5 Visionaries who invested first in great business of today
During this crowdfunding campaign, we’re also developing a promotional campaign you’ve probably already seen, since we are using it all over our communication channels. This is a series of pictures in which we aim to emphasize the figure of the investor, a figure often in the shadows, but absolutely necessary at the same time to the achievement of projects that occasionally have become indispensable classics. Because, could we imagine a life without the efficient Google search engine or without the revolutionary designs from companies like Apple?
Let’s see in detail some of the inspiring stories we’ve recover these last days in the quest for the visionaries behind some of the great inventions of our time.
APPLE: Mike Markkula and the gift of opportunity
It happened back in 1976. Armas Clifford “Mike” Markkula Jr. had made millions by purchasing some lucrative shares when he’d been working as a sales manager for Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. He was already retired since his 32 when, a couple of years later, he visited the garage where Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were developing their first computers. After a series of deliberations, he finally agreed to finance with $250,000 the new company, which was facing the launching of the Apple II prototype at that time, and to help positioning it in the market during its first steps. Clearly, it was a winning move!
HP: Fred Terman, the good professor
Frederick Terman is famous for being the father of Silicon Valley, since during the 50s, while he was dean at Stanford University, he established an industrial park in Palo Alto that would eventually become home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations. But before that, during the days of Great Depression, Terman was known as a Radio Engineering professor who encouraged and personally supported their students in the setting up of their own companies. Two of these students, Bill Hewlett and Fred Packard, founders of HP, received in 1938 their first funding of $500 from Terman, who also sponsored the company and introduced it to some of its early customers and investors.
GOOGLE: Andy Bechtolsheim, a clever investment in advance
Back in the early 90s, nobody knew what Google was, basically because it didn’t exist yet. It wasn’t until 1996 when, as a research project for Stanford University, PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new search engine technology based on the number of pages and backlinks to determine a website’s relevance, that some years later it would be known as Google. The company was incorporated in September 1998 and was first settled in a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California. Just a month before this, Sun Microsystems’ co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim made the first investment to the imminent business with a contribution of $100,000. Some rumors say that Bechtolsheim himself invented the name Google. This story is probably inspired by the fact that he wrote the check some days before the company was legally founded, but apparently it is not true.
AMAZON: Nick Hanauer, a good adviser and ally
A little more tech history here. Another great company that started in a garage is Amazon. It was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and went online as Amazon.com in 1995. During its early days Amazon only sold books, but, thanks to its fast success, it would expand its catalog and infrastructure to become the impressive electronic commerce business we have now. But non of this would’ve been possible without the support of a few allies who trusted in Bezos’s business vision. Nick Hanauer, a friend of Bezos at that time, became the first non-familiar investor with a contribution of $40,000 in the same year of the company’s foundation. Hanauer is also attributed to be the one who suggested moving Amazon to Seattle, where the company is based today.
DIOR: Marcel Boussac and his great contribution to fashion
But leaving technology aside, let’s talk about fashion. In the late 40s, the brilliant designer Christian Dior shocked the world with the so-called “New Look”, which surprised everyone as a break with the straight forms of designs during the years of World War II. His new proposal, which was an enormous success, would become a canon from 50s onwards and the rest is history. Once again, all of this was possible thanks to an outside help. In 1946 Marcel Boussac, entrepreneur and businessman, was the richest man in France. He knew Dior’s incredible talent and invited him to work as a designer for Parisian fashion house Phillippe et Gaston, but Dior refused since he preferred to start his own business, so Boussac helped him to make his dream come true with 60 million francs.
This is all for now. We’re still developing this campaign so expect more amazing stories like these ones in the next days. We encourage you to visit the Commons’ funding campaign on Fundedbyme.com by following this link and become a visionary too!