12 Things You Didn’t Know About South African Millionaire Mark Shuttleworth

12 Things You Didn’t Know About South African Millionaire Mark Shuttleworth

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South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth made his way to space in 2002 on his own dime, leaving his private jet and millions of dollars safely back on earth while spending 10 days in orbit.

The 42-year-old entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist has been an excellent ambassador for his country.

Thanks to his efforts to increase access and quality of education, he continues to nurture an interest in science and technology among young Africans throughout the continent, and especially in his native South Africa.

These are 12 things that you probably didn’t know about South African millionaire, Mark Shuttleworth.

Sources: Britannica, DestinyConnect, BusinessTech, BandwidthBlog, M&G, Forbes.

Mark Shuttleworth
South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth – linux.softpedia.com

Overnight millionaire

In 1999, in his final year of study, South African entrepreneur Shuttleworth founded an internet consulting firm which he named Thawte. He made over $575 million by selling that firm to VeriSign, and with the money he started another firm which provided services and training to tech startup companies.

Image: dootrix
Online incription made Shuttleworth some serious money – Image: dootrix

Thawte was a first outside the US

Having created Thawte when he was only 22 from his garage in Cape Town, the firm went on to produce the first-ever full-security encrypted e-commerce web server that was commercially available outside of the United States, before he sold the company.

A children's librarian conducts a weekly "Pram Jam" at Sea Point Library, Cape Town. Photo: Dana sanchez
Shuttleworth has invested millions to educate South African children – Photo: Dana sanchez

He has a passion for education

With his new found wealth, the entrepreneur showed his philanthropic side, and specifically his passion for improving education in South Africa. He has invested millions in education, using his non-profit organisation called the Shuttleworth Foundation to improve access to and quality of education in his homeland.

Mark Shuttleworth in space
Mark Shuttleworth in space – bloomberg.com

First African in space

In 2002, Shuttleworth became the first African in space and only the second private citizen to self-fund a space-trip. He paid $20 million and trained for a year, with much of that time spent in Russia, before joining the Soyuz TM-34 crew that visited the International Space Station.

South African Mark Shuttleworth
South African Mark Shuttleworth – businesstech.co.za

His astounding net worth

According to the Sunday Times Rich list from 2015, Mark Shuttleworth has amassed personal wealth estimated at $211 million (R2,9 billion), making him a billionaire in South African rand terms, and a very wealthy dollar millionaire.

Photo: www.muylinux.com
Shuttleworth launched Ubuntu – Photo: www.muylinux.com

The Ubuntu Project made software freely available

In 2004 Shuttleworth founded the Ubuntu project, which produces top-quality operating systems supported by the latest software, freely available across the globe for use on laptops and desktop computers.

The Isle of Man
Shuttleworth lives on the Isle of Man – visitiom.co.uk

He lives on the Isle of Man

Shuttleworth holds two passports; one South African and the other British, allowing him to travel with ease and live in Great Britain. At the moment, he lives on the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

Mark Shuttleworth is a well educated man
Mark Shuttleworth is a well educated man – bandwidthblog.com

Want to be a billionaire? Study a degree in finance and information studies

Shuttleworth completed a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Finance and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town before going on to launch his first company.

Photo: www.internationalaircharter.com
Wouldn’t it be great to have a private jet? Photo: www.internationalaircharter.com

A private jet with a mascot

The South African businessman owns a private jet, as certain millionaires do. The Bombardier Global Express is owned through his HBD Venture Capital company, and has a dragon emblazoned on the side of the plane which Shuttleworth calls Norman, the HBD Venture Capital mascot.

South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth
South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth – mg.co.za

Legal battle with the SA Reserve Bank part 1

When Shuttleworth moved approximately $177 million in capital from South Africa to the Isle of Man, the South African Reserve Bank decided that a $17.7 million levy would need to be paid in order to release the businessman’s assets. Shuttleworth appealed, and won a legal battle against the Reserve Bank, which was ordered by the supreme court of appeal to repay the levy amount with interest.

South Africa Raises Rates
South African Reserve Bank. Photo: centralbanking.com

Legal battle with the SA Reserve Bank part 2

The legal battle did not end there, however, as the Constitutional Court overturned the supreme court of appeal decision, as they found that the dominant purpose of exit charge was not to raise revenue‚ but to regulate conduct. This meant that the South African Reserve Bank did not have to repay Shuttleworth the levy.

Mark Shuttleworth has always been a leader
Mark Shuttleworth has always been a leader – timeslive.co.za

He was head boy at both primary and high school

The billionaire entrepreneur and investor always showed signs of his leadership capabilities, and during his school days he was head boy (head prefect) at both Western Province Preparatory School in 1986), and Bishops/Diocesan College in 1991.