Count this as another great week for e-commerce titan Jeff Bezos. On Wednesday, the Amazon founder and CEO released his latest annual shareholder letter, announcing that Amazon’s Prime subscription service has more than 100 million members globally.
The news, disclosed for the first time by Bezos, sent his net worth soaring further.
The fortune of the world’s only centibillionaire rose by $7.7 billion in the past week and at the close of trading Friday sat at $126.2 billion, according to Forbes’ Real-Time rankings of the world’s billionaires.
Bezos owns 16% of the e-commerce colossus he founded, a stake that accounts for 95% of his estimated fortune. Amazon’s share price rose 5.7% in the week through Friday April 20 following several pieces of positive news in the shareholder letter. In addition to the whopping number of Prime members, Bezos disclosed that in 2017 Amazon Prime gained more members than ever and shipped over 5 billion items to Prime members. Last year also marked Amazon’s best year for device sales, with tens of millions of Echo smart speakers sold.
Bezos also described the company’s goal of continuing to perform ever better.
“We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’,” he wrote, starting off the letter by noting that Amazon has been ranked number one on the American Customer Satisfaction Index for the past eight years. “How do you stay ahead of ever-rising customer expectations? There’s no single way to do it – it’s a combination of many things. But high standards (widely deployed and at all levels of detail) are certainly a big part of it.”
Bezos has come a long way since 1994, when he founded Amazon as an e-commerce bookstore in his garage after quitting his job at a New York hedge fund. In 1997 Amazon went public at $18 a share, and the following year Bezos joined The Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans and expanded Amazon’s offerings beyond books.
The e-commerce behemoth has since expanded into seemingly every market, including food with last year’s acquisition of grocer Whole Foods supermarkets. Shares now trade at $1,527–some 8,000% higher than the IPO price–and last year revenue clocked in at $177 billion. Bezos became the number one richest person in the world on Forbes’ annual Billionaires List in March for the first time, unseating Bill Gates.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of our first shareholder letter, and our core values and approach remain unchanged. We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and we recognize this to be no small or easy challenge,” Bezos wrote. Right now shareholders are communicating that Amazon is meeting the challenge