Having a great business idea is only half the battle. Since 1994, about half of businesses fail by year five, and one in five never even see their second year. Not only do you have to have the vision, but you’ve also got to have the proper support. Not everyone needs a business partner, but having someone who is on the same wavelength as you can go a long way. We’re about to show you some of the most exceptional business partners to ever do it. Whether you’re looking to start a business or just searching for some inspiration for your future side hustle, this is the list for you.
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King: OWN Network
What doesn’t Oprah do right? After overcoming countless hurdles just to make it in the media industry, she managed to snag the No. 6 spot on Forbes list of self-made women in 2018. Most of her success has come from her own hand, but we can’t forget about her longtime friend, Gayle King.
They met while working at the same Baltimore television station in 1976. Oprah generously offered King (who was then just 21 years old) a place to stay when she was going through a tough time. This started what would become a lifelong friendship. The two have helped build OWN into a network valued at $286 million.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield: Ben & Jerry’s
Americans eat about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream every year, so the dessert is kind of a big deal. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield benefit from a large portion of that consumption thanks to their famous ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s. However, it wasn’t just the money that motivated these two back in the day.
The duo was interested in giving back. That’s why after opening their first Ben & Jerry’s they started the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 1985. The foundation donates 7.5% of profits to nonprofits from their earnings. They sold to Unilever in 2000 for $326 million.
Orville and Wilbur Wright: Curtiss-Wright
After years of development and research, Orville and Wilbur Wright brought human-powered flight to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. Their success relied heavily on the different skill sets and attributes the two brought to the table.
Wilbur was more on the intellectual and grounded side, while Orville was more the creative inventor. These two were good at communicating so it was an enjoyable and collaborative partnership. Their legacy lives on today through the Curtiss-Wright company which has a $6 billion market value.
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard: HP
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard met in college. During their years at Stanford, the two talked about making a company before they eventually founded the Hewlett-Packard Corporation in 1939.
They might have had humble beginnings, but they would soon go on to be one of the biggest tech giants. They made software, PCs, servers and a lot more! HP is now seen as one of the first important tech companies from Silicon Valley. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company and HP have a $63 billion combined market value.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger: Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway has a $516 billion market value. You’re probably aware of how great Warren Buffett is with money, but what about his partner Charlie Munger? Both of them are from Omaha and once they met, they started to bond over the value of investing.
Buffett is the chairman and CEO while Munger fills the vice chairman role. You can attribute a lot of their success to the fact that they have shared experiences. Both of them even worked for Buffett’s grandfather when they lived in Omaha.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak: Apple Inc.
Everyone’s heard of Apple Inc. In the U.S. alone, over 90 million people own an iPhone. In the tech world, it’s completely common to see dynamic duos. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak got introduced by mutual friend Bill Fernandez. Fernandez went on to become Apple’s first employee.
The duo had complementary personalities and skill sets, which is what helped the company grow into one of the largest in the world. Wozniak’s engineering expertise paired perfectly with Job’s marketing skills. That’s how they managed to boost Apple Inc. to its eventually $1 trillion market value.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin: Google
Google has answered our prayers for so long. The search engine has everything we could possibly ask for and they’re putting out amazing products for the world to enjoy. We have Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to thank. The two met in the Stanford Ph.D. program back in 1995.
The two initially worked together on a search engine project called “Backrub,” but that eventually led to the creation of Google. Today, Google has an $873 billion market value.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen: Microsoft
Bill Gates is one of the biggest figures the tech industry has ever seen. Imagine our world without Microsoft, the company with $841 billion market value. Paul Allen and Gates made a special bond at Seattle’s Lakeside School thanks to their shared love of technology.
Both of these guys had a strong entrepreneurial spirit so it was like they were destined for greatness. Their first venture together was Traf-O-Data, which made them $20,000. After that, they founded Microsoft in 1975. The rest is history.
Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss: Rent the Runway
Have you ever had an important event you needed to attend but didn’t have the extra cash to buy a nice outfit? Jenny Hyman and Jenny Fleiss did, which is why the duo decided to create Rent the Runway.
The pair met at Harvard Business School. While Fleiss came from a finance background, Hyman handled the sales and marketing side of the business. The two took the subscription service business model and decided to use it for clothes, shoes, and accessories. Their estimated value for the company is $800 million.
Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce: Intel
Up until 1957, Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce worked for the tyrant William Shockley in Silicon Valley. Then, the two decided to wrap up their business with Shockley to start their own company, Intel. The popular Intel company came about in 1968.
Noyce had a big-picture visionary type of mentality that ended up working really well with Moore who was more mild-mannered and reflective. The company would launch the first general-purpose programmable processor in 1971 called the Intel 4004. Since then, business has only got better. Intel did $70.7 billion in revenue in 2018.
Jerry Yang and David Filo: Yahoo
In 2017, Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.48 billion. Back in 1994, Jerry Yang and David Filo were doctoral candidates that had the task of making a new line of computer chips. They would end up spending most of their time surfing the web. Their procrastination led to them start categorizing their favorite sites.
All that they were doing eventually transformed into Yahoo or “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” The success of the company in its early days led to the Filo and Yang amassing a net worth of $5 billion and $2.6 billion respectively.
Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook
If you’ve seen the movie The Social Network, then you got a decent look at how Mark Zuckerberg came to create the popular social media website. However, he didn’t grow the company alone. Enter: Sheryl Sandberg (right).
She was the key ingredient that helped the Facebook team make a ton of money thanks to the many users Zuckerberg attracted. The duo created a new model in Silicon Valley that paired a visionary founder with a second-in-command ready to manage the company. Facebook has a market value of $527 billion.
Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna: Birchbox
Earlier, we had two partners who cashed in on a fashion subscription service. Now, let’s meet Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, the two who made subscription makeup wildly profitable. The two girls co-founded Birchbox which delivers a box of beauty products to the customers each month.
For a fee, you can get a box of samples that different brands give out in exchange for more exposure. Barna was the CEO until 2015 and she gave the role to Beauchamp. The company now has an estimated value of $500 million.
Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice: SoulCycle
Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice wanted to monetize indoor cycling classes and boy did they ever. The friends created a wildly popular 45-minute class and turned it into an empire. Since founding SoulCycle in 2006, the duo has opened 82 locations across 20 markets in the U.S. and Canada.
Rice, a former talent agent, helped launch the careers of Ellen Pompeo, Justin Long, and Selma Blair. Rice and Cutler set up shop in an old dance studio they found on Craigslist. Their company was bought out by Equinox for a cool $90 million apiece.
Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight: Nike
At one point, you probably owned a pair of Nikes. That’s just how popular the shoe has become. But are you aware of the history behind one of the biggest sports apparel companies? It all started with a waffle iron.
The former Oregon track and field coach Bill Bowerman would pour rubber into waffle irons to create a mold for the soles of the footwear he was making. Thanks to Phil Knight, the first student-athlete to try out Bowerman’s shoes, Bowerman became a legend in the business. Nike has a $130 billion market value.
Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph: Netflix
Wow, to think Blockbuster missed out on Netflix explains why they’re closing and Netflix is bigger than ever. You can trace the success of Netflix back to when Reed Hastings lost his copy of the movie Apollo 13. He owed Blockbuster $40 for losing the movie — something that would come back to haunt them.
Hastings teamed up with Marc Randolph to forge Netflix. It started out as a mail-order DVD subscription service but ended up becoming one of the largest streaming platforms there is today. The duo worked fine until Hastings pushed out Randolph, who left in 2004. Today, the market value of Netflix is $152 billion.
Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom: Instagram
Mike Kreiger and Kevin Systrom are the two responsible for having so many of us glued to our phone screens. While Systrom worked for Google in their Gmail department and worked to create a photo sharing app on the side, he came up with “Burbn.” Krieger became an active user and that’s what led to their partnership.
The pair launched Instagram in 2010 when the market was ready for such a new product. Their beta users shot to 10,000 within hours after launching at midnight. In two years, they sold to Facebook for a huge $1 billion.
John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler: Standard Oil
John Rockefeller was the man behind the main oil refinery in Cleveland. He was already making boatloads of money in the 1860s, but that didn’t mean he had no use for a business partner. Rockefeller needed someone to complement his skill set.
That’s when he brought an Ohio grain merchant Henry Flagler in 1867. They started Standard Oil Company in 1870. Flagler provided the perfect balance of strategic vision and resolve that Rockefeller needed. Successors of Standard Oil like Chevron and ExxonMobil are now worth more than $575 billion combined.
Michael Eisner and Frank Wells: Disney
Michael Eisner and Frank Wells tag-teamed to help revitalize Disney and drive business back to the theme parks. Eisner might have been voted out as chairman of Disney back in 2004, but what he did before then is what matters the most, especially for Disney.
Eisner’s creative energy paired with Wells’ pragmatism and business mind helped Disney become a juggernaut again. If it weren’t for Wells untimely helicopter crash death, then perhaps Eisner wouldn’t have lost control a decade later. Still, their impact helped Disney become a $170 billion company.
Pierre Omidyar and Jeffrey Skoll: eBay
Let’s be honest, have you ever shopped for anything online hoping you’d find it at a cheaper price? Maybe you checked Amazon to be safe. Well, if you answered yes to that question, you have Pierre Omidyar and Jeffrey Skoll to thank. Omidyar is the sole founder of eBay, but Skoll was pivotal in the company’s success as its first employee.
Skoll took his Standford MBA and helped transform the website into more than just a site where toy collectors could sell their goods. eBay now has a $34 billion market value.