Unlike fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk, the mega-investor Warren Buffet says have no plans to go to space.
In a letter addressed to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders more than 20 years ago, Buffet said that while he admired space explorers, he shouldn’t go down the same path and board a rocket. The idea is to be more “down to earth”.
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The same logic determines the investment thesis of Buffett, who made his fortune investing in solid companies like Coca-Cola, Apple and American Express. More recently, the investor also decided to ride the fintech wave by participating in a multi-billion dollar fundraising round at Nubank. “As investors, our reaction to a brewing industry is a lot like our attitude toward space exploration: We applaud the effort, but prefer to skip the ride,” Buffett wrote.
The investor returned to talk about the matter with shareholders at Berkshire’s last annual meeting. When an audience member asked if the company would insure Musk’s mission to Mars, the investor joked that it would charge a lower premium if Tesla’s CEO were on the spacecraft.
Billionaires Space Race
In recent weeks, Bezos, a former Amazonian and founder of Virgin Galactic’s space technology company Blue Origin and Branson, have made short space trips aboard spacecraft funded by their own fortunes.
In the case of Bezos, the short space trip, which lasted just over 10 minutes, cost about 1 billion dollars — an amount spent annually by the entrepreneur at Blue Origin. Branson has spent more than $1 billion of his assets to enter the space race over the past 17 years.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk also has plans to explore space. At a certain disadvantage compared to his billionaire rivals and their companies, Musk chose to secure his seat on Virgin Galactic’s next flight. Branson’s company plans include taking humans into space as a tourist program, with prices that can reach $250,000 per ticket — something around 1.2 million reais.
Response to criticism
During an interview with US CNN, Jeff Bezos was asked what he would say to a “chorus of critics” who say that space flights are nothing more than “pleasure trips for the rich”. According to the billionaire, critics are “largely right” that the fortunes spent on space travel should go to priority causes right here on Earth.
Along with SpaceX’s Elon Musk, the three billionaires may even say there is no competition whatsoever, but it’s hard to believe there won’t be rivalry in a global industry valued at $350 billion, according to data from Morgan Stanley, the company of financial services.