How Did Jensen Huang Make His Money?

Jensen Huang, born Jen-Hsun Huang in Taiwan, is one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world. The co-founder and CEO of Nvidia has focused his life’s work on building next-generation computer processing units.

At 60 years old, he’s one of the tech industry’s most prominent leaders, and he has impressive engineering skills that make him exceptionally well-suited for the job.

How Did Jensen Huang Start Nvidia?

Jensen and two friends – Nvidia co-founders Curtis Priem and Chris Malachowsky started daydreaming about creating their own graphics company while eating at a Denny’s restaurant.

The three wondered what type of business would thrive as personal computers became increasingly important to students, businesses, and individuals.

All three of the friends had backgrounds in electrical engineering. Huang had experience designing microprocessors, and Priem had an extensive background developing graphics processors at IBM and graphics chips at Sun Microsystems.

Given everyone’s interest in electrical engineering and graphics, it made sense for them to start a company focused on those areas. They also recognized that software and game developers were making graphics that pushed the limits of hardware available at the time.

When Jensen, Priem, and Malachowsky founded Nvidia in 1993, they planned to rely on video game companies to help fund their research and development. At the beginning, the company’s bank account only held $40,000. It did, however, receive $20 million in funding from several venture capitalist firms, including Sequoia Capital, which has a history of helping successful companies like Google, Zoom, YouTube, Apple, Cisco, and PayPal.

Nvidia went public in early 1999 with an IPO of $12 per share. In 2023, shares typically have sold for between $300 and $500. Assuming an average value of $400 per share, someone who spent just $1,200 buying 100 shares in 1999 would now own $40,000 in the company.

Today, Nvidia is one of the world’s most important manufacturers of graphics processing units (GPUs), system on a chip (SoCs) units, central processing units (CPUs), and other data processing devices. More recently, it has partnered with companies like Getty Images to develop generative AI tools.

What Did Jensen Huang Do Before Nvidia?

After earning a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, Jensen worked as a microprocessor designer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and as a director at LSI Logic Corporation in Santa Clara. He co-founded Nvidia at 30 years old with Curtis Priem and Chris Malachowsky.

Priem served as Nvidia’s CTO but has since retired to focus on philanthropic projects. Malachowsky currently serves Nvidia as its Senior VP for Engineering and Operations.

How Much Money Does Jensen Huang Make?

Jensen Huang has made most of his money as the CEO and co-founder of Nvidia. Changes within the tech industry have also contributed to his wealth.

The recent surge in artificial intelligence, for example, has earned him billions of dollars. At the end of 2022, Nvidia shares sold for less than $200. The price has more than doubled since then as more companies turn to Nvidia for chips powerful enough to process data for AI applications.

When OpenAI trained its popular ChatGPT generative AI product, it used 10,000 graphics processing units made by Nvidia. The A100 and H100 chips stand out as some of the best available, so researchers working on AI projects need them to stay ahead of competitors. Nvidia dominates roughly 95% of the GPU market worldwide.

As Nvidia’s stock price soars, so does Huang’s net worth. He owns millions of shares of the company’s stock, so he makes enormous amounts of money when Nvidia performs well. Analysts estimate that the surging stock price added $28 billion to his net worth in 2023.

Sources estimate Jensen Huang’s current net worth is between $36.3 billion and $42 billion. The discrepancy between those numbers likely comes from frequent changes in Nvidia’s stock price. He’s currently one of the 30 richest people in the world.

When Did Jensen Huang Become CEO?

Jensen Huang became the CEO of Nvidia as soon as he co-founded the company in 1993.

He is also the company’s President and holds a seat on its board of directors.

How Much Does Nvidia’s CEO Make a Year?

Jensen Huang makes about $21.4 million as Nvidia’s CEO.

Roughly $1 million of his compensation comes from his salary. The other 95+% comes from bonuses.

Impressively, he’s been the CEO of Nvidia for over 30 years. He’s so dedicated to the company that he reportedly has its logo tattooed on an arm.

How Did Jensen Huang Make His Money?

Jensen Huang made his money by co-founding Nvidia and leading it to become a trillion dollar company.

For decades, he has pursued his interests in computer engineering and computer graphics and has said that he’s always been interested in computers and that he enjoyed playing video games when he was young.

Attending college opened his eyes to the vast potential of computer processing. After completing a Master’s degree in electrical engineering and gaining real-world experience working at LSI Logic and Advanced Micro Devices, he co-founded Nvidia.

Starting Nvidia made it possible for Huang and his colleagues to build impressively powerful central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). Nvidia is recognized as one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of computer processing units.

More recently, Nvidia’s AI chips have helped establish it in a new, rapidly growing area of the tech industry. As Nvidia’s market capitalization and share price grows, so does Huang’s wealth.

Who Owns the Most Nvidia Stock?

Jensen Huang owns more Nvidia stock than any other person. He has about 86.9 million shares, which accounts for 3.5% of Nvidia shares.

Other major investors include Colette Kress, Nvidia’s CFO and Executive Vice President, and Mark Stevens, a member of the company’s board of directors.

While Huang owns more shares than any individual, Vanguard Group Inc. is Nvidia’s largest institutional shareholder. It owns 48 million shares, accounting for 7.7% of the company.

Other large institutional investors include BlackRock Inc. and FMR LLC. BlackRock Inc. has 44.8 million shares, and FMR LLC owns 43.7 million shares.

How Did Nvidia Grow so Fast?

Nvidia grew quickly because Huang and its other co-founders were driven to build processors that could handle advanced graphics. In 1993, they started working on graphics cards that could process 3D images. They found such success that Pixar used one of their products during a real-time demo of its animation.

The company gained even more prominence in 1999 when it released a graphics processing unit (GPU) that was small and affordable enough for consumer devices. The invention made it possible for game developers to create highly nuanced graphics. Previously, those graphics would have caused games to lag. Adding a GPU to gaming consoles and computers significantly increased processing speeds to prevent lagging.

The company has continued its rapid growth over the decades by staying on the edge of innovation, especially by developing GPUs with parallel processing abilities and units that can handle the massive amounts of data used by AI.

What Did Jensen Huang Invent?

Jensen Huang invented the first consumer-level graphics processing unit (GPU) and released it through Nvidia in 1999. The graphics card, called the Nvidia GeForce 256, brought fast processing speeds to consumer electronics, making 3D gaming more feasible.

Nvidia later refined the GeForce 256 to include programmable shading. With the new GeForce 3, animators and game developers could add subtle shading that improved 3D graphics. At the GeForce 3’s unveiling, Pixar and id Software used it to power their demonstrations in real time.

A version of the GeForce 3, called NV2A, was included in the first Xbox gaming console.

#1 Stock For The Next 7 Days

When Financhill publishes its #1 stock, listen up. After all, the #1 stock is the cream of the crop, even when markets crash.

Financhill just revealed its top stock for investors right now... so there's no better time to claim your slice of the pie.

See The #1 Stock Now >>

The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.