10 of the best business partnerships
We look at 10 of the most famous and success business partnerships of recent times.
Jan Koum and Brian Acton
\nThe paths of Jan Koum (pictured) and Brian Acton crossed in 1997 when sitting across from each other at Yahoo. Koum was a Ukrainian immigrant to the US who dropped out of San Jose State University, while Acton was a Stanford computer science graduate.
\nIn September 2007, Koum and Acton left Yahoo and took a year to decompress. In January 2009, Koum bought an iPhone and realised that the then-seven-month-old App Store was about to spawn a whole new industry of apps. In February he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California.
\nThe app was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 in a $19bn deal in cash and stock, and the co-founders have continued to lead the mobile messaging app which crossed the significant half a billion user milestone in April this year.
Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey
\nThe online social networking and microblogging service was created in March 2006 by Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey, and Noah Glass, who would later get fired by Williams.
\nWilliams and Stone met while working at Google and were approached by Jack Dorsey with an idea. Twitter was then developed during sessions held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo, which had been previously founded by Williams and Glass.
\nTwitter spun off into its own company in April 2007, and its popularity was sealed in the same year at the South by Southwest Interactive conference during which Twitter’s usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. Since then, Twitter has been experiencing rapid growth with 200 million users sending over 400 million tweets daily.
\nIn November 2013, Twitter went public on the New York Stock Exchange, selling at a market price of $45.10.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
\nHaving met at Stanford’s PhD computer science programme in 1995, Page and Brin had a goal to organise the vast amount of information available on the internet.
\nThe pair dropped out of Stanford and set up Google, which saw rapid growth from 10,000 queries a day to more than one billion by May 2011. Since launch, Google has development to include a chain of products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond its core search engine.
\nIn the beginning, they raised $1 million in capital from friends, family, and other investors, then in 1999 the pair received $25 million in venture-capital funding, and consequently the company went public on the NASDAQ market in August 2004 opening at $85 a share and earning $1.67 billion.
\nAt that time Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt, who was recruited by the co-founders in 2001 to run their company, agreed to work together at Google for 20 years, until the year 2024.
Pierre Omidyar and Jeffrey Skoll
\nIn 1995, Pierre Omidyar (pictured), a 28 year old French-Iranian-American, wrote the original computer code for an online venue to enable the listing of a direct person-to-person auction for collectible items, and launched an online service called Auction Web.
\nAt some point Omidyar showed it to Skoll, a recent Stanford MBA graduate, who initially considered it as “a stupid idea” but agreed to come on board.
\nThe business exploded as correspondents began to register trade goods of an unimaginable variety, and the company officially changed the name of its service from AuctionWeb to eBay in September 1997.
\nAs eBay began to take off, so did their business relationship leading them to become instant billionaires when eBay went public in September 1998, with the share price going to $53.50 on the first day of trading.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
\nBen & Jerry's
\nAllegedly born only four days apart, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends who met during a high school gym class in 1963.
\nIn 1977 they completed a correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University's Creamery. A year later, with a $12,000 investment, the business partners opened an ice cream parlour in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont.
\nBen and Jerry opened their first franchised store in 1981, and the company has since been sold to Anglo-Dutch multinational food giant Unilever in April 2000. The exact amount is not known but Unilever disclosed they bought both Ben & Jerry's and Slim Fast for $2.7 billion.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
\nA master of analytics, Steve Wozniak, was busy building a computer when he met Steve Jobs, whose business acumen allowed him to sell the product.
\nThe two Steves met through a mutual friend while Wozniak was at university and Jobs was in high school. The duo would form Apple Computer in 1976, and sold their first 50 computers to the Byte Shop in Mountain View, California.
\nThe rest, as they say, is history, and in December 1980, Apple went public at $22 per share, generating more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956 and instantly creating more millionaires (about 300) than any company in history.
\nApple is the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalisation, with an estimated market capitalisation of $446 billion by January 2014.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen
\nIn 1968, a computer club meeting about BASIC programming at Seattle's private Lakeside School made two childhood friends, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, obsessed with programming a mainframe of a local computer.
\nIn 1972 they founded their first company named Traf-O-Data, which offered a rudimentary computer that tracked and analysed automobile traffic data, and in 1975 they devised a BASIC platform for the Altair 8800 in Gates’ dorm room.
\nConvincing electronics company Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) to distribute Altair BASIC it in 1975, the duo established Microsoft that year.
\nThe company's 1986 initial public offering, with the stock eventually closing at $27.75 a share, created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees.
\nAs of January 2014, Microsoft's market capitalisation stands at $314 billion, making it the eight largest company in the world by market capitalisation.
Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce
\nIntel was originally founded in Mountain View, California, in 1968 by Gordon E. Moore (pictured), a chemist and physicist; Robert Noyce, a physicist and co-inventor of the integrated circuit; Arthur Rock, an investor and venture capitalist; and Max Palevsky.
\nMoore and Noyce were part of the "traitorous eight," a group that left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to begin their own rival company. They became Intel's first two employees while the third employee was Andy Grove, a chemical engineer, who later ran the company through much of the 1980s and the high-growth in 1990s.
\nGrove became known as a science pioneer in the semiconductor industry and a pivotal force in the growth of Silicon Valley. Furthermore, Steve Jobs called him for advice when he was considering returning to be Apple's CEO, considering him as “his idol”.
\nThe total initial investment in Intel was $2.5 million convertible debentures and $10,000 from Rock.\nJust two years later, Intel completed their initial public offering, raising $6.8 million with $23.50 per share.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger
\nBerkshire Hathaway Corporation
\nAlthough Charlie Munger is Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, Buffett describes him as "my partner."
\nThe Omaha natives met at a dinner party in 1959, and started sharing investment ideas immediately. In spite of some major differences between them – Buffett a Democrat and Munger a Republican, for example – the two have remained very close friends and partners.
\nAlthough Buffet resides in Omaha, and Munger lives in Los Angeles, they talk every day and sit side by side onstage at the Berkshire annual meeting in front of some 30,000 of the company’s shareholders. The meeting, nicknamed Woodstock for Capitalists, is considered Omaha's largest annual event.
\nThe proof of their bond is in this year’s Buffett's annual letter to the stakeholders when he revealed that he “made a big mistake by not consulting Munger before ploughing $2 billion into buying Energy Future Holdings.”
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard
\nClassmates at Stanford’s electrical engineering programme in 1934, Bill Hewlett and David Packard forged a friendship during a two-week camping and fishing trip in Colorado.
\nFour years later they developed the HP200A. With initial seed capital of $538 and premises in a rented Palo Alto garage, the start-up managed to secure its first purchase – Walt Disney Studios bought eight of the devices to test a new sound system for the movie Fantasia.
\nIn 1939 the two men formalised their partnership, flipping a coin to decide their start-up’s name. The name Hewlett-Packard has ever since been known for its innovative tech products but also for its equally innovative open corporate culture and management style.