Jet-dot-com ran a strange crowdfunding contest at the time of its startup by creating a contest where the person outside the company who signed up the most referrals would win 200,000 stock options.
An insurance agent in Pennsylvania, Eric Martin, then went about offering strangers rewards to sign up on Jet’s website. After spending $18,000 without a guarantee of winning, he signed up 8,167 people and won the contest.
Now. with Jet being purchased by Walmart for $3 Billion, Martin’s shares are worth about $20 million. Not a bad return on a gamble. Zero return for the runners up, however.