And the rich keep getting richer.
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon who already has a net worth of $113.5 billion, saw his fortune climb even higher on Tuesday as his stock climbed 2.5%, gaining him another $2.8 billion. Already the world’s only centi-billionaire (net worth of over $100 billion), his newly acquired riches gives him a substantial lead over Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, the second and third richest people in the world, respectively. It also makes him the richest person ever since Forbes started tracking the stat in the early 1980’s.
Where people like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos differ the most in regards to their fortune is their philanthropic efforts: while the Gates’ family has given away nearly $36 billion to date, mostly through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bezos has just started, giving away $33 million in 2017 to fund scholarships for so-called “dreamers,” or undocumented high school students.
Though Bezos only has a 16% stake in the tech giant (which is valued at over $400 billion), Bezos’ wealth is augmented by his ownership of renowned newspaper group The Washington Post and rocket company Blue Origin, both of which have increased profits during Bezos’ tenure.
One of the factors in Amazon’s increasing stock price of late is their focus on fully-autonomous stores, such as the Amazon Go grocery store that launched this past week in Seattle. Customers walk into the store, sign into their Amazon Go app, pick up the items that they want off the shelves, and then walk out. The cost is later deducted right from their Amazon accounts, making the whole process painless and efficient. To make sure nobody steals anything, Amazon Go stores are lined to the brim with cameras.
Another boon to the company as of late is their plans to open a second headquarters in addition to their first one located in Seattle. H2, as it is called, will create nearly 50,000 new jobs and plug $5 billion into the local economy; they’ve received hundreds of applicants from interested cities, and the list has only recently been narrowed down to less than 100.
Though it’s unclear exactly how Amazon will move forward, it’s safe to say that the future is very bright indeed for Amazon, especially considering where Bezos Began. Having founded Amazon in 1994, he quit his job at D.E. Shaw to open up an online bookseller, despite having degrees in computer science and electrical engineering and virtually no experience in online businesses. For every sale, Bezos drove the packages himself in his 1987 Chevy Blazer and dropped them off at the post office.
From those humble beginnings grew the empire known as Amazon, a store that is expanding into brick and mortar stores after dominating the online space for the last 20 years. As the leading innovator in cloud computing, online streaming, and smart devices, Amazon is poised to grow even higher in terms of value, which means that its founder, Jeff Bezos, is poised to stay on the top of the world’s richest person list for a long time yet.