Jeff Bezos, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, persuaded Google co-founders to let him invest $250,000 in their company. It was 1998, and Google was run from a rented parking garage then; fast forward to 2023, and his shares in the company could be worth $22.5 billion today.

Via Instagram / @jeffbezos

Amazon and Google, two of the biggest tech companies in the world in terms of market cap, have been involved in many messy fights over the years. Be it over digital book publishing back in the late 2000s or fiercely competing on video streaming, the two tech behemoths have often found themselves locking horns. However, not many people know that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos played an important role in making Google a giant multinational corporation that forever changed how the internet works. Surprised? Believe it or not, Bezos was one of the first people to invest in Google when it was still operating out of a tiny garage in Menlo Park, California. Well, here’s one of the most interesting Silicon Valley stories you’ll definitely want to know.

It was in the early 1990s when Bezos decided to quit his six-figure Wall Street job and capitalize on the meteoric growth of the internet by starting an e-commerce business. Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online book store after raising seed capital from his parents, siblings, and a few other people. The company went public three years later, which not only made Bezos but also his parents billionaires by the turn of the century.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the domain on September 15, 1997.

How the 59-year-old used invention, experiments, innovation, customer satisfaction, and creativity to turn Amazon into one of the leading technology brands in the world is well known. But his ability to recognize talent early on is less talked about. Much before the world had heard about Google, Bezos identified that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both pursuing their Ph.D. at Stanford University, were on to something big and decided to make an investment.

Initially Larry Page and Sergey Brin had named their search engine Backrub. Source – Google.

A 2013-published book titled “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” authored by Bloomberg journalist Brad Stone, includes interesting details of how Bezos convinced Google’s founders to let the Amazon CEO become an early investor. As the story goes, it all began with Amazon’s acquisition of Indian delivery service Junglee in 1998. While the company shut shop, it brought the Junglee’s former president Kavitark Ram Shriram to Amazon’s board. It is believed that Shriram had been discretely mentoring Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were trying to build a tool to index the internet. He even became one of the first investors of Google, with an investment of $250,000 in February of 1998.

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Source – Twitter

Several months later, Bezos and his then-wife, MacKenzie Scott, were on vacation in the Bay Area when he reached out to Shriram to set up a meeting with Page and Brin. The Stanford students behind Google were invited by Shriram to his house along with Bezos for breakfast, where a demonstration was given on how the search would work. The Amazon founder was immediately sold on the idea and ready to put in money into the budding startup.

Bezos said: “I Just Fell in Love With Larry and Sergey.” In addition to the $250,000 investment from Shriram, Page and Brin also had a $100,000 check from Andy Bechtolsheim, a founder of Sun Microsystems, who was one of the few to see the true potential of Google. What that meant was the duo behind Google was not looking for fresh investment at that stage.

After being asked to move out of Stanford for using excessive Internet bandwidth, the search engine Google was established in Susan Wojcicki’s garage. Susan, one of Google’s earliest employees, later became the CEO of YouTube. Source – Screengrab / Youtube.

Bezos’ reputation as the founder of a successful internet company and a net worth of $1.6 billion made the investment offer difficult to pass. Shriram played his part in convincing the two Google founders to accept Bezos’ offer to invest $250,000 in the company in 1998. Back in those days, Google was operating from its first corporate headquarters located in a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California.

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Source – Google Maps.

Furthermore, Google was still in the beta phase, getting 10,000 queries a day. It wasn’t until the next year Google moved into a real office in Palo Alto and was attending to around 500,000 queries a day. Currently, Google processes 8.5 billion search queries every day. From a tiny office in a garage back in ‘98, Google now has 70 offices in 50 countries and has a market cap of $1.64 trillion.

Google (now Alphabet) made its stock market debut on Aug 19th, 2004 and Jeff Bezos’ investment of $250,000 catapulted to about $280 million that day.

According to AllThingsSD When Bezos had pumped a quarter of a million dollars into Google, it is believed that he got the shares 4 cents apiece. When Google went public in 2004, Bezos reportedly held around 3.3 million shares in the company, which were privately held by the Amazon founder. There’s no publicly available record that tells us if Bezos still holds his shares in Google or has sold them.

Billionaire VC Masayoshi Son was once richer than Bill Gates.

If we consider he still continues to own all the shares, his stake in the tech giant would be worth around $22.5 billion, per the closing price of Google’s stock on Wednesday (Dec 6). His shares in Google alone would make him the 78th richest person on the planet as per Forbes, putting him ahead of the famed Softbank founder Masayoshi Son, which is absolutely crazy. This makes it one of the best venture investments of all time.

Notes – As reported by Bloomberg in July 2018, Jeff Bezos’ shares in Google were valued at $8 billion. Considering stock splits and the closing price of Google on December 6, 2023, these shares would now be worth $22.5 billion.

As per the Forbes billionaire’s list on December 6, 2023, Masayoshi Son was worth $21.8 billion.

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.