Success Story

Shaq shares how Jeff Bezos inspired him to invest in $29M college startup founded by son of Nigerian immigrants

Getting sound financial advice is the dream of every entrepreneur in the world. And it couldn’t be any better when it comes from one of the world’s billionaires Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder is ranked among the top ten billionaires in the world and has seen it all in the world of business to give advice.

His experience in building wealth has made him a go-to for advice. Shaquille O’Neal is one such person who turned to the Amazon founder for inspiration before deciding to invest in Campus, an online community college startup.

The college has already raised more than $29 million from investors like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Discord founder Jason Citron. In an interview, O’Neal revealed that he decided to invest in the startup because of his belief that Campus could “change people’s lives”, and that reminded him of advice he had heard from Bezos in the past.

“I heard Jeff Bezos say, if you invest in things that’s going to change people’s lives, you’ll always get a great return on your investment,” O’Neal told Fortune. “But this particular investment is not about great return because I feel that everyone should have access to world-class education.”

Son of Nigerian immigrants Tade Oyerinde, 29, launched Campus in 2022 and it has had classes by professors who also teach at universities such as Princeton, Vanderbilt, and Spelman College.

Investing in Campus is not the first time Bezos has influenced O’Neal’s investment decisions. In 2012, he was reluctant to bid to buy the NBA’s Phoenix Suns after reading reports that Bezos might be considering his own offer for the team. 

According to him, he would rather not compete against Bezos and any other “heavy hitters” who were interested in the team, which eventually sold to billionaire Matt Isbhia a year later. Besides that, he has been touting Bezos’ advice to seek out investment opportunities that he believes can change people’s lives.

“If something comes across my desk and I don’t believe in it, I don’t even look at it,” O’Neal told The Wall Street Journal in 2019.

“Once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I’m worth,” he said.

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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