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- Jeff Wilke spent over 20 years at Amazon and led its consumer-retail business.
- After leaving the company earlier this year, he has become an active startup investor.
- His investment focus includes real estate, adtech, and protein research.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Just five months into his retirement, Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s former CEO of worldwide consumer, is emerging as a prolific startup investor.
In an interview with Insider, Wilke said he had personally funded more than a dozen early-stage startups since his departure from Amazon earlier this year. Wilke spent over two decades at Amazon, eventually overseeing the company’s global retail business and becoming one of the most powerful executives there.
Wilke’s personal investment portfolio is diverse. It includes real estate, agriculture, and new railroad technology. He’s also invested this year in a home-insulation startup and a protein-research startup that will soon emerge from the University of Washington’s Baker Lab, he said. His most recent investment came earlier this week, when he joined the $15 million funding round for CivicScience’s new adtech business, which is building an alternative to third-party cookies.
Wilke isn’t entirely new to startup investing. He’s been involved with at least 17 deals and started backing young companies as early as 2013, according to PitchBook. Some of the other notable companies he’s backed include the freight startup Convoy and Re:Build Manufacturing, where he serves as chairman.
Wilke said he also invested in a number of startups with Ali Partovi, who runs a fund called Neo. He’s also helping to back Black entrepreneurs through funds like Slauson & Co. And now that he’s retired, Wilke seems poised to increase the frequency of his personal investments.
“I enjoy interacting with founders,” Wilke said. “I like to be around the innovation that happens with early-stage startups.”
Here’s a list detailing many of his investments:
- A startup that’s coming out of David Baker’s protein-research institute at the University of Washington.
- Evertrak, which builds glass-fiber railroad ties glass reinforced with recycled plastic.
- CleanFiber, which is using reclaimed fiber board from cardboard boxes for home insulation.
- Copia, which develops process-control software.
- A startup that is building a new type database — still in stealth mode.
- Beeflow, which is trying to improve bee pollination for farmers.
- Pacaso, a startup that helps people buy second homes by sharing stakes with other owners. That investment was done with former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, and Wilke said he had invested in other startups with Rascoff.
- An education startup that’s still in stealth.
- A stealth startup developing better computer-vision software.
- A personal-wellness company that’s coming out of stealth soon.
- Several investments in Black entrepreneurs through firms such as Slauson.
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