There’s a new pecking order among the list of the world’s most richest people.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has jumped two places to become the second richest man in the world, behind Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Bezos leapfrogged Warren Buffet and Amancio Ortega after Amazon’s stock rose sharply following its announcement of acquiring Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com. The stock jump caused Bezos’ net worth to jump $1.5 billion, taking his fortune to $75.6 billion (Rs. 4,91,000 crore). Warren Buffet is just $700 million behind, while Ortega is $1.3 billion away.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates remains the richest man in the world with a net worth of $86 billion (Rs. 5,59,000 crore).
Amazon’s had a good year thus far, having seen its stock rise 16% in the first three months. The company has seen its e-commerce business slowly become profitable, while its AWS arm continues to garner most of its incomes. Amazon has also been successful in expanding its e-commerce business outside the US; in India, Amazon had set the cat among the pigeons by launching in 2013, and is now snapping at the heels of local leader Flipkart. In Dubai, it now owns the biggest online retailer Souq, having just purchased it for $690 million.
It has been an incredible journey for Bezos, who was working at a New York hedge fund when he’d decided to create an online bookstore in 1994. He’d started the company in his garage, and things hadn’t been easy – he’d had to meet with 60 investors to raise money for his venture. He’d eventually managed to raise $1 million from 22 investors, who’d taken 20% of his company equity, valuing Amazon at $5 million. Nearly 20 years later, Amazon is valued at $421 billion, and Bezos is now regarded as one of the smartest tech CEOs around.
Apart from successfully running Amazon, Bezos is also a savvy investor. He’d invested $250,000 in Google in 1998; that stake is worth $2.9 billion today. He’s also invested in a host of other successful startups, including Airbnb, Twitter and Uber. And now Bezos has set his sights higher – his new company, Blue Origin wants to take humans into space. Bezos, clearly, is aiming for the stars.