#23. David Cheriton
Palo Alto, Calif.
Major holdings: Arista Networks, Google
In 1998, Cheriton and Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim met a pair of grad students on Cheriton’s front porch to learn more about the project they were working on. Those students were Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who would go on to found Google, with the help of two $100,000 cheques from Cheriton and Bechtolsheim. That’s the gist of how Cheriton earned his first billion. The next one required a little more work. About a decade ago, he invested millions of his own money into co-founding Arista Networks, a computer networking company. Since the company went public earlier this year, Cheriton’s investment has skyrocketed, doubling his net worth in the process. But Arista’s success may have come at the cost of Cheriton and Bechtolsheim’s friendship. Despite still being a major investor in Arista, Cheriton is suing the company over a disagreement involving the use of a programming language that another one of Cheriton’s companies developed.