One of the little known facts of Apple’s history is that Apple wasn’t the creation of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Apple was actually founded by three guys: Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Ron Wayne.
The equity split was Wozniak 45%, Jobs 45% and Wayne 10%.
Wozniak recalls, “Steve had 45 percent of this partnership, I had 45 percent, and Ron had 10 percent, because both of us agreed that we could trust him to resolve any dispute, and we would trust his judgment.”
So what ever happened to Ron Wayne, a guy who had 10% founding equity in Apple?
Wozniak relates, “I had no money and Steve had no money. We didn’t own cars, we didn’t have savings accounts, we didn’t have houses. So Ron Wayne figured they’d come after him for his golden nuggets that he kept under his mattress. (He actually tells me it was in a safe-but he was afraid they’d come and get his gold.) So he sold out. It was too risky for him, so he sold out his 10 percent of Apple to [us] for a few hundred bucks. Maybe $600, maybe $800, maybe $300-but a few hundred bucks. And this was even when we had an Apple II designed and were heading toward future business. He was just scared that something was going to catch him.”
Apple’s market capitalization this morning is $181.7 billion, with a B. If Ron Wayne had stayed around (and assuming no dilution), his 10 percent of Apple would be worth $18 billion. With a B.
Fear, thy name is Ron Wayne.
- Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston
- Yahoo! Finance