Living the dream of many high-technology entrepreneurs, Philip Berber hit the big time and became a multimillionaire overnight when he sold his Austin, Texas, company, CyBerCorp.
What makes Berber different is the path he has chosen to take with those fortunes.
Instead of simply retiring in style and enjoying the good life that many only dream of, Berber and his wife are focusing on improving life for people in one of the worlds most impoverished countries: Ethiopia.
“The world should have more people like Philip Berber,” says Richard Florida, economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
Berber, 41, co-founded CyBerCorp five years ago, and sold it last March to online brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Co. for $488 million. CyBerCorps software is popular with day traders, who use it to track stocks in real-time based on split-second adjustments.
After selling his company, Berber and his wife, Donna, pledged $100 million to create A Glimmer of Hope, a nonprofit charity that strives to combat poverty, disease and homelessness in Ethiopia. The organization has also expanded into Berbers native Ireland and his wifes homeland of Great Britain.
Berber stepped down as chief executive and chairman of CyBerCorp recently to focus on the charity full time. He and his wife became interested in helping the people of Ethiopia after taking a trip to the impoverished country.
“CyberCorps acquisition by Charles Schwab enabled Donna and I to fulfill a lifelong dream of helping others to help themselves and making a difference in peoples lives,” Berber says.
Under the Berbers direction, A Glimmer of Hope plans to build the first AIDS center in Ethiopia, which Mother Teresas mission in Addis Ababa will manage.
In January, Berber spent a week in Ethiopia, during which he visited hospitals and checked on the progress of his charitys projects, including a 500-child school being built in a tiny village near Addis Ababa.