The Sunday Mail
Jeff Bezos is the richest person on earth. He amassed the world’s largest individual fortune largely thanks to his shares in Amazon, the e-commerce giant he started more than two decades ago that is now worth nearly US$800 billion.
But Bezos is also creating more wealth by way of numerous investments in other growing companies. His most well-known investment is Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Bezos that he funds with billions of dollars of Amazon stock, or The Washington Post, which Bezos bought for US$250 million in 2013.
But did you know Bezos has backed companies such as Google, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, General Assembly, Juno Therapeutics, and many others?
Visual Capitalist recently put together a recap of “The Jeff Bezos Empire,” listing off Bezos’ investments through Amazon acquisitions (Whole Foods, Twitch, Audible, Zappos, etc.), his venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions, his own personal investments, and philanthropy-related donations.
Bezos was actually one of the first investors in Google.
It’s unclear what he did with his shares after the tech giant went public in 2004, but his stake “would probably be worth billions today,” Business Insider noted last year. (Side note: Bezos is an investor in Business Insider)
Bezos was also an early backer of Uber, as Bezos Expeditions participated in a US$37 million round back in 2011. Uber is targeting a US$120 billion valuation as it prepares to go public this year.
That same year, his firm also backed Airbnb – long before the lodging start-up went on to reach a US$1 billion valuation as it also preps for an IPO.
There are a number of “unicorns” – companies valued at more than US$1 billion – in the Bezos Expeditions portfolio. They include Seattle trucking start-up Convoy; HR software giant Workday; healthcare company Zocdoc; genomics start-up GRAIL; social networking site Nextdoor; and more. The firm also backed Juno Therapeutics, which was acquired for $9 billion last year, and General Assembly, which sold for US$413 million last year.
Other off-the-wall Bezos Expeditions investments that may surprise you: Seattle candleholder maker Glassybaby, indoor farming start-up Plenty, and small business financing start-up Fundbox. Bezos himself also spent US$42 million to build a 10,000 year clock.
More recently, Bezos has stepped up his philanthropy efforts after years of being a relative no-show when it came to charity. In September he announced a new $2 billion “Day 1 Fund” for homeless families and preschool education.
Before that announcement, Bezos and his family had donated about US$135 million to charitable causes, based on GeekWire’s estimates from news reports and announcements.
The New York Post last week described that as a “pitiful” amount in comparison with other ultra-wealthy billionaires such as Bill & Melinda Gates; Warren Buffett; Michael Bloomberg; and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
Bezos’ fortune has made headlines over the past few weeks after the Amazon CEO announced that he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, plan to divorce.
With Bezos’ current net worth at around $134 billion and a Washington state law that entitles spouses to half of any assets accrued during marriage, MacKenzie Bezos could soon become the world’s richest woman — how she spends that money is another question. — GeekWire Online.