Jeff Bezos is the world’s second richest man. One does not simply become that rich without understanding that wealth is created through careful diversification. Most recently, Bezos and Amazon have been in the news for the buyout of Whole Foods – a US-based health food chain – for $13.7 Bn. This deal can be counted as one of the highest valued deals in the food retail sector.
Bezos has about 79.8 Mn shares in Amazon. And with the new deal creating positive buzz, the Amazon share price continues to rise. Jeff Bezos too is a mere $4 Bn away from dethroning Bill Gates as the number one richest man in the world.
Amazon and Jeff Bezos have indulged in a careful strategy of diversification, investment and acquisition in a slew of categories and verticals. Some of which, the incumbents never saw coming. With Alexa, Apple’s Siri is getting a serious run for the money. Amazon has also been in the robotics business, after it bought Kivi Systems in 2012 and rebranded it Amazon Robotics. Amazon had also acquired The Washington Post in 2013, for $250 Mn.
But it is not just the ecommerce giant that looks onward and upward in search of new pastures. Bezos has invested in his personal capacity too. One of his earliest investments was in 1998 in a little-known company called Google. He invested $1 Mn in it for a successful IPO exit. His notable investment was in Airbnb and Uber, where he backed the companies to the tune of $37 Mn and $112 Mn, respectively.
The Jeff Bezos, Amazon Empire-Building Strategy
Bezos has employed a number of streams and venues in his quest to build an empire. A company that has far-reaching hold in almost all streams of daily life.
The Bezos Family Foundation is run by Jeff’s parents and is backed by Amazon stock. The foundation focusses on early education and has invested in LightSail Education’s Series B round. Nash Holdings LLC was the company Jeff Bezos used to buy The Washington Post.
Amazon too has an impressive acquisition-investment record. Apart from Whole Foods (the largest deal for the company), the company has invested in entities such as Zappos.com ($1.2 Bn in 2009), Twilio (which had a successful IPO). The company has also backed a few non-successes such as Kozmo.com, in which it invested $60 Mn.
But Bezos Expeditions, as the name suggests, is the far-reaching investment arm of Jeff Bezos. Bezos Expedition was launched in 2008. It has invested significantly in robotics. And has eventually risen to become a leader in collaborative robotics. Some of the notable investments include Rethink Robotics, General Fusion, Twitter, and Everfi. Rethink Robotics and General Fusion have received investments in successive rounds of funding from Bezos Expeditions.
This infographic gives a bird’s eye view of all the investments, acquisitions that Amazon, Jeff Bezos have done in the last two decades to reach the position they are in.
Amazon and Jeff Bezos are also looking towards India, the market they are so bullish on, for capturing a share of the food retail pie. Just this month, Inc42 reported that Amazon is set to get an official nod from the DIPP to invest $500 Mn in its India food retail business. Though, it remains to be seen, if any of the food retail chains go the Whole Foods way.