How did Richard Branson make his money?

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Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson – who is slated to fly into space nine days before Amazon's Jeff Bezos – saw wealth surge after starting the Virgin Group, a now-multinational venture capital conglomerate.

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To date, his net worth hovers around $6 billion, according to Forbes estimates. However, the British entrepreneur admits that his fortune never would have existed without the help of his late mother Eve Branson.

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SPCEVIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS INC.49.20-3.49-6.62%

"It is no exaggeration to say I owe my career to mum," Richard Branson wrote in a public letter announcing the passing of his mother in early January. 

In the '60s, Eve Branson came across a lost necklace on the street which she later ended up selling and giving all the proceeds to the now business magnate, Richard Branson said. 

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"Without that £100, I could never have started Virgin," he added. 

By the '70s, Richard Branson and Nik Powell started a mail-order record retailer. From there, the business then evolved into a record shop on Oxford Street in London called Virgin Records, according to Virgin's website.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson poses with crew of Unity 22 spacecraft (Photo courtesy of Virgin Galactic)

Eventually, they acquired a "large, rundown manor house" in the area which they converted into a recording studio called The Manor. Their record company eventually signed major names in the industry from The Sex Pistols to The Rolling Stones and "became the biggest independent label in the world," according to Virgin.  

Eventually, Virgin took a deep dive into the aviation industry and launched Virgin Atlantic in 1984. From there "Virgin went on to expand into sectors including travel and leisure; telecommunications and media; music and entertainment; financial services and health and wellness," according to Virgin. 

To date, the Virgin Group oversees 40 Virgin companies around the world. 

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In 1992, though, Branson sold Virgin Records for $1 billion, in part to fund his other ventures, according to Reuters. 

In 2004, Virgin Galactic was founded, marking "the world’s first commercial spaceline and vertically integrated aerospace company," according to the company's website. 

On Sunday, the company will head to space for the fourth time. Branson will be on board, making history as the first billionaire to do so in his own rocket.

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