Fortunes have been made in Vancouver through a variety of industries and sectors, including real estate, technology, resource extraction, finance, retail, hospitality, entertainment, transportation, and healthcare. Successful entrepreneurs and investors have taken advantage of Vancouver’s strategic location, natural resources, skilled workforce, and diverse economy to build profitable businesses and accumulate wealth. The city’s reputation as a desirable place to live and do business has also attracted high-net-worth individuals from around the world, further contributing to the growth of Vancouver’s economy and wealth creation opportunities.
Changpeng Zhao, US$14.9 billion
Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, is a Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. He was born in Jiangsu province, China, in 1977 and grew up in various countries, including Canada and the United States.
Zhao started his career in the financial industry, working at companies like Bloomberg and Fusion Systems, before entering the cryptocurrency space in 2013. He co-founded OKCoin, a cryptocurrency exchange, before leaving the company in 2014 to start Binance.
Binance quickly became one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, with a daily trading volume that at times surpasses that of major stock exchanges like the Nasdaq. In 2018, the company moved its headquarters from China to Malta due to regulatory pressure.
Under Zhao’s leadership, Binance has expanded rapidly, launching new products and services such as Binance Coin (BNB), a cryptocurrency used for trading fee discounts on the platform, and Binance Smart Chain, a blockchain platform for decentralized applications. In addition to his work at Binance, Zhao is also an active investor in various cryptocurrency and blockchain projects.
Despite his success, Zhao has faced criticism from some in the cryptocurrency community for Binance’s centralized nature and for the company’s handling of certain issues, such as security breaches and regulatory challenges. Nonetheless, he remains a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world and is known for his energetic and optimistic approach to the industry.
Jim Pattison, US$7.82 billion
Jim Pattison is a Canadian businessman and philanthropist, widely considered one of the country’s wealthiest individuals. He was born on October 1, 1928, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Pattison started his career in the automotive industry, working as a car salesman before eventually purchasing his first car dealership in 1961. He went on to expand his business interests into a wide range of industries, including media, grocery stores, and entertainment.
Today, Pattison’s holdings include the Jim Pattison Group, one of Canada’s largest private companies, with interests in everything from car dealerships to radio stations to amusement parks. He is also the owner of Ripley Entertainment, which operates various tourist attractions around the world, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums and aquariums.
In addition to his business ventures, Pattison is known for his philanthropy. The Jim Pattison Foundation supports a wide range of charitable causes, including healthcare, education, and the arts. Pattison himself has donated millions of dollars to various organizations, and in 2015 he made headlines by donating $75 million to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Despite his success, Pattison is known for his humility and down-to-earth demeanor. He is often described as a private individual who shuns the limelight, preferring to focus on his work and his family. Despite this, he remains a widely respected figure in Canadian business and philanthropy, and his influence is felt across a wide range of industries and sectors.
Anthony Von Mandl, US$6.87 billion
Anthony Von Mandl is a Canadian entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Mark Anthony Brands, a beverage company known for its line of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1951.
Von Mandl started his career in the wine industry, working for several wineries in British Columbia before starting his own company, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, in 1981. Mission Hill quickly became one of Canada’s most respected wineries, earning numerous awards and accolades for its wines.
In the 1990s, Von Mandl began to shift his focus to the ready-to-drink beverage market. In 1996, he founded Mark Anthony Brands, which initially focused on producing wine coolers. The company later expanded into other beverage categories, including hard seltzers and iced teas. Today, Mark Anthony Brands is best known for its White Claw hard seltzer, which has become a sensation in the United States and other countries.
Von Mandl is known for his innovative approach to the beverage industry, and his ability to identify and capitalize on emerging trends. He has been recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to the industry, including the Order of British Columbia in 2005, and the Canadian Vintners Association’s Award of Distinction in 2016.
In addition to his work in the beverage industry, Von Mandl is also known for his philanthropy. He has donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes, including healthcare, education, and the arts. He is also an advocate for environmental sustainability, and has implemented a range of green initiatives at his wineries and beverage production facilities.
Joseph Tsai, US$5.93 billion
Joseph Tsai is a Taiwanese-Canadian businessman and the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. He was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1964 and grew up in various countries, including Canada and the United States.
Tsai studied at Yale University, where he earned a degree in economics and East Asian studies, before attending law school at Harvard University. After working as a lawyer for several years, he joined the private equity firm Investor AB in Hong Kong, where he worked on investments in Asia.
In 1999, Tsai joined forces with Jack Ma to co-found Alibaba Group, which initially focused on providing a platform for Chinese businesses to sell their products to overseas buyers. Today, Alibaba is one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, with a range of businesses that include online marketplaces, cloud computing, and digital media.
Tsai played a key role in Alibaba’s initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, which was the largest IPO in history at the time. He later stepped down from his position as CFO to focus on his role as executive vice-chairman, where he is responsible for overseeing the company’s international expansion and strategic investments.
In addition to his work at Alibaba, Tsai is also the owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and the New York Liberty women’s basketball team. He is known for his philanthropy, having donated millions of dollars to various causes, including healthcare, education, and disaster relief efforts.
Tsai is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the technology industry, and his contributions to the growth of Alibaba have helped to shape the landscape of e-commerce and digital business around the world.
David Cheriton, US$5.33 billion
David Cheriton is a Canadian computer scientist and entrepreneur, known for his contributions to the development of computer networking and distributed systems. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1951.
Cheriton received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of British Columbia and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He later joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he is currently a professor emeritus of computer science.
Cheriton’s research has focused on computer networking and distributed systems, and he has made several significant contributions to the development of these fields. In particular, he was one of the early developers of the Network File System (NFS), a protocol that allows remote access to files over a network, and he co-developed the distributed computing system, called the Distributed V Kernel (DVK).
In addition to his work in academia, Cheriton is also a successful entrepreneur. He co-founded several companies, including Granite Systems, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996 for $220 million, and Kealia, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2004.
Cheriton is also an active investor, having provided early funding for several successful technology companies, including Google, VMware, and Arista Networks. He is known for his philanthropy, having donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes, including education and scientific research.
Cheriton is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of computer networking and distributed systems, and his work has had a significant impact on the development of these fields.
Chip Wilson, US$5.22 billion
Chip Wilson is a Canadian entrepreneur and the founder of Lululemon Athletica, a popular yoga-inspired apparel brand. He was born on February 14, 1956, in California, USA, but grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Wilson started his career in the apparel industry by opening his own sports apparel store in Vancouver in 1979. He went on to found several other retail ventures, including Westbeach Snowboard Ltd., a snowboard clothing company.
In 1998, Wilson founded Lululemon Athletica, a company that produces high-end athletic apparel, particularly yoga-inspired clothing. The company quickly gained a loyal following, with its signature “yoga pants” becoming a popular choice for women’s activewear.
Despite the company’s success, Wilson has been the subject of controversy due to his comments on body image and weight, which have been criticized as fatphobic and insensitive. In 2013, he resigned as chairman of Lululemon after making comments that were seen as blaming customers for the company’s product quality issues.
Wilson is also known for his philanthropy, particularly in the area of ocean conservation. He has donated millions of dollars to various organizations, including the Ocean Wise Conservation Association and the Sea Legacy Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife.
In addition to his work in the apparel industry, Wilson is also an author, having published a memoir, “Little Black Stretchy Pants: The Unauthorized Story of Lululemon,” in 2018.
Stewart Butterfield, US$1.7 billion
Stewart Butterfield is a Canadian entrepreneur and businessman, best known as the co-founder and CEO of Slack Technologies, a popular team collaboration software. He was born on August 12, 1973, in Lund, British Columbia, Canada.
Butterfield started his career as a web designer and developer, co-founding several successful startups in the early 2000s, including Flickr, a popular photo-sharing platform, and Tiny Speck, a game development company.
In 2013, Butterfield and his team at Tiny Speck launched Slack, a team collaboration software designed to simplify communication and project management for teams. The platform quickly gained popularity and is now used by millions of users worldwide. In 2019, Slack went public in one of the largest tech IPOs of the year.
Butterfield is known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his ability to create successful companies that have a significant impact on their industries. He has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including being named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2016.
Butterfield is also a philanthropist, having donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes, including education, environmental conservation, and human rights. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs of his generation, and his work has had a significant impact on the technology industry.
Sources: Bloomberg Billionaires Index and The World’s Billionaires by Forbes, ChatGPT.