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I was interested to see what it's like for the US, so I did go through the forbes list [1]:

1. Bill Gates

2. Larry Ellison

3. Jeff Bezos

4. Sergey Brin

5. Larry Page

6. Steve Ballmer

7. Paul Allen

8. Michael Dell

9. Laurenne Powell Jobs (widow of Steve Jobs)

10. Mark Zuckerberg

If the definition of old is "younger than 20 years", this represents 3 startups (Amazon, Google, Facebook). If the definition is "younger than Skype", then only Facebook is left.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400

[edit: formatting]

If you want to compare, you should make the cutoff be based on net worth, not simply take the top 10. Then you also get eBay, Tesla/SpaceX, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Square/Twitter among others.

Sorry, re-reading my post it was misleading because I didn't post my intention: I did not want to show that Europe is coming up with successful start-ups at any rate comparable to the US, SV obviously wins by a huge margin.

I was more interested if younger successful founders in the US faster take-over older founders. And they don't. A large part of the wealth of the older founders has been acquired past-IPO.

The conclusion (for me) is that to make it into the top 10 (whether US or Europe) and stay there, you gotta grow a company successfully for many years, like Microsoft, Oracle or Apple did in the US and SAP did in Europe.

Yes, the thing that always strikes me about the Forbes 400 is how old so many of the people are. Clearly the normal way to end up super rich is to have something that grows fairly rapidly, and then give it a long time to grow.

Yeah, but come up with another big time Euro start up success story, other than Skype or Spotify (Spotify arguably happened in Europe only because the labels would only allow streaming in small Euro markets at first as a test case). If you expand the list from 10 to 50 to lessen the dominance of the legacy players, the US list would be a Who's Who of start ups, and the Euro one a Who's That?

Discounting the Samwers for obvious reasons.

How about Arm?

Yep, that's certainly an important company. I think you'd probably agree that it's not a household name, and other examples are few and far between, but I probably should have mentioned ARM.

"Not a household name"... yet probably at least one processor in (nearly) every household. It qualifies.

> I was interested to see what it's like for the US

We suck compared to the US[1] regardless of how you slice billionaires lists.

[1] https://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/2...

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