The 'PayPal Mafia' formed in the early 2000s, and includes everyone from Elon Musk to the Yelp founders. Here's where the original members have ended up.
- Since working at PayPal in the early 2000s, these 23 entrepreneurs have all gone on to impact Silicon Valley and the startup world by founding companies and backing new ventures.
- Known for their entrepreneurial mindset and anti-establishment attitude, this elite group is known as the "PayPal Mafia."
- Some are household names, like Elon Musk, but others who you might not have heard of have been impactful behind the scenes.
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What do the founders of YouTube, Yelp, Tesla, and LinkedIn have in common? Apart from leading massively disruptive technology companies, their founders all share a common resume line item: employment at PayPal.
Known for their entrepreneurial mindset and anti-establishment attitude, this elite group is known as the "PayPal Mafia," and they all put in time during the payment platform's early days some 20 years ago.
Here's a rundown of the most prominent members of this exclusive group and what they're up to two decades later. You might want to break out your thumb tacks and red string, because the connections in this web run deep.
The so-called "don" of the PayPal Mafia is founder Peter Thiel.
Thiel went on to cofound Founders Fund, a venture capital firm that has helped launch companies like SpaceX and Airbnb.
PayPal cofounder Max Levchin served as the company’s chief technology officer.
Levchin now serves as the CEO of Affirm, a payment platform he cofounded.
Ken Howery is one of PayPal’s cofounders and served as its CFO from 1998 to 2002.
Howery is the current US ambassador to Sweden.
Elon Musk founded a payments company called X.com, which merged with Thiel's Confinity in 2000. He was named CEO of PayPal, but it didn't last.
Musk is currently No. 23 on Forbes' list of the world's richest people.
PayPal cofounder Luke Nosek served as the company’s vice president of marketing and strategy.
In 2017, Nosek left Founders Fund to launch investment firm Gigafund, which helped raise money for SpaceX.
Roelof Botha started as PayPal’s director of corporate development.
Now a partner of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Botha is considered one of the top tech investors in the world.
LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman served on the board of directors when PayPal was founded.
Hoffman is one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific angel investors.
Previously a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, David Sacks joined PayPal in 1999.
In 2017, Sacks cofounded the early-stage investment firm Craft Ventures.
Jawed Karim, Chad Hurley, and Steve Chen met at PayPal during its early days.
Today, Karim, Hurley, and Chen remain active entrepreneurs and investors with a hand in projects from finance to music.
Andrew McCormack joined PayPal in 2001.
McCormack and Thiel partnered up once again in 2010 to launch Valar Ventures.
Entrepreneur Keith Rabois served as PayPal’s executive vice president from 2000 to 2002.
In February, Rabois joined Thiel, Howery, and Nosek as a partner at Founders Fund.
Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman worked on technology at PayPal.
Simmons left his official role at Yelp in 2010, while Stoppelman continues to serve as Yelp's CEO.
Jack Selby served as PayPal’s vice president of corporate and international development.
In 2017, Selby was revealed to be the generous tipper behind "Tips for Jesus."
Dave McClure served as PayPal's director of marketing for four years beginning in 2001.
McClure left PayPal in 2004. He had a brief stint at Founders Fund before launching 500 Startups, an early stage venture fund.
There are several more former PayPal employees who went on to have careers both in and out of technology.
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