This Apple Cofounder Sold His Stake For $800 On This Day In 1976: How Much Would It Be Worth Now?

Zinger Key Points
  • Ronald Wayne’s stint at Apple did not last very long.
  • After 12 days with the company, on April 12, 1976, Wayne had his name taken off of the contract and sold his 10% stake in Apple back to Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs for a measly $800.
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A lot of people know of Steve Wozniak, one of the cofounders of Apple. Steve Jobs, the late cofounder and former CEO of Apple Inc AAPL, has even more name recognition. 

But few know the story of Ronald Wayne, the third cofounder of Apple with Wozniak and Jobs. Wayne joined Apple to provide Jobs and Woz with "adult supervision." Wayne had experience from Atari, where he met Jobs and Woz. 

Jobs and Woz, who were 21 and 25 at the time, knew they needed someone on the team with business knowledge and Wayne was that guy. Wayne drafted up responsibilities for the early team members and agreed to help Apple in exchange for 10% of the company. 

Why Did He Leave? Wayne’s stint at Apple did not last very long. Jobs and Woz were both young and broke, and Wayne saw the pair had nothing to lose. Conversely, Wayne had a house, car and other assets. Wayne was worried that any debts that Apple accrued would end up falling on him.

So, after 12 days with the company, on April 12, 1976, Wayne had his name taken off of the contract and sold his 10% stake in Apple back to Woz and Jobs for a measly $800.

Today, that 10% stake would be worth more than $280 billion. 

For reference, $280 billion would make Wayne one of, if not the, richest man in the world. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc TSLA, has an estimated net worth of around $280 billion.  

Another Mistake: While Wayne has publicly said that he doesn’t regret his decision to leave Apple, he does say he made one mistake.

For many years, Wayne kept his original contract from Apple. In the early 1990s, Wayne sold that contract for $500. Not bad for a piece of paper, right?

Well, in 2011 that same contract sold for more than $1 million. Despite the money Wayne left on the table, his positive outlook on his past is more than admirable. 

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