Apr 23, 2016 09:20 AM EDT

FedEx Founder Gambled Company's $5,000 in 1974 to Save Company

It was 1974, just three years after Frederick W. Smith established FedEx. Three years into the business, and it's already losing. Thankfully, the founder and current CEO of FedEx took a risk, went to Las Vegas, gambled the company's last $5,000, and ended up saving FedEx.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, "Smith first had the idea for an overnight delivery while he was a student at Yale majoring in economics. He wrote a paper on the subject of the automation of society and the transportation of goods which laid out his basic plan for what would become FedEx."

"In the paper, he laid out the logistical challenges facing pioneering firms in the information technology industry. Most airfreight shippers relied on passenger route systems, but those didn't make economic sense for urgent shipments," the FedEx' About page states.

With $4 million from his own pocket and an additional $90,000 from fundraising, Smith made his plans a reality.

But fate was not so kind to him three years after Federal Express was founded. In 1973, prices for fuel skyrocketed due to the oil embargo that caused a gas shortage. Federal Express lost $1 million a month in expenses. Smith, in his love for the company, looked for solutions. He tried getting loans and finding investors, but to no avail.

Since Smith did not want to give up on his people and on his dream, he went to Las Vegas and bet the last $5,000 belonging to the company. It was a life-or-death gamble. If he didn't win, he'd lose his company, his dream. However, if he does, it might not be enough to run the company for long.

Long story short, Smith won $27,000 that night, enough to fly planes a few more days and raise money. The rest is history.

Today FedEx is valued at around $35 billion while Frederick W. Smith has a net worth of $2 billion.

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