Bill Gates needs no introduction to the world in general, partly because of his brainchild Microsoft and the wealth amassed by it, as well as for the philanthropic deeds he has pulled off over the years.
There are, however, some sides to the man which are not as public as his preceding reputation.
Glimpses of those can be seen in the investments that Bill Gates makes. Of course, such investments make their way through a complicated system of subsidiary firms. That is also the reason why these alter egos of Bill Gates have seldom gained the highlights.
A recent one has been highlighted by Land Report and it might come as a surprise to many. The tech mogul, known to the world for bringing computers to their homes and offices, is in fact a major farmland owner in the US.
So much so, that the report claims him to be the largest farmland owner in the country.
That is with a total of 242,000 acres of land in the US acquired by Bill and Melinda Gates. These land holdings are spread across 18 US states, with the largest being in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres), Arizona (25,750 acres) and Washington state (16,097) as per Land report.
In the report, researchers indicate that the investments in these farmlands have been made through a firm named Cascade Investment LLC. The Washington-based firm is controlled by Bill Gates as his private investment venture.
Bill Gates’ landholdings came to light after a recent deal that involved a 14,500-acre of farmland in Eastern Washington in the Horse Heaven Hills of Benton County. The trade was recorded for a whopping $171 million and the author of the report could not find much information on the buyer.
“At its listed headquarters — 8318 Highway 565 — Angelina Agriculture boasted two employees and reported annual revenues just north of $300,000,” the author wrote. What also tipped him off was the small, lonesome “metal-sided building” that was supposed to be the headquarters of the firm.
It was upon further research that the author connected the dots back to Gates. What came to light was not just a one-time deal but an acquisition of farmland all over America for more than a decade, making the Gates couple America’s largest private farmland owners.
Bill Gates is known for his investments towards the betterment of the world. Most of the headline gainers among these are his donations towards providing medical aid to the remotest regions of the world. Bill Gates, however, is cognizant of the impending disasters of climate change and surprisingly enough for many, has been an active part of bringing about a shift towards clean technology.
A recent example of this is seen in the second round of investments raised by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. A venture capital fund led by Bill Gates, BEV backed 45 clean technology startups with its first billion dollars. The second round of funding now sees an additional $1 billion in BEV’s kitty, meant for 40 to 50 more of such startups.
Principal investors of BEV’s first round of funding included Amazon Inc’s Jeff Bezos, Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Mukesh Ambani, Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma, Bloomberg LP’s Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Chris Hohn. Many of these are also involved in the second round of funds.
Thanks to BEV and other such perpetrators, investments into clean tech startups by such VCs has increased to $16 billion in 2019 from $400 million in 2013, a 40-times increase, explains a PwC report highlighted by Bloomberg.
BEV aims at long term returns from such startups, often extending to a tenure of 20 years. With an expanding portfolio, BEV will also start focusing on bringing these innovations to the consumers around the world.
As for Gates, this seems to be just another good deed to make the world a better place.