Real estate, cars ... The follies of the billionaires of the tech in the United States

23 August 2017

The magnates of the Californian tech are reputed to enjoy their fortune without ostentation. They are nonetheless capable of some extravagances, often in a sector that can no longer brick & mortar: real estate.

When it comes to garnishing his portfolio, Facebook CEO has a low for real estate. He would be the anonymous buyer of a penthouse at the top of the One57 tower in New York, for a record sum of 90 million euros.

Twitter, Uber or Airbnb are born within its walls. Its multi-millionaire employees are ready to do anything to find an apartment or even a pied-à-terre, enjoy the city lights and turn away from the Valley, industrial zones and motorway interchanges. The Golden City, however, lives its prosperity on a senator train. Nightlife is virtually non-existent, it is complex to get served in a restaurant after nine o'clock in the evening, and the bling-bling fans will be there for their expenses.

The passion of the cars

The fortunes of the region are more or less discreet. Ferrari and Lamborghini, are stored in the garage. To put it simply, we opt for a Tesla, whose founder Elon Musk is revealed among the most show-off with his stunning space projects. Passionate about all kinds of cars, the man offered himself a James Bond gadget at an auction in London for $ 1 million. The Lotus Esprit, nicknamed "Wet Nellie," was the amphibious car of 007 in The Spy Who Loved Me, shot in 1977. The disappointment of the young Musk was immense when he learned that the car was actually converted into sub- marine. The businessman vowed to turn fiction into reality, using the science of Tesla engineers.

To the east of Silicon Valley, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, another billionaire is on the way to realizing his dream. With his fortune exceeding $ 20 billion, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has already offered yachts, jumbojets, football and basketball teams. Last year, he paid $ 27 million for a villa with pool in Atherton, the most expensive corner of Silicon Valley. Tricks compared to its project Stratolaunch, the largest aircraft in the world, equipped with six Boeing 747 reactors, which will soon place satellites in space. The first prototype left its 8,000 square meter hangar in June. To be forgiven their caprices, the Californian gurus often reinvest part of their wealth in good works, through, in particular, galas of charity, objects of a fierce competition. The annual Pixar Gala, which has a reputation of raising $ 2 million per hour, is helping students outdo the university with the generosity of Tim Cook and Johnny Ive of Apple. Tipping Point, which collects around 14 million a year, aims to solve the problem of the homeless in San Francisco.

Benefactors and Builders

Some people do not hesitate to take things personally, like Marc Benioff, founder of the company's software editor Salesforce. A giant more than 2 meters, from an old family of San Francisco. His grandfather had organized the fundraiser for the construction of the city's railways. With a fortune estimated at more than $ 4 billion, he built a huge children's hospital at the entrance to the city. He also upset the city's skyline by having a 326-meter-high tower built for $ 700 million, which will house the group's headquarters.

But, past these rare architectural follies, Californian billionaires of the tech prefer to spend their money in their house. A few years ago, Marc Benioff offered himself a comfortable villa, not far from the co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, at Sea Cliff. This upscale neighborhood in the northeast of the city attracts those who have grown weary of the homes of Pacific Heights. The residence of Marc Benioff offers a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Ideal for the meditation sessions he likes, like most successful entrepreneurs of the Californian tech. And the garden is big enough to organize big barbecues on weekends, those great socializing moments of Silicon Valley. The founder of Salesforce also offered a corner of land in Hawaii, not far from the island of Lanai, acquired in 2012 for $ 500 million by its great rival Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle.

Collector of houses

For these wealthy businessmen, all-digital and virtualization singers, nothing is worth the earth and the brick to place its money. Mark Zuckerberg is very active in humanitarian work, but he does not forget the virtues of stone. The founder of Facebook fell in love with a charming pied-à-terre in San Francisco, near Dolores Park, in the Mission district, for which he spent close to $ 10 million. According to Forbes, it would also be, in New York, the proud owner of the penthouse of the One57 tower, south of Central Park, Manhattan's most expensive real estate program. Amount of the acquisition: 90 million euros, absolute record for Big Apple.

With a fortune estimated at over $ 62 billion, young Zuck, 33, can afford some fantasies. In Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where he bought his first home in 2011 for $ 7 million, he bought all the villas on the block for a total of $ 30 million. The price of tranquility. To live like on Facebook, but in real life.

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