Last Updated: March 26, 2024
Richest Business
Net Worth:
$400 Thousand
May 17, 1934 (89 years old)
United States of America
💰 Compare Ronald Wayne's Net Worth

What is Ronald Wayne's Net Worth?

Ronald Wayne is an American investor and technologist who is most famous for being one of Apple Inc.'s co-founders. Ronald Wayne has a net worth of $400 thousand. At one point, Wayne infamously decided to sell his 10% stake in Apple back to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 for $800. Today, that 10% stake would be worth over $200 billion.

Early Life and Career

Wayne was born on May 17, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio. He trained as a technical draftsman at the School of Industrial Arts in New York and then moved to California in 1956 when he was 22 years old. After working for a decade, he came up with an idea for his first business – a company selling slot machines. The company ultimately failed, and Wayne has since reflected that his failure was a lesson in the fact that he was not a great businessman but rather an engineer.

Apple Founding

Following this lesson, Wayne began working at Atari, where he built the internal corporate documentation systems. One of his co-workers at Atari was a young developer named Steve Jobs. Through Jobs, Wayne met Steve Wozniak. In their free time, Steve Jobs and a friend named Steve Wozniak were building homemade computers.

During a meeting at Wayne's home, where the three discussed technology and business, Jobs proposed that they found a computer company together. In the proposal, Jobs and Wozniak were to be the primary leaders of the company, each holding a 45% stake, while Wayne was to act as the tie-breaker if need be with a 10% stake in the company. Wayne agreed and wrote up the partnership agreement and the three officially founded Apple Computers in April of 1976. Wayne was responsible for illustrating Apple's first logo and writing the manual for Apple I.

However, Wayne's time with Apple was short-lived. Due to his experience with the failure of his slot machine company, as well as more experience in general given his age of 41 compared to the comparatively young Jobs and Wozniak at 21 and 25, Wayne was quite risk-averse. Given the nature of Apple's partnership, he became nervous at the idea that he would be personally responsible for the possible debts incurred by either Wozniak or Jobs. While neither Jobs nor Wozniak had much to lose, Wayne did possess personal assets that he was worried future creditors may seize if necessary. He was also concerned that he would forever be working in documentation systems for the company rather than in his genuine interest in original product engineering. For these reasons, he relinquished his 10% equity in Apple only a few weeks after the company was formally created and received $800 in return. Jobs tried to get Wayne to return to the company but refused.

When the company became an official corporation, he was paid an additional $1,500 US to give up all ownership rights.

$200 Billion Mistake

If Ronald had held on to his 10% Apple stake, today, it would have been worth more than $200 billion. He has said that he made the "best decision with the information available to me at the time" and does not regret selling his shares.

Ronald Wayne (Karen T. Borchers/Mercury News via Getty Images)

After Apple

Following his departure from Apple, Wayne continued working at Atari until 1978. He then joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and worked at an electronics company in Salinas, California. He also started a stamp shop in Milpitas, California, for a short time in the late 1970s called Wayne's Philatelics. Due to several break-ins, he moved the shop to Nevada. Jobs approached him again to be Apple's business contact, but Wayne refused to get involved.

In the early 1990s, Wayne sold the original partnership agreement he had signed in 1976 with Jobs and Wozniak for $500. The contract was later sold at an auction for $1.6 million. Wayne retired to Pahrump, Nevada, where he continued to sell stamps and rare coins. He stated that he had never owned an Apple product until he was given an iPad 2 at a conference in England.

In 2008, Wayne appeared in the documentary "Welcome to Macintosh." He also published a memoir titled "Adventures of an Apple Founder" in July of 2011 and wrote a socioeconomic treatise called "Insolence of Office" the same year.

[The photo of Ronald Wayne used on this page was taken by Aljawad and was licensed via Wikimedia's Creative Commons license]

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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