Dr. Andy Khawaja is unique among L.A.’s 60 or so billionaires. He doesn’t come from a wealthy American family. He didn’t spend his formative years studying to get into Harvard. He certainly wasn’t born into the type of privilege that we would commonly associate with great wealth.
His first childhood business venture, as he recounted to Larry King, was selling used army bullet shells during the Lebanese Civil War. When he came to America at age 18, he had only $27 in his pocket. Today, he’s worth more than $18 billion.
His story is like something out of a larger-than-life Hollywood biopic, so it’s no wonder that Dr. Andy Khawaja is one of L.A.’s most esteemed entrepreneurs and philanthropists, a subject of intrigue and fascination to many in the community. He has been featured in more than 100 publications and has been showered with some of the top accolades in the entrepreneurial world. He’s been recognized as Softech CEO of the Year, Corporate America CEO of the Year, and AIAR CEO of the Year, just to name a few.
Khawaja has been founding and leading businesses for as long as he’s been in the U.S., but the bulk of his fortune comes from Allied Wallet, the company he founded and self-funded in 2002 after skeptical investors and venture capitalists turned him away. His vision for a state-of-the-art online payment processing platform may have seemed risky and abstract at the time, but Allied Wallet now boasts more than 150 million users worldwide. It’s all thanks to the founder’s uncompromising vision.
Khawaja has become a pillar of the Los Angeles community not just for his remarkable success but also for all that he gives back. A leading local philanthropist, he passionately contributes to causes like the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Wounded Warrior Project, After-School All Stars, Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), and others.
His success has made him a mentor and inspiration to many. He’s a popular fixture at entrepreneurial speaking events, and he even has his own Forbes advice column. For anyone curious about his secret to success, it can be summed up by his tireless passion and his ceaseless hard work. He has even been quoted as saying that he averages 19-hour workdays and sleeps less than four hours a night. While that lifestyle might not be ideal for everyone, Dr. Andy Khawaja’s habits are certainly a testament to the unlimited potential that stems from hard work and unyielding dedication.