Branson, 67, is a self-made man, starting Virgin as a mail-order record business almost 50 years ago.
Born in London, the father-of-two now spends most of his time on his British Virgin Islands retreat Necker Island, which he bought for £138,000 in 1978.
His first business was successful enough to allow him to start record label Virgin Records in 1972, which he sold to EMI in 1992 for £500million – he has previously admitted he wept when it was sold as it had been the start of his empire.
But his other business ventures have proved the most lucrative, and are what he is best known for now.
Branson started Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984 and Virgin Trains in 1993, a decision many saw as a risky move.
But travel has captured Branson’s imagination, and space tourism company Virgin Galatic was launched in 2004, with tickets to space on offer in the future at £153,000 each.
Climate change is another key area for Branson, who has started Virgin Fuels as a response to global warming. The company will offer cheaper fuel for cars and aircraft. Branson made a high-profile pledge to invest $3billion towards addressing global warming in 2006.
Other Virgin business include Virgin Media, Virgin Comics and Virgin Racing.
It has not all been success, and Branson has a few failed ventures under his belt, including Virgin Cola, Virgin cars, Virgin clothing and Virgin Brides.
But on the whole, his business ventures have worked out – so how much is the entrepreneur worth?
Forbes places his net worth at $5billion – equal to £3836000000.
This makes him number 324 of all billionaires in 2017, and seventh in the UK.
Richard Branson shows off his idyllic private island Necker
Richard Branson net worth: The Virgin boss is married to Joan, pictured with their grandchildren
Branson’s luxury home, Necker Island, has been left devastated by Hurricane Irma. The Virgin boss was on his Necker Island when Irma struck and survived the Category 5 storm’s 185mph winds by sheltering in a wine cellar beneath one of his properties there.
He described Irma as the “storm of the century” and called for an “enormous aid effort” to help affected islanders rebuild their lives.
Writing on the Virgin website he said: “Communications in and out of the British Virgin Islands are still mostly down, but we have a satellite phone working to share updates.
“The boats are piled up like matchsticks in the harbour. Huge cargo ships were thrown out of the water and into rocks.”