Who is Ann Winblad? On May 4, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates announced they were divorcing as their 27-year marriage was “irretrievably broken”. The mega-billionaire couple will be dividing their $145 billion empire and would continue working together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They filed for divorce on May 3. However, Bill Gates’ ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad is making headlines as well, as more details about the Gates’ relationship and eventual separation continue to emerge.
Several reports have emerged suggesting that the Microsoft founder was allowed to spend time with ex-girlfriend Winblad annually thanks to a pre-nuptial arrangement he had with Melinda.
— Melinda French Gates (@melindagates) May 3, 2021
As many are curious about Bill’s past relationship with Winblad before his marriage to Melinda, let’s find out who is Ann Winblad:
1. Ann Winblad is a software entrepreneur, venture capitalist, developer and businesswoman. In 1997, Bill revealed to Time magazine that he had a questionable “arrangement” with his now ex-wife to annually meet his ex-girlfriend Winblad, even after his marriage. Every year, they spent “a long weekend” together at her Outer Banks, North Carolina beach residence enjoying several activities including long walks on the beach, intellectual conversations, and discussing biotechnology and modern films.
2. 65-year-old Bill and fellow tech business leader Winblad, now 70, dated from 1984 to 1987. They continued to vacation together even after he got married in 1994, according to the report.
3. Gates and Winblad had split in 1987 because she was five years older than him and was ready to settle down while he wasn’t, according to Time. But they remained close friends. “When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda I called Ann and asked for her approval,” Gates revealed.
4. According to her LinkedIn profile, Winblad has served on the board of companies such as Central Point Software, Hyperion, Net Perceptions, Intrinsa, Liquid Audio, The Knot, Marketwire, Krillion, Inc., Star Analytics, SVForum, Karmasphere, Voltage Security, MuleSoft, Sonatype, Ace Metrix. She is a founding partner at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners where she has been working for nearly 32 years. Her company is also one of the leading investors in enterprise software companies.
5. Winblad is now married to Edward Alex Kline.
6. After building her first company Open Systems Inc. successfully, Winblad became one of the early investors in Microsoft in the 1980s. Her past investments include Omniture, Hyperion, Powersoft, Wind River, NetPerceptions, Intrinsa.
7. Aside from her financial ventures, Winblad is also involved in philanthropy like her former boyfriend. She is a trustee at Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, established in 2004.
8. She has many startups to her name in Silicon Valley. The businesswoman has over 40 years of experience in the tech industry.
9.Winblad is often described as the first female programmer in the modern tech industry.
10. The philanthropist and wealth coach, Winblad had previously — before Bill’s marriage — gone to Brazil for vacation where they studied bioengineering together. During another vacation, they studied physics from tapes of Richard Feynman’s lectures. They also learned about human evolution, helped by anthropologist Donald Johanson, in an excursion in Zanzibar.