Los Angeles Business Journal

Tech Under-Represented Among L.A.’s Wealthiest

By Natalie Jarvey Friday, May 24, 2013

Activity in the L.A. tech sector has been bubbling, but the industry has yet to create the types of billionaires found in Silicon Valley.

As the Business Journal assembled its annual list of Wealthiest Angelenos, tech was noticeably under-represented.

A few of L.A.’s wealthiest have made their money in tech, but many of them cut their teeth on tech giants built outside the region.

Take, for instance Neil Kadisha, No. 35 on this year’s list. The entrepreneur is a former board member at San Diego telecom giant Qualcomm Inc. and he still holds 14 million shares of the company today.

Then there’s John Tu, co-founder of chip maker Kingston Technologies Co. The company is based in Fountain Valley, but Tu slips onto the Business Journal’s list – this year at No. 24 – because he lives in the small Palos Verdes community of Rolling Hills.

Tu and Kingston co-founder David Sun are perhaps most famous for selling their company in 1996 for $1.5 billion and then giving $100 million to employees. They bought Kingston back three years later for a discounted $450 million.

The most notable name in tech on the Wealthiest Angelenos list just might be Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal who has gone on to start electric vehicle maker Tesla and rocket manufacturer SpaceX.

The launch of Tesla’s Model S sedan, successful SpaceX mission to the International Space Station and public offering of Solar City – where he is chairman of the board – have led to a banner year for Musk. He vaulted from No. 24 on the list last year to No. 3.

Others on the list with technology connections include Anthony Pritzker, who has been an active supporter of the L.A. startup community and makes tech investments through his New World Ventures firm; and Aubrey Chernick, founder of software firm Candle Corp., which he sold to IBM in 2004.

None of their wealth compares to the billionaires of Silicon Valley, however.

With estimated net worth of $43 billion, Larry Ellison of Oracle is worth nearly nine times more than Patrick Soon-Shiong, who again tops the Business Journal’s list.

The full list of Wealthiest Angelenos will appear in the May 27 edition of the Business Journal.