Despite the SPAC boom, far more entrepreneurs became billionaires this year through a good old-fashioned traditional IPO #ForbesBillionaires
Public markets were taking a beating when Forbes finalized the World Billionaires’ list on March 18, 2020. The S&P 500 had cratered 29% from its February 19 high as investors fled from equities while the world ground to a Covid-imposed halt. Companies like Airbnb and Warner Music Group, who had planned much anticipated IPOs in 2020, sought shelter from the storm instead.
Things couldn’t be more different this year. After a strong rebound in the second half of 2020 that has continued into 2021, public markets are again booming—and plenty of entrepreneurs are getting in on the action. Among the record 493 new billionaires on this year’s list—including 10 who rode the trendy SPAC wave to riches—Forbes found at least 60 who have joined the list thanks to an old-fashioned IPO.
Over the past year, 1,489 public offerings raised $314 billion globally, up from 1,239 IPOs and $234 billion in the previous year. That includes big names like food-delivery company DoorDash, which listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in December—turning its cofounder and chief executive, Tony Xu, and his two cofounders, Andy Fang and Stanley Tang, into billionaires—and woman-centric dating app Bumble, which went public on the Nasdaq in February. The IPO has made Bumble’s cofounder and CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, at age 31.
Dong is the richest female newcomer to this year’s list. She chairs laundry detergent maker Blue Moon Group Holdings, which her husband, Luo Quiping, founded. The company, where Luo is the CEO, was listed in Hong Kong last December. Blue Moon is the top seller of liquid laundry detergents and liquid soaps in China, according to the company.
Chief executive Lomtadze and early investor Kim have steered Kaspi—a payments, e-commerce and mobile-banking app popular in Kazakhstan—from a small-time retail bank to a London public listing. Half of Kazakhstan’s 18 million people use the service.
The former investment banker founded private equity firm Royalty Pharma in 1996. He has been the company’s chief executive ever since, investing in the royalty streams of pharmaceuticals. Legorreta took Royalty Pharma public on the Nasdaq last June in a $2.2 billion IPO. He is also the founder and chairman of Alianza Médica para la Salud, a non-profit focused on improving the quality of healthcare in Latin America.
Moulding’s e-commerce empire, The Hut Group, went public in London in September, 17 years after he founded it. Two months after the listing, Moulding—who has a nearly 33% stake in the company—got a more than $1 billion share bonus in THG stock that the board had approved. The Hut Group runs more than 100 e-commerce websites across 169 countries, with products ranging from skincare to designer fashion.