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Nvidia cofounder lives off the grid, owns a private jet named Snoopy, and gives out single-use email addresses to avoid spam

Curtis Priem, Nvidia's cofounder and first CTO, at the grand reveal of the IBM Quantum System One chandelier, an intricately wired golden structure containing the quantum processor chip, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.
Curtis Priem, Nvidia's cofounder and first CTO, at the grand reveal of the IBM Quantum System One chandelier at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Priem has given most of his stock to RPI, his alma mater. Hans Pennink/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/AP
  • Curtis Priem, a cofounder of Nvidia, gave most of his stock to his alma mater, Forbes reported.

  • The chip giant's first CTO spent part of his wealth on an off-the-grid home and a private jet.

  • He said he had some regrets for not keeping more of his fortune.

Curtis Priem, one of the less-known cofounders of Nvidia, could've been the 16th richest person in America if he kept all his stock from the company before leaving in 2003. Still, Forbes first reported his contributions to the company had afforded him an eclectic, off-the-grid life of his own.

After Nvidia, the company behind graphics processing units, or GPUs, went public in 1999, Priem, who was its first chief technology officer, put more than three-quarters of his Nvidia shares — 100 million in today's share count — into a charity he started named the Priem Family Foundation. The foundation, which once donated to causes such as The Nature Conservancy before pivoting to educational endeavors, holds $160 million in assets and is set to shutter by 2031, Priem told Forbes.

By 2006, Priem sold the rest of his shares, leaving him with a fortune worth about $30 million, Forbes estimated. Nvidia's market cap is estimated to be $1.19 trillion as of November 28th.

While Priem gave most of his fortune away to his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — to which his foundation gave $75 million this year to house its first IBM Quantum Computer — the Nvidia cofounder spent parts of his wealth on a few things of his own.

Forbes reported that Priem was living in a $6 million house in a remote area near Fremont, California. In his off-the-grid home, Forbes added, he was writing "manifestos" on how to solve problems such as "repairing the earth" and communicating through single-use email addresses to avoid spam.

In 2021, he purchased a Gulfstream G450 private jet he named "Snoopy," Forbes reported, and he was now using his jet, which its maker Flexjet describes as "long-range luxury," to fly to RPI four times a year.

Still, Priem appears to have some regrets about how much money he gave away to RPI.

"I did a little crazy thing, and I wish I'd kept a little bit more," Priem told Forbes, referring to Nvidia shares.

Nvidia continues to play a major role in powering the artificial-intelligence revolution. Companies such as Microsoft have been vying to purchase Nvidia's powerful chips to train and deploy their own AI models. In turn, Nvidia's stock has climbed more than 200% in the last year.

As a result, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang's wealth soared nearly $30 billion as of late November. With a net worth of $42.9 billion, Huang is now the 27th richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.

Nvidia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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