ix of the world’s richest tech founders and CEOs have lost over $400 billion from their wealth since the start of the year, as a wave of supply chain disruption, soaring inflation and surging interest rates helped to reverse the heady gains made by tech stocks at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Alphabet’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin lost a combined $427 billion (£353 billion) from their wealth since January, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.
Elon Musk’s wealth has been the hardest hit this year, according to the index, losing over $140 billion as the Twitter CEO lost his crown as the world’s richest man to French billionaire Bernard Arnault.
Musk is understood to have sold almost $4 billion in Tesla shares in 2022 to help fund his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, while the value of his remaining share of the electric carmaker has plummeted as the stock fell to two-year lows this week.
Meanwhile Facebook founder and Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg has seen his wealth plunge $81.1 billion this year, as the 38-year old told employees he would be forced to fire over 10,000 staff in a bid to slash spending.
Shares in Meta have fallen 65% since the start of the year as the firm reported a downturn in advertising revenue and investor optimism over Zuckerberg’s ‘metaverse’ ambitions began to dwindle.
The Nasdaq-100 Technology Sector Index, which tracks the value of the some of the biggest US-listed tech stocks, is down 41% since the start of the year.
Lan Yue, founder and COO of crypto exchange BIT, said: “there’s no doubt that it was the end to loose money that set the house of cards falling.
“Look at the data and you’ll see that the Nasdaq only began to really suffer when the Fed began hiking rates in March. And tech, as ever, was one of the first victims of the ensuing bear market.
“After a period of naïve optimism and financial malpractice, it’s time for the tech sector to snap back to reality.”