At this point, probably everyone in the United States has heard of Amazon, the e-commerce giant. Millions of Americans are using the shopping website on a monthly basis. But how many know the story of Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com’s owner?
Bezos was born in 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the age of 22, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University, with a bachelor degree in electrical engineering and computer science. Armed with his newfound knowledge Bezos first worked on Wall Street, before moving on to work at hedge fund company D.E Shaw & Co.
His Amazon journey began only in 1994. Through his work at the hedge fund, Bezos became aware of the growing phenomenon that was the Internet. He came up with the idea of selling books through the Internet and pitched the idea to D.E Shaw & Co, but the idea was rejected. Bezos then quit and headed west. He drew up Amazon’s business plan on a drive from New York to Seattle. After arriving, he set up shop in his garage, and began selling books via the Internet.
In 1997, Amazon IPO’d and raised 54 million dollars. As shopping through the Internet rose to prominence, so did Amazon, who is now one of the world’s largest retailers.
Bezos isn’t just a master entrepreneur, but a savvy investor as well. In 1998, he invested 250,000 dollars in Google, netting him 3.3 million shares. This holding alone is worth over 3.5 billion dollars today. He also invested in Twitter, Airbnb and Uber.
Unsurprisingly, his biggest holding remains Amazon, of which he holds 83.3 million shares, 16.9% of all shares outstanding. His net worth is estimated today at 93.1 billion dollars, putting him at the top of the list of the world’s richest, right before Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.