America's Forty Richest Under Forty They're young, smart, and on the Net. See how they stack up in the first-ever ranking of the wired generation's wealthiest.
By Mark Borden and Suzanne Koudsi Researcher Mary Danehy Reporter Associates Christine Chen, Len Costa, Grainger David, Jane Hodges, Patty de Llosa, Natalia Mehlman, Amy Merrick, Jennifer Morrow, Abby Roedel, Natasha Tarpley, Alynda Wheat, Wilton Woods Additional Research Thomson Financial Wealth Identification

(FORTUNE Magazine) – It's often dissed as "just" paper money. But these 40 guys (and, yes, they are all guys) have tons of it. They are America's new hyper-rich. Unlike prior generations of nouveaux riches, they don't like talking about their wealth. They'd rather talk about their vision of the New Economy. No surprise there. The dominant theme on this list is cyberfest destiny, and these multimillionaires are the pioneers.

Four months ago, when we started to compile the first-ever ranking of the new rich, we realized that assessing their wealth would have to be a mix of fact, educated guesswork, and accounting art. There were two requirements: They had to be under 40 as of Sept. 1 and have earned their wealth, not gained it through inheritance. To calculate the assets of under-40 executives at public companies, our main sources were SEC registration statements, proxies, and insider-trading records. Of course, market volatility shifted our list daily. If Amazon lost a point, Jeff Bezos lost $60 million. (We chose Aug. 13 as the last day to calculate wealth.)

Assessing the worth of individuals not tied to public companies was trickier. We asked the investment bank Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin to conduct valuations of private companies like Trilogy, Agency.com, and Buy.com. To determine what hedge fund managers and venture capitalists make from the billions of dollars their firms manage, we interviewed industry insiders, bankers, analysts, and accountants, and then created formulas to calculate their personal fortunes. After countless interviews with music executives and entertainment analysts, we were able to place a value on Master P's No Limit Enterprises. (For more on Master P, see "Diamond in the Rough.") Our estimate of Michael Jordan's wealth is perhaps the most speculative. It is based on his career salary and endorsements, minus his agent's take, taxes, and a living stipend, plus a 15% gain we assume a shrewd money manager would yield. For a reality check, everybody on the list was charged capital gains taxes on insider trades, cash deals, and exercisable options. Unexercisable options were excluded altogether.

We expected Michael Dell, Pierre Omidyar, and Jerry Yang to top the list. But lesser-known entrepreneurs like Robert Bernard and Mukesh Chatter were plucked from obscurity. The absence of women was striking. We found women under 40, like Janina Pawlowski of E-Loan, who have made big Internet bucks, but none reached the level of the list. Maybe soon. With this fickle market, it's anyone's guess.

MASTERS of the new wealth

1 Michael Dell Chairman, CEO Dell Computer

WEALTH $21.49 billion - AGE 34

The most prominent college dropout on our list, Dell is also the richest by far. Through his $3 billion investment firm, MSD Capital, Dell invests heavily in Internet startups.

FAVORITE MUSIC: The Doors and the Rolling Stones

2 Jeff Bezos Chairman, CEO, president Amazon.com

WEALTH $5.74 billion - AGE 35

Internet cover boy Bezos carries these gadgets everywhere: vibrating e-mail pager, cell phone, ELPH camera, and Swiss Army knife.

FAVORITE BOOK: The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

3 Ted Waitt Chairman, CEO Gateway

WEALTH $5.44 billion - AGE 36

Waitt started Gateway in Iowa with a $10,000 loan guaranteed by his grandmother. Gateway's Holstein logo is a nod to his roots: He's the son of a fourth-generation cattle broker.

HOUSING: $14 million California mansion overlooking Pacific

4 Pierre Omidyar Chairman eBay

WEALTH $3.69 billion - AGE 32

Omidyar got a bachelor's from Tufts University before he discovered the value of Pez dispensers.

HOBBY: Thinking about complexity theory

5 David Filo Chief Yahoo Yahoo

WEALTH $3.12 billion - AGE 33

Filo is famously oblivious to his wealth. When he became a billionaire in 1998, a company spokesperson said, "I'll bet he doesn't even know it."

TRUE STORY: Post-IPO, he has not sold a Yahoo share.

6 Jerry Yang Chief Yahoo Yahoo

WEALTH $3.05 billion - AGE 30

As Ph.D. students in engineering, Yang and Filo procrastinated by surfing the nascent Net. They got the idea for Yahoo and have been on leave from Stanford ever since.

TRUE STORY: Post-IPO, he's sold over 145,000 Yahoo shares.

7 Henry Nicholas III Co-chairman, CEO, president Broadcom

WEALTH $2.38 billion - AGE 39

Wanted to be a pilot but was too tall. Has Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Loving words for his wife: "She's the best engineer who ever worked for me."

TRUE STORY: Once worked on classified defense projects: "It was lunatic-fringe stuff."

8 Rob Glaser Chairman, CEO RealNetworks

WEALTH $2.29 billion - AGE 37

Former Microsoft VP Glaser testified against the company during the government's antitrust trial.

HEROES: Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr.

9 Scott Blum Chairman Buy.com

WEALTH $1.66 billion - AGE 35

Scott Blum dropped out of junior college and has since started three businesses. "I enjoy the first couple of years in any business. I'm in it for the money, and I'll admit it."

ROLE MODEL: Tiger Woods

10 Jeff Skoll VP, strategic planning and analysis, eBay

WEALTH $1.35 billion - AGE 33

Skoll was the editor of the Stanford school newspaper and claimed he went into business to make enough money to write fiction. He's still in business.

HOBBIES: Coin collecting and hypnosis

11 Michael Robertson Chairman, CEO, president MP3.com

WEALTH $903 million - AGE 32

Robertson knows how to terrify the music industry. Ambitious plan: "I want to sign up every artist in the world and let the Internet decide if they're a star."

PERKS: In pickup games, gets passed the basketball more now that he's rich

12 Naveen Jain Chairman, CEO InfoSpace.com

WEALTH $861 million - AGE 39

Left Microsoft "to make a billion dollars for myself." Too busy to fix the dent in his car but does get to see family: Wife and relatives work at InfoSpace.

ROLE MODEl: Bill Gates

13 Marc Ewing Executive VP, CTO Red Hat

WEALTH $775 million - AGE 30

Like his father, Ewing worked for IBM. Then he created an easier-to-use version of operating system Linux, and Red Hat was born. Other interests: listening to lounge music and playing with his son.

LAST BOOK READ: The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester

14 Michael Saylor Chairman, CEO, president MicroStrategy

WEALTH $695 million - AGE 34

Studied aeronautics at MIT. Antidote for stress: "I buy an armful of books."

ROLE MODELS: Julius and Augustus Caesar

15 Joe Liemandt CEO, president Trilogy Software

WEALTH $523 million - AGE 31

Stanford dropout Liemandt created Trilogy U., a three-month boot camp for recruits.

TRUE STORY: Takes new hires to Vegas to teach them risk.

16 Todd Wagner Former CEO broadcast.com

WEALTH $514 million - AGE 39

Wagner and partner Mark Cuban founded broadcast.com to watch alma mater Indiana U. games in Dallas. Now at Yahoo, which bought their company.

PREVIOUS JOB: Lawyer

17 Kenneth Tuchman Chairman, CEO TeleTech Holdings

WEALTH $487 million - AGE 39

Social commentary: "Everyone with an MBA thinks they've the God-given right to be CEO of a dot.com company and raise $16 million.... It's very, very warped."

FIRST BUSINESS: Imported seashells for necklaces at age 15

18 Kevin O'Connor CEO DoubleClick

WEALTH $455 million - AGE 38

Exit strategy: "To drop dead in front of my desk from old age." When not at his desk, he's "getting injured" during weekend sports bouts.

HERO: Thomas Edison ("My son's middle name is Edison.")

19 Eric Brewer Chief scientist Inktomi

WEALTH $454 million - AGE 32

Brewer named his search engine company after a mythical Lakota Indian spider.

MOONLIGHTING: Tenured professor at Univ. of California at Berkeley

20 Jeong Kim Former CEO Yurie Systems

WEALTH $429 million - AGE 39

Korean-born Kim sold his company, Yurie Systems, to Lucent for $1 billion. "People who are successful are often those who feel they have something to prove."

PHILANTHROPY: Donated $6 million to alma mater Johns Hopkins

21 Paul Gauthier CTO Inktomi

WEALTH $418 million - AGE 26

He dropped out of grad school to join his professor Eric Brewer in founding Inktomi. He's an "adventure racer": "Think triathlon, day and night through the woods, without a marked course."

HOBBY: Starts office paintball wars and water-gun fights

22 Jerry Greenberg Co-CEO Sapient

WEALTH $413 million - AGE 33

Founded tech consulting company Sapient on his 25th birthday. Likes to stay close to co-founder Stuart Moore. "Our desks are 18 inches apart."

HEROES: Jack Welch and Michael Dell

23 Stuart Moore Co-CEO Sapient

WEALTH $404 million - AGE 37

Wedded bliss: Moore describes his relationship with co-founder Greenberg as a "professional marriage." When not with Greenberg, he's with his four children.

FAVORITE MUSIC: Deep Purple and Mozart

24 Shelby Bonnie Vice chairman, COO CNET

WEALTH $403 million - AGE 35

Joined Halsey Minor at CNET in its early days. "One time I was on a boat in the Caribbean with some friends, and Halsey called. He was at the end of his rope. He needed $25,000. So I wired it to him."

ROOTS: Grew up on a Kentucky horse farm

25 Robert Bernard Chairman, CEO Whittman-Hart

WEALTH $402.9 million - AGE 38

A college dropout, Bernard chose a name for his tech consulting firm that sounded distinguished. But there are no portraits of "silver-haired guys above the mantel."

HOBBY: Architect (he has designed 15 houses)

26 John Schnatter CEO Papa John's International

WEALTH $402.6 million - AGE 37

A perfectionist. Pizzas get chucked if they don't get at least an eight on his Ten Point Perfect Pizza scale.

PHILANTHROPY: Cerebral palsy organizations

27 Daniel Snyder Chairman, CEO Snyder Communications

WEALTH $390 million - AGE 34

College dropout. Started the direct-marketing company and with his wealth bought his favorite team, the Washington Redskins.

HOBBY: Sports cars

28 Master P (Percy Miller) CEO No Limit

WEALTH $361 million - AGE 29

Built an independent record label and has expanded into films, toys, shoes, and sports management.

ROLE MODEL: Bill Gates

29 Michael Jordan Basketball player, icon Formerly, Chicago Bulls

WEALTH $357 million - AGE 36

The other net millionaire. Led Chicago Bulls to six championship titles. Now a brand unto himself.

BUSINESS SCENTS: Second fragrance, Jordan by Michael, coming soon

30 Eric Greenberg Chairman Scient

WEALTH $355 million - AGE 35

Deep thought: "You can beat people into the ground and make money, but is that company going to last?"

HOBBY: Wine collector

31 Halsey Minor Chairman, CEO CNET

WEALTH $354.9 million - AGE 34

A true Virginian: admires Thomas Jefferson, has degree from UVA, likes the Dave Matthews Band.

HOBBIES: Golf, dancing with his kids

32 Sanjay Kumar President, COO Computer Associates Intl.

WEALTH $335 million - AGE 37

Kumar first saw TV as a child in Sri Lanka by peeking into the home of sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke.

TRUE STORY: Pre-med dropout

33 Jeffrey Arnold Chairman, CEO WebMD

WEALTH $321 million - AGE 29

He'll be CEO of Healtheon/WebMD after merger. Taking golf lessons to fill hole in resume.

DAYS OFF: Five-day honeymoon in 1995

34 Raul Fernandez Chairman, CEO, president Proxicom

WEALTH $287 million - AGE 33

Fernandez worked for role model Jack Kemp as a legislative assistant. Now Kemp is on his board.

HOBBIES: Cooking, tennis

35 Jim Breyer Managing partner Accel Partners

WEALTH $279 million - AGE 38

Venture capitalist and "gadget freak." (He has multiple cell phones and pagers.)

HOBBY: Fly-fishing

36 Kevin Harvey Founding partner Benchmark Capital Management

WEALTH $278 million - AGE 35

Companies Harvey has backed: eBay, Ariba, Red Hat, and Scient.

TRUE STORY: Made first million while still a student at Rice University--and didn't drop out

37 Toby Lenk CEO, president eToys

WEALTH $276 million - AGE 37

Lenk has no kids of his own, but he apparently understands how much parents hate a trip to the toy store. Additional title: "Uncle of the Board."

PREVIOUS JOB: Plotted strategy for Disney theme parks

38 Mukesh Chatter Former CEO Nexabit Networks

WEALTH $250 million - AGE 39

Lucent bought Chatter's Nexabit Networks this summer in a transaction valued at $896 million. He now works there as a vice president.

TRUE STORY: Makes fastest data router in the world

39 Chan Suh CEO Agency.com

WEALTH $245 million - AGE 38

Suh dropped out of Sarah Lawrence, but he's thinking of going back to finish his creative writing degree because it's important to him "spiritually." His heroes include Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. He's trying to like golf.

FAVORITE BOOK: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks

40 Gregory Reyes CEO, president Brocade Communications

WEALTH $243 million - AGE 37

On retirement: "I'm retired already. Every day is fun. It's hard to conceive of retirement when you are a type-A person." Currently reading The First World War by John Keegan.

HERO: General George S. Patton

RESEARCHER Mary Danehy REPORTER ASSOCIATES Christine Chen, Len Costa, Grainger David, Jane Hodges, Patty de Llosa, Natalia Mehlman, Amy Merrick, Jennifer Morrow, Abby Roedel, Natasha Tarpley, Alynda Wheat, Wilton Woods ADDITIONAL RESEARCH Thomson Financial Wealth Identification