Jeff Bezos says he liquidates a whopping $1 billion of Amazon stock every year to pay for his rocket company, Blue Origin

HO/Mike Brown/Space FloridaJeff Bezos.
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos uses $US1 billion of his “Amazon winnings” to fund his aerospace company, Blue Origin, he said in a recent interview.
  • The entrepreneur has a net worth of $US127 billion and several personal projects to spend it on – but he says none are as important as an investment as Blue Origin and the goal of putting civilizations in space.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spends a tiny fraction of his net worth to fund Blue Origin, the aerospace company he started in 2000.

For a man worth $US127 billion, that tiny fraction amounts to $US1 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’s 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,” he said in an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner. “Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune.”

Bezos said he planned to continue funding the company through that annual tradition long into the future.

Bezos famously has numerous projects. He runs Amazon, owns The Washington Post, and is working on turning a mansion in Washington, DC, into a single-family home, to name a few. None of these, he said, are as relevant or as worthy of his money as Blue Origin, which he called “the most important work I’m doing.”

His 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 humans don’t explore the possibility of living on other planets.

“I don’t want my great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in a civilisation of stasis,” he said in the interview.

Humans are increasingly taking up a lot of energy – something Bezos refers to as “the real energy crisis.” He sees two options: living inactively to use minimal energy, or expanding into space.

“The solar system can easily support 1 trillion humans,” he said. “And if we have 1 trillion humans, we would have 1,000 Einsteins, and 1,000 Mozarts, and unlimited – for all practical purposes – resources from solar power, and so on.”

In the short term, his yearly $US1 billion is going toward a tourism vehicle, expected to launch at the end of this year or beginning of 2019, and a large orbital vehicle scheduled to fly in 2020.

“I’m very lucky because I feel like I have a mission-driven purpose with Blue Origin,” he said.

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