South African Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu

There’s no money like young money.A survey by Forbes Magazine on the globe’s wealthiest people makes an interesting reading.

While African millionaires and billionaires like Onsi Sawiris, Raymond Ackerman, Aliko Dangote, and Deinde Fernandez may have more money than most of us can ever dream of, there’s one thing they can never buy: Youth. Even money has its limits.

But there are a handful of young Africans in their 20s and 30s who have built businesses and amassed enviable million-dollar fortunes. Call them million-dollar babies.

Here are ten you need to know:

Mark Shuttleworth, South African Age: 38

When Shuttleworth was 22, he founded Thawte, a digital certificate and internet security firm which he sold to VeriSign for $575 million in 1999, when he was 26. He used a fraction of his proceeds to start HBD Capital (now called Knife Capital), a Cape Town-based emerging markets investment fund.

HBD has made a series of successful exits including Fundamo, a mobile financial services firm, which was acquired by Visa for $110 million in 2011; and csense, which was acquired by GE Intelligent Platforms the same year. Shuttleworth also founded and funds Ubuntu, a computer operating system. He has a net worth north of $500 million.

Mike Macharia, Kenyan, Age: 36, Founder & CEO, Seven Seas Technologies

When he was 25, Macharia, a Kenyan national, founded Seven Seas Technology, now easily East Africa’s most reputable IT services firm.

The $50 million (annual sales) company is a leading provider of integrated business and technology solutions across Africa in the telecom, financial, Real Estate, service industry, and government. Seven Seas is gearing up to get listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange next year.

Justin Stanford, South African, Age: 28, Founder 4Di Group

Stanford is a software entrepreneur and venture capitalist. After dropping out off high school, Stanford set out to launch an internet security company which flopped.

When he came across ESET, a Slovakian anti-virus software package, he negotiated with its manufacturers and cornered the exclusive, lucrative Southern African distribution for the product.

Today, Stanford’s ESET Southern Africa operates the ESET brand in the region and sells ESET’s range of internet security products in about 20 sub-Saharan countries. Today, Stanford’s ESET brand records over $10 million in annual turnover.

Ladi Delano, Nigerian, Age: 30, Founder Bakrie Delano Africa

The jet-setting Nigerian entrepreneur made his first millions as a liquor entrepreneur while living in China. In 2004, at age 22, he founded Solidarnosc Asia, a Chinese alcoholic beverage firm that made Solid XS, a premium brand of vodka.

Read more: Standard Media

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