Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos laughs at a discussion at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in December 2020. Editorial credit: Christos S / Shutterstock.com
In 1994, Bezos made the fateful decision to vacate his promising post at a hedge fund to dive into the internet boom with a venture he'd go on to call Amazon. Later on, when discussing his reasoning for leaving, Bezos said, "When I'm 80, am I going to regret leaving Wall Street? No. Will I regret missing the beginning of the Internet? Yes."
Over next few decades Bezos has grown both his company and fortune to astronomical levels. Recently, Bezos and the e-commerce titan he founded have been in the news for both scandals and breakthroughs making him a household name around the world.
Despite the name recognition, what companies does Jeff Bezos own?
We’ll get Amazon and its network of subsidiaries out of the way first. He founded the e-commerce behemoth in 1994 as an online book store. The site’s scope and ambitions have since grown to encompass (almost) anything you can imagine, including a voice assistant, smart speakers, media streaming platforms, delivery fleet, and cloud computing service.
Bezos has been the CEO of the company since itys found but recently announced he is stepping away from his creation in Q3 2021. While he will no longer be CEO, he will remain Amazon’s Executive Chair and largest single shareholder, with a more than 10% stake in the company.
Under the Amazon empire, Bezos also controls major retail and tech companies including:
Whole Foods - Amazon purchased the high-end grocery store in 2017. The company has since fully integrated its Prime membership program into the gorcery chain's stores.
Zappos - The online shoe and apparel marketplace was acquired by Amazon in 2009 in a $940 million stock and cash deal.
Twitch - Acquired in 2014, Twitch is Amazon’s foray into live streaming.
Ring - The smart doorbell company was bought by Amazon in 2018 for $1 billion and has since blossomed into other smart home segments.
Audible - Amazon snatched up the audiobook service in 2008 for $300 million.
The Washington Post
Bezos bought the storied newspaper through an LLC called Nash Holdings in 2013. Since his $250 million takeover of The Washington Post, which has been in circulation since 1877, Bezos has pushed a digital focus with the aim to increase the paper's national and global readership.
When Bezos bought the paper he named Politico founder Fred Ryan to run the paper as CEO. In the years after the purchase The Washington Post’s readership has steadily grown, with digital subscriptions tripling to nearly 3 million since 2016.
Blue Origin is Bezos’ aerospace company and one of the ventures Bezos said he wanted to spend more time on when he announced his decision to step down as Amazon’s CEO. Founded in 2000, Blue Origin is led by CEO Bob Smith and much like Elon Musk’s SpaceX it aims to reduce the cost of space travel through reusable launch vehicles. In May 2019, Bezos unveiled plans for a Blue Origin moon lander called "Blue Moon", which is set to be ready by 2024.
Bezos Expeditions is Jeff Bezos' personal venture capital investments. Through this investment vehicle, he was an early stakeholder in Google, investing $250,000 in 1998, which resulted in 3.3 million shares of Google stock. As of February 2020, Bezos Expeditions has invested in at least 66 ventures including Airbnb, Uber, Twitter, Basecamp, Insider, and Sonder.
The company also supports Bezos’ philanthropic efforts by funding non-profit projects and contributing direct donations.
Bezos Day One Fund
The Bezos Day One Fund is a philanthropic organization that is focused on funding existing non-profits that help families experiencing homelessness, and creating a network of non-profit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The fund is supported by a $2 billion commitment and distributed donations totaling $105.9 million to 42 recipients from 24 states in 2020. Under the Bezos Day One Fund is the Bezos Acadamy, led by former Amazon exec Mike George, which tackles the fund's eductaion goals.
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