While the majority of Jeff Bezos’ $150 billion wealth comes from his stake in Amazon.com Inc., his venture capital company, Bezos Expeditions, is also a contributing factor. In fact, since his retirement as the CEO of the world’s largest e-commerce company, Bezos has been focusing on acquiring startups across different industries, as his hunt for the next big bet continues. From space to real estate, Bezos is seemingly dipping his toes in all types of water.
Investments Over the Years
Bezos primarily invests through his Washington-based investment firm Bezos Expeditions. The venture capital firm made several prudent investments in early and late-stage ventures since its inception in 2005. Apart from this, he also owns Nashville Holdings LLC, through which he bought The Washington Post in 2013.
Unsurprisingly, Bezos was an angel investor in Google in 1998. His $250,000 is worth roughly $3.1 billion today. He also invested approximately $37 million in ride-sharing startup Uber in 2011 during its series B seed funding round. The company has since grown to become a household name and has reaped handsome returns for the billionaire.
Related: Looking For The Next Moonshot Investment? This Startup Could Be It
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 establishment in 2005, Bezos Expeditions has invested in 96 companies while exiting 17 investments. So far this year, he invested in nine startup companies.
Overtime is a sports digital media company that distributes content through popular social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube. The startup has over 65 million social media followers, and its content has been streamed more than 2 billion times monthly. Given the company was founded only in 2016, it has charted an impressive growth trajectory in only six years.
Bezos was one of the most prominent investors in Overtime during its Series C funding, where it raised nearly $80 million. In addition, the company raised $100 million during its Series D funding, and it is currently valued at $500 million. Overtime’s annual revenues generally range from $50 to $100 million, thanks to immense league sponsorships and digital advertising.
Overtime is currently working on developing its flagship basketball league, Overtime League, comprising athletes between the ages of 16 to 18.
The NYC-based startup aims to simplify adulthood. The app-based platform is designed to assist the Gen Z population as they step into the real world in routine day-to-day tasks catering to health, finance, or work. The platform had raised $3.4 million in 2021, including investment from Bezos Expeditions.
From understanding income taxes to navigating pregnancy and parenthood, Realworld currently has more than 90 playbooks to assist young adults. As Gen Z members graduate and enter the workforce, the demand for simple yet comprehensive platforms like Realworld is on the rise. By 2025, approximately 25% of the workforce will comprise Gen Z individuals. While Realworld currently provides free access to its playbooks, CEO Genevieve Ryan Bellaire is currently designing a subscription-based model for additional features or concierge support.
This is not the first time Bezos made a foray into real estate. He had earlier invested in Airbnb back in 2011 when it was a startup. While the exact profit amount is unknown, Bezos is estimated to have churned out billions from his real estate bet.
Following Airbnb’s commercial success, Bezos is now betting on the real estate investment platform Arrived Homes. So far, he has made two investments in the startup, which acquires properties across North America and converts them into long-term and short-term rentals and allows investors to purchase shares of the properties with as little as $100. This investment is already reaping results, as rental rates climb and the demand for short-term rentals skyrockets across the country.
Bezos Expeditions investments are not limited to the United States. The firm invested in Brazilian fintech startup Stark Bank during its Series B round. The fintech company currently manages $108 million in total assets. According to Stark Bank CEO Rafael Stark, following the Series B funding, the startup is close to achieving unicorn status.
As of April 2022, the Brazilian fintech raised nearly $58 million in seed funding since its inception in 2018. It has more than 300 customers, most of which are technology-based businesses.
Freight tracking startup Outgo has also grabbed the third richest man’s attention, as it raised $3.4 million in its latest funding round from several venture capital firms including Bezos Expeditions.
According to co-founder and CEO Marcus Womack, Outgo total addressable market is approximately $400 million. With lower-than-industry fees and charges, 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 industry-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 bill pay industry in the U.S. In fact, doxo was named in Inc. 5000 magazine’s fastest-growing companies list released last month.
Bezos has been tied with doxo since 2013, as he was one of the early seed investors in the platform. He was also involved in doxo’s latest Series C round in March where the company raised $18.5 million.
In February 2022, Bezos participated in the cell-cultured salmon cultivation startup Wildtype’s Series B funding round. The platform raised $100 million during this round and is currently on track to commercialize cultivated seafood.
The company aims to partner with fine dining restaurants across the U.S. to offer its microplastic-free sushi-grade salmon. As the wild fish population poses a risk of extinction amid decreasing fish stocks, the cell-cultured salmon should gain traction soon. Moreover, as sustainability concerns remain at an all-time high, Wildtype is expected to profit substantially from the commercialization of cell-cultured salmon.
The startup designs toilet paper and paper towels from bamboo, in an attempt to reduce deforestation. The company, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, has 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 firm has been delivering promising results so far. Cloud Paper’s sales rose 930% since its seed funding round in September 2022, thanks to a 230% rise in direct-to-customer (D2C) base and a 400% rise in business customer base. In addition, the startup’s revenues have risen by nearly 800% over this period.
By investing in the Indonesian D2C software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Lummo, Bezos veered into the Southeast Asian market as well. The startup, which specializes in data analytics services for e-commerce platforms, has been witnessing rapidly growing demand for its flagship product LummoSHOP across 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 prime our business for exponential growth over the coming months and years. The investment will strengthen Lummo’s efforts to further build on our D2C product offerings 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.”
The majority of the startups Bezos has been investing in lately cater to the Generation Z demographic. This generation heavily influences the future of modern society. With increased focus on digital media and sustainability, Bezos’ latest investments capture key societal changes in recent years.
Read next: Top Startups to Invest in for September 2022
Photo by lev radin on Shutterstock
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