A year ago, Jeff Bezos was the richest man in the world. He currently sits at number four in the Forbes rankings, but with a net worth of around $130 billion, it’s hard to imagine he’s too concerned about losing the number one spot.
We all know Bezos as the founder and former CEO of Amazon, but what are the other Jeff Bezos Companies that he owns or has investments in?
Well, let’s find out…
- The Jeff Bezos Empire
- Amazon Subsidiaries
- Businesses Jeff Bezos Independently Owns
- Jeff Bezos Investments
- Why Not Work For The Legend?
- Final Thoughts
The Jeff Bezos Empire
Well, Jeff has been a very busy man. Bezos has acquired multiple companies under the Amazon banner as subsidiaries, created his own new companies, and bought other business entities independent of Amazon. He’s also made a large chunk of his fortune from incredibly prescient investments via his venture capital company Bezos Expeditions.
Bezos founded Amazon, the online retail giant, back in 1994, initially just selling books. They have since mushroomed into the largest online retailer in the world, selling almost anything you can imagine. They also offer a host of other services and products, most of which are provided through the many subsidiary companies Amazon has bought.
Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon in late 2021 but is still the Executive Chairman and retains a 10% stake in the business, making him the largest individual shareholder.
Under the Amazon banner, Bezos has acquired a range of other tech and retail companies. There are 40 subsidiary companies of Amazon. Here are some of the more well-known acquisitions the company has made.
The online apparel and footwear retailer was founded in 1999 and rapidly grew its business until being acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion. Even though it is an Amazon subsidiary, as part of the deal, Zappos has been allowed to continue working as though they were a separate entity. This has allowed them to retain their company culture, which was important to the directors.
The Internet Movie Database is an online resource that collates information about movies and TV shows. This includes details of the cast and production crew, plot summaries, and user ratings and reviews.
What started as a hobby by an English film enthusiast in 1990, steadily grew into a comprehensive resource widely seen as the go-to website for movie information. IMDb became a company in its own right in 1996. Two short years later, Amazon paid $55 million, making IMDb a subsidiary but a private part of the company.
If you’re a podcast fan, the chances are you will have heard of Audible, as they sponsor some of the leading podcasts out there.
For those that haven’t, Audible is the leading seller of online audiobooks, podcasts, and a range of other spoken word material. Amazon’s involvement in the company started when it bought a 5% stake in the year 2000. In 2008, Amazon purchased the entire operation for a reported $300 million.
Launched in 2011, the live-streaming video game-playing service quickly gained a huge number of users. By 2013, Twitch had attracted 45 million unique visitors to the site, and by 2014, it was ranked as the fourth largest creator of internet traffic in America.
It was at this point Amazon stepped in and purchased the company for $970 million. Amazon has expanded the content Twitch streams to include not only e-sports but live sporting events too. In 2018 they streamed 11 NFL Thursday night games, and they are moving into other professional sports too.
Started in Austin, Texas, as an independent health food shop in 1978. From these humble beginnings, it went from strength to strength, acquiring rival chains a building an empire of 467 stores in the United States, Canada, and the UK by 2017. That performance was enough for Amazon, and they bought the company in 2017 for an impressive $13.7 billion adding them to their ever-expanding retail portfolio.
Digital Photography Review is a website dedicated to digital photography and digital camera equipment. Established in 1998, they provide comprehensive reviews and buying guides, along with discussion forums. By 2007, they were receiving seven million unique visitors per month and were subsequently purchased by Amazon for an undisclosed fee.
Before Amazon bought it, Souq was the largest online retailer in the Middle East. Starting as an auction site in 2005, it quickly altered its business model to something akin to Amazon itself, and by 2015, the website was handling over ten million unique monthly visitors. Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Souq for around $700 million gave the company its first avenue into the Arab market.
Founded in 2013, Ring is a home security company that is famed primarily for making smart doorbells that incorporate video technology that can be accessed via an app. Users can also share their captured footage with neighbors via the app.
The company grew quickly, attracting Shaquille O’Neal as a spokesman and an extra $200 million in investment from major players, including Goldman Sachs and Richard Branson, in 2016. Amazon saw enough potential to buy Ring in a deal worth between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion.
Kiva Systems was established in 2003 to address the lack of efficiency in the collection of goods at warehouses and distribution centers. They focused their attention on creating automated solutions to replace vehicles like forklift trucks.
Obviously, such a system would have huge cost-saving implications for a company the size of Amazon, which bought Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012. In 2015 they changed the company name to Amazon Robotics. Since then, the company has canceled all contracts outside of its Amazon operations, preferring not to share such crucial technology.
Founded in 2006, Goodreads is an online resource for book lovers, focusing primarily on user-generated reviews. It also uses an algorithm that recommends books based on what you’ve liked in the past. By the time of the Amazon purchase in 2013, the number of members of the site had risen to 12 million. Amazon bought the site for an undisclosed fee and has since raised membership numbers to a staggering 90 million.
Other notable Amazon acquisitions include:
- AbeBooks – purchased 2008 for $90 – $120 million.
- Fabric.com – purchased 2008 for an undisclosed fee.
- Woot.com – Purchased 2010 for $110 million.
- ComiXology – Purchased 2014 for an undisclosed fee.
- PillPack – Purchased 2018 for $753 million.
So as the CEO of Amazon, Bezos didn’t just sit back on the steadily growing profits of his main business. He single-mindedly diversified Amazon’s holdings, not only buying up potential competitors but also other up-and-coming tech companies.
Businesses Jeff Bezos Independently Owns
Whilst he was busy adding subsidiary companies into the Amazon ecosystem, Bezos also bought and created companies independent of Amazon, which we’ll take a look at next…
The Washington Post
Founded in 1877, The Washington Post is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the country. Historically well respected, it has received 65 Pulitzer prizes for its journalism work. In 2013, Bezos purchased the publication for $250 million via a company he owns called Nash Holdings.
Bezos supposedly doesn’t interfere with the day-to-day running of the newspaper, restricting his involvement to a video call with the chief editor every two weeks. His main aim has been to shift the newspaper from a physical to a digital publication. He has been largely successful in this endeavor, tripling digital subscription numbers to three million since the purchase.
Founded by Bezos in 2000, Blue Origin aims to drastically reduce the expense of space travel, making it potentially affordable for individuals outside of NASA. They aim to achieve this through the development of reusable launch rockets.
In July 2021, Blue Origin sent its first four passengers into space for a 10-minute flight with Bezos himself aboard. Going forward, Blue Origin also intends to compete with companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX, for NASA contracts on top of their own space tourism aspirations.
Jeff Bezos Investments
Bezos has also garnered a huge amount of wealth from his uncanny ability to spot a good investment when he sees one. His personal venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions, has made high-profile investments in some of the most successful companies of recent times.
For example, Bezos was smart enough to be one of the earlier investors in Google. His initial $250,000 stake is now worth around $1.5 billion, depending on the current google share price. That’s an 8,000-fold return!
He sees the next big thing!
Bezos also got in early with investments in other notable companies, including Twitter, Uber, Airbnb, Basecamp, and Business Insider. He clearly has an eye for the next big thing and deep enough pockets to finance his speculations.
Why Not Work For The Legend?
It has been said that Amazon is one of the best companies to work for! So, before you apply, let’s find out more about the work policies in place, such as the Amazon HR Policy, the Amazon Vacation Policy, and Amazon VTO Policy, along with the Amazon UPT Policy, the Amazon Mandatory Overtime Policy, and the Amazon Bereavement Policy, if you’ve had a death in the family.
Next, take a look at Amazon Transfer Policy, or perhaps if need be, the Amazon Termination Policy and Amazon Rehire Policy, as well as Does Amazon Give Bonuses or Does Amazon Give Raises, and just out of curiosity, How Many Employees Does Amazon Have in 2023?
Now we can move onto the application process with our in-depth guide to the Amazon Application, and once you’ve applied, find out What Does Amazon Jobs Application Under Construction Mean? But, if you have a criminal record, please check the Amazon Background Check Policy and Does Amazon Hire Felons before moving forward.
So as you can see, there’s a reason why Jeff Bezos was the first person to surpass an individual wealth of over $100 billion. Perhaps more than any other modern entrepreneur, he saw the potential fortunes to be made from e-commerce and bet harder on it than anyone else.
He didn’t rest on his Amazon laurels, though. Through a series of Amazon acquisitions, independent purchases, and almost clairvoyant investment decisions, he’s kept himself ahead of the game for 25 years. It will be interesting to see how his fortunes develop from here on, but if his history is anything to go by, Jeff will do just fine.
So, now you know the history behind Jeff Bezos Companies!