Biz Features

Serial Entrepreneurs Dominate The World’s Top Self-made Billionaires [Infographic]

by . May 15th, 2014

Will You Be The Next Self-made Billionaire Entrep? Let’s See.

It seems that owning or running multiple businesses makes it far easier to take your place among the worlds richest. The gap between self-made serial entrep billionaires and single-business billionaires is a around 8:1, emphasizing how important diversifying your cash flows can be.

We previously featured Anna Vital’s infographics on this site.  Here’s another one that attempts to explain how serial entrepreneurs get to be what they are.


Why Do Entrepreneurs Build Businesses Anyway?

Not surprisingly, it’s mostly for self-benefit, not to create jobs. A 2009 survey by the Kaufmann Foundation asked this exact same question. In their study, The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Family Background and Motivation they found:

  • 74.8% of respondents indicated desire to build wealth as an important motivation in becoming an entrepreneur.
  • 68.1% of respondents indicated that capitalizing on a business idea led them to becoming an entrepreneur.
  • 64.2% of respondents said they have always wanted to own their own companies.
  •  66.2% said the appeal of a startup culture was important.
  • 60.3% said that working for others did not appeal to them.


So a clear majority like seeing their ideas become reality, and making a load of dough all at once. Making money is an obvious goal. The development of new ideas however, isn’t as readily apparent, though it seems to be the most important reason why most billionaire entreps start multiple businesses.

Of course, there’s also founders who don’t really feel like developing anything other than what they’ve already set up.  Taking all this into account, the disparity seems to correlate with the 8:1 serial entrep billionaire to single-business billionaire ratio.

Of course, a major possible flaw in all this is equating money with success. Plenty of people with an otherwise entrepreneurial spirit build non-profits or in public service, and it would be a huge mistake to think money is the only indicator of anyone’s success.

Who Can Become An Entrepreneur?

The same study provides more insights:

  • More than 90% of the entrepreneurs came from middle-class or upper-lower-class backgrounds and were well-educated
  • 95.1% of those surveyed had earned bachelor’s degrees
  • 47% had more advanced degrees.
  • 75% of the respondents ranked their academic performance among the top 30 % of their high school classes. 52% said they ranked among the top 1 %.
  • In college, 67% of the founders ranked among the top 30% of their undergraduate classes, and 37% ranked their performance among the top 10%.


Contrary to the infographic above suggests, you don’t have to start particularly young to start a business. First-time founders tended to be middle-aged—40 years old on average. Nearly 70 % were married ,and nearly 60 % had at least one child.

Entrepreneurship – serial or otherwise – is something that almost anyone can do. While having the drive to succeed may be the biggest thing,  it helps if you have some education and a sufficient support network as would be expected in a middle-class or upper-lower class background.

Photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc

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Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.