When a company reaches a certain level of success, the names of the founders often become synonymous with the brands they created — at least, that’s true for those founders who are the face of the business. However, we often forget that Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Bill Gates didn’t create Apple, PayPal and Microsoft alone. Here are some facts about the cofounders who helped build some of the world's biggest companies.
Hewlett-Packard's (HP) cofounders David Packard and Bill Hewlett tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. Hewlett won the toss and the tech giant was branded with his name first.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer in 1976 alongside their administrative supervisor, Ronald Wayne. It was Wayne who came up with the first logo and the partnership agreement for the company, which gave him 10 percent of the business. However, the agreement lasted for less than two weeks before he sold his shares for $800, followed by another $1,500 payment so he would forfeit ownership permanently.
Originally called DomiNick’s, Domino’s (a title invented by delivery driver Jim Kennedy) was started by brothers Tom and James Monaghan in 1960. However, just eight months after the grand opening, James Monaghan traded his half of the partnership for an old Volkswagen Beetle that the brothers originally used to deliver pizzas.
YouTube was the brainchild of Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley. Hurley is an entrepreneur with a design background, who is also behind the design of the original PayPal logo. After working for eBay, Hurley took his career to the next level by founding YouTube with two of his PayPal co-workers, and after selling to Google, he went on to found video editing firm MixBit.
PayPal was cofounded by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and Luke Nosek, and later merged with X.com, a similar firm launched by Elon Musk. Thiel is known as the “don” of the PayPal Mafia, a group of former PayPal founders and employees who have since founded and developed such technology companies as Tesla Inc., LinkedIn, YouTube, Square, SpaceX and Yelp. PayPal alumni became so prolific that the term “PayPal Mafia” was coined.
Microsoft was founded by childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and Allen departed from working at the firm in a full-time capacity in 1983. He was known to play the guitar so well that once American record producer Quincy Jones said Allen could play “just like” Jimi Hendrix. Allen passed away in 2018.
Ben & Jerry’s
Friends since seventh grade, cofounders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield almost didn’t start the famous ice cream chain. Cohen wanted to become a potter, while Greenfield’s heart was set on becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, there weren’t many buyers for Cohen’s pottery, and Greenfield wasn’t accepted to any medical school. So after debating between starting an ice cream business or a bagel business, they decided to go with the former due to lower startup costs.