Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are two of the richest men in the world with net worths now over $100 billion. Do they happen to hang out though?
Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are good friends. In 2007, Bill Gates and Microsoft invested $240 million into Zuckerberg’s Facebook for a 1.6 percent share in the company. Since then the two have built up a friendship. Zuckerberg has been greatly influenced by Bill Gates throughout his life, even saying that Gates was his hero growing up.
You can read more below about Bill Gates’ influence on Mark Zuckerberg, the Microsoft investment in Facebook, and how the two have collaborated since 2007.
Bill Gates Was a Huge Inspiration for Mark Zuckerberg
In 2013 during an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt SF13, Mark Zuckerberg told the audience that he was actually a huge fan of Bill Gates growing up.
He said “When I was growing up, Bill Gates was my hero. Bill Gates ran one of the most mission-driven companies I can think of. Microsoft, I think, had a great mission: put a computer on every desktop in every office, or maybe it was every desktop in every home.”
Of course, this interview took place over six years after Microsoft bought a 1.6 percent stake in Mark Zuckerberg’s company, Facebook. It was most likely back in 2007 when that deal was struck that Zuckerberg and Gates first met and began to form the friendship that they now have.
The shares that Gates and Microsoft were awarded cost $240 million and at the time they were up against Google CEOs to grab those stakes. It looks like Zuckerberg’s longtime adoration for Gates ended up paying off for the founder of Microsoft.
Since that deal, the two have been friends often congratulating each other on big life moments or successes. In 2016, Bill Gates told a room full of Caltech students that he and Mark Zuckerberg are good friends.
About a week after Gates’ Caltech interview, Zuckerberg took to Facebook to wish his friend a happy 61st birthday. He shared a photo of the two of them chatting while standing in a room together.
However, the two aren’t just friends. They have both collaborated on multiple ventures together especially in the realms of philanthropy.
You can watch Mark Zuckerberg talk about his admiration of Bill Gates at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF13 conference in the below YouTube video from Bloomberg.
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg’s Collaboration
After Bill Gates stepped down from being the CEO of Microsoft, he decided to focus on his philanthropic side and investing his time in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is another aspect of Bill that Mark found inspiring.
In July of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg did an interview on the Vox podcast called Recode Decode with Kara Swisher. In the interview, he talked about how Bill Gates wasn’t just an inspiration for him as a billionaire CEO, but how Gates became a mentor for him in the world of generosity.
He even said that Bill Gates’ leadership in the world of philanthropy has made him want to follow in the man’s footsteps. And, Zuckerberg really has been following in Gates’ footsteps.
Mark Zuckerberg was one of the first CEOs to sign onto Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge in 2010. That same year was the beginning of Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan’s efforts to give away their wealth.
Some of their ventures proved to be easier said than done. A great example of this was when they tried to give $100 million to improve schools in Newark, New Jersey.
They faced huge resistance from parents to community activists to union workers. This resistance hasn’t stopped the couple from trying to continue to give away their wealth.
In 2015, when their daughter Max was born, Priscilla and Mark wrote an open letter to their daughter where they pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook wealth to charitable causes while they were still alive. They posted the letter to Facebook.
At the same time as this event, they formed a new organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to manage the funds for their charitable endeavors.
An endeavor that Gates and Zuckerberg have taken together was to help fund Coronavirus relief research. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund this research with $25 million USD.