AN INTERNET tycoon, who as a teenager set up a website that now attracts 20 million visitors, has joined a growing list of Scots among the UK’s richest people.
The aptly named Pete Cashmore, 26, from Aberdeenshire set up the website Mashable at the age of 19, tracking developments in gadgets and computer technology. Now he is worth £60 million – although that only makes him the 84th wealthiest person in Scotland, and the seventh richest person under the age of 30 in the UK.
The annual Rich List from the Sunday Times revealed a record number of billionaires in Scotland this year. It also showed there are more Scots among Britain’s wealthiest people than ever before, with 74 joining the ranks in the 2012 list, compared with 70 the previous year.
The number of Scottish billionaires has grown from two to five. Last year, just Mahdi al-Tajir, head of the Highland Spring mineral water firm, and oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood achieved billionaire status.
This year, Mr Tajir, 80, remains the richest Scot, worth £1.6 billion. He is followed by the Grant and Gordon whisky family, worth £1.4bn.
Alastair Salvesen, 70, and his family, who have a £1.19bn share of Aggreko, the Glasgow plant hire firm, are worth £1.3bn.
Sir Ian, worth £1.2bn is Scotland’s fourth richest person, valued at almost £1.2bn.
Scotland’s fifth billionaire is businessman Jim McColl, worth £1bn. The 61-year-old, who sold his Clyde Union pumps business last year, has a £960m stake in Glasgow-based Clyde Blowers.
Mr Salvesen, the Grant and Gordon family, and Mr McColl all made it on to the list of the 24 biggest risers in the UK, who all saw their fortunes grow by more than £400m over the past year.
The entry point for Scots into the list has risen from £47m to £52m, with new entries including Colin and Chris Weir from Largs, Ayrshire, who became Europe’s biggest lottery winners when they took home £161.6m last July.
The 100 richest Scots have a collective fortune of £20.08bn, up 20 per cent on last year’s £18.257bn and a record high for Scotland.
Sir Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, the UK’s 124th richest, made it to 41st position on the top 50 “Giving List”. With a combined wealth of £665m, the brother and sister, who founded Stagecoach, donated £20.5m to good causes in the past year, mainly to the humanitarian, addiction, Christian and health sectors.
The pair were also the second biggest political donors in the UK over the past year, donating £570,000 to the SNP. Top of the list were the Weirs, who donated £1m to the SNP following their huge lottery win. Ms Gloag was also the 16th wealthiest woman in the UK, ahead of Harry Potter author J K Rowling, who was 21st richest woman.
Absent from the 2012 Rich List is Sir David Murray, former owner and chairman of Rangers FC. In 2010 his wealth was estimated to have dropped to £110m, down from £500m in 2009.
Ian Coxon, editor of the Rich List, said: “From engineering and offshore services to sales of Glenfiddich whisky and Irn-Bru, our latest Rich List valuations show that Scottish entrepreneurs are making an unprecedented impact on the global economy.”
Overall, Britain’s wealthiest 1,000 people have a combined fortune of £414bn, with a record 77 billionaires on the list.
The figure represents a 4.7 per cent rise on last year and surpasses the previous high of £412.85bn in 2008, set months before the financial crash from which the rest of Britain has yet to fully recover.
Although still holding on to the top spot in the Rich List, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, 61, has seen 27 per cent wiped off the value of his family fortune in the last year as a result of the dramatic drop in the share value of his principal business, the giant steel producer Arcelor- Mittal.
The Mittals have now been No 1 in the Rich List continuously since 2005.
British-born billionaires, including diamond retailer Laurence Graff; Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire; bag-less vacuum cleaner inventor Sir James Dyson; and JCB owner Sir Anthony Bamford, have enjoyed sharp rises in their fortunes.
The richest woman is Staffordshire-born former Miss UK Kirsty Bertarelli, who shares a £7.4bn fortune with her husband Ernesto.