It’s been a tough year to be a tech billionaire, according to The Australian’s list of the rich

- March 23, 2023 2 MIN READ
Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farquhar.
Atlassian cofounders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar
Spare a thought for the country’s tech billionaires when you read at The Australian’s annual list of the nation’s 250 richest people tomorrow.

2022 wiped billions from their wealth, while the old-school titans continued to make a motza digging up stuff, building apartment blocks and turning trees into boxes.

Twelve months after the tech billionaires behind Canva and Atlassian stormed into the top 10 richest Australians, Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have followed their company’s share price south (as they also regularly offload parcels of them), with a combined $20 billion wiped from their personal wealth. They also fell down the rankings from 4th and 5th last year to 6th and 7th in 2023 – just behind the bellicose Queensland miner and would-be politician Clive Palmer.

The Australian puts Cannon-Brookes’ personal wealth in 2023 at $16.1 billion (down from $26.2bn in 2022) and Farquhar at $15.6bn (2022: $25.99bn)

Canva’s married cofounders Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins, saw around $5.8 billion vanish from their combined wealth following after the privately owned, business had its valuation slashed 36% by its venture capital backers to US$25.6 billion (A$37bn). They’ve fallen from 8th place last year to scrape into the top 10 at 10th with $10.1bn, down from $15.89bn last year

The duo own 30% of the business and pledged to give away the majority of their fortune.

Meanwhile, Hancock Prospecting’s Gina Rinehart is once again Australia’s wealthiest person with $37.1bn, with an extra $6.5bn topping up the piggy bank over the last 12 months.

Fellow WA miner and tech investor Dr Andrew Forrest is once in second place with his fortune rising around $4.5 billion in a year to $35.2bn.

Rounding out the top 5, all with more money than last year, are boxes baron Anthony Pratt with $27.9bn, apartment builder Harry Triguboff of Meriton fame with $23.6bn and the nation’s leading political advertiser and litigant, Clive Palmer, with $20.4bn.

But the next generation of tech has made its mark on The List 2023, with Ed Craven, the 27-year-old cofounder of the six-year-old online crypto gambling startup Stake.com (not to be confused with the listed companies investing app stake.com.au) cracking the Richest 250 with a $2bn fortune.

Ironically, Stake.com’s gambling licence prevents its sports betting and casino platform being used by Australian players.

The combo of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and gaming (but not gambling) has also also been lucrative for the brother Ferguson, James and Robbie, cofounders of Immutable.

A $280 million Series C raise backed  global VCs Temasek and Tencent at a $3.5 billion valuation 12 months ago catapulted them onto the list with an estimated wealth of $750 million, with younger brother Robbie the youngest person to make the list.

The List: Australia’s Richest 250 features in The Australian this Friday, March 24.

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