Larry Ellison is the founder of software company Oracle Corporation (ORCL) which was founded in the year 1977. He served as the company’s chief executive officer until 2014 and still serves as chairman of the board and chief technology officer. His company, fortunately, went public in 1986 but suffered from quality-control issues in 1988. These issues led to cash flow problems, operating losses, a declining share price and near bankruptcy a couple of years later. New top management worked with Larry Ellison to turn these difficulties around by 1994. As a leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Oracle is one of the most successful technology companies in the world. At the end of 2018, Oracle’s market value is more than $170 billion. As the company’s largest shareholder, Larry Ellison has a net worth of $55 billion, ranking him in the top five on Forbes list of billionaires for 2018. In March of 2018, Ellison founded a new organisation named as Sensei, a wellness startup focused on hydroponic farming and vacation retreats. On 28th December 2018, he was selected to the board of Tesla Inc.
Larry Ellison’s Life
Larry Ellison was born on the South Side of Chicago to a poor, unmarried, 19-year-old mother. As a sickly child, his uncle and aunt adopted him. The latter died before he ended his teens. Ellison resisted the norms and his family’s pressure to become a doctor to grow into one of the richest people in the world.
In the 1970s, Larry Ellison, a college quitter, revolved through an eight-year series of jobs that included the Fireman’s Fund, Wells Fargo & Company and Amdahl Corporation. On the way, he picked up primary computer skills that he used as a programmer at Amdahl foundation, where he worked on the first IBM-compatible mainframe machine. In 1977, Ellison and two Amdahl associates, Robert Miner and Ed Oates, launched Software Development Labs and were employed by the CIA to develop a relational database management system (RDBMS) in 1978. Ellison code-named the project Oracle. Larry Ellison actually called it Oracle version two, since he knew buyers would prefer that to a version one. The programmer also based his system on a new kind of database language that he had just learned about in an IBM research paper: SQL. In time, Oracle became so famous due to which Ellison was inducted into the Academy of Achievement in 1997.
By the beginning of the 1980s, Software Development Laboratories had only eight employees and revenue that barely touched $1 million. In 1981, IBM contracted with Oracle, and for the next seven years, company sales doubled to the point that Ellison renamed the firm Oracle Corporation after his best-selling product. Accounting errors caused Oracle’s initial public offering (IPO) to almost drive the company into liquidation and bankruptcy. Larry Ellison introduced new products, replaced staff members and executed management changes. By 1992, Larry Ellison introduced a popular version of the database system known as Oracle 7, which swept the company to the crest of the database management field. The Wall Street Journal called Larry Ellison the world’s highest-paid administrator. The billionaire expanded his company by buying businesses that included a number of firms like Retek, PeopleSoft, Hyperion Solutions, Siebel Systems and Sun Microsystems.
Oracle survived the tech-stock crash that followed the dot-com bubble, and in November 2000, Ellison was featured on Fortune magazine’s cover as “The next richest man in the world.” Oracle Corporation has grown into a mammoth firm that employs more than 130,000 people and boasts annual gross profits of around $30 billion. In 2014, Larry Ellison renounced his position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and appointed as executive chairman and chief technology officer. In 2016, the billionaire told the graduating class at the University of Southern California, “Don’t be afraid to experiment and try lots of different things. And don’t let the specialists discourage you when you question the status quo.”
From Dropout to Billionaire
Larry Ellison dropped out of two consecutive universities and never graduated. Instead, he found that he was skilled in software programming. He worked as a computer programmer for about 10 years before establishing Oracle in 1977, although the company did not take that name until 1983. It was initially called Software Development Laboratories. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Harvard Business School in 1990. Not much is known about how Ellison invests his billions, but he is known for his lavish spending. He made headlines when he purchased a $194 million yacht and spent $80 million to capture the America’s Cup. In 2016, he donated $200 million to the University of Southern California for a cancer treatment research centre. He has made massive real estate investments like multiple parcels in Malibu, California and a complete island in Hawaii.
Ellison’s Trophy Properties
Many of Larry Ellison’s purchases have been labelled as “trophy properties.” For Ellison, many of his properties represent a vision for his place in the world post-Oracle. He envisions several of his homes as potential art museums to house his vast art collection. He has different homes for his modern art, one for his 19th-century art and one for his French impressionism art, as well as a home built on Nanzen-Ji temple grounds in Japan to house his Japanese art. His Woodside, California home, which is his primary residence, was modelled after a 16th-century Japanese emperor’s palace. The 23-acre estate is worth $70 million and took more than nine years to build. Below are some of his most opulent purchases.
- The Island of Lanai: Larry Ellison has been captivated with the island of Lanai since he travelled over it decades ago in a private plane. When he became a multimillionaire, he realized his dream by purchasing it for $300 million. He owns all but 2% of the island, including two Four Seasons resorts, a movie theatre, the water company, most of the island’s infrastructure, and many of the houses and apartment buildings. Larry Ellison’s vision is to reconstruct the island into a self-sufficient, eco-friendly vacation destination replete with ultra-luxury resorts and a sustainability laboratory to help make the island the first economically viable, 100% green community.
- Malibu: Larry Ellison has been acquiring properties in Malibu in California for more than a decade. He purchased an entire strip of houses located on the “Billionaire Beach” in Malibu. One of the homes belonged to producer Jerry Bruckheimer, for which Ellison has paid him $18 million. Ellison puts one of his homes, a 2,800-square-foot oceanfront bungalow, up for rent for $65,000 a month during the summer. All of this is in addition to a string of assets he owns on Carbon Beach, along with an inland tennis club, an inn and a restaurant. For instance, he and the chef named Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper turned the historic Casa Malibu Inn into a lavish Japanese-style hotel called Nobu Ryokan.
- Porcupine Creek: This 249-acre estate includes a 27-room mansion patterned after an Italian villa and an 18-hole golf course. Larry Ellison, a dedicated tennis fan, bought the tournament and its facilities in 2009 for almost $100 million. Then, in 2011, he purchased Porcupine Creek for nearly $42.9 million. He continues to invest in these events, which attracts the top players of the world and more than 450,000 fans in total.
In addition to Ellison’s gift the University of Southern California, he joined “The Giving Pledge’, along with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others in 2012. Doing so, Ellison pledged to give away 95% of his revenue through a private foundation. While most of his previous gifts were unknown, Larry Ellison made the Giving Pledge public at the behest of Warren Buffett who hoped it would prompt others to do the same.