Amazon is one of the world’s most profitable businesses with an earning of $87.4 billion reported in the fourth quarter of 2019. Does Jeff Bezos own it?
Yes, tech giant Jeff Bezos does own Amazon. Not only does Jeff Bezos own the company, he is also the founder and has been at the head of the groundbreaking enterprise for almost thirty years.
Scroll down to learn more about how Bezos began and developed Amazon into the tech giant it is today.
Starting Out As an Online Bookstore
It was in July of 1994 that Jeff Bezos founded Amazon. When Bezos initially incorporated the company, he called it Cadabra Inc. but soon thereafter chose to change the name to Amazon. He had toyed with the idea of naming the company Relentless, even going as far as purchasing the domain relentless.com, but was convinced by friends that the name was too sinister. Finally, he settled on the name Amazon because the Amazon Basin was different and exotic, just like the idea he had for his new company.
Using his deep seeded analytical skills, Bezos compiled a list of the top twenty products that he could market online. He narrowed that list down and eventually settled on the idea of selling books through his e-commerce website.Working out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington, Bezos sold and shipped books to all 50 states and 45 countries. It only took Bezos two months to see sales sky rocket to $20,000 dollars a week. His parents, who had invested $300,000 in their son’s startup, were extremely proud of the accomplishment.
Amazon Goes Public
On March 24, 1997, Amazon announced that they had filed for their Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock market. The IPO would be for 2.5 million shares of common stock.
On May 15, 1997, the company entered the stock market. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) was set at $18 a share, but once trading began at the open, the stock sold for as high as $30 a piece. When the market closed, the company found itself to be $54 million richer closing at a market value of $438 million.
In a GeekWire article, it was determined that if a person invested $1000 in the IPO Amazon stock, that money would be worth around $634,000 twenty years later!
Revolutionizing Online Shopping
In 1998, Bezos made the decision to start offering products other than just books. On June 10, 1998, Amazon announced that they would be launching The Ultimate Music Store. Not even six months later, on November 17, 1998, it was announced that they had opened two new online stores for video and holiday gifts. It was just in time for the holiday shopping season. This was still far from the Amazon that we know today, but it was definitely on its way.
Through the years, Bezos jumped into new markets. This ranged from a full offering of Toys and Games to mobile shopping to patenting revolutionary technology such as the 1-Click service. Amazon has been at the forefront of changing the way we shop for decades. Follow the below YouTube link to watch a 1999 interview with Bezos on the future of Amazon.
When you are trying to revolutionize an industry and stay ahead of your competitors, it makes sense to start acquiring companies that will help lead you to success. Throughout the 26-years that Amazon has been in business, Bezos has acquired quite the list of companies.
The acquisitions began with two booksellers in the European market, but expanded from there. To date, Amazon has acquired over 100 different companies and has stakes in at least another 20 companies. On the list of acquisitions you will see names like IMDb, Goodreads, Audible, and Whole Foods. This is not even including entities that Bezos has acquired separately from his brainchild Amazon, such as the Washington Post.
A True Success Story
Looking back now, it is easy to see how the company became the giant it is today. With a stake in almost every industry, there is no arguing that the story of Jeff Bezos and Amazon is one of phenomenal success. Like many tech startups, it was all due to a relentless and strategic leader who began with a dream in his garage.