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11 billionaires who made their fortunes after immigrating to the US

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 16 Oct 2019


Some of the richest people who currently live in the United States were not born here.Several billionairesincluding Tesla CEO Elon Musk, real-estate developer Jorge Perez, Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng, and Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukayafirst came to the United States for college.Financier George Soros first immigrated to the UK while fleeing Soviet occupation in his native Hungary, before moving to New York to become a stock trader, Business Insider previously reported.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.The United States is home to more billionaires than any other nation, according to research firm Wealth-Xbut not all of them were born here.Several billionairesincluding Tesla CEO Elon Musk, real-estate developer Jorge Perez, Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng, and Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukayafirst came to the United States for college. Others immigrated to the United States with their families as children.Read more: 13 billionaires who dropped out of college before making their fortunesKeep reading to learn more about some of the most prominent immigrant billionaires in the country.SEE ALSO:Luck vs. skill: The founders behind major businesses like Bumble, Shopify, and Away explain what their success boils down to ' and they all have different takesDON'T MISS:Forever 21 just filed for bankruptcy ' and the husband and wife duo who founded it have lost nearly $4 billion from their personal net worths since 2015Sergey Brin's family emigrated from the Soviet Union when he was 6.Net worth: $57.5 billionSource of wealth: AlphabetThe 46-year-old billionaire founded the search engine now known as Google with Larry Page in a garage in Menlo Park, California, Business Insider previously reported. Brin currently serves as the president of Alphabet, the parent company that owns Google, per Forbes.Read more: Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth more than $100 billionsee how they spend it, from trapeze lessons to a 600-foot 'air yacht'Hamdi Ulukaya founded the yogurt brand Chobani after emigrating from Turkey to attend college in New York.Net worth: $2.1 billionSource of wealth: ChobaniUlukaya, 46, received a $3,000 loan from the Small Business Administration in 2007 and used it to buy an old yogurt plant in Norwich, New York. Chobani now sells over $1 billion of yogurt annually and is America's most popular brand of Greek yogurt, Forbes reports.Ulukaya now advocates for companies to get involved in the ongoing refugee crisis,Bloomberg reported in August. Chobani recruits refugees for jobs at its plants and encourages other companies to do the same.Read more: The Chobani billionaire who turned a $3,000 loan into a yogurt empire calls himself an 'anti-CEO' and thinks other CEOs should do the sameFinancier George Soros fled Soviet occupation in his native Hungary in 1947.Net worth: $8.3 billionSource of wealth: Quantum FundSoros, 88, attended the London School of Economics before moving to New York and getting a job as a stock trader, Business Insider previously reported. Soros went on to found what would later become the world's largest hedge fund, Quantum Fund.Read more: What George Soros' life is really like: How the former hedge-fund manager built his $8.3 billion fortune, purchased a sprawling network of New York homes, and became the topic of international conspiracy theoriesEren Ozmen, the president of aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corp., immigrated to the United States from Turkey.Net worth: $1.4 billionSource of wealth: Sierra Nevada Corp.Ozmen, 61, and her husband used their house as collateral to purchase Sierra Nevada Corp. in 1994, Forbes reported. Ozmen grew the 20-person company into one of the federal government's largest contractors, having sold billions of dollars of planes, navigation gear, and communications systems to the U.S. Department of Defense.Miami real estate developer Jorge Perez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.Net worth: $1.9 billionSource of wealth: The Related Group of FloridaPerez, 69, moved to the United States for college, according to Forbes. Perez worked as an urban planner before partnering with Stephen Ross to launch Miami-based luxury real estate developer The Related Group.Read more: People are threatening to quit Equinox and SoulCycle following a report that the chairman of the trendy fitness brands plans to host a Trump fundraiserBharat Desai, the founder of IT consulting firm Syntel, was born in Kenya and raised in India.Net worth: $1.4 billionSource of wealth: Syntel Inc.Desai, 66, came to the US to work for Tata Consultancy Services, according to Forbes. He and his wife, Neerja Sethi, then started their own consulting company, Syntel, in their suburban Detroit apartment with just $2,000.Early Google investor Kavitark Ram Shriram was born and raised in India.Net worth: $2.2 billionSource of wealth: Venture capitalShriram, 62, serves on Alphabet's board and holds stakes in numerous tech startups (including Paperless Post) through his venture capital firm Sherpalo Ventures, according to Forbes.Panda Express founders Peggy and Andrew Cherng immigrated to the US from Myanmar and China respectively, before meeting as students at Baker University.Collective net worth: $3.1 billionSource of wealth: Panda ExpressAndrew Cherng opened a sit-down Chinese restaurant called Panda Inn in 1973 that was so successful he decided to open an outpost in a nearby mall called Panda Express, Business Insider previously reported. The couple still owns and operates virtually all 2,000 Panda Express locations themselvesthey don't franchise them out to other owners, making Panda Express a rarity among restaurant chains of its size.Read more: Meet the billionaire couple behind Panda Express, who run nearly 2,000 restaurants and sell 90 million pounds of orange chicken a yearWhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum immigrated to California from Ukraine with his mother when he was 16.Net worth: $10.9 billionSource of wealth: WhatsAppKoum, 43, founded the messaging service with seed money he raised from his former colleagues at Yahoo, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The majority of Koum's fortune comes from Facebook's $22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014.Pierre Omidyar moved to the US from France with his family long before he founded eBay.Net worth: $12.6 billionSource of wealth: eBayOmidyar, 52, founded eBay in 1995 and wrote the code for the website himself, according to Forbes. Omidyar still serves on the board of the online auction house.Tesla CEO Elon Musk grew up in South Africa and worked in Canada before coming to the US.Net worth: $20.7 billionSource of wealth: PayPal, TeslaMusk, 48, first moved to the United States to attend the University of Pennsylvania, Business Insider previously reported. The CEO founded a city guide service for newspapers called Zip2 and an online banking named X.com that got acquired by PayPal before taking the top job at Tesla.Read more: Elon Musk is worth about $22 billion and has never taken a paycheck from Teslahere's how the notorious workaholic and father of 5 makes and spends his fortune
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