Owners of Global Switch, brothers David and Simon Reuben came eight in the list, down from fifth place in 2010, despite a £644 million increase in their wealth to £6.18 billion this year. They are looking to float Global Switch, which owns and operates seven data centre campuses across Europe and Asia-Pacific, and has a value of more than £3 billion.
As well as the data centre business, the Reuben brothers’ wealth is also attributed to their property businesses in the UK.
They ranked higher than Sir Richard Branson, owner of brands including Virgin Media, who came in at number 19 with a wealth of £3.09 billion.
But entrepreneurs behind UK software companies did not perform nearly as well among Britain’s richest when compared to their US counterparts. For example, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, came first, third and joint-eleventh in the latest Forbes 400 Richest People in America list.
Far down the list from the Reuben brothers, the first UK software company owner to appear was Mike Lynch, CEO of software company Autonomy, ranked at 210. His ranking fell from 162 last year, after a fall in wealth of £31 million took his total worth to £396 million. In addition to the £312 million stake in Autonomy, Lynch also holds a £28 million stake in software firm Blinkx, as well as property assets.
Lynch was closely followed by Niklas Zennstrom, founder of internet telephony company Skype and invester in Rovio Mobile, the Finnish developer of smartphone game Angry Birds, who is worth £320 million and ranked 243rd.
Other software notables included Graham Wylie, a founder of Sage and owner of Technology Services Group (393rd), Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer, founders of IT security consultancy Sophos (joint 351st), and Clay Brendish, who co-founded the Admiral software business, which was bought by CMG in 2000 and then merged with Logica in 2002.
Meanwhile, other rich people who attributed their wealth to IT included Sir Terry Matthews, at number 63, founder of venture capital group Celtic House International, which funds start-up tech companies, and the founders of computer hardware and services group Computacenter, Peter Ogden (375th) and Philip Hulme (497th). The Computacenter founders also have significant stakes in financial services software business Dealogic.