When someone manages to amass a personal fortune of a little over $200 billion, earning the title of the wealthiest person in the world, it is only natural to wonder how on earth they got there. As the founder (and until recently, the CEO) of online multinational technology and eCommerce giant Amazon, Jeff Bezos is a household name and financial enigma.
The gifted entrepreneur has invested in many companies over the years, both through Amazon and using his personal wealth. Here are some of the biggest and best-known Bezos-backed ventures, lesser-known investments, and rumors that need de-bunking
With all the excitement surrounding the space travel industry right now, Blue Origin is the most talked-about of Jeff Bezos’s investments. Founded in 2000, and roughly 7,5 billion dollars later, Jeff and his rocket are ready to go into space.
A huge investment, yes, but he does own the company and founded it for this very purpose. An old flame of Bezos stated that building Amazon for all these years was simply a means to an end: the endgame being Blue Origin.
The Washington Post
In 2013, Bezos shocked the media by investing $250 million to buy the Washington Post, effectively salvaging the company’s future.
Why did he do it? The claim is that he believes in the importance of this kind of media. Bezos saw that he could make a difference, had the cash to do it, so he did.
The revolutionary vertical farming startup is the largest investment Bezos has made through Bezos Expeditions. At roughly $200 million, he clearly means business. Nobody could accuse him of being scared to throw money behind next-generation ideas or pushing the boundaries.
Bezos put $37 million into Uber’s Series B fundraising campaign, making him the owner of roughly three percent of the company. It may not sound like much, but a decade after he invested, Bezos’s stake is now valued at an estimated $400 million.
At the same time as his Uber investment, Bezos contributed to a fundraising campaign for the travel-tech company Airbnb, where he invested over $100 million. Airbnb has gone on to be a leader in its field and disrupted its entire industry- something Bezos is known to enjoy.
One of the many successful startups Bezos has helped to launch is the healthcare appointment-setting app, Zocdoc. Bezos was one of the first investors during the initial round of funding when he contributed an undeclared figure via Bezos Expeditions. The company is now worth over 2 billion dollars.
Workday is a cloud-based HR software. It has grown exponentially year on year since its inception, in part thanks to backing from Bezos Expeditions to the tune of $85 million.
The rumor mill never ceases to turn, and the Jeff Bezos- Bitcoin connection has long since been at the center. He is rumored to have invested heavily in the cryptocurrency giant, more specifically in its trading platforms. These rumors are entirely untrue. Bezos has not invested in any crypto finance personally or through Amazon, although the site does accept payment from several.
Another circulating rumor is about Bezos working on a crypto coin of his own. To date, there is no confirmation. Chances are, these claims aim to boost interest in the industry during an uncertain time.
Jeff Bezos has received a lot of criticism over being the only one of America’s top billionaires yet to sign The Giving Pledge. However, Bezos still uses a fair amount of his investable fortune for good, not evil.
The multi-billionaire created The Day One Fund and pledged 2 billion dollars to support and educate the homeless. He has also contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to fight disease and hunger through his personal investment fund, Bezos Expeditions.
Of all his charitable donations, the most prolific was also one of the most recent. In 2020, Bezos made his largest-ever singular investment by pledging $10 billion to fight climate change. He named the project The Bezos Earth Fund.
The list of companies and concepts that the world’s richest man has invested in is enormous. The overall profile is vastly diverse, especially that of his personal investment fund.
There is an obvious affinity for boundary-pushing and industry-disrupting ideas and no fear in backing startups. The success of Bezos’s investment history is astounding. One of the first people to invest in Google, there is no denying this man knows what he is doing. I mean, how else do you turn an online bookstore into a trillion-dollar empire?