Compaq Computer Corporation was founded in February 1982 by Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto, three senior managers who left Texas Instruments and invested $1,000 each to form their own company. Sketched on a paper place mat in a Houston pie shop, the first product was a portable personal computer able to run all of the software being developed then for the IBM PC.
The founders presented their idea to Ben Rosen, president of Sevin-Rosen Partners, a high-tech venture capital firm. The venture capitalists were impressed with the idea of a portable product innovating within the emerging standard and agreed to fund the new company. Compaq recorded first year sales of $111 million, it became the most ever in a single year by an American business. Ben Rosen continued as chairman of Compaq’s board of directors until September 2000 when Compaq CEO Michael Capellas was elected chairman of the board by unanimous vote.