Shares of Facebook, which have risen nearly 40% since the start of 2017, continue to gain altitude. Expectations of strong second-quarter earnings, to be announced at the end of the month, helped drive the stock to an all-time high on Friday.
That surge has further padded the net worth of Mark Zuckerberg, the social media giant’s chairman and chief executive.Zuckerberg, who holds roughly 17% of Facebook’s outstanding shares and a majority of its voting power, has gotten $3.5 billion richer in the last five days.
Just 33 years old, Zuckerberg is now worth an estimated $66.7 billion—a record high—according to Forbes’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires. He is the sixth-richest person on the planet and the only thirty-something to rank in the top 50.
This week’s gains do not appear to have been caused by any singular event. Rather, Facebook investors continue to express confidence in the company’s profitability and growth in user numbers, and its revenue potential in the virtual reality space. Facebook, which will announce its second-quarter results at the end of the month, is reportedly now planning to introduce a more affordable virtual reality headset in 2018.
Zuckerberg founded Facebook in 2004 as a 19-year-old student at Harvard; he later dropped out as a sophomore. The business, which began as a small social networking platform for Ivy League universities, now has more than 2 billion monthly active users.
Zuckerberg was not the only technology billionaire to have a lucrative week. The net worth of Bill Gates, the planet’s wealthiest individual, rose $900 million to an estimated $90 billion. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also did spectacularly well; his fortune jumped $1.9 billion, to an estimated $85.2 billion. He remains the world’s second-richest person.