While the bulk of Jeff Bezos’ $150 billion fortune comes from his stake in… Amazon.com Inc., his venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions, is also a contributing factor. In fact, since retiring as CEO of the world’s largest e-commerce company, Bezos has focused on acquiring startups across industries as his hunt for the next big gamble continues. Bezos seemingly dips his toes in all sorts of water, from space to real estate.
Investments over the years
Bezos invests primarily through his Washington-based investment company Bezos Expeditions. The venture capital firm has made several prudent investments in early and late stage companies since its inception in 2005. He also owns Nashville Holdings LLC, with which he bought The Washington Post in 2013.
Unsurprisingly, Bezos was an angel investor in Google in 1998. His $250,000 is worth about $3.1 billion today. During his Series B seed funding round, he also invested about $37 million in the ride-sharing startup Uber in 2011. The company has since become a household name and has achieved a nice return for the billionaire.
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Bezos’ space startup Blue Origin made waves last year as one of the first companies to travel to the edge of space, marking the first step toward commercializing space travel.
Bezos bets in 2022
Since its inception in 2005, Bezos Expeditions has invested in 96 companies and 17 investments. So far this year, he has invested in nine start-up companies.
Overtime is a digital sports media company that distributes content through popular social media such as Facebook and YouTube. The startup has more than 65 million followers on social media and its content has been streamed more than 2 billion times a month. Since the company was only founded in 2016, it has charted an impressive growth trajectory in just six years.
During the Series C financing, Bezos was one of the most prominent investors in Overtime, raising nearly $80 million. In addition, the company has raised $100 million during its Series D financing, and it is currently valued at $500 million. Overtime’s annual revenue generally ranges from $50 to $100 million, thanks to immense competition sponsorship and digital advertising.
Overtime is currently developing its flagship basketball league, Overtime League, with athletes ages 16 to 18.
The New York-based startup aims to simplify maturity. The app-based platform is designed to help the Gen Z population step into the real world with routine daily tasks related to health, finance or work. The platform had raised $3.4 million in 2021, including investments from Bezos Expeditions.
From understanding income taxes to navigating pregnancy and parenting, Realworld currently has over 90 playbooks to help young adults. As Gen Z members graduate and enter the workforce, the demand for simple yet comprehensive platforms like Realworld is increasing. By 2025, approximately 25% of the workforce will be Gen Z individuals. While Realworld currently offers free access to its playbooks, CEO Genevieve Ryan Bellaire is currently designing a subscription-based model for additional features or concierge support.
This isn’t the first time Bezos has raided real estate. He had invested in Airbnb in 2011 when it was a startup. While the exact winning amount is unknown, Bezos is estimated to have made billions from his real estate betting.
Following the commercial success of Airbnb, Bezos is now betting on the real estate investment platform Arrived houses. So far, he has made two investments in the startup, which is acquiring properties across North America and turning it into long-term and short-term rentals and allowing investors to buy shares of the properties for as little as $100. This investment is already yielding results. as rents rise and demand for short-term rentals skyrockets across the country.
Bezos Expeditions investments are not limited to the United States. The company invested in Brazilian fintech startup Stark Bank during the Series B round. The fintech company currently manages $108 million in total assets. According to Rafael Stark, CEO of Stark Bank, the startup is close to achieving unicorn status following Series B funding.
As of April 2022, the Brazilian fintech has raised nearly $58 million in seed funding since its founding in 2018. It has more than 300 clients, most of which are technology-based companies.
Freight-tracking startup Outgo has also captured the third-richest man’s attention, as it raised $3.4 million in its latest round of funding from several venture capital firms, including Bezos Expeditions.
According to co-founder and CEO Marcus Womack, Outgo’s total addressable market is approximately $400 million. With fees and costs lower than those in the industry, Outgo aims to capitalize on the discrepancies in the current supply chain system.
doxo is an all-in-one app designed for online bill payments. With several leading partners, including: AT&T Inc. and Sound Community Bank, the company is making headway in an increasingly digital world. It aims to modernize the $4.61 trillion dollar paying industry in the US. Doxo was even named in Inc.’s list of fastest growing companies. 5000 magazine published last month.
Bezos has been associated with doxo since 2013, as he was one of the first seed investors on the platform. He was also involved in doxo’s final Series C round in March, where the company raised $18.5 million.
In February 2022, Bezos participated in the series B round of funding from the salmon-in-cell startup Wildtype. The platform has raised $100 million during this round and is currently on track to commercialize farmed seafood.
The company plans to partner with gourmet restaurants in the US to offer its sushi-grade, microplastic-free salmon. As the wild fish population is threatened with extinction amid dwindling fish stocks, cell-farmed salmon should gain momentum soon. In addition, as sustainability concerns remain at an all-time high, Wildtype is expected to benefit significantly from the commercialization of cell-grown salmon.
The startup is designing bamboo toilet paper and paper towels in an effort to combat deforestation. The company, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, saved more than 10,000 trees in 2021 alone. Bezos Expeditions was one of the high-profile investors participating in Cloud Paper’s latest funding round.
The company has achieved promising results so far. Cloud Paper’s revenue grew 930% since its September 2022 seed funding round, thanks to a 230% increase in direct-to-customer (D2C) and a 400% increase in enterprise customers. In addition, the startup’s revenues have increased by nearly 800% during this period.
By investing in the Indonesian D2C software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Lummo, Bezos also entered the Southeast Asian market. The startup specializes in data analytics services for e-commerce platforms and has witnessed a rapidly growing demand for its flagship product LummoSHOP in South Asia.
Lummo Founder and CEO Krishnan Menon said, “We are honored to have Jeff Bezos’ support in this Series C investment round as we prepare our company for exponential growth in the months and years ahead. The investment will strengthen Lummo’s efforts to build on our D2C product offering and deliver greater value to entrepreneurs and businesses in Indonesia. We hope to accelerate their business growth and maximize operational efficiency using our SaaS model.”
Most of the startups Bezos has invested in lately target the Generation Z demographic. This generation has a major impact on the future of modern society. With a greater focus on digital media and sustainability, Bezos’ latest investments capture the major societal changes of recent years.
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