Entrepreneur reports that Phil Knight's first investment was $500 into Blue Ribbon Sports, the company he founded with Bill Bowerman. Bowerman invested a matching $500 into the company, which was later rechristened Nike.
Knight and Bowerman began Blue Ribbon Sports as a distribution point for Tiger shoes in the United States. In the early 1970s, Entreprenuer notes that Blue Ribbon broke away from Tiger and began designing its own Nike line. Inc.com mentions that Knight paid a student, Caroline Davidson, $35 in 1971 to design the Nike "swoosh" logo. The combined efforts of Knight and Bowerman, who created the brand's waffle sole design favored by famous runners including Olympian Steve Prefontaine, established Nike as a sought-after sports shoe brand by the mid-1970s.