ⓘ PayPal Mafia. The PayPal Mafia is a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since founded and developed additional technology companies such as T ..

PayPal Mafia

ⓘ PayPal Mafia

The PayPal Mafia is a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since founded and developed additional technology companies such as Tesla Motors, LinkedIn, Palantir Technologies, SpaceX, YouTube, Yelp, and Yammer. Most of the members attended Stanford University or University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign at some point in their studies.


1. History

Originally, PayPal was a money-transfer service offered by a company called Confinity which was acquired by in 1999. Later was renamed PayPal and purchased by eBay in 2002. The original PayPal employees had difficulty adjusting to eBays more traditional corporate culture and within four years all but 12 of the first 50 employees had left. They remained connected as social and business acquaintances, and a number of them worked together to form new companies in subsequent years. This group of PayPal alumni became so prolific that the term PayPal Mafia was coined. The term gained even wider exposure when a 2007 article in Fortune magazine used the phrase in its headline and featured a photo of former PayPal employees in gangster attire.


2. Legacy

The PayPal Mafia is sometimes credited with inspiring the re-emergence of consumer-focused Internet companies after the dot-com bust of 2001. The PayPal Mafia phenomenon has been compared to the founding of Intel in the late 1960s by engineers who had earlier founded Fairchild Semiconductor after leaving Shockley Semiconductor. They are discussed in journalist Sarah Lacys book Once Youre Lucky, Twice Youre Good. According to Lacy, the selection process and technical learning at PayPal played a role, but the main factor behind their future success was the confidence they gained there. Their success has been attributed to their youth; the physical, cultural, and economic infrastructure of Silicon Valley; and the diversity of their skill-sets. PayPals founders encouraged tight social bonds among its employees, and many of them continued to trust and support one another after leaving PayPal. An intensely competitive environment and a shared struggle to keep the company solvent despite many setbacks also contributed to a strong and lasting camaraderie amongst former employees.


3. Members

Individuals whom the media refers to as members of the PayPal Mafia include:

  • Andrew McCormack, co-founder of Valar Ventures
  • Roelof Botha, former PayPal CFO who later became a partner of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital
  • Scott Banister, former Ironport CTO and PayPal board member
  • Jason Portnoy, former vice president of financial planning and analysis who later became CFO at Peter Thiels Clarium Capital, CFO at Palantir Technologies, and founding partner at Subtraction Capital.
  • Premal Shah, former product manager at PayPal, became the founding president of
  • Dave McClure, a former PayPal marketing director, a super angel investor for start up companies and founder of 500 Startups which has hit 500+ investments.
  • Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir, Addepar, and OpenGov. Founding partner of investment firms 8VC and Formation 8
  • Chad Hurley, former PayPal web designer who co-founded YouTube
  • Reid Hoffman, former executive vice president who later founded LinkedIn and was an early investor in Facebook, Aviary, Friendster, Six Apart, Zynga, IronPort, Flickr, Digg, Grockit,, Nanosolar,, Knewton, Kongregate,, Ning, and Technorati
  • Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and former chief executive officer who is sometimes referred to as the "don" of the PayPal Mafia
  • Steve Chen, former PayPal engineer who co-founded YouTube.
  • Russel Simmons, former PayPal engineer who co-founded Yelp Inc.
  • Yishan Wong, a former engineering manager at PayPal, later worked at Facebook and became the CEO of Reddit.
  • Luke Nosek, PayPal co-founder and former vice president of marketing and strategy, became a partner at Founders Fund with Peter Thiel and Ken Howery
  • Jawed Karim, former PayPal engineer who co-founded YouTube. The first YouTube video, Me at the zoo, uploaded by Karim on April 23, 2005.
  • Elon Musk, is founder of which acquired the company Confinity. Musk later co-founded Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Neuralink, OpenAI, The Boring Company, and is the Chairman of SolarCity
  • Jeremy Stoppelman, former vice president of technology at PayPal who later co-founded Yelp, Inc.
  • David O. Sacks, former PayPal COO who later founded and Yammer
  • Ken Howery, former PayPal CFO who became a partner at Founders Fund
  • Eric M. Jackson, who wrote the book The PayPal Wars and became chief executive officer of WND Books and co-founded CapLinked.
  • Jack Selby, former vice president of corporate and international development at PayPal who co-founded Clarium Capital with Peter Thiel, later becoming managing director of Grandmaster Capital Management.
  • David Gausebeck, former PayPal Technical Architect, co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, co-founder of Matterport Inc., a digital 3-D modeling company.
  • Max Levchin, Founder and chief technology officer at PayPal sometimes called the "consigliere" of the PayPal Mafia
  • Keith Rabois, a former executive at PayPal who later worked at LinkedIn, Slide, Square, and currently Khosla Ventures, and personally invested in Tokbox, Xoom, Slide, LinkedIn, Geni, Room 9 Entertainment, YouTube, and Yelp.

  • take PayPal public in 2002. Paypal s IPO listed under the ticker PYPL at 13 per share and ended up generating over 61 million. Shortly after Pay Pal s IPO
  • The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia and the Rest of Planet Earth 2004 is a book by former PayPal marketing executive Eric M. Jackson
  • boards of directors. He is considered a member of the PayPal Mafia a group that includes PayPal co - founders Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Elon Musk. Rabois
  • was an early employee at PayPal where he was a Lead Software Architect, and has been described as a member of the PayPal Mafia Simmons graduated from
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