How David Filo became a billionaire with Yahoo

On April 20 in the year 1966, another billionaire in the technology industry who dropped his PhD program was born in Louisiana, USA (Bloomberg data). His name is David Filo, the co-founder of Yahoo. According to, his net worth is $3.5 billion as of August, 2021, down from $5.2 billion in November 2017.

David Filo
David Filo (Photo Credit: Mitchell Aidelbaum via wiki commons )

David Filo was the son of an architect and an accountant. He earned a degree in computer engineering from Tulane University and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He enrolled at the Stanford PhD program where he met and befriended Jerry Young. The two dropped out of school to pursue their internet business which they called Yahoo. They incorporated the business in 1995 and went public the following year. Softbank of Japan became its largest shareholder and Yahoo Japan was established that same year of 1996.

Yahoo expanded its internet services from offering a simple guide to the World Wide Web to include e-mail and search. It was then one of the most successful internet companies such that by the end of 1999, it had a market capitalization of over $100 billion. Then the dotcom bubble burst in 2001 and its value tanked to as low as $10 billion at the end of 2002.

In 2008, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $50 billion but Yahoo said no. In 2016, the web businesses of Yahoo were sold to Verizon for over $4 billion in cash. Yahoo then renamed itself Altaba. Its main assets are its 15% investment in Alibaba, 35% stake in Yahoo Japan and other holdings in various startups. The stake in Alibaba was acquired for $1 billion in 2005 and is reportedly worth $53 billion as of June, 2017.

David Filo has a child with his wife Angela. The couple has been donating funds to enhance education under their Yellow Chair Foundation.


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