COMPANY: Dolby Laboratories
WHAT MAKES HIM HAUTE: His genius mind is what makes Ray Dolby haute. It’s one thing to be able to wheel and deal or use street smarts to make millions, but when one can parlay a scientific mind into a windfall of fortune while simultaneously transforming the way Americans experience sound, then they’re definitely haute enough for us. No. 296 on Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2009, Dolby was the inventor of the noise reduction system known as Dolby NR, who went on to co-invent audio and video tape recording. In 1965, he founded Dolby Laboratories to umbrella all of his future electronic inventions.