The PayPal Mafia describes a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since become involved with other tech companies. While most know SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s association with PayPal, the company also has links with YouTube, LinkedIn, and Yelp, among many others. In addition to founding these generation-defining companies, the members of the PayPal Mafia are some of the richest men in Silicon Valley.
Often referred to as the “Don” of the PayPal Mafia, Peter Thiel is one of the original co-founders of PayPal.
Thiel earned $55 million from his 3.7% stake in PayPal after it was sold to eBay, after which he created the hedge fund Clarium Capital and became the first outside investor in fledging Facebook.
His original $500,000 investment would now be worth approximately $9 billion, though the billionaire reduced his holdings by 81% in 2020.
Thiel is also the co-founder of Palantir Technologies, a software and data integration company with clients in the United States Government, military, intelligence, and police.
At PayPal, Karim was responsible for implementing the company’s real-time anti-fraud system.
Once his tenure ended, Karim founded YouTube with former PayPal colleagues Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.
Karim continued to act as an advisor while studying computer science at Stanford University.
Once YouTube was acquired by Google, Karim sold his shares which at the time were worth $64 million.
In 2008, Karim founded Youniversity Ventures with early PayPal investors Kevin Hartz and Keith Rabols. The company helps students and graduates develop viable business ideas.
Jeremy Stoppelman had a very early role at PayPal, joining the company as an engineer while it was still known as X.com. He eventually attained the title of Vice President of Engineering.
Stoppelman was another member of the PayPal Mafia to benefit from the eBay acquisition – at least indirectly.
He founded the online review site Yelp with former colleague Russel Simmons after contracting the flu and experiencing difficulty finding a good doctor.
Hoffman joined PayPal as its COO in 2000, handling all external communications. At the time of the eBay acquisition in 2002, he was executive vice president.
Shortly thereafter, Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn – one of the first business-oriented online social networks.
LinkedIn was then acquired by Microsoft in June 2016 for $26.2 billion, with Hoffman taking a seat on the board.
In more recent years, Hoffman has been involved with philanthropic projects.
He currently serves on the boards of the microlending service Kiva and the social change organization Do Something.
Hoffman is also associated with Endeavor Global, which identifies and supports entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
Reid Hoffman is the author of Blitzscaling.
David O. Sacks
David Sacks joined PayPal in 1999 from the management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.
Sacks has arguably the most diverse resume of any PayPal Mafia member. In 2005, he produced and financed the satirical comedy Thank You for Smoking.
The following year, he founded the genealogy website Geni.com and Yammer, a social network and productivity tool for internal corporate communication.
Angel investment in technology companies is also a passion for Sacks, having been involved in the industry for two decades. Some of his investments include Airbnb, Eventbrite, Opendoor, Postmates, Scribd, Slack, and Uber.
- The PayPal Mafia describes a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since become involved with other tech companies. Elon Musk is perhaps the most well-known member.
- Peter Thiel is one of the original co-founders of PayPal and is often referred to as the “Don” of the PayPal mafia. Jawed Karim, responsible for implementing PayPal’s fraud protection system, later founded YouTube with colleagues Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.
- Former COO Reid Hoffman left PayPal after the eBay acquisition to found LinkedIn. David O. Sacks, also a former COO, has produced a movie and founded a corporate social network since his time at PayPal. Sacks is also a passionate angel investor.
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Is Elon Musk part of the PayPal Mafia?
Elon Musk is one of PayPal’s members. Indeed, Elon Musk founded X.com, which eventually would merge with Confinity to create PayPal.
Who is the richest of the PayPal Mafia?
Why is it called PayPal Mafia?
The founding team of PayPal created many companies that defined Silicon Valley after the 2000s. Companies like Tesla, SpaceX, LinkedIn, YouTube, Palantir, and many others came from PayPal’s founding team. That is how they got the title of “PayPal Mafia.”
Why did PayPal remove Elon?
In an internal war in the year 2000, as Elon Musk flew to enjoy his honeymoon, he was ousted as the company’s CEO from the team who led the coupe (Levchin and Sachs primarily, as they wanted to bring back Peter Thiel as CEO of the company). Eventually, as Musk was on his plane back to California, he could not fight back and got ousted as CEO. Musk, with the money from PayPal, exists, as it got sold to eBay, founded SpaceX, and invested in Tesla in the very early days.
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