On January 12 in the year 1964, the world’s top billionaire was born in New Mexico, USA. His name is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, the e-commerce behemoth that sells almost everything online. According to forbes.com, his net worth is $148.2B as of June 5, 2020.
Jeff was the adopted son of an engineer who migrated from Cuba at age 15. Jeff was high school valedictorian and went on to attend Princeton University where he earned a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. After graduation, he joined Fitel, a startup that was trying to develop a network for international trade. Later, he took a job at Banker’s Trust before he moved to hedge fund D.E. Shaw where he rose to become vice-president.
In 1994, Jeff learned the explosive growth of internet users. He decided to become part of it. In his garage, he founded Amazon, initially to deal with online selling of books. After a month of launching the online bookstore, it had already attracted customers from all 50 states of the US and 45 different countries. In 1997, the company went public.
In the following years, Jeff had weathered storms such as the dotcom bubble. More and more products were sold on its website and shares of the company soared. In 2000, he formed space company Blue Origin with an ambition to develop space travel and eventually colonize outer bodies such as the Moon and planet Mars. In 2013, it purchased Washington Post for $250 million. It had also launched its own cloud computing business which became its most profitable division. In 2017, Amazon acquired supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
Jeff Bezos has four children with his former wife Mackenzie. The couple divorced in 2019 and Jeff transferred a quarter of his Amazon stake to her. That makes her one of the richest Americans with $48.5 billion net worth.
In April 2020, Bezos promised to donate $100 million to Feed America, a nonprofit organization that operates food banks and food pantries in the United States.
In 2019, Amazon was the 2nd largest company in the 2020 Fortune 500 list with revenues of $280.5 billion and with more than 840 thousand employees.