years in a row.
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Like a true Austinite, billionaire Texas transplant Elon Musk has called for the "urgent" need for more housing in Austin.
On Easter Sunday, Musk tweeted "Urgent need to build more housing in greater Austin area!" to his 50 million followers. Shortly before the tweet, the ever-mysterious Musk wrote another, more simple message, "Austin++", leading some to believe that he was planning on making moves in the area.
Urgent need to build more housing in greater Austin area!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 4, 2021
Some speculated that Austin++ would be the new label for Austin after Musk tweaks the city into his own sci-fi paradise.
While Austin++ may not be on the horizon, hopefully more Austin residences are. Austin's housing market has continued to heat up and break records in recent years, but rising prices and stiff competition has made the market scarce and unaffordable for many.
Maybe all it takes is a tweet to spur on more houses in the city. Musk has shifted the stock market before, sending companies like Etsy and Signal skyrocketing in January. He's also caused his own company, Tesla, to rise and plummet in the stock market with bouts of impulsive tweeting.
Perhaps Musk can change the market with a single sentence, as he's done before. Either way, it's good to know Austin's wealthiest resident is conscious about his new city's biggest issues.
Everything's bigger in Texas, and that is doubly so at Tesla's forthcoming Austin Gigafactory.
CEO Elon Musk announced the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant, which is under construction in southeast Travis County and due to open late this year, will hire more than 10,000 people through 2022 in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
Tesla promised to create at least 5,000 jobs, hire Travis County residents for at least half of them and pay a minimum hourly wage of $15 in exchange for tens of millions of dollars in property tax breaks.
Musk quoted a tweet from Tesla Owners Austin, which highlighted job opportunities for people without college degrees and linked to the electric automaker's careers page, where there are nearly 300 job postings for the Austin area. The bulk of these are in manufacturing or otherwise related to the Gigafactory, such as through construction.
Over 10,000 people are needed for Giga Texas just through 2022!
- 5 mins from airport
-15 mins from downtown
- Right on Colorado river https://t.co/w454iXedxB
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 31, 2021
When Musk announced last July that Tesla would build its next Gigafactory in Austin, local taxing districts had already promised significant tax breaks to sweeten the deal. But Rohan Patel, senior global director for policy and business development, said Austin's most alluring asset was its workforce during an Austin Chamber event in December. "One of the major reasons we chose this site is because of the availability of talent among all levels," he said.
To support its hiring needs, Tesla is working closely with Del Valle ISD, Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University, the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Workforce Commission to establish pipelines, according to a recent report from the Austin Business Journal.
The prospect of job creation was alluring for local elected officials in the midst of a pandemic and related economic downturn. Former Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who voted in favor of a tax incentive deal for Tesla, told Austonia last June that job opportunities for skilled workers without college degrees were critical. "Let's face it: today in America manufacturing is really one of the more difficult areas to bring to your community," he said. "That's a pretty enticing deal for us."
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