Starbucks probably would not be what it is today without William H. Gates Sr., a lawyer and father of the Bill Gates who co-founded Microsoft. The attorney was instrumental in helping former CEO Howard Schultz buy the coffee company in 1987.
Schultz first joined Starbucks in 1982, a year after he stepped foot in the original store in Seattle. "I met the founders and over the course of a year, I persuaded them to hire me," he tells Guy Raz on an episode of NPR's podcast, "How I Built This."
After a business trip to Milan inspired Schultz to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition to the U.S., he left Starbucks in 1983 to start his own company, Il Giornale coffeehouses.
Then, in 1987, the founder of Starbucks, Jerry Baldwin, looked to sell the six-store company for $3.8 million. Schultz was the first person to come to mind and Baldwin offered him a 90-day exclusive to raise the money.