Jeff Bezos is not only the world's richest man, he's also a very smart investor. That's especially true when he invests in startups. Over the past few years, he's put money into several new companies that turned out to be phenomenally successful, including Airbnb, Uber, General Assembly, MakerBot, and Lookout.
Where is Bezos putting his money these days? Into a handful of companies you've probably never heard of. But chances are you will, especially now that they have the Amazon founder's money and smarts backing them. The personal finance site GOBankingRates has done the research and identified 15 companies Bezos has poured money into over the last decade. You can find the full list here. These are some of his most recent investments:
1. Mindstrong Health
In December 2018, Mindstrong Health announced it had received Series B funding from a group of investors, including Bezos Expeditions. Mindstrong Health is an app designed to track users' mood and cognition, and identify early signs of depression or other mental health issues. MIT Technology Review described Mindstrong Health as "the smartphone app that can tell you're depressed before you know it yourself."
Mark43 makes software for law enforcement, including a computer-aided dispatch system and a records management system. In March 2018, the company announced it had closed $38 million in Series C funding, some of it from Bezos Expeditions. The company's software is in use in 60 public safety agencies, including the police departments of Boston, Washington, D.C., and (perhaps not surprisingly) Seattle.
In July 2017, agriculture company Plenty received $200 million from Bezos Expeditions as part of its Series B funding. Plenty is developing science to allow crops to thrive in pesticide- and herbicide-free environments, and has pioneered indoor vertical growing technology that requires only 1 percent of the water used in traditional farming methods.
In April 2017, Bezos invested $190 million of his personal funds into EverFi, which provides teachers and students with digital courses in life skills such as financial literacy, health and wellness, and STEM and career readiness. Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and Alphabet, is another investor.
Grail has a simple mission: "To detect cancer early, when it can be cured." The company is developing blood tests that can identify cancers at an earlier stage when treatments are more effective and less invasive. Bezos Expeditions invested $100 million in the company in 2016.
Fundbox provides a revolving line of credit up to $100,000 for small businesses. Borrowers pay only for the money they draw, and pay a weekly fee until the money is repaid. The advantages to borrowers are simplicity, transparency, and fast access to money for qualified borrowers. Bezos Expeditions and Spark Capital Growth provided a combined $50 million to Fundbox's Series C funding in 2015.