Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Snapdeal, Ola Cabs to Raise Funds From Japan's SoftBank

SoftBank said Tuesday it would invest $627 million (roughly Rs. 3,800 crores) in Snapdeal, becoming the largest shareholder in India's leading online marketplace as the Japanese mobile carrier strengthens its presence in the fast-growing market.

The deal was expected to be completed by the end of November, said a SoftBank spokeswoman in Tokyo.

"With this investment, the SoftBank group will become Snapdeal's largest shareholder," she said, without disclosing further details.

Snapdeal is India's fastest-growing and largest e-commerce website, with more than 25 million registered users and over 50,000 business sellers.

The New Delhi-based company, which has annual sales of $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,100 crores), has raised $350 million (roughly Rs. 2,150 crores) since its founding in 2010.

But after the latest round of funding from SoftBank and others, Snapdeal's valuation will rise to an estimated $2 billion (roughly Rs. 12,200 crores) with SoftBank as the single largest investor.

"Snapdeal is thrilled and honoured to have SoftBank as a strategic partner," co-founder and chief executive Kunal Bahl said in a statement.

"We are confident we will further strengthen our promise to consumers and create life-changing experiences for one million small businesses in India."

(Also See: Snapdeal Can Become the Alibaba of India, Says SoftBank CEO)

Other investors in Snapdeal, which is backed by eBay, include Indian tycoon Ratan Tata, Singapore state-owned investment company Temasek and asset management firm BlackRock.

SoftBank, which made headlines last year after its more than $21 billion (roughly Rs. 1,28,500 crores) takeover of US wireless giant Sprint, said the Snapdeal acquisition was aimed at boosting its presence in the booming Indian online market.

"We believe that India is at a turning point in its development and have confidence that India will grow strongly over the next decade," SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son said in a statement.

"As part of this belief, we intend to deploy significant capital in India over the next few years to support development of the market," he added.

Son met India's Telecoms and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad during a visit to New Delhi on Monday, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India's online retail industry, valued at $1 billion just two years ago, is expected to hit $32 billion (roughly Rs. 1,95,900 crores) in sales in 2020, according to retail consultancy Technopak.

Separately, SoftBank also said Tuesday it would jointly invest $210 million (roughly Rs. 1,300 crores) in India's ANI Technologies, better known as Ola Cabs, which provides a marketplace connecting consumers and taxi drivers through mobile apps, the web and call centres.

"Ola's current shareholders will join the investment but SoftBank will take the lead," another SoftBank spokeswoman said, without elaborating.

SoftBank is a holding company that boasts more than 1,300 subsidiaries and affiliates involved in a range of mobile communications, fixed-line communications and Internet services.

It holds about one-third of Chinese online giant Alibaba and has said it would probably book a gain of about $4.6 billion (roughly Rs. 28,100 crores) from the firm's initial public offering, which raised a record $25 billion (roughly Rs. 1,52,900 crores) last month.

For SoftBank, Snapdeal is 'India's Alibaba'

Indian retail player Snapdeal, which has coughed up $627 million (Rs. 3,824 crore) from Japan's SoftBank in the largest single tranche investment in Indian e-commerce, says it will use the money to invest in its technology infrastructure.

"It's not about the amount of money we have in the bank or the valuation, it's about how we spend it. We're a technology firm, we want to create a life changing experience for 1 million small businesses in India giving them a market-place to sell within a matter of an hour," Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal, told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

Snapdeal already claims to have 25 million users and 50,000 merchants selling on its online platform.

Japan's SoftBank is the single largest shareholder in Alibaba.com, the world's biggest e-commerce firm. After this deal, SoftBank will now be the largest shareholder in Snapdeal too. "Masayoshi Son at Softbank must have seen in Snapdeal what he saw in Alibaba 15 years ago. Our philosophy of enabling small businesses to sell on our platform resonated with SoftBank," Mr Bahl told NDTV.

The investment values Snapdeal at over $2 billion (Rs. 12,200 crore), coming just four months after its rival Flipkart raised over $1 billion (Rs.6,100 crore) from a clutch of investors valuing it at over $7 billion.

Talking about the exponential valuation that Indian online firms are getting, Mr Bahl said, "Valuation is just a number. It is not a chase for more money, more valuation or more profits, the chase should always be how can we move the needle for the country."

Indian e-commerce will grow from $5-6 billion (Rs. 30,500-36600 crore) to over $100 billion (Rs. 6.1 lakh crore) in the next 7-8 years, Mr Bahl added.

"Our business model is very similar to Alibaba's...where Alibaba generated 5 billion dollars of EBITA last year. The notion that e-commerce companies don't make money is absolutely not true... Globally, the largest and most profitable businesses are pure marketplaces like ours," Mr Bahl said.

Online players like Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon have been engaging in marketing and price wars. Snapdeal ran a print media campaign offering promotional discounts to counter the much-hyped Big Billion Day sale by its rival Flipkart earlier this month. Flipkart was later forced to issue an apology to its customers for the glitches, which include prices being pushed up, cancellation of orders and inadequate product stocks.

Talking about the inability of online players to keep pace with rising demand, Mr Bahl said, "This year the growth in e-commerce was not foreseen by anyone including us. The growth has been nothing short of exponential. The infrastructure is lagging a bit vis-a-vis the growth in actual orders getting placed on e-commerce sites. It is a temporary phase... Give it a few months or a year. I am pretty sure all our third-party logistics partners will build up necessary capacities."

Mr Bahl featured in the Fortune list of '40 under 40' most powerful people in business, making him one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. But, he says, he hasn't forgotten his roots. "I feel as paranoid about our business as I did when Rohit (Rohit Bansal, co-founder and COO, Snapdeal) and I first started from the basement of the furniture market in Delhi. We haven't forgotten where we came from. I tell my team it's important to be aggressive, thoughtful, purposeful but also very humble."

Airbus And Tata Team Up to Bid For New Planes For Air Force

Europe's Airbus and Tata Sons have bid for a multi-billion dollar contract to replace the Indian Air Force's ageing fleet of AVRO cargo planes, as New Delhi looks to boost the role of the local private sector in modernising its armed forces.

Under the bid, estimated by analysts to be worth at least $2 billion or Rs. 12,200 crore, Airbus' Defence and Space unit and Tata's Advanced Systems would replace the 56 AVRO jets with Airbus' C295 transport planes, the European manufacturer said on Tuesday.

Airbus would supply the first 16 planes in "fly away" condition from its own assembly line, while the subsequent 40 would be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems in India.

They would be the first military planes built by an Indian private company on Indian soil, with current manufacturing dominated by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have raised the foreign investment limit in defence since coming to power in May, and are moving to clear a backlog of military equipment orders and close the gap on strategic rival China.

The goverment has said it will prioritise companies which have pledged to manufacture within India.

Indian companies such as Tata, Larsen & Toubro and Mahindra Group are spending billions of dollars to build arms, as they look to win a chunk of the $250 billion that analysts estimate India will spend on defence kit over the next decade.

The government first issued a tender for a foreign supplier and Indian private firm to replace the Avro jets in May 2012, but a lack of interest from potential bidders and ministerial infighting led to a series of delays.

India is trying to replace much of its outdated fleet of military planes. The biggest contract is a $15 billion deal with France's Dassault Aviation to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets, which is still to be finalised.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

6 Made-in-India Submarines for Navy for 53,000 Crores

The Defence Acquisition Council of India today cleared defence deals worth Rs. 80,000 crore. The deal includes the acquisition of six conventional submarines to augment the aging and depleted submarine fleet and two midget submarines -- also known as 'Swimmer Delivery Vehicles' - which are used for special operations.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'make in India' campaign and the overall policy to build and strengthen the fledgling Indian defence industry, all six boats will be made in Indian shipyards. The Indian Navy - the end users - will identify shipyards that can acquire the technology from foreign manufacturers and build the boats on schedule. The process of identifying the shipyards will be completed in the next two months. There are seven shipyards in India, including four government yards. The Indian exchequer will shell out an estimated Rs. 53,000 crore for the six boats.

Clearing the procurement, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said, "National security is of paramount concern for the government and all hurdles and bottlenecks in the procurement process should be addressed expeditiously."

The midget submarines weigh less than 150 tons and are smaller than conventional submarines. They can carry between 8 to 24 fully armed commandos, who are ejected through the torpedo tubes some miles away from the target, from where they can swim towards their target, complete the mission and swim back; this is why they are also called 'Swimmer Delivery Vehicles'.

Sources told NDTV that the six conventional submarines will have Air Independent Propulsion Systems which allow the boats to run the diesel engines underwater to charge ships' batteries, allowing them to stay underwater for longer durations. Besides, they will also have stealth features, which essentially mean that the boats will have greater ability to suppress noise.

The Indian Navy will also get 12 more Dornier Aircraft. These will be built by the Bangalore based defence Public Sector Unit - Hindustan Aeronautic Limited - at a total cost of Rs. 1,850 crore. Dorniers are issued for maritime surveillance and the Navy has a fleet of 40 Dorniers.

Apart from this, the Indian Army will also be buying the third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles for Israel. The 8000 Spike ATGM missiles and 300 launchers will come at a cost of Rs. 3,200 crore. The Army will also get about 360 odd Armoured Personnel Carriers built by the Ordinance Factory Board for about Rs. 2,000 crore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How PM Modi's Digital India Will Empower the Postman

In the age of e-mails, the postman could be relevant again.

As part of its Digital India programme, the Narendra Modi government plans to tie up with major e-retailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Myntra for them to use the postal department's services to deliver consumer goods in remote areas of the country.

Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad is expected to meet Sachin and Binny Bansal, the founders of e-commerce giant Flipkart soon to hold detailed discussions. He will also meet other e-tailers.

In preliminary conversations, government sources said, the companies have raised concerns like how the postman will be tracked real-time - a must-have in effective e-commerce - who the single-point contact will be and also efficiency in a department not famous for its timely delivery.

Right now, the postal department can only track a parcel from one centre to another. The government has said it is ready to upgrade technology at post offices, including arming postmen with mobile phones, to address some of these concerns.

The Modi government expects its digital impetus to reach broadband services to far-flung rural areas. The postal department's wide network connects far-flung areas of the country. It employs more than 4.5 lakh people.

Earlier this month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had met both PM Modi and Mr Prasad on his first visit to India and offered to help connect the country's remote villages to the Internet. He said he was excited about Mr Modi's Digital India initiative and the opportunity it offered.

In August this year, the textile ministry had announced an agreement with Flipkart to provide an online marketing platform to handloom weavers in the country to boost the sector and boost manufacturing in the country.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Top-Secret Space Plane Lands on California Coast

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA: A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an Air Force base on the Southern California coast.

The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.

It safely touched down at 9:24 am Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.
Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.

Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China's space lab.

In a written release announcing the return of the craft, the Air Force only said it had been conducting "on-orbit experiments."

The X-37B program has been an orphan of sorts, bouncing since its inception in 1999 between several federal agencies, NASA among them. It now resides under the Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office.

The plane that landed Friday is one of two built by Boeing. This is the program's third mission, and began in December 2012.

The plane stands 9. 1/2 feet (2.9 meters) tall and is just over 29 feet (almost 9 meters) long, with a wingspan under 15 feet (4.5 meters). It weighs 11,000 pounds (4,989 kilograms) and has solar panels that unfurl to charge its batteries once in orbit.

The Air Force said it plans to launch the fourth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, next year.

Rafale Fighters India is Buying Can't Match Chinese Fighters: Russian Envoy

The French Rafale Fighter aircraft that India is planning to buy, in what is being billed as the largest defence purchase by the country - "will be swatted like mosquitos in an August night," says Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin.

Mr Kadadin also claimed that Sukhoi-27 - aircraft manufactured in Russia that are supplied to China's People's Liberation Army (Air Force )- are far more capable and advanced than the Rafale fighters.

Incidentally, Russian-made MiG- 35, as well as US-made F-16s & F- 18, Swedish-made SAAB Gripin and French-made Rafale were the key competitors for the defence contract. After a long and detailed evaluation, the IAF had selected the French-made Rafale Fighter jets to replace its ageing and depleting fleet. The deal is likely to cost India a whopping $23 billion.

Going on to question India's strategic forays with the Unites States and the erstwhile 'Western Bloc', the Russian Ambassador said the US has "transferred zero technology to India".

He cited the BrahMos Missile, a supersonic cruise missile jointly developed and produced by India and Russia, the Sukhoi-30MKi that is now being licensed and produced in India, and the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant as examples of critical technology transferred by Russia to India.

Russia, historically, has been a key strategic partner of India and the main supplier of weapon systems. But, in the last decade, India has increasingly looked towards Israel and US to meet its defence requirements. The shift, no doubt, has peeved Russia.

These issues are likely to dominate the summit-level talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President Putin is scheduled to visit India on December 11.

Russia is expected to push India to source conventional submarines from them. Submarines are key to the strategy of "Sea Denial" - preventing warships of adversaries from accessing specific areas in the sea. India has only eight functional conventional submarines.

India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay to be Test-Fired Today

INTEGRATED MISSILE TEST RANGE, BALASORE, ODISHA: India will test its potent nuclear-capable cruise missile 'Nirbhay', a state-of-the-art missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today if all goes well. The scientists are forging ahead with the crucial test, to be conducted from the Integrated Missile Test Range in Balasore, Odisha, despite the coastal region of the state being hit hard by Cyclone Hudhud. (10 must-know facts about Nirbhay)

Nirbhay (which means fearless) is very manoeuvrable and can fly at tree-top level, making it difficult to detect on radar, and strikes targets more than 700 km away carrying nuclear warheads, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.

Very soon when India's own satellite navigation fleet is fully deployed, Indian cruise missiles will start using signals from the Indian space system giving the country that extra edge.

Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, Nirbhay has a wing and pronounced tail fins. It launches like a missile and in early flight the small wings get deployed. It then flies like an aircraft and can even hover near the target, striking at will from any direction.

On its maiden flight on March 12, last year, Nirbhay had to be terminated, when the missile deviated from its course about 20 minutes after launch. As the missile went off its flight trajectory, its engine was cut off to bring it down to ensure coastal safety. It fell near the coast; the DRDO said no one was injured.

The Nirbhay is a sub-sonic cruise missile and gives India the capacity to launch different kinds of payloads at different ranges from various platforms at a very low cost. It can be launched from a mobile launcher. The missile has a fire-and-forget system that cannot be jammed.

India has had the capability to make ballistic missiles for some time now and has made tactical missiles of different capacity. But it had not mastered a cruise missile yet and DRDO scientists worked very hard on the Nirbhay.

The US had deployed cruise missiles very effectively during the Gulf War.

The Nirbhay is India's answer to America's Tomahawk and Pakistan's Babur.

Here are 10 must-know points about India's Nirbhay or ‘fearless missile’:

It is a sub-sonic cruise missile. 

It blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, Nirbhay has wings and pronounced tail fins.
In early flight after launch, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed.

At this point a gas turbine engine kicks in and it becomes like a full aircraft.
The Nirbhay is very maneuverable and can fly at tree-top level making it difficult to detect on radar.
Once near the target, it can even hover, striking at will from any direction.

It can strike targets more than 700 km away carrying nuclear warheads, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.

It gives India the capacity to launch different kinds of payloads at different ranges from various platforms at a very low cost. It can be launched from a mobile launcher.

The missile has a fire-and-forget system that cannot be jammed.

It is India's answer to America's Tomahawk and Pakistan's Babur missile. The US had deployed cruise missiles very effectively during the Gulf War.

India has made ballistic missile and tactical missiles of different capacity, but is yet to master the making of a cruise missile.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

World's First Production Ready Flying Car Coming Soon

Ever dreamt of a car that could fly and take you away from horrendous traffic jams on the streets? Well, flying cars are set to be a reality pretty soon, thanks to Mr Stefan Klein, who invested 20 years on the project. After working rigorously for years, Mr Klein - the chief engineer and co-founder of AeroMobil - has come up with a prototype called the AeroMobil 2.5. After successfully testing the AeroMobil 2.5 prototype for take-off, flight and landing, the company will unveil the world's first production ready flying car, the AeroMobil 3.0, on October 29, 2014 at the Pioneers Festival in Austria.

AeroMobil has been working on the flying car concept since 1990, and according to the company, its first model looked quite bizarre and was impractical for regular use. This, the company says, was "a singal to improve the concept of the flying car in a way to become an integral part of the regular road traffic."

Powering the AeroMobil 3.0 is a Rotax 912 engine that has a range of 700 Kms while flying and 875 kms on road. Interestingly, the flying car has been claimed to consume 15 litres per hour for flying, and 12.5Km/l while driving. The claimed top-speed of the car is 200Km/h in air and 160Km/h on road, whereas the take-off speed is 130Km/h.

For the curious cats out there, the wings fold into the rear seat behind the driver during car mode. That said, the company feels that the design of the car still needs work, so more improvements will be made to the car in order to make it perfectly suitable for both, flying in the air and driving on the road.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Indians Join Wave of Foreign Investors in Condos and Homes in the U.S.

Arun Kumar owns three apartments in New Delhi, where he has carved out a comfortable life as part of India's rapidly expanding middle class. Not long ago, he also became a global landlord, picking up an inexpensive three-bedroom house and a duplex nearly 8,000 miles away, in St. Louis.

For Kumar and other affluent Indians, U.S. real estate is a security blanket. Faced with what some have considered a bubble in real estate prices in major Indian cities and a sometimes jittery Bombay Stock Exchange, they are joining a wave of buyers from other countries who see the recovering U.S. housing market as one of the best places to put their money these days.

The wealthy elite from China, Latin America and elsewhere have bought pieds-a-terre in glassy towers in Manhattan, luxury condos in Miami and homes along the West Coast. Law enforcement investigations have found that some foreign investors are using U.S. real estate holdings, at least in part, to hide cash and other assets from authorities in their home country.

But many less-than-superrich foreign investors just want a safe place to put extra savings, and their investments tend to be much less grandiose than the trophy properties that have drawn most of the attention. And for Indians in particular, who long trusted in gold to protect their wealth, U.S. real estate offers a "very, very attractive destination," said Subir Gokarn, director of research at Brookings India in New Delhi.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, an online marketplace for residential real estate, said the most popular property searches for people from India were in and around Silicon Valley, where technology firms heavily recruit from India; in the Boston and Philadelphia areas near universities that have numerous students from India; and in suburban areas of New Jersey and in Queens, where there are established Indian-American communities.

In an echo of the late 1980s, foreign investment in U.S. real estate has taken off again. A survey from the National Association of Realtors estimates that from April 2013 to March of this year, total sales to international clients were about $92.2 billion, a 35 percent increase over the previous 12 months. The figure includes purchases by recent immigrants.

Foreign buyers now make up 7 percent of total existing-home sales of $1.2 trillion, according to the survey. Of those, Indians represent 6 percent of the purchases, spending $5.8 billion, up from $3.9 billion over the same period a year ago and on par with buyers from Britain.

Canadians have long bought U.S. property and still do so in big numbers, with purchases centered for the most part in Arizona, Florida and more recently in Las Vegas. Canada still accounts for the largest share of buyers, but China is the fastest-growing source of clients, according to the Realtors' group.

And Chinese buyers are bigger spenders. Their real estate purchases in the United States nearly doubled from last April to last March, increasing to $22 billion from the previous period. They accounted for nearly a quarter of all international sales in the current period.

"Most people who can come here, they are pretty wealthy," said Grace Tian, a broker with Realty Mark Associates in Philadelphia who often works with Chinese clients.

In contrast, buyers from India are a more eclectic group. These include parents living in India who buy apartments for students attending college, making sure the units have concierge service and an extra bedroom so they can visit for extended periods, several real estate agents said. After the students leave college, the parents often keep the apartment and rent it out.

"It's a good investment in their eyes, and it can be a better deal instead of them paying dorm costs or renting somewhere else," said Michael DiMella, a managing partner with the Charlesgate Realty Group in Boston whose Indian clients have bought near Northeastern University.

Irene Barnaby, a broker with Weichert Realtors in Jersey City, said her Indian clients generally spent about $600,000 to $800,000 on condos. Some buyers pay cash because traditional banks won't give them mortgages without a credit history in the United States. But she has also created relationships with smaller banks that will lend money to her clientele.

"They can get exactly what they want in this area," Barnaby said.

Padmanabhan Palani, president of the condo association board at the 443-unit James Monroe tower, said the area is comfortable for many people just arriving from India or elsewhere in Asia because it resembles the high-rise districts of Mumbai and Hong Kong. Plus, he said, his building is close to the train station.

"In a snowstorm, 100 meters is very important in how far you walk," said Palani, who came to the United States 12 years ago on a work visa for a technology job and is now a permanent resident.

Some U.S.-based brokers are capitalizing on the growing interest from Indians.

Myron Von Raesfeld, a real estate agent in the heart of Silicon Valley, said his firm started working with technology companies in 1999 to offer seminars teaching immigrants with H-1B work visas the intricacies of the U.S. real estate market.

He now offers the seminar at 80 companies, in part to keep ahead of the competition. "Realtors are becoming very astute at this foreign wave," he said.

Indian real estate agents are also getting in on the action. Vikram Somani, owner of Property Hunters in Mumbai, has turned to the U.S. market, noting that title insurance is available and the buying process is far more organized.

Rohit Prakash, president of American Full House in Austin, Texas, is recruiting brokers like Somani to round up Indian clients. His firm, created four years ago, arranges limited liability partnerships helping his clients overcome tax issues and red tape that otherwise would apply to foreign investors.

"There's a sexiness to say I own property in the U.S., a little bit of bragging rights," Prakash said. "But for them to know how to go about how to do this, they were clueless."

One of his clients is Kumar, who bought his St. Louis properties sight unseen, spending about $100,000 for a three-bedroom single-family home and a two-unit house.

So far the investment hasn't been as good as Kumar had hoped. One of the units sat empty for longer than expected, and a roof had a problem that needed to be fixed.

"I'm hopeful this year it will be better," said Kumar, who is considering buying property in Silicon Valley in the future. "In any case, I was looking at investment in the USA for the long term."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Facebook Founders Are the Youngest Billionaires in Forbes List

Three out of Forbes' 11 youngest billionaires of America are founding members of Facebook, two of them 30-year-olds.

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, 30, is the youngest billionaire in the Forbes 400 richest Americans list of 2014. His Harvard University roommate and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who is just eight days older is the second youngest billionaire on the list.

Mr Moskovitz, who left Facebook in 2008 to start software firm Asana is worth $8.1 billion dollar according Forbes' estimates. Facebook CEO Mr Zuckerberg's fortune is more than four times his former roommate's at $34 billion.

Sean Parker, founding president of Facebook completes the trio for the 'social network' at fifth position on the list with a net worth of $3 billion. Mr Parker had also founded online music firm Napster.

Out of the 400 people on Forbes' list of the richest in the United States in 2014, 11 are under the age of 40.

Another 30-year-old who makes it to the list is Elizabeth Holmes, founder of California-based blood testing company Theranos. Ms Holmes, who had dropped out of Stanford University to start her venture from money saved for college, is the third youngest billionaire on the list.

Rounding off the list of the top five, is 31-year-old energy pipeline heir Scott Duncan with a net worth of $7 billion.