Venture capital culture and startup culture are practically one and the same these days, but back at the genesis of smartphone giant Xiaomi, 56 employees pooled together $11 million, and they're each set to get somewhere around $36 million in the company's upcoming initial public offering. Xiaomi's total value has grown exponentially, and the initial $11 million that made the MIUI devs into a functional smartphone OEM has now grown to be worth somewhere around $1 billion to $3 billion. The IPO is expected to raise about $10 billion in value from investors, bringing the company's total estimated value into the territory of $100 billion. Many current employees stand to gain based on stock options, while those who invested in the beginning will see a return of around 100 times over.
The Chinese smartphone giant got its start in 2010. Many of the company's first employees came into the venture with some significant wealth to their names already, such as one employee by the name of Li Weixing, who had saved up the rough equivalent of $79,000 to buy a house. When he heard that CEO Lei Jun was going to put his own riches from his time at Kingsoft Corporation and investments in Chinese startups into the small company, Li was one of the first to volunteer to pitch in. A receptionist, now a human resources employee, put in her dowry. This grew into a movement, and 56 of the company's earliest employees wound up contributing to get the startup off the ground and into an office and plant where it could begin to make its very first commercial smartphones. At one point, CEO Lei Jun even made a rule capping individual investments at 300,000 Yuan in case the company failed, in order to stop employees from taking out loans.
Xiaomi's earliest employees definitely saw their investments pay off. The multi-billion dollar company has gone beyond smartphones and now makes a number of products such as computers, TVs, wearables, headphones, and even a toy robot building kit. The massive company is a major contender in the tech space in a number of countries worldwide. With an IPO set to pump billions of dollars into the company, the growth that brought Xiaomi to where it is now is unlikely to stop any time soon.