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Texas billionaire and family reign as the world’s richest clan

The Walton family fortune grew astoundingly in the past year — to the tune of $23 billion. Photo via Getty Images

It's hardly a surprise that America's Walton family, including Fort Worth billionaire Alice Walton, remains the world's richest family. What's truly stunning is how much their wealth has grown in the past year — by more than $23 billion.

In once again crowning the Waltons the world's richest family, the Bloomberg news service recently reported that their collective fortune had risen by $23 billion in the past year due to the climbing stock price of the Walmart retail chain. Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in 1962.

Descendants of Sam and his brother, Bud, control more than 1.3 billion shares of Walmart stock either directly or through family trusts, Bloomberg says. Even though the Waltons have liquidated $6 billion in Walmart stock this year, they're now worth more in 2021 than they were in 2020.

As of mid-September, the Waltons were worth $238.2 billion, according to Bloomberg. That's almost $100 billion above the next richest family in the world, the Mars family of candy and pet care fame. Last year, Bloomberg pegged the Waltons' fortune at $215 billion.

To put the Waltons' one-year, $23 billion bump in wealth into perspective, Bloomberg estimates the net worth of Walmart heir Lukas Walton at $22 billion.

Alice Walton ranks as the second richest person in Texas (No. 1 is Elon Musk, at more than $200 billion), but she's not the richest Walmart heir. As of September 27, Bloomberg estimated Walton's net worth at $61.9 billion, making her the 19th richest person in the world. Ahead of her are brothers Jim ($63.7 billion, No. 17 worldwide) and Rob ($63.3 billion, No. 18 worldwide).

Not everyone is impressed with the Waltons' mountain of money. In February, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, branded the Waltons "the poster child for greed," based on the retailer's low starting wage. Walmart recently raised its minimum pay for hourly workers from $11 to $12.

"This is a family that is incredibly wealthy," Sanders said of the Waltons before the wage increase took effect.

"One of their owners spend[s] zillions of dollars on antique cars. They've got mansions. They have all kinds of art collections," the senator told CNN. "But somehow or another they can't pay their starting wage at more than 11 bucks an hour."

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

You can now hop online and invest in this promising cell therapy startup. Photo via Getty Images

A clinical-stage company headquartered in Houston has opened an online funding campaign.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast cell-based therapeutics for chronic diseases, launched a campaign with equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine. The platform lets anyone — regardless of their net worth or income level — to invest in securities issued by startups.

The funding, according to a press release, will be used to support ongoing operations of Fibrobiologics and advance its clinical programs in multiple sclerosis, degenerative disc disease, wound care, extension of life, and cancer.

"We're excited to partner with StartEngine on this campaign. StartEngine has over 600,000 investors as part of their community and has raised over half a billion dollars for its clients," says FibroBiologics' Founder and CEO Pete O'Heeron, in the release.

"This is an exciting time at FibroBiologics as we continue progressing our clinical pipeline and developing innovative therapies to treat chronic diseases," he continues. "This new funding will fuel our growth in the lab and bring us one step closer to commercialization."

The campaign, launched this week, already has over 100 investors, at the time of publication, and has raised nearly $2 million, according to the page. The minimum investment is set at around $500, and the company's indicated valuation is $252.57 million.

In 2021, FibroBiologics announced its intention of going public. Last year, O'Heeron told InnovationMap on the Houston Innovators Podcast of the company's growth plans as well as the specifics of the technology.

Only two types of cells — stem cells and fibroblasts — can be used in cell therapy for a regenerative treatment, which is when specialists take healthy cells from a patient and inject them into a part of the body that needs it the most. As O'Heeron explains in the podcast, fibroblasts can do it more effectively and cheaper than stem cells.

"(Fibroblasts) can essentially do everything a stem cell can do, only they can do it better," says O'Heeron. "We've done tests in the lab and we've seen them outperform stem cells by a low of 50 percent to a high of about 220 percent on different disease paths."


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