Big State, Big Money: The Richest Billionaires In Texas

In 2020, nearly one-tenth of Forbes‘s Top 400 Richest Americans list were Texans. That’s at least 36 Texans who make $242.2 billion altogether. Since Texas is known for its software, oil mining, and entertainment industries, this isn’t surprising. You might recognize many of these billionaires. For instance, the owner of Dell is a Houston native, and other less-known billionaires own sports teams and fund business jets. How many of these wealthy celebrities do you know? Here are the richest people in Texas.

Bill Austin Has Won 13 Awards For Philanthropy

CEO Bill Austin shows off a hearing aid during a Starkey Hearing Foundation press conference.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

William “Bill” Austin made a $2.2 billion fortune selling hearing aids. He first worked for his uncle’s hearing aid shop in Missouri, which inspired him to study medicine. In 1970, he bought Starkey Labs for $13,000 and grew it into a multi-billion dollar company.

Austin also works in philanthropy, donating hundreds of hearing aids to Zambia, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Since 2002, he has won 13 awards for his philanthropy. He lives with his wife in Brownsville, Texas.

Michael Dell Is A Texas Native

Michael Dell stands in front of a Dell logo while speaking during a conference.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The founder and creator of Dell Technologies is a Houston native. Michael Dell is one of the richest people in the world, with a $35.9 billion net worth. Dell Technologies went public in 1984, and he sold it in 2011 while retaining 12% of the company’s profits.

Dell used his $10 billion from selling Dell Technologies to buy the software and storage company EMC Corporation. He owns two homes in his hometown along with houses in New York City and Kohala, Hawaii.

Jerry Jones’s Team, The Dallas Cowboys, Gives Him A Fortune

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, speaks to the press.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Jerry Jones began his career as a college football player for the University of Arkansas. In 1989, he purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million (equal to $292.5 million in 2020). Today, he still owns the NFL team and earns $8.5 billion.

Although Jones’s team had a slow start, they eventually gave him a fortune. According to Forbes, the Dallas Cowboys are one of the world’s most valuable sports teams at $5 billion. Jones’s $6 million residence is in Dallas, Texas.

John Paul DeJoria: Actor And Hair Styling Entrepreneur

John Paul DeJoria and wife Eloise arrive at the Women's Cancer Research Fund in 2020.
Morgan Lieberman/FilmMagic
Morgan Lieberman/FilmMagic

John Paul DeJoria became a billionaire by manufacturing hair products, selling tequila, and acting and producing movies. Before he went big, DeJoria slept in his car and sold shampoo door-to-door. He later created John Paul Mitchell Systems with his hairdresser Paul Mitchell, and it took off.

In 1989, he co-founded his second-best business, the Patrón Spirits Company. He has also participated in several other companies, including being a House of Blues partner and owning a Harley Davidson dealership. DeJoria has a $2.7 billion net worth.

Shark Tank “Shark” Mark Cuban Resides In Dallas

Mark Cuban sits in a chair onstage during a conference.
JEALEX Photo/Getty Images for SXSW
JEALEX Photo/Getty Images for SXSW

Mark Cuban is best known as one of the main “shark” investors on the TV show Shark Tank. But he is also the owner of 2929 Entertainment and chairman of AXS TV. In the ’90s, Cuban ran the company Broadcast.com and eventually sold it to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion.

Cuban now lives in a 24,000 square-foot mansion in Dallas, Texas. In 2000, he purchased the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for $285 million. That purchase was no problem for his $4.3 billion fortune.

Robert Bass Invested In Business Jets

Robert Bass playfully flies a small model of a jet from Aero Supersonice.
@technology/Twitter
@technology/Twitter

Along with his two brothers, Robert Bass inherited a fortune from his uncle, Sid Bass. He immediately put his inheritance to work. Bass founded the investment company Robert M. Bass Group and the private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. He owns a $4.9 billion net worth.

Bass also served as the chairman of Aero Supersonic, a developer of business jets, until 2019. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, but also owns homes in Washing D.C., Maine, and New York City.

Ray Davis Earned Billions From Energy Pipelines

Ray Davis, co-owner of the Texas Rangers, stands at a podium and gives a speech.
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Ray Davis founded gas distributor and energy pipeline companies in Dallas. He served as the CEO and chairman of Energy Transfer Partners and the chairman of Energy Transfer Equity. In 2008, he had a $1 billion net worth; by 2013, it had grown to $1.9 billion.

Davis stepped down from Energy Transfer Partners in 2007, but he still receives a 6% equity. He is also the owner and co-chairman of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team. Davis is somewhat of a recluse and does not do interviews.

Janice McNair Owns The Houston Texans Football Team

Janice McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, appears on the field before a game.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Janice McNair is a South Carolina native who married Bob McNair, who founded Cogen Technologies. In 1999, Bob sold his company and co-founded the Houston Texans football team with his wife, Janice.

When her husband died in 2013, Janice inherited the business. She has a $4 billion fortune and is one of ten female NFL owners. Her son, Cal McNair, is the CEO of the team’s franchise company. McNair now lives in Houston, where she donates to help build apartments and community buildings.

Walmart Owner Alice Walton Is The Second Wealthiest Woman

Walmart owner Alice Walton speaks at the American Federation of Arts Gala.
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Alice Walton is one of the two sisters who inherited Walmart (the other being Alice Walton, Stanley Kroenke’s wife). She is the 15th richest person in the world and the second wealthiest woman, with a net worth of $67.6 billion.

Walton owns part of Walmart and made $11 billion from store shares in 2016 alone. She is also a painter and has a vast collection of artworks from Norman Rockwell, Thomas Cole, and more. She lives in a one-story ranch in Fort Worth, Texas, with her beloved horses.

H. Ross Perot Jr., The Son Of A Presidential Candidate

H. Ross Perot Jr. stands next to his father, Ross Perot, who ran for president.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

No, we’re not talking about the billionaire Ross Perot who ran for president. We’re discussing his son, Henry Ross Perot Jr, who founded two real estate companies, The Perot Group and Hillwood. His business ventures have earned him $2.5 billion. Perot is best-known for developing Alliance, a planned community near Dallas, Texas.

Perot was impressively the first person to fly a helicopter around the world, at age 23. He also bought the Dallas Mavericks basketball team in 1996. Later, he sold the team to Mark Cuban and maintains a 5% equity.

Dan Friedkin Makes Billions From Toyota Cars

Businessman Dan Friedkin leans against a wall.
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Dan Friedkin made $4.1 billion off of running Toyota dealerships. The CEO inherited the Gulf States Toyota Distributors, which was founded by his father, Thomas Hoyt Friedkin. This Houston-based company sells Toyotas in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. In 2019 alone, it sold $9 billion in cars.

But that’s not all. Friedkin is also the CEO of The Friedkin Group and a founder of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. He lives in Houston, where all of his businesses are located.

Robert F. Smith, One Of The Wealthiest Americans

Robert F. Smith gives a speech at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights awards.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for RFK Human Rights
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for RFK Human Rights

Robert F. Smith not only owns $5.2 billion, but he is also in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. As one of the wealthiest people in America, he has been on several Forbes lists. He is the founder, CEO, and chairman of Vista Equity Partners.

Smith invests solely in software companies and has $50 billion in assets. He is also a well-known philanthropist who has donated to many charities. Smith owns one home in Austin, Texas, and three others in California, New York, and Florida.

Thai Lee Runs The Largest Woman-Owned Company In The U.S.

thai-lee
Pinterest / Forbes
Pinterest / Forbes

Born in Thailand to a Korean-American family, Thai Lee now lives in Texas with her $3.1 billion fortune. She is the CEO and president of SHI International, the largest woman-owned company in America, according to Forbes.

Lee was the first woman to graduate from Harvard Business School. She later made billions with her IT business, becoming the fifth wealthiest Self-Made Woman in America in 2019. Today, she lives in Austin, Texas with her two children.

Gerald J. Ford Is A Billionaire, Not A Former President

Businessman Gerald J. Ford attends a basketball game.
Ray Carlin/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Ray Carlin/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Although he has the same name as the 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford is an attorney and bank owner. He began buying banks in 1975, hoping to help them recover from financial distress. In 2002, he hit gold when his billionaire friend Ronald Perelman sold Golden State Bancorp for $6 billion.

Ford now makes $2.1 billion. He and his wife live in Dallas, although they also own a home in New York, a ranch in New Mexico, and a thoroughbred farm in Kentucky.

In 2020, John Arnold Donated More Than Most Other Billionaires

Downtown Houston
Unsplash/Vlad Busuioc
Unsplash/Vlad Busuioc

John Arnold began his career at Enron, a natural gas and oil trading company. In 2001, earned an $8 million bonus, the largest in Enron history. When the company went bankrupt in 2002, Arnold started his own hedge fund company, Centaurus.

The Houston-based company was wildly successful, and Arnold eventually garnered a $3.3 billion net worth. In 2020, Arnold was one of only ten billionaires to donate 20% of his wealth to various charities. He now lives in Dallas, Texas with his family.

Tilman Fertitta Runs Several Iconic Restaurants

Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets, speaks during a meeting in the White House.
Doug Mills – Pool/Getty Images
Doug Mills – Pool/Getty Images

Tilman Fertitta made a fortune in the entertainment industry. He is the CEO and sole owner of Landry’s, Inc. This Texas-based company is one of the largest restaurant corporations in America. Forbes calls Fertitta the “World’s Richest Restaurateur” for his $4.5 billion net worth.

In 2017, Fertitta bought the NBA team the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion. His company has funded many famous restaurants and casinos, including Bubba Gump Shrimp, the Rainforest Cafe, and The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casinos. He is a Texas native and lives in Houston.

George Bishop Profits From Energy, Food, And Golf

GettyImages-906956090
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Little is known about George Bishop, the man who made billions off of petroleum and gas. He is the founder and CEO of GeoSouthern Energy, a natural gas exploration company. According to Forbes, he earns at least $2.5 billion.

Bishop also owns Eagleford Restaurant and the River Ridge Golf Club, both in Texas. He lives in Cuero, where he owns a ranch. He owns another home in The Woodlands and might visit Houston for his golf club.

William Herbert Hunt Switched From Silver To Oil

William Hunt (left) and his brother stand before a committee during the collapse of the silver market.
Getty Images
Getty Images

William Herbert Hunt has made billions off of the American oil industry. The son of oil well wildcatter H. L. Hunt, Herbert Hunt initially tried to get rich off of the silver industry with his brother. When the price of silver sank by 80% in the 1970s, he went bankrupt.

In the ’90s, Hunt revived his career in the oil industry. He sold a small portion of Petro-Hunt’s assets for $1.46 billion in 2012. In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $2 billion.

Joseph Liemandt Dropped Out Of Stanford To Make A Fortune

GettyImages-539740496
Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Sygma via Getty Images
Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Sygma via Getty Images

Joseph Liemandt made his $3 billion fortune through software companies. He attended Stanford University, but he dropped out to create the software company Trilogy Software. In 1996, he became the youngest person on the Forbes Top 400 list, with a net worth of $50 million

Liemandt later founded ESW Capital, an investment company that purchases software businesses. He made his fortune through “sales configuration software,” which allows people to buy and sell products more easily. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Andrew Beal, Entrepreneur And Mathematics Theorist

Andrew Beal stands in one of his banks.
@WSJJapan/Twitter
@WSJJapan/Twitter

Andrew “Andy” Beal makes his money from banking and real estate. He is the chairman and founder of the Dallas-based company, Beal Bank, and the founder of the Beal Financial Corporation. As of 2019, he has a $9.3 billion net worth.

Beal is also known for his strikes in mathematics. He invented the Beal Conjecture, a mathematical generalization of Fermat’s Last Theorem, and offers $1 million to anyone who can disprove it. He also plays professional poker.

Jeffery Hildebrand Bought Out His Business Partner

oil exploration in Texas
Dave Creaney/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Dave Creaney/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Jeffery Hildebrand graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in petroleum. After working for several companies, he co-founded his oil and gas exploration business, Hillcorp Energy Company. He later bought out his business partner for $500 million.

With a $5.5 billion net worth, he is America’s 77th richest citizen. Since he was born and raised in Houston, Hildebrand had donated much of his wealth to the institutions there, including the Houston Zoo and Contemporary Arts Museum.

Lee Bass Inherited Money And Invested It

GettyImages-1027276940
Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images
Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images

Lee Bass is an American businessman who inherited much of his wealth. His uncle was oil tycoon Sid Richardson, who gave Bass and his three brothers a multi-million dollar inheritance. Bass invested much of that money, which has earned him a $2.3 billion net worth today.

Nowadays, Bass spends much of his time in philanthropy. He serves on the boards of four charities and has donated over $20 million to Yale, where he graduated. He owns two ranches in Texas, El Coyote, and La Paloma, where he raises longhorn cattle.

Robert Rowling Did Not Stay In His Father’s Business

Downtown Dallas Texas
Unsplash/Shreyas Shah
Unsplash/Shreyas Shah

Robert Rowling initially inherited his father’s Texan oil company, Tana Oil and Gas. But unlike other Texas billionares, he didn’t stay in the oil business. In 1989, Rowling sold Tana Oil and Gas to Texaco for $476 million. He then invested the money to start his own business, TRT Holdings.

TRT is the holding company of a hotel chain, Omni Hotels, and a gym chain, Gold’s Gym. In 2013, he bought six resorts from KSL Resorts as well. These wise investments have earned Rowling a $3.9 billion net worth.

Stanley Kroenke Owns Several American Sports Teams

Stanley Kroenke stands in front of a soccer field.
Garrett W. Ellwood/MLS
Garrett W. Ellwood/MLS

Stanley Kroenke, the owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, runs several sports teams and companies. These include the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL, the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, and the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL.

But that’s not all. Kroenke founded the Kroenke Group with his wife, Walmart heiress Ann Walton. It has developed several stores and plazas across the nation. As of 2020, Kroenke has a $10 billion fortune and owns a $684 million ranch in Texas.

Margot Birmingham Perot, The Wife Of The Late Ross Perot

Margot Birmingham Perot waves to the crowd with her husband, presidential candidate Ross Perot.
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Margot Birmingham Perot is the widow of billionaire Ross Perot. In 1962, she gave her husband $1,000 to start his own business, Electric Data Systems in Dallas, Texas. Twenty-two years later, the Perot’s sold the company for $1.5 billion.

But that’s only a fraction of Margot Perot’s $4 billion net worth. In 1983, she started the Margot Perot Center, also in Dallas. These maternity suites have delivered over 120,000 babies. She also donates to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Bert Beveridge Runs The Fastest-Growing Spirits Company

Bert Beveridge stands in one of Tito's vodka warehouses.
Allyson Kirkpatrick/Pinterest
Allyson Kirkpatrick/Pinterest

Bert Beveridge II is the founder and owner of Tito’s Vodka, one of the fastest-growing spirit brands in the U.S. Beveridge named the brand after his nickname, “Bertito.” He started the company with $90,000 while he slept on his couch; now, he has $4.8 billion.

Tito’s is rapidly becoming more popular. In 2016, it sold 63 million bottles; in 2018, it went up to 88 million. Beveridge is a San Antonio native and now lives in Austin.

Drayton McLane Jr. Owns The Houston Astros

Drayton McLane Jr. announces new staff changes for the Houston Astros management.
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Billionaire Drayton McLane Jr. began his career as president and CEO of the McLane Company. This company ran grocery stores and food warehouses from 1965 to 1994. In 1990, he sold the company to Walmart for $50 million. That’s only a fraction of his $2.7 billion net worth.

McLane was also the owner of the Houston Astros Major League Baseball Team from 1993 to 2005. As a Texas native, he attended Baylor University. The college later commemorated him by naming a stadium after him.

Randa Duncan Williams Inherited Enterprise Products

Randa Duncan Williams is pictured in front of a brown curtain.
Forbes/Pinterest
Forbes/Pinterest

Randa Williams, along with her three siblings, inherited her father’s company Enterprise Products. The company owns 50,000 miles of energy pipelines, oil storage facilities, and natural gas processing plants. Enterprise Products began in 1968 and now gives Duncan $5.4 billion.

In 2013, Williams was elected as Enterprise Production’s non-executive chairman. She lives in Houston, and she is a board member for the Houston Zoo, a board member of the University of Texas Health Science Center, and the chairman of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Richard Kinder, One Of The Few Self-Made Billionaire Texans

Richard Kinder is pictured against a white background.
Teri T/Pinterest
Teri T/Pinterest

Richard Kinder is one of the seven self-made billionaires from Houston on the Forbes Richest People in the U.S. list. With an $11 billion fortune, he earned a fortune from the oil and gas industry. He is the executive chairman and co-founder of the energy and pipeline corporation Kinder Morgan Inc.

Kinder sits on the board of trustees at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He also founded the Kinder Foundation, which supports education in the Houston area.

David Bonderman Is In The Texas Businessman Hall Of Fame

David Bonderman attends the 2020 Breakthrough Prize Red Carpet at NASA Ames Research Center.
Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize
Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

David “Bondo” Bonderman once worked for billionaire Robert Bass. In 1992, he left with his coworker Jim Coulter, and the two started the private equity firm Texas Pacific Group. Now called TBG, the company makes around $108 billion in assets.

Bonderman is one of the owners of the Boston Celtics and majority owner of the Seattle Krakens hokey team. He has a $4 billion fortune. In 2017, he was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and he lives in Fort Worth with his family.