by Anna Krecicki


The one percent of the one percent: billionaires – the wealthiest people in the world. I don’t envy their wealth or question where it comes from, but I sometimes do wonder why they don’t use some of that money (which they could never spend in a lifetime anyway) on something that could help the whole world.

It was a truly gratifying surprise to find out that there is at least one person who does!

You have probably heard about 5-Hour Energy, the notorious energy shot. You may have even tried it or at least seen it in stores. But did you know that the founder of 5-Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava has pledged to give 99 percent of his $4 billion net worth to humanity?

Manoj Bhargava

A recent documentary about Bhargava, called Billions in Change reveals that he is not only giving away 99 percent of his fortune, but he is also doing it by bringing solutions to problems of the world. He focuses on inventions that can help “the poorer half of the world make their lives better”.

“That’s what we define as a great invention,” he says.

In this short film, we find out about Bhargava, his current projects, and his philosophies on innovation and helping the less fortunate. He says: “If you have wealth, it’s a duty to help those who don’t.” We learn that Bhargava has a ‘philanthropic invention shop’, called Stage 2 Innovations on a 25-acre base in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Its mission, says Bhargava, is to “invent stuff that makes a difference in other people’s lives.”

Bhargava often tells the engineers: “If it doesn’t make a big difference, find something else to do.” He is only interested in inventions that are useful to mankind: “If it doesn’t make us money but it really changes the lives of people, we’re going to do it … And if you come up with something cool that’s not, we don’t do it. I have no interest. I don’t want to be cool.”

One of the many Stage 2 inventions is a hybrid bicycle, called Free Electric that you pedal for an hour, and it creates enough power to provide 24 hours’ worth of electricity for your home. The documentary reveals that three billion people worldwide have no electricity or only for two or three hours a day. As a possible solution, Bhargava proposes a generator that uses bicycle-pedal power to create pollution-free electricity at no cost. The machine is small, light, and simple: the bicycle wheel drives a flywheel, which turns a generator that charges a battery.

Another Stage 2 invention could be the solution to the extreme drought crisis all over the world: the Rain Maker. This simple, self-contained system that doesn’t require any operation support turns seawater or any dirty water into clean water. The machine is capable of creating a thousand gallons of high-quality water an hour. The water can be used for drinking or for agricultural and industrial applications. Unlike other desalination systems, Rain Maker recycles its heat energy making it incredibly clean and efficient. With half of the world’s population living without adequate access to fresh, clean water for drinking, farming and sanitation, this project could be extremely valuable to humankind.

Making people healthy and preventing disease is another important project for Bhargava and he believes the answer could be as easy as enhancing blood flow. Poor circulation is the basis of many health problems like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and cancer. Stage 2’s Renew is a blood flow enhancement machine that uses ECP (External Counterpulsation). This machine enhances circulation by squeezing blood from the legs into the core body while the heart is at rest. “It’s almost like an auxiliary heart pumping blood between heartbeats.” The enhanced circulation widens blood vessels and as a result, more blood reaches all areas of the body – making the body stronger, healthier, and less susceptible to disease.

Stage 2 is now working on cables made of graphene that could pull energy out of the earth’s mantle. Graphene is a thin molecular layer of graphite. It is lighter than air, stronger than steel, and a better conductor than copper. Once Bhargava’s engineers told him that graphene had the ability to pull energy out of the earth in an efficient, pollution-free manner, he invested resources in building graphene cables right away. The project is still in the testing phase, but Bhargava is optimistic: “This would be the greatest invention, maybe ever… because if you can get unlimited energy from beneath the earth, pollution free, that’s everything.”

Billions in Change portrays an entrepreneur who is on a quest to bring solutions to the world’s biggest problems — problems that most other billionaires ignore. Manoj Bhargava has the knowledge, the means, and the heart it may take to help mankind and bring about change in the world.



Watch Billions in Change at