The only centi-billionaire on the planet just got another couple billion dollars richer. Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, saw his fortune rise $2.8 billion on Tuesday as the stock of his e-commerce giant climbed 2.5% – a day after the launch of its first cashier-less store garnered much buzz around the industry.
Bezos now boasts a net worth of $113.5 billion, according to Forbes’ calculations – his highest ever. It’s a significant lead over the world’s second and third richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who have net worths of $92.5 billion and $92.3 billion, respectively. Bezos’ 12-figure-fortune nominally makes him the wealthiest person since Forbes started tracking fortunes in 1982. If we factor in inflation, Bill Gates was richer back in 1999, when he briefly passed $100 billion – worth roughly $150 billion in today’s dollars.
The Microsoft founder has also given away a large chunk of his wealth – his lifetime giving stands at over $36 billion. His Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, run by Gates and his wife, is the world’s largest private philanthropic foundation.
Bezos has only recently begun to give away bits of his fortune. The son of a Cuban immigrant, Bezos asked his 400,000 Twitter followers in June 2017 for philanthropic ideas, and recently donated $33 million to fund college scholarships for undocumented high school students.
Bezos derives the majority of his wealth from his 16% stake in Amazon. He is also the owner of The Washington Post and the founder of rocket start-up Blue Origin. Business has been good for The Post; it was reported earlier in January that the storied newspaper more than doubled its digital subscriptions in 2017 and will be profitable for the second year straight.
On Jan. 18, Amazon announced a list of 20 finalists for its second headquarters, which received 238 proposals from all over North America. Just four days later, the much anticipated Amazon Go store opened in its hometown of Seattle. The shop, which was previously accessible to employees only, sells a limited selection of groceries, meal kits, and prepared foods. Customers swipe into the store with the Amazon Go app, pick items off the shelves, then walk out with the goods – without ever needing to wait for a cashier. Cameras line the store to keep track of each shopper’s purchases, and the bill is charged to their Amazon accounts.
It remains unclear where Amazon intends to go with Amazon Go next, though it has been expanding its brick and mortar exposure, both with its bookstores and with the acquisition of organic grocery retailer Whole Foods.
Bezos got his start on Wall Street, where he worked for famed quantitative hedge fund D.E. Shaw after graduating from Princeton with degrees in computer science and electrical engineering. After climbing up the ladder at D.E. Shaw, Bezos quit and drove across the country to Seattle in 1994. He founded Amazon in the garage of his home and started selling books online, personally driving the packages to the post office in his 1987 Chevy Blazer. The online retailer is now one of the world’s most valuable companies, active in cloud computing, online streaming and smart devices, and has a market capitalization of over $650 billion. – Written by ,
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