The famous Paypal mafia isn’t made up of your run of the mill gangsters. In fact, they’re not gangsters at all. They Paypal mafia refers to the group of 12 or so extremely smart people who were part of the original Paypal team. The mafia counts Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman among its ranks. All of these highly accomplished individuals went on to do amazing things after Paypal. If you want to find out what exactly these things were, just read below.
Karim was the security expert for Paypal. He designed an anti-fraud system and integrated it into the Paypal platform. After Paypal, he went on to found Youtube in 2005. Karim then enrolled at Stanford University to pursue a degree in computer science. He continued to act as an advisor for Youtube and made $64 million when Google acquired Youtube for $1.65 billion.
Nosek was one of the 5 original cofounders of Paypal. He served as a VP of marketing and strategy at Paypal and left the company after it was bought out by Ebay. He then travelled the world before deciding to start up a venture capital firm called Founders Firm.
Stoppelman originally joined Paypal as a computer scientist but worked his way up to become VP of engineering. After the Ebay takeover, he left Paypal for a year long stint at Harvard Business School. While there, he dreamed up the idea for online review site Yelp and dropped out to start it. Under Steve Job’s guidance, he turned down an acquisition offer from Google in 2010.
Howery was the CFO of Paypal before he left to join Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Clarium Capital in 2004. More recently, in 2012, Howery created Popexpert, a learning platform that gives learners the ability to interact with experts face-to-face.
Sacks was the COO of Paypal and dabbled in a wide variety of things after Ebay took over the company. He joined Hollywood for a while and directed Thank You For Smoking which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. After that, he founded social network site Yammer. It was acquired for $1.2 billion by Microsoft in 2012.
Peter Thiel is the person most commonly associated with Paypal. This is mostly because he served as CEO and was one of the original 5 cofounders of the company. Immediately after Ebay bought out Paypal, Thiel started up hedge fund Clarium Capital in San Francisco. But that’s not all, Thiel went on to do much much more. He was an early investor in Facebook and invested $500,000 in Facebook when it was just getting started. He later cofounded Palantir, another billion dollar company that specializes in big data analytics.
Rabois served as Paypal’s executive VP for about 2 years from November 2000 – November 2002. He didn’t found any companies but went on to join upper management at companies like LinkedIn, Slide, and Square. After leaving Square, Rabois joined reputed venture capital firm Khosla Ventures as a partner and currently serves on the boards of both Yelp and Xoom.
McCormack was brought into Paypal to serve as an advisor for the company. He was critical in preparing Paypal for a successful IPO. He continued to help Thiel by helping him start Clarium Capital. After that, McCormack became a partner at Valar Ventures where he continues to fund early stage startups and help them flourish into successful companies.
Shah was the product manager at Paypal before he became president of Kiva, a microfinance nonprofit that connects poor communities to credit by crowdsourcing loans. Shah continues to serve as president of Kiva today and plays a role in shaping the path of the organization.
Hoffman originally joined as a member of the board of directors for Paypal but eventually became the COO too. Months after the Ebay takeover of Paypal, Hoffman left to create a new social network meant for professionals: LinkedIn. Through his considerable equity in LinkedIn and angel investment in unicorn startups, Hoffman was able to amass a fortune worth over $3 billion dollars.
Levchin was one of the original cofounders and served as Paypal’s CTO before founding internet company Slide. Slide was acquired by Google for $182 million. Levchin and Google parted ways around a year later due to Google’s decision of shutting down Slide. Levchin had plenty of other things to keep him busy. He helped start Yelp, was on the board of directors for Evernote, and co-founded financial services company Affirm.
Yes, this modern day renaissance man also dabbled in the payment processing sector. Musk’s own company, X.com, had merged with Paypal in 1999 and made him the largest shareholder in Paypal. The moment after Ebay’s takeover, Musk busied himself with starting up SpaceX, an aerospace company that has become wildly successful. In addition to being CEO of SpaceX, Musk became CEO of Tesla Motors. He’s currently finding the best way to colonize Mars. Suffice it to say that this guy is a genius.