Who is the hardest-working billionaire

Tobias Lütke (37) actually wanted to sell snowboards | From the junior high school student
to the billionaire

According to the latest calculations by “Manager Magazin”, the number of German billionaires has risen to 200 - almost twice as many as eight years ago.

At the top of the list are illustrious names: Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten (BMW), Dieter Schwarz (Lidl), the Oetker family. Overall, “Manager Magazin” names 1001 super-rich - most of them are old friends.

But one name baffles. In 111th place: Tobias Lütke.

Tobias, who? Lütke is a German tech entrepreneur with his main residence in Ottawa (Canada). The 37-year-old's fortune is estimated at 1.2 billion euros.

How Lütke made his money

At first it doesn't look like a success story: Born in Koblenz, Lütke was not the hardest worker at school, he had to switch from grammar school to secondary school.

He preferred to spend his time at the computer: daddling and programming.

After the tenth grade, he left school and began training as an IT specialist - which he never finished. Instead, he took on programming jobs, including from Siemens.

His life could have gone on forever, but luckily he played the mass online role-playing game (MMORPG) "Asheron's Call". In the virtual world he met Fiona McKean - and fell in love.

He wanted to sell snowboards, but ...

After a winter sports holiday together in Whistler, Canada, he moved to live with her and her parents in Canada. At the age of 22, without money, without a job.

He decided to make a virtue out of necessity and founded a company with two friends: "Snowdevil" (Snow Devil), under this name they wanted to sell snowboards from their garage. But there was no good software for online trading - Lütke simply programmed it himself.

That was the hour of birth of Shopify (600,000 online shops today).

What does Shopify do?

The success story: Lütke further developed the software, creating a kit for online shops. Small, medium-sized, but also large companies can now create their own shop from more than 100 templates - and adapt it freely.

Payment, shipping, bookkeeping - everything is included in the kit. Completely “without HTML knowledge” - as the website promises.

The complete system works: 600,000 online shops were created by Shopify. The customer base also includes big names such as Red Bull, Tesla and Nestlè.

In 2015, Lütke went public in New York. Today's value: around 13 billion euros. He holds eleven percent of the shares.

Snowdevil, on the other hand, has disappeared - even if there is an online presence. But this only serves as a software demo for Shopify.

Lütke is respected: He knows Canadian President Justin Trudeau, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple boss Tim Cook personally and is 90th among the wealthiest Canadians.

▶ ︎ Nevertheless, he is probably the most inconspicuous billionaire in the world: the 1.75-meter man with the low voice doesn't like wearing suits (prefer jeans and leather jacket) and comes to work by bike. His trademark: a tweed flat cap. His nickname: Tobi. Not a typical star - but Lütke made it. And not just financially: his childhood sweetheart Fiona McKean is his wife today. They have three children: Tristan, Sam and Fraser.

And the next step is already planned: Shopify wants to expand to Germany.

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