In success stories we take a look at some of the most successful people in history and breakdown their lives and tips to success. In this post we’re taking a look at The Paypal Mafia.


The Paypal Mafia is a group of men who came together to work on Paypal. Once the company was sold to Ebay for $1.5 Billion in 2003, most of these men went their separate ways, with some uniting to work on business ideas together. What’s fascinating about The Paypal Mafia is the widespread success that they all achieve after this deal. It’s probably the greatest group success story since, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Keri Russell and J.C. Chasez were all in the Mickey Mouse Club together. (We’re joking, it’s far greater than that).


The Paypal Mafia


Jawed Karim

  • Involved in the anti-fraud system at Paypal
  • Co-founded YouTube with Steve Chen and Chad Hurley
  • Sold his shares in YouTube for $64 million when Google acquired the company
  • Founded Youniversity Ventures in 2008 helping students and graduates develop business ideas
  • Net Worth: $140 Million


Jeremy Stoppelman

  • Vice-president of engineering at Paypal
  • Resigned soon after Ebay sale
  • Helped found Yelp with Russel Simmons
  • Steve Jobs convinced him not to sell Yelp to Google in 2010 and 2012
  • Net Worth: $180m


Andrew McCormack

  • Worked closely as an assistant to Peter Thiel at Paypal
  • Helped Peter Thiel set up hedge-fund company Clarium Capital before founding a restaurant group in San Francisco
  • Currently a partner at Valar Ventures and e-count – part of Citigroup and Yahoo
  • Net Worth: N/A many people pay to keep their net worth a secret


Premal Shah

  • 6 years as product manger at Paypal
  • Became president of Kiva, a company that allows people to lend money to struggling students and entrepreneurs. As of 2013, they were raising $1 million every 3 days
  • Net Worth: N/A


Luke Nosek

  • Co-founder alongside Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Ken Howery. He was also the Vice-president of marketing strategy
  • Departed after the Ebay deal and went travelling around the world
  • When he arrived back he founded the Founders Firm with Peter Thiel and Ken Howery in 2005
  • Net Worth: N/A


Ken Howery

  • C0-founder and chief financial officer between 1998 and 2002
  • Stayed on as Ebay’s director of corporate development for just under a year
  • He went on to join Thiel as the Vice-president of Clarium Capital in 2004
  • Helped co-found Founders Fund a year later, which now has Facebook billionaire Sean Parker as one of the investors
  • He founded Popexpert – an online learning platform
  • Ken is available for consulting sessions at a price of a few $100,000
  • Net Worth: N/A


David Sacks

  • Joined after Paypal was founded, but soon Sacks became Paypal’s chief operating officer
  • Made $20 million off the sale of Paypal
  • Went to Hollywood after the deal and made the movie Thank You For Smoking in 2005 which recieved a golden globe nomination
  • Founded, however after some problems with communications within the company, David created Yammer to aid the problem, which Microsoft acquired for $1.2 Billion in 2012
  • He was then named as corporate vice-president in Microsoft’s office division
  • Insiders say that he held Paypal together during rough times
  • Threw a party for his 40th that made headlines, it cost him $1.4 million for one extravagant event
  • Net Worth: No exact figure, but it’s thought that David is a billionaire


Peter Thiel

  • Peter was a co-founder and CEO of Paypal
  • Made $55 million from the sale of Ebay
  • Founded hedge-fund Clarium Capital straight after the deal. Clarium Capital invested $500,000 into Facebook, making Peter Thiel the first outside investor of Facebook
  • Thiel sold his Facebook shares for over $1 billion
  • Net Worth: $3.3 billion


Keith Rabois

  • Executive Vice-president, business development, public affairs and policy at Paypal
  • Acquired senior positions at LinkedIn (Founded by Reid Hoffman), Slide (Founded by Max Levchin) and Square (Founded by Jack Dorsey of Twitter)
  • Currently a partner at Venture Capital outfit Khosia Ventures
  • He also serves on the board of directors at Yelp and Xoom
  • Net Worth: $1 billion


Reid Hoffman

  • Joined from socialnet, the first social media website to fail. He joined Paypal’s board of directors, then later began working their full-time to become a Paypal COO. By 2002 he was executive vice-president
  • Known as the most connected man in Silicon Valley
  • Co-founded LinkedIn in 2002
  • His LinkedIn stake has been valued at $2.39 billion
  • The oldest member of the Paypal Mafia
  • Has upwards of 80 angel investments, including Facebook, Zynga, Flickr, Digg and Lastfm
  • Net Worth: $3.6 billion


Max Levchin

  • Co-founder and chief technology officer at Paypal. It is said that he had a big-hand in Paypal’s anti-fraud system
  • Made $34 million from the sale of Paypal
  • Used the money to found Slide, which Google later bought for $182 million. Sadly Google dropped the idea a few years later
  • Helped start Yelp in 2004
  • On the board of directors at Evernote and Yahoo
  • Co-founded financial services company Affirm
  • Founded a company called HVF which helps fund new projects
  • Net Worth: $300 million


Roelof Botha

  • A qualified actuary, (very much like a financial planner) he negotiated the Ebay deal as Paypal’s chief financial officer. He came straight out of Stanford to become Paypal’s director of corporate development
  • Known as a big tech investor
  • A partner at Sequoia Capital since 2003
  • On the board of 13 companies including Evernote, Jawbone, Tumblr, Xoom and YouTube before it was acquired by Google
  • Net Worth: N/A


Russel Simmons

  • The lead software architect at Paypal, and no it’s not that Russel Simmons
  • Helped co-found Yelp
  • In 2010 he went travelling around the world
  • In 2012 he founded Learnivarna – that helps people learn languages
  • Net Worth: N/A


Elon Musk

  • Owned a company called which was similar to Paypal. Musk decided to merge with Paypal in 1999 and became the largest shareholder
  • Made $165 million from the sale of Paypal
  • He invested it all to create three companies; Solarcity, SpaceX and Tesla
  • All three of these companies are now valued at over 1 billion, making Elon the first person to ever have 3 separate businesses valued at over $1 billion
  • Working on Hyperloop, a subsonic air machine that uses solar energy to transport people more efficiently and environmentally than ever before
  • Elon is also working towards having habitable bases on Mars
  • Net Worth: $13 billion


Steve Chen

  • Not technically part of the Paypal Mafia, Chen was merely an employee at the time. However his story is so influential to our modern world, that it felt like a crime to leave him out
  • Went on to work at Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg
  • He later decided to leave Facebook, even though everyone advised him not to, including Facebook’s main members. Luckily the company he left to found was called YouTube
  • Net Worth: $300 million



So what can we draw from The Paypal Mafia?

  • Find others on the same mission as you
  • Great things happen when great people come together
  • Surround yourself with great people in life and it’ll rub off on you
  • Combine various assets and skills for the best possible results
  • Learn something from everyone
  • Your environment is everything, greatness attracts greatness