Sunday, October 3, 1999 Published at 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Business: The Economy
UK Net millionaires boom
Britain's youngest Internet millionaire founded Jewishnet at age 17
The UK has more Internet millionaires than anywhere else than the United States.
A survey by the Sunday Times says the top 100 Internet millionaires have a combined net worth of £4bn.
Top of the list is Paul Sykes, the eurosceptic Yorkshire businessman who sold his stake in the Meadowhall shopping complex in Sheffield for more than £300m. He was the key backer for Planet Online, one of Britain's first Internet Service Providers which was sold to Energis, who now provide Freeserve's backbone.
Also high on the list is venture capitalist Kevin Leech, who made his fortune in biotechnology. Mr Leech backed two US ventures, TownPages.net, and topjobs.net, a web-based recruitment agency. He now plans to launch Europe's first public venture capital fund for net companies, raising £120m.
Among the true entrepreneurs in the top 10 are Dan David and Serge Crasnianski of Photo-me, who are trying to turn the photo-booths into high-tech Internet portals, with computers to surf the Web.
Also included is Charles Nasser, who has built up the ISP ClaraNet to 150,000 subscribers in the UK and France.
Further down the list come the owners of some of the UK's best known Internet companies.
Tim Jackson, the freelance reporter who founded auction house Qxl, could be worth £37m when the company floats on the stock market this week.
Paul Lindsey has already made £40m from listing eXchange, which provides mortgage quotes and other financial information.
Cliff Stanford, who founded ISP Demon, made £30m when he sold it to Scottish Telecom. He now lives in Belgium where he is backing other e-commerce ventures.
And Martha Fox, who founded Lastminute.com to sell late booking holidays and flights, could be worth up to £20m when her company is floated.
The youngest Internet millionaire is Benjamin Cohen, who launched Jewishnet.co.uk earlier this year with £150 - and is now thought to be worth £5m at the age of 17.
For most of the Internet millionaires, like those in the United States, their wealth is on paper only. If they tried to sell their shares the value of their companies might decline.
The UK Internet stock boom now seems to be cooling. But the likelihood is that, with private venture capital still moving in, there are still more fortunes to be made - and lost.
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