After multiple meetings in 1994, Jeff Bezos convinced his parents to invest $245,573 in a struggling Amazon. However, it was the most profitable investment in history, and their stake in Amazon would be worth $48.4 billion today, making them even richer than Jeff’s ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stayed on the top of the list of the world’s richest people for many years before the position was taken over by Elon Musk. With an estimated current net worth of around $170 billion, Bezos is still in the third position, right behind Musk and French businessman Bernard Arnault. However, most people are not aware that Jeff Bezos’ parents, Jackie and Mike Bezos, are not very far behind. In fact, they could be among the top 30 wealthiest people in the world thanks to an investment of $245,573 in Amazon back in 1995. If Bezos’ parents have not sold their holdings, their Amazon shares could be currently worth close to $50 billion.

Jeff Bezos when he started Amazon. Via Instagram / @jeffbezos

In the early 1990s, Bezos was fascinated by the rapid growth of internet usage in those days and wanted to capitalize on it. Noticing the potential of e-commerce, he decided to quit his Wall Street job and create an online bookstore. That’s how Amazon was in July 1994. However, to fuel his dreams and set up his business, Bezos required capital. As the story goes, he held 60 meetings with family members, friends, and prospective investors back in 1994 to get an investment of around $50,000 apiece in Amazon to help him raise $1 million. Only 20 people decided to put money into his wild idea, which included his parents, his younger brother Mark, and his sister Christina. While his siblings only invested $10,000 each, the majority of the seed capital came from his parents.

The most profitable venture investment of all time?
According to a prospectus released by Amazon ahead of going public in 1997, Jackie and Mike Bezos put $245,573 into their son’s business idea in 1995; that’s nearly five times Jeff’s ask. Little did they know that an investment of a quarter-million-dollar will soon make them billionaires. Before the turn of the century, Jeff’s net worth was already more than $9 billion, while the meteoric rise of Amazon had also turned his parents into billionaires. Since the end of 1999, the parents’ holdings haven’t been publicly disclosed, which makes it extremely difficult to estimate their current net worth. Furthermore, the couple has continued to donate their Amazon stocks to their charitable foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, since 2001. The philanthropic organization was started by Jeff’s parents in 2000 with the aim of supporting science and education through multiple grants and programs.

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Jeff Bezos shares a laugh with his step father Miguel. Via Instagram / @jeffbezos

However, according to a Bloomberg report, the parents had an estimated net worth of $30 billion in 2018, which was calculated after taking into consideration all the stocks donated to their foundation. If they haven’t sold or donated any more of their holding since then, Jackie and Mike Bezos could be worth $48.5 billion, according to Amazon’s latest stock price. And if that’s true, it will put Bezos’ parents in the 27th position on the list of the Forbes billionaires, ahead of Nvidia co-founder Jensen Huang and even Bezos’ ex-wife Mackenzie Scott. Additionally, the total return on the money invested in that case would be around 16 million percent in less than three decades, which would make it one the most profitable venture investments of all time. Just to put it into context, Sequoia Capital’s investment in WhatsApp returned roughly 36,000 percent when Facebook bought it in 2014.

Jeff Bezos hugging his mother after landing back on earth from a Blue Origin spaceflight. Via Instagram / @jeffbezos

Jeff was born to Jacklyn and her first husband, Ted Jorgensen, in January 1964. However, his biological father, Ted Jorgensen, was not actively involved in his life, and his parents divorced when Bezos was just a baby. Jacklyn remarried to Miguel (Mike) Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who became Jeff Bezos’ stepfather. Jeff eventually took on the last name Bezos. Jeff Bezos has often publicly spoken about the influence of his stepfather in shaping his values and work ethic.

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Jeff Bezos with his step father Miguel. Via Instagram / @jeffbezos

However, the biggest contribution came in the form of the investment made by Mike when Amazon was struggling in its early days. Obviously, the investment was far from a sure bet, and Jeff even told his parents that there was a 70 percent chance his parents wouldn’t see that money ever again.

There have been multiple threads on social media highlighting the then massive seed investment of $250,000 by Bezos’ parents. Via Twitter / @aidan_smx

Is Jeff Bezos truly a self-made man?
Jeff Bezos is largely considered a self-made entrepreneur for building Amazon into one of the world’s most valuable companies. However, there are some critics who believe otherwise and disagree that Bezos deserves to be tagged as a self-made man. While it is true that Bezos had certain advantages helping him out when he started Amazon in the mid-1990s, including the big investment made by his parents. However, Bezos did not inherit a massive fortune or business empire from his family. He built Amazon from the ground up, starting from his garage and turning it into a $1.5 trillion behemoth, building astounding wealth for himself and his parents.

Notes – As reported in the Bloomberg story published on July 31, 2018, the stakes of Jeff Bezos’ parents was valued at $30 billion. This valuation was based on Amazon’s stock closing price of $91 on that day. As of the writing of this article, Amazon’s closing stock price is $147, which values the stake of Jeff Bezos’ parents at $48.4 billion.

As of the time this article was written, according to Forbes, Mackenzie Scott has a net worth of $38.8 billion, and Jensen Huang, the co-founder of NVIDIA, has a net worth of $40.6 billion, ranking them 32nd and 30th, respectively, on the publication’s billionaires list.

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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.