The 'Silent' Billionaires Cashing In On The AI Boom (Besides Nvidia's Jensen Huang And OpenAI's Sam Altman)

Zinger Key Points
  • Publicly-listed shares of AI-levered companies advanced strongly, riding on the realized gains and baking in the future opportunity.
  • Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang's net worth has grown from $21.1 billion at the start of 2023 to $79.5 billion currently.

The artificial intelligence revolution kicked into high gear in early 2023 following the widespread adoption of OpenAI‘s ChatGPT chatbot. Companies rushed to leverage this technology, leading to a notable improvement in their financial performance. As a result, the publicly-listed shares of these companies surged, enriching their founders and executives whose compensation is closely tied to stock awards.

Here’s a breakdown of the notable executives who reaped substantial gains by spearheading the AI revolution at their respective companies (or by just being in the right place at the right time):

1. Jensen Huang

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

Net worth: $79.5 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 17

Nvidia, Inc. NVDA quickly pivoted to AI, securing a near-monopoly position in supplying high-performance AI accelerator chips. Under co-founder Huang’s leadership, Nvidia’s revenue soared by 126% to $60.92 billion in 2023, with earnings per share skyrocketing by 586% to $11.93. This remarkable growth propelled Huang’s net worth from $21.1 billion to $79.5 billion.

2. Charles Liang

Photo courtesy: Super Micro

Net worth: $4.2 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 769

Super Micro Computer, Inc. SMCI, led by chairman and CEO Liang, manufactures AI servers and storage solutions. Taiwan-born Liang’s net worth surged alongside the company’s success, reaching $4.2 billion, which saw it being added to the S&P 500 Index.

3. Kwak Dong Shin

Photo courtesy: Hanmi

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 888

Hanmi Semiconductor Vice Chairman and CEO Dong Shin boasts a net worth of $3.7 billion, driven by his 35.5% stake in the company. Hanmi’s advanced packaging equipment plays a crucial role in semiconductor performance, aligning with the growing demand for high bandwidth memory (HBM) in AI systems.

4. Shunsaku Sagami

Photo courtesy: M&A

Net worth: $1.2 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 1,694

Sagami founded M&A Research Institute, a Tokyo-based M&A advisory firm leveraging AI. Despite his young age of 33, Sagami’s firm garnered significant attention and investor interest, propelling his net worth to $1.2 billion.

5. Ivan Zhao

Photo courtesy: Notion

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 2,140

Zhao co-founded Notion Labs, a productivity software company known for its flagship product Notion. With AI integration enhancing Notion’s functionality, Zhao’s 30% stake in the company contributed to his $1.5 billion net worth.

6. Brett Adcock

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons 

Net worth: $1.4 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 2,236

Adcock founded Figure AI, an AI robotics company that attracted investments from industry giants like Microsoft and Nvidia. With a valuation of $2.6 billion, Adcock’s estimated 50% stake in Figure propelled him into the billionaire ranks.

7. Lisa Su

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

Net worth: $1 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 2,763

AMD CEO Su revitalized the company’s fortunes with the launch of Ryzen processors. AMD’s foray into AI with M1300 AI accelerators contributed to Su’s net worth of $1 billion.

8. Michelle Zatlyn

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Net worth: $1.2 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 2,410

Canadian-born Zatlyn co-founded Cloudflare, Inc. NET, democratizing AI use for developers. The 44-year-old’s 2% stake in the company, where she plays the role of COO, combined with Cloudflare’s AI-powered infrastructure, led to her $1.2 billion net worth.

9. Sam Altman

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

Net worth: $1 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 2,692

Altman is the co-founder of OpenAI and a venture capital investor. A Stanford dropout, he founded the social-mapping company Loopt. Later, he was a partner at AI accelerator Y Combinator, serving as its president between 2014 and 2019. According to Forbes, Altman has no equity stake in OpenAI, but his wealth is by way of his investments in StripeReddit, and nuclear fusion firm Helion.

10. Harvey Jones

Photo courtesy: Nvidia

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Forbes Billionaire Ranking: 2,679

Jones, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who co-founded companies such as Daisy Systems and Tensilica, earned substantial compensation from his board membership at Nvidia, adding to his net worth of $1.1 billion.

See Also: Best Artificial Intelligence Stocks

The Global X Artificial Intelligence & Technology ETF AIQ ended Monday’s session up 0.60% at $33.59, according to Benzinga Pro data. The exchange-traded fund has gained 7.73% for the year-to-date period.

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