Shaquille O’Neal says this advice from Jeff Bezos got him to invest in a $29 million education startup backed by Sam Altman

Shaquille O’Neal says this advice from Jeff Bezos got him to invest in a $29 million education startup backed by Sam Altman


When you are contemplating funding advice, taking a tip from one of many world’s wealthiest individuals might be a good place to begin.

That’s why Shaquille O’Neal says he turned to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for inspiration earlier than deciding to invest in Campus, the net group school startup that is already raised more than $29 million from buyers like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Discord founder Jason Citron.

Even with these big-name backers already in tow, O’Neal recently told Fortune that his determination to invest an undisclosed quantity in the startup in the end got here down to his perception that Campus might “change individuals’s lives” — which reminded him of advice he’d beforehand heard from Bezos.

“I heard Jeff Bezos say, in the event you invest in issues that is going to change individuals’s lives, you will at all times get a nice return in your funding,” O’Neal mentioned. “But this specific funding will not be about nice return as a result of I really feel that everybody ought to have entry to world-class education.”

Launched by tech entrepreneur Tade Oyerinde, 29, in 2022, Campus is an accredited on-line group school that gives courses taught by professors who additionally educate at universities equivalent to Princeton, Vanderbilt and Spelman College. Oyerinde, himself a school dropout, said in a statement last year that he based the startup to make “increased education extra accessible, extra reasonably priced, and extra related” to college students throughout the nation from various backgrounds and revenue ranges.

It’s not the primary time Bezos has influenced certainly one of O’Neal’s enterprise choices. In 2022, the basketball Hall of Famer said he was “scared” off from making a bid to purchase the NBA’s Phoenix Suns after studying stories that Bezos is perhaps contemplating his personal provide for the crew. O’Neal, who has an estimated net worth above $400 million, mentioned on the time that he’d relatively not compete towards Bezos and some other “heavy hitters” who had been eyeing the crew, which eventually sold to billionaire Matt Isbhia a 12 months later.

And, O’Neal has lengthy touted Bezos’ advice to hunt down funding alternatives that he actually believes can “change individuals’s lives.” 

“If one thing comes throughout my desk and I do not imagine in it, I do not even take a look at it,” O’Neal informed The Wall Street Journal in 2019. 

O’Neal’s funding monitor document contains a variety of profitable performs. (O’Neal claims he by no means really invested in doomed crypto trade FTX, although he did function a paid spokesperson.) The basketball legend’s portfolio contains investments in Google, Lyft, Ring and Vitaminwater, together with owning franchises of companies equivalent to Papa John’s, Auntie Anne’s, and Five Guys.

Bezos’ advice helped O’Neal belief his conviction in a enterprise’ mission, even over pure monetary motivation, although he informed WSJ in 2019 that it is actually paid financial dividends, as properly.

“Once I began doing that technique, I believe I most likely quadrupled what I’m price,” he mentioned.

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