The entrepreneur has a net worth of $127 billion and a number of personal projects to spend it on, but he says none are as important an investment as Blue Origin and the goal to put civilizations in space.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos uses $1 billion of his “Amazon winnings” to fund his space company Blue Origin, he recently said in an interview.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spends a tiny fraction of his net worth to fund Blue Origin, the space company he started back in 2000.
For a man worth $127 billion dollars, that tiny fraction amounts to $1 billion a year, which he gets by liquidating Amazon stock, Bezos said at an Axel Springer awards event in Berlin, Germany, hosted by Business Insider US Editor in Chief Alyson Shontell.
“The only way I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune,” he joked in an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mattias Döpfner.
Bezos said he plans to continue funding the company through that annual tradition long into the future.
Bezos famously has a number of different projects. He’s running the e-commerce giant, owns The Washington Post, and is working on turning a historical mansion in DC into a single-family home, to name a few. None of these, he said, are as relevant or as worthy of his personal money as the space company, which he called “the most important work I’m doing.”
His personal interest in space aside, Bezos says he pursues his goal of putting people on a rocket to outer space because of what he fears could happen if we don’t explore the option of living on other planets.
“I don’t want my great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in a civilization of stasis,” he said in the interview.
Humans take up a lot of energy, and that amount is growing — something Bezos refers to as “the real energy crisis.” He sees two options: living in a state of inactivity to use up minimal energy or expanding into space.
“The solar system can easily support a trillion humans,” he said. “And if we have a trillion humans we would have a thousand Einsteins, and a thousand Mozarts, and unlimited — for all practical purposes — resources from solar power and so on.”
In the short term, his billion dollars-a-year is going towards a tourism vehicle that will launch at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019, and a large orbital vehicle that’s scheduled to fly for the first time in 2020.
“I’m very lucky because I feel like I have a mission-driven purpose with Blue Origin,” he said.