Tech

How Rich (or Poor) You'd Be if You'd Invested in 16 Big Tech Companies

Published On 02/10/2016 Published On 02/10/2016
Jennifer Bui/Thrillist

We've all heard the tales about how the earliest Microsoft and Apple employees became multimillionaires overnight when those companies went public. And we've all fantasized about how much money we'd be rolling in, if only we'd had the foresight to invest. If only.

But how much dough are we talking, really? With a hearty dose of masochistic curiosity and some help from the number-crunching ninjas at BuyUpside.com, we ran the numbers. If you dropped $1,000 into 15 different tech companies the moment they started selling shares, how rich would you be today? Or, uh, if it was Twitter, how totally f*cked? 

Note: These numbers reflect the value of a given stock based on a one-time investment of $1,000, adjusted for splits and dividend reinvestment. The annualized return figure reflects the average amount of money earned by a stock each year over the time it's been invested.

Screenshot via Yahoo! Finance/Jennifer Bui

Netflix (NFLX)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $87,409
Date of IPO:
May 23rd, 2002
Initial price per share: $15
Annualized return: 38.42%
Netflix was a heavy hitter from the get-go, but it took off for real once it shifted its focus to streaming in ’07. Then it shot even further north when it proved it could go toe-to-toe with Hollywood following the success of its original shows. Turns out, binge-watching is a billion-dollar business.


Google (GOOGL) Your $1,000 is now worth: $15,241
Date of IPO:
August 19th, 2004
Initial price per share: $85
Annualized return: 26.73%

Screenshot via Yahoo! Finance/Jennifer Bui

Microsoft (MSFT)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $821,261
Date of IPO:
March 18th, 1986
Initial price per share: $21
Annualized return: 25.15%  


Yahoo (YHOO) Your $1,000 is now worth: $23, 854
Date of IPO:
April 12th, 1996
Initial price per share: $13
Annualized return: 17.34%
Yahoo's in the pits at the moment, but its stock value grew steadily for a while in the late '90s and mid-aughts thanks to a series of acquisitions, including Geocities and Flickr. That, coupled with its five splits throughout, results in a not-too-shabby return.


Facebook (FB) Your $1,000 is now worth: $3,888
Date of IPO:
May 12th, 2012
Initial price per share: $38
Annualized return: 43.64%

Screenshot via Yahoo! Finance/Jennifer Bui

Apple (AAPL)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $186,188
Date of IPO:
December 12th, 1980
Initial price per share: $22
Annualized return: 16.02%
 

IBM (IBM)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $56,654
Date of IPO:
January 2nd, 1962
Initial price per stock: $2.15
Annualized return: 7.78%
 

Alibaba (BABA)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $732
Date of IPO:
September 19th, 2014
Initial price per share: $92
Annualized return: -19.72%
China's Amazon may have made history with the biggest global IPO in history, but less than two years later, its stock price is a' hurtin'.

Screenshot via Yahoo! Finance/Jennifer Bui

BlackBerry/Research In Motion (BBRY)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $4,779
Date of IPO:
February 4th, 1999
Initial price per stock: $2
Annualized return: 9.64%
Notice that enormous drop in 2008? You can thank the iPhone for that.
 

eBay (EBAY)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $30,294
Date of IPO:
September 21st, 1998
Initial price per share: $18
Annualized return: 21.63%

Screenshot via Yahoo! Finance/Jennifer Bui

Twitter (TWTR)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $430
Date of IPO:
November 7th, 2013
Initial price per stock: $26
Annualized return: -31.22
In case you hadn't heard, Twitter is in meltdown. Kiss your money goodbye, or hang on and see what might happen
 

Amazon (AMZN)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $368,066
Date of IPO:
May 15th, 1997
Initial price per share: $18
Annualized return: 37.04%
 

Adobe (ADBE)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $465,243
Date of IPO:
August 16th, 1986
Initial price per share: $7
Annualized return: 23.15%

Screenshot via Yahoo! Finance/Jennifer Bui

Etsy (ETSY)

Your $1,000 is now worth: $339
Date of IPO:
April 16th, 2015
Initial price per share: $16
Annualized return: -72.65%
Twee handicrafts and the stock market do not mix that well, apparently. Who knew?


Oracle (ORCL) Your $1,000 is now worth: $610,697
Date of IPO:
March 12th, 1986
Initial price per share: $20
Annualized return: 23.91%


Zynga (ZNGA) Your $1,000 is now worth: $259
Date of IPO:
December 16th, 2011
Initial price per share: $11
Annualized return: -27.67
Moral of the story: never rest on your laurels, especially when those laurels are Farmville. Zynga's still in the dumps (and so is your $1,000), but at least it seems to be righting the ship, er... tractor?

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist and doesn't really sweat the stock market, since there's always money in the banana stand.

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