29. CHET PIPKIN
THE MONEY: The valuation of consumer electronics giant Belkin, founded and led by Pipkin, surged along with public rivals Netgear and Logitech. The Playa Vista company reportedly has only one outside investor: private equity firm Summit Partners. Pipkin is estimated to control about 95 percent of Belkin.
THE BUZZ: Chester “Chet” Pipkin launched Belkin in 1983 out of his Hawthorne home and has been at the helm of the internet-connectivity device manufacturer ever since, serving as its chief executive and chairman. He continued to expand the company’s product line of in-home, internet-of-things devices last year including its WeMo brand, which sells connected webcams, light bulbs, electrical outlet meters, and water gauges. The company also maintains a line of home networking products, including routers and ethernet cables. It acquired the Linksys brand from Cisco for an undisclosed amount in 2013. Pipkin keeps a low profile, though he serves on the boards of local nonprofits including Wiseburn 21st Century Charter Schools, Da Vinci Schools, YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
NET WORTH: $2.5 billion
LAST YEAR: Not on list
RESIDENCE: Manhattan Beach
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Consumer electronics