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Larry Ellison, Entrepreneur, Larry Ellison Biography,

Larry Ellison: Oracle Co-Founder and Tech Visionary

Early Life

Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Ellison was born in New York City on August 17, 1944. His mother, Florence Spellman, an unwed immigrant from Odessa, was only 19 and unable to care for him. Consequently, nine-month-old Larry was sent to Chicago to live with his aunt and uncle, Lillian and Louis Ellison. Larry never met his biological father, a United States Army Air Corps pilot, and did not learn about his adoption until his teenage years. Raised in a Jewish neighborhood, Larry’s adoptive father, a Russian immigrant, chose the surname “Ellison” in honor of Ellis Island.

Larry Ellison

Larry grew up independent and self-assured, often clashing with his strict and demanding stepfather. Despite his rebellious nature, he showed an early interest in complex subjects like high technology and engineering, although he found the traditional schooling process unengaging. He was a mediocre student but excelled in sports such as squash, volleyball, and hockey.

After graduating from South Shore High School, Larry attended the University of Illinois, where he experienced his first taste of academic success. However, following the death of his adoptive mother, he dropped out before completing his final exams. He briefly attended the University of Chicago but left after one semester, losing interest in formal education. In 1966, at the age of 22, Larry moved to California, where he developed a passion for computers and programming.

Early Career

Ellison’s first significant job was at Amdahl Corporation, followed by a position at Ampex, where he worked on a CIA database project called “Oracle.” In 1977, Ellison co-founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL) with Bob Miner and Ed Oates, investing $1,200 into the firm. Inspired by Edgar F. Codd’s paper on relational database management, Ellison and his team began developing their database management system.

Oracle Systems Corporation

In 1979, SDL was renamed Relational Software Inc., and in 1982, it became Oracle Systems Corporation. The Oracle RDBMS quickly became known for its advanced capabilities, attracting government and corporate clients. By 1982, Oracle’s revenue reached $2.5 million, and Ellison invested heavily in research and development.

Oracle RDBMS version 3, released in 1983, could be installed on various operating systems, significantly boosting the company’s revenue. By 1986, Oracle’s sales had skyrocketed to $55 million, and the company went public, raising $31.5 million through its IPO.

Oracle’s Crisis and Recovery

In 1990, Oracle faced a significant financial crisis, primarily due to an aggressive marketing strategy that overbooked future sales. The company’s market value plummeted, and Oracle had to lay off 10% of its workforce. However, through strategic changes and a focus on relational databases for UNIX and Windows systems, Oracle managed to recover and thrive.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Ellison led Oracle through numerous strategic acquisitions to solidify its market position. In 1994, Oracle acquired the Rdb division from DEC. In 2004, Oracle purchased PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion, followed by BEA Systems for $8.5 billion in 2008, and Sun Microsystems for $7 billion in 2010. These acquisitions helped Oracle become a dominant force in the software industry, competing with giants like IBM and SAP.

Personal Life

Larry Ellison has been married and divorced four times. His children, David and Megan Ellison, are both successful in the film industry, with David heading Skydance Media and Megan founding Annapurna Pictures.

Private Island: Lanai

In 2012, Ellison purchased 98% of Lanai, a Hawaiian island, for $300 million. He has since focused on developing its infrastructure and exploring renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.

Yachting Competitions and Other Interests

Ellison is the team principal of Oracle Team USA, which won the America’s Cup in 2010 and 2013. He has also been involved in various legal disputes related to his aviation activities and has a history of philanthropic efforts, including significant donations to Harvard University and participation in The Giving Pledge.


Ellison has consistently supported charitable causes. In response to the September 11 attacks, he offered to help the U.S. government establish a national ID database. He has donated millions to various institutions and, in 2010, joined The Giving Pledge, committing to give away most of his wealth.

Larry Ellison’s journey from a challenging childhood to becoming a tech visionary and one of the world’s wealthiest individuals showcases his resilience, innovation, and strategic acumen.


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