While most of Jeff Bezos’ $150 billion fortune comes from his ventures Amazon.com Inc., his venture capital company, Bezos Expeditions, is also a contributing factor. In fact, since stepping down as CEO of the world’s largest e-commerce company, Bezos has focused on acquiring startups across various industries, as he searches for the next big bet. Bezos seems to be dipping his toes in all kinds of water from space to real estate.
Investments Over the Years
Bezos invests primarily through his Washington-based investment firm Bezos Expeditions. The venture capital firm has made several savvy investments in early and late-stage ventures since its inception in 2005. Apart from that, it also owns Nashville Holdings LLC, through which it bought The Washington Post in 2013.
Not surprisingly, Bezos was an angel investor in Google in 1998. His $250,000 is worth about $3.1 billion today. During his seed B round of funding, he also invested about $37 million in ride-sharing startup Uber in 2011. The company has since grown to become a household name and has yielded impressive results 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 the commercialization of space travel.
Bezos Promises in 2022
Since its inception in 2005, Bezos Expeditions has invested in 96 companies and exited 17 investments. So far this year, it has invested in nine startup companies.
Overtime is a digital sports media company that distributes content through popular social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube. The startup has more than 65 million social media followers, and its content is streamed more than 2 billion times a month. Since the company was only founded in 2016, it has charted a remarkable growth trajectory in six years.
During his Series C funding, Bezos was one of the most prominent investors in Overtime, where he raised nearly $80 million. In addition, the company raised $100 million during its Series D funding, and is currently valued at $500 million. Annual overtime revenue is typically between $50 and $100 million, thanks to massive league sponsorships and digital advertising.
Overtime is currently working on developing its premier basketball league, Overtime League, which includes athletes between the ages of 16 and 18.
The NYC-based startup aims to simplify adulthood. The app-based platform is designed to help the Gen Z population as they step into the real world in mundane daily tasks that involve health, finance or work. The platform raised $3.4 million in 2021, including an investment from Bezos Expeditions.
From understanding income taxes to handling pregnancy and parenthood, Realworld currently has more than 90 playbooks to help young adults. As members of Gen Z graduate and enter the workforce, the demand for simple yet inclusive platforms like Realworld is increasing. By 2025, approximately 25% of the workforce will be made up of Gen Z individuals. While Realworld currently provides free access to its playbooks, CEO Genevieve Ryan Bellaire is currently designing a subscription-based model for features additional or concierge support.
This isn’t the first time Bezos has dabbled in real estate. He had invested in Airbnb in 2011 when it was a start-up. Although the exact amount of profit is unknown, Bezos is estimated to have made billions from his real estate stake.
After the commercial success of Airbnb, Bezos is now betting on the real estate investment platform Houses came. So far, he has made two investments in the startup, which acquires properties across North America and converts them into long- and short-term rentals and allows investors to buy shares of the properties for as little as $100. This investment is already paying off, as rental rates rise and demand for short-term rentals rises 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 CEO of Stark Bank, Rafael Stark, after the Series B funding, the startup is close to achieving unicorn status.
As of April 2022, the Brazilian fintech has 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.
Shipment tracking startup Outgo also gained the attention of the third richest man, 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 about $400 million. With fees and charges lower than the industry, Outgo aims to capitalize on the inconsistencies in the current supply chain system.
doxo is an all-in-one app designed for online bill payments. With a number of industry leading partners including AT&T Inc. and Sound Community Bank, the company is making strides 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 to Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing companies. 5000 issued last month.
Bezos has been connected to doxo since 2013, as he was one of the early seed investors in the platform. He was also involved in doxo’s most recent Series C round in March, where the company raised $18.5 million.
In February 2022, Bezos participated in Wildtype’s Series B funding round of the cell-cultured salmon farming initiative. The platform raised $100 million during this round and is currently on track to commercialize cultured seafood.
The company aims to partner with fine dining restaurants across the US to offer sushi-grade salmon free of microplastics. As the wild fish population is at risk of extinction amid dwindling fish stocks, the cell cultured salmon should gain traction soon. Additionally, as sustainability concerns remain at an all-time high, Wildtype is expected to benefit significantly from the commercialization of cell cultured salmon.
The startup designs toilet paper and paper towels from bamboo, in an effort 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 had promising results so far. Cloud Paper’s sales increased 930% from its seed funding round in September 2022, thanks to a 230% increase in the direct-to-customer (D2C) base and a 400% increase in the business customer base. In addition, the startup’s revenue has increased by almost 800% over this period.
By investing in Indonesian D2C software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Lummo, Bezos also looked into the Southeast Asian market. The start-up specializes in data analytics services for e-commerce platforms and has seen the rapidly growing demand for its flagship product LummoSHOP across South Asia.
Lummo founder and CEO Krishnan Menon said, “We are honored to have the support of Jeff Bezos in this Series C investment round as we target our business for exponential growth in the coming months and years. The investment will strengthen Lummo’s efforts to further build on our D2C product offerings and provide 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 that Bezos has been investing in recently are to cater to the demographic of Generation Z. This generation greatly influences the future of modern society. With an increased focus on digital media and sustainability, Bezos’ latest investments in recent years have brought about major societal changes.
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