Yesterday I had a short debate about Wozniak and Jobs initial ownership in Apple Computer. It is true that at the IPO Wozniak had much less ownership than Jobs, but this can be explained by the fact that he gave or sold at a low price shares to employees (whom he thought deserved it and Jobs did not). But at the origin, they had equal shares as the extract from the prospectus shows.

So I thought of having a look at my startup database (currently having 890 cap. tables) and I studied the numbers. Here they are:

So what are the lessons?

First majority of startup have between 1 and 3 founders, and 1 founder (contrarily to intuition maybe) is not so rare. Now there is a caveat: the history of a startup is never fully known. Apple had initially (and for 2 weeks) 3 founders! The third one was Ronald Wayne

Second, equal ownership is not the majority but it is not rare. Around 15-20%.

But this does not mean, one founder owns more than 50%. Of course yes with 2 founders. But for 3 founders, this happpens in 41% of the cases. When more than 3 founders, this is 31% of the cases. I did not check (yet) if geography or fields of activities have an impact…

Finally, if you read this blog, you should know that statistics do not say it all. Startups are a world of exceptions (and the statistics are seldom Gaussian but follow a power low, so beware of means of %). Therefore more anecdotally, but still important, here are some famous examples:

**Famous startups – 2 founders with equal shares**

Adobe

Akamai

Apple

Atlassian

Broadcom

Cisco

Genentech

Google

Intel

Netscape

Riverbed

Skype

Soitec

Spotify

Tivo

Yahoo

Zalando

**Famous startups – 3 founders with equal shares**

Airbnb

Checkpoint

Compaq

DoubleClick

Equinix

Marimba

nVidia

Palantir

Revolut

RPX

WeWork

**Famous startups – 3+ founders with equal shares**

AMD

Regulus

ROLM

Xiaomi

**Famous startups – founders with non-equal shares**

Cypress

DropBox

Etrade

Eventbrite

Facebook

Lyft

Microsoft

Mysql

Oracle

Pinterest

Salesforce

Sun Microsystems

Twitter

Uber