Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#463 David Cheriton $4.23B

Random fact: Founded Arista with Stanford professor Andreas Bechtolsheim.


Cheriton is the co-founder of Arista Networks, whose hardware is used in many of the world's largest data centers. The Santa Clara, California-based maker of cloud networking systems had revenue of $1.1 billion in 2016. He was an early Google investor and co-founded network-switch maker Granite and server-designer Kealia.

As of Oct. 20, 2017:
Last change -$15.7M (-0.4%)
YTD change +$1.02B (+31.8%)
Industry Technology
Biggest asset ANET US Equity
Citizenship Canada
Age 66
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

David Cheriton's net worth of $4.23B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Cheriton's fortune is derived from an 9 percent stake in Arista Networks and a stake in Alphabet, the holding company that owns Google, which is calculated to be about 0.2 percent. The billionaire holds his Arista shares through the 2010 David R Cheriton Irrevocable Trust, whose beneficiaries are his children, according to the company's 2017 proxy. Arista had $1.1 billion in revenue in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cheriton's Alphabet stake is based on information disclosed in the 2004 prospectus for the Internet search company's initial public offering. The amount he holds today hasn't been reported since that date and in Bloomberg's calculation it's calculated that he's sold 10 percent of his stake every year since 2004, which is the same percentage he sold during the IPO.

Proceeds from these calculated Google share sales and from Cheriton's other ventures, including network-switch maker Granite, which was sold to Cisco for $220 million in 1996 and server-designer Kealia -- bought by Sun Microsystems for $90 million in 2004 -- have been derived from reported sale prices and share sales. They are included in the value of his cash investments, which is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, asset sales, taxes, market performance and charitable donations.

Cheriton declined to comment on his net worth in a June 2016 interview.


Birthdate: 3/1951
Family: Divorced, 4 children
Education: 1978, Computer Science, University of Waterloo, PhD 1974, University of Waterloo, Master's Degree 1973, Mathematics, University of British Columbia/The, Bachelor's Degree

David Cheriton was born in Vancouver in March 1951. He transferred from the University of Alberta as a mathematics student -- after applying unsuccessfully to the music department -- to study at the University of British Columbia in 1971. He received a master's degree and a PhD in computer science from Canada's University of Waterloo seven years later. He became an assistant professor at UBC for three years before moving to Stanford in 1982.

At Stanford he met Andy Von Bechtolsheim and together they founded Granite Systems in 1996, which they sold a year later to Cisco Systems for $200 million. Stanford PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin approached the pair for business advice in 1998. Both Cheriton and Bechtolsheim invested $100,000 in the idea, Google, before the company had been incorporated.

The duo established server maker Kealia in 2001, which Sun Microsystems bought in 2004. Four years later they founded network-switch maker Arista, and the company began trading on the NYSE in 2014. Optumsoft, a cloud software developer founded by Cheriton, said prior to the listing that it would sue Arista because of an intellectual property dispute.

The billionaire lives in Palo Alto and has four children with his ex-wife, Iris.

  • 1978 Receives PhD in computer science from University of Waterloo.
  • 1995 Establishes network-switch maker Granite with Bechtolsheim.
  • 1996 Cisco Sytstems purchases Arista Networks.
  • 2001 Donates $7.5 to the University of British Columbia.
  • 2014 Invests in Google after meeting founders Brin and Page.
  • 2014 Steps down from the board of Arista.
  • 2014 Arista starts trading on the NYSE and rises 28 percent on the first day.
  • 2014 Sues Arista over intellectual property disagreement.