The daredevil entrepreneur won’t just be taking tourists to space when Virgin Galactic launches next year. Branson announced that he’ll make room on his rocket plane for scientists, who will carry out research and experiments. The Virgin boss continues to expand his empire on land as well as in space: in November, he launched a magazine exclusively for the iPad called ‘Project’. He and fellow billionaire Vinod Khosla backed biofuels start-up Gevo, which raised $107 million in its February IPO. He also launched a US nonprofit, the Carbon War Room, aiming to cut carbon emissions by getting businesses like shipping giant Maersk to pledge CO2 transparency.
Net Worth: $4.2 billion