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Tue, 07 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT | By Vivian Giang
16 billionaires who started with nothing

Rags-to-riches stories of some of the wealthiest people in the world.



Oprah Winfrey; Jan Koum; Larry Ellison (© Dylan Martinez/Newscom/RTR; Albert Gea/Reuters; Stephen Lam/Newscom/RTR)
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  • Oprah Winfrey; Jan Koum; Larry Ellison (© Dylan Martinez/Newscom/RTR; Albert Gea/Reuters; Stephen Lam/Newscom/RTR)
  • Jan Koum (© Albert Gea/Reuters)
  • Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks (© Carlos Barria/Newscom/RTR)
  • Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing (© Oli Scarff/Pool/Files/Reuters)
  • Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle Corporation (© Stephen Lam/Newscom/RTR)
  • Oprah Winfrey (© Dylan Martinez/Newscom/RTR)
  • Kenneth 'Ken' Langone, co-founder of Home Depot Inc. (© Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty)
  • Designer Ralph Lauren acknowledges the crowd after presenting his Spring/Summer 2014 collection during New York Fashion Week, Sept. 12, 2013. (© Lucas Jackson/Newscom/RTR)
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Dylan Martinez/Newscom/RTR; Albert Gea/Reuters; Stephen Lam/Newscom/RTRShow Thumbnails
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Facebook's recent announcement that it would buy messaging app WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion minted new billionaires, including co-founder and CEO Jan Koum who was once dirt poor. Koum's family immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine two decades ago and lived on food stamps. Today, he's worth an estimated $6.8 billion.

All from humble beginnings, these 16 people not only climbed to the top of their industries but also became some of the richest people in the world.

These rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.

* All funds in USD.

* Video: Confessions of a concierge to America's super-rich

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