Jeff Bezos is the richest person on Earth as of the year 2020. He has left behind the master investor, Warren Buffet, and the pioneer Bill Gates.
- Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of the globally renowned e-commerce website, Amazon.com.
- His net worth currently is 17,530 crores USD which makes him wealthier than anyone else on the planet dating back to at least 1982.
- He grabbed the top spot in the Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans in 2018 with a net worth of $160 billion.
But what has made him reach this far and leave behind all the others? What is so special about him that he has held this top position for so long? Why is Amazon massively gaining while other businesses are on the ledge of survival? We shall find out the answers here.
Bezos has tried his hands at literally every field and has incubated investing strategies all the way from real estate to the retrieval of rocket ship engines from the ocean floor.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amazon.com Inc., controls Amazon, a platform which was responsible for nearly 4% of the total US retail sales and 44% of the total digital transactions in the year 2017.
Now, as the accessibility and ease of the digital world rise, Amazon, which is the leader in online retail with an amazing cloud computing server- Amazon Web Services (AWS), is anticipated to do better and better in the future.
How did the company start?
Initially, when this idea of “the everything store” struck his mind, he was let down by his family and friends who wanted him to stick to his stable job in finance. But he was not the man to be limited. He also has his own website named BezosExpeditions.com which provides a rundown of his major investments and donations. The investments made by him are not limited to any particular field or sector but are highly diverse and cover far-flung business ideas and areas.
Amazon: The online Book Store
After turning down the job offers from Intel, Bell Labs, and others Jeff went on to launch a new-by-fax service company in partnership with Halsey Minor. Mr. Minor is popularly known as the founder of CNET. Unfortunately, their venture soon collapsed. However, after this, he became the youngest senior vice president D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund.
It was 1994 when he was enticed by the growing popularity of the internet, which was then growing at a rate of 2300% annually. This gave birth to the thought of Amazon. He soon began penning down 20 possible product categories he could sell digitally.
Birthed out of a garage, Amazon.com gathered immense vogue for selling books. It was launched in July 1995 and within the first month itself, it sold books in 45 countries around the world as well as every single state in the US.
Scaling the Growth
The sales were estimated to be valued at $74 million by the year 2000. Interestingly, the real picture blossomed incomparable results with the recorded sales of $1.64 billion in the year 1999 itself.
To give it a boost, Jeff managed to collect a seed funding of $1 million from angel investors. According to Bezos, the first 20 outside investors in amazon now have 120,000 times return on the money invested. In 1996, another 8 million USD was raised from Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm.
It was 1997 when the e-commerce website was listed publicly. Because of the flabbergasting strategies adopted by the company, its annual sales sky-rocketed from $510,000 in 1995 to over $3 billion in 2001.
Then in 2013, the idea of Amazon Prime Air was birthed. The revolutionary prime subscription business was to deliver to customers with the help of drones.
Apart from his own business, he was an early investor in Alphabet’s Google. He invested $250,000 in 1998 which could be worth about $3.1 billion in 2017 and probably way over $6 billion today.
In August 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for a sum total of $250 million, after which its traffic has exponentially jumped, surpassing The New York Times in terms of U.S. unique web viewers in October 2015.
This journey to the sky is very well represented by the charts of the company’s stock which jumped nearly 500% from September 2015 to September 2020. The shares rose 60% between January and September of 2020 alone. As of 2020, he owns nearly 15.2% of the company which accounts for the biggest source of his wealth. He had sold over a million shares and given some as alimony to his wife between 2017 and 2019. According to the 2020 Annual Meeting, Bezos currently owns 75.0 million shares.
Real Estate and Property
Bezos has humungous investments in traditional modes such as Real Estate. He owned the 165,000-acre Corn Ranch in Texas which was then settled as the base of operations for Blue Origin, Jeff’s aerospace company. The location also serves as the test site for the vertical-landing manned suborbital New Shepard rocket.
Personally, he owns holdings on both east and west coast. Apart from this, he owns:
- Two homes in Beverly Hills are valued for several million dollars.
- A 10,000-square-foot apartment in the Century Tower in Manhattan.
- A lakeside property in Washington State, on which Bezos spent nearly $28 million to increase the living space to 30,000 square feet.
- Amazon’s South Lake headquarters property in 2012 for approximately $1.5 billion in Seattle.
- 2 million square feet of office space as well as 100,000 square feet of retail space.
- Three-block area in downtown Seattle in 2012 for $200 million.
According to a Seattle Times report in 2017, Amazon owned office space which is approximately tantamount to office space occupied by Seattle’s next 40 largest employers combined during that time.
Donations and Charity
Massive investments have been made by the world’s richest man in giving back through charitable donations.
- He runs the Bezos Family Foundation which takes care of several education projects.
- Along with that, he has also made multimillion-dollar contributions individually, most of it going to the Seattle Museum of History and Industry and to his alma mater, Princeton University.
- In 2018, Bezos and MacKenzie, his wife, announced a $33 million dollar donation to TheDream.US. It is an organization that looks after providing access to college for undocumented immigrant youth in the US.
Bezos has invested highly in the technology sector and media and communication services among others.
- Media and communications sector- He owns an investment in Twitter, Inc. as well as a nearly $50 million stake in the popular business news website, Business Insider. He also controls The Washington Post. Other investments include TeachStreet, Inc., ZocDoc, Inc., and Nextdoor.
- Travel sector- Cumulative investments of $112 million and $35 million have been made by the billionaire in series B financing of Airbnb and transportation service Uber, respectively.
- Cloud- He runs his own company and has investment holdings in Workday, Inc., a company that provides human resource services in the cloud.
- Traditional retail business- In this segment, his major investment is in Glassybaby, a company that makes glass-blown holders for votive candles.
Out of the world ideas/projects
- The 10,000-year clock – The 10,000-year clock project aims at building a clock into the side of the Sierra Diablo mountain range, Texas. The clock is said to be ticking for 10,000 years straight and has a chime generator that generates a different chime sound for each day.
- The F-1 engine retrieval project- Another avant-garde idea is that of the F-1 engine retrieval project. the rationale behind this was to salvage the engines of the Apollo 11 flight from the ocean floor to the moon. The artifacts that were recovered to rebuild two F-1 engines were later donated to Seattle’s Museum of Flight in 2015.
All of this has helped and assisted him to reach where he is right now, a position unattainable by anybody else in the near future. Jeff Bezos has proved himself to be a king in the corporate world.