Bill Gates has come a long way to stake his claim as one of the richest man on Planet Earth. Along with long-time friend Paul Allen, Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975. Before Microsoft evolved as the technological phenomenon that it is known as today, the entity was a mere partnership. After overcoming several obstacles over the first few years, Microsoft grew tremendously in terms of revenue and staff between 1979 and 1981. Bill Gates became Microsoft’s President and Chairman of the Board in 1981.

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Bill Gates

In March 1986, Microsoft became a publicly traded firm with an IPO of $21 per share.  It was at that time that Bill Gates earned his first of many millions.  One year later, Bill Gates was on the Forbes top 400 List as a billionaire. Bill Gates was #1 on the Forbes 400 list from 1993-2007.

Even though Bill Gates resigned from Microsoft on February 4th 2014, he still invests a significant chunk in his former company.  Microsoft has taken up a huge chunk (15%) of Bill Gates investments and net worth.

As of August 2016, Bill Gates is the richest person in the world with a net worth of $78.6 billion dollars. In this article, we will analyze some key components of Bill Gates’ investments.

Cascade Investments Group

Cascade Investment Group

Cascade Investment LLC is Bill Gates’s investment vehicle. The company was founded in 1995.  Ever since then, Bill Gates has left the managing duties of this Cascade Investing group to Michael Larson. In addition to making venture capital investments, the firm invests in the public equity, alternative and bond markets of the United States.

Bill Gates Cascade Investments is an asset management group that primarily invests in the personal wealth of Bill Gates. According to the Financial Times, the Cascade Investments’ portfolio is managed under the umbrella of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. The entity employs a global investment strategy that extends itself among several asset classes. Bill Gates put his full faith and trust in Michael Larson with regards to his investments.  As you will see, Gates was completely justified in doing so.

Success of Cascade Investments

Cascade Investments LLC has enjoyed a wide range of success since its inception in 1995. Michael Larson is the key to the firm’s success. It was reported that Cascade Investments has generated a compound annual return of about 11% since 1995. At the time the company started, Bill Gates’ net worth was 5 billion dollars. Bill Gates has amassed his current net worth largely due to the investment decisions of Michael Larson. Michael Larson has diversified Bill Gate’s portfolio into Cascade Investments holdings such as Canadian National Railway Co, Coca-Cola Femsa SAB de CV and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

In addition, Cascade Investments owns 45% of the Four Seasons Hotel. They increased their stake of Strategic Hotels and Resorts to nearly 10% last year. The success of Cascade Investments could be seen in the fact that Bill Gates has accumulated wealth that surpasses the extra money that Bill Gates had invested philanthropically. To date, Bill Gates has invested more than $38 billion dollars to his charitable foundation.

Bill Gate’s Investments For Good

There is no question that Bill Gates’ investing has furthered initiatives in key societal issues such as education and poverty.  This can be seen in the vast number of Bill Gates Foundation Investments. The Gates Millennium Scholar Program has committed $1.37 billion dollars to the United Negro College Fund. The Gates foundation has invested 7.28 million dollars to the Gateway to College Fund. The Gateway to College Fund is a program that makes it easier for colleges to serve students in need of remedial academic help.

In addition, the Gates foundation invested 23 million dollars in Achieve Inc., and the American Diploma Project Network. This initiative assists states in assuring that high school standards are aligned with college and career expectations.

In terms of poverty initiatives, the Gates Foundation invested 35 million dollars in the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). The Alliance for Financial Inclusion is a coalition of developing nations that made financial services available for individuals that live on less than $2 a day.

24 million dollars was given to the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).  This was done for the purpose of enhancing the use of technologies that are used for microfinance projects.  In addition, the Bill Gates Foundation has invested more than $155 million dollars in three separate initiatives that support small farmers.


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