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Top 5 Richest Internet Entrepreneurs

Sergey Brin
Google co-founder Sergey Brin met Larry Page at Stanford.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin met Larry Page at Stanford.
Courtesy Google

Sergey Brin's Russian parents saw almost no future for their son in the former Soviet Union. So when Brin was six, they emigrated to the United States in the hope that he'd make good on the promises of America. Brin didn't just meet his parents' expectations; he blew them up to Google-sized proportions.

In the 1990's Brin was a promising student who diligently pursued math and computer science studies. He was working towards his Ph.D in computer science when a chance encounter with Google's other half -- Larry Page -- left Brin intrigued. Page was working on a project analyzing the linking structure of the Web, but needed help from someone with a strong computer background and a high level of mathematical skill. Enter Brin.

Brin joined the project and was tasked with creating data mining systems that worked with Page's concepts. The two created a powerful search engine unlike anything the Internet had seen before, and it was an immediate success. With the blessing of their academic advisors, both dropped out of Stanford, gathered funds from angel investors and started Google in a garage.

The two began fine-tuning algorithms that helped Web surfers snatch the most relevant bits of information from sites all over the globe. Although those algorithms aren't public, they bear Brin's blend of computer savvy and mathematical acrobatics. Those traits have served Google, and Brin, very well. He's worth approximately $12 billion.

Brin still guides the technology division at Google. And now that he and Page have conquered the online world, they're both trying to save the entire planet. They've invested heavily in projects aimed at meeting planet-wide climate and energy challenges.