Some of the founders or first investors of great technological giants went through the PayPal Internet payment company before and played a key role in its initial development.

For years they have not been part of the firm, but many kept in touch with each other and even gave themselves a name: the ” PayPal Mafia “.

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A group that does not have a definitive number of members.

The specialized press usually refers to between one and two dozen when talking about him.

But one of the founders, Peter Thiel, prefers to include the 220 workers he had before eBay bought PayPal, as many of them then embarked on the creation of their own digital businesses.

It was this acquisition, in 2002, that marked the beginning of the diaspora of the team that had founded this company in 1998.

Most do not have fond memories of this separation, such as David Sacks, PayPal’s former head of operations and founder of the Yammer professional contacts network, who described that episode for the TechRepublic portal:

“Basically, we were kicked out of our land [by eBay] and they burned our temple, so we scattered all over the globe and had to create new homes.”

Something that, in the end, ended up being productive for the sector: PayPal is today a company that invoices more than US $ 10,000 million a year and that has revolutionised the banking industry and the PayPal mafia have come out successful companies and leaders in innovation that are also transforming their markets.

Among its ranks are several millionaires, six of whom have amassed a fortune of more than $1 billion. Below, some of the most remarkable members.

One of the founders of PayPal and the first general director of the company. He was born in Germany, but grew up between Africa and the United States.

Established in 1998 a company called Confinity (which later would be called PayPal) with the aim of developing software that would allow individuals and businesses to have virtual “wallets” to carry out transactions over the Internet.

They were the years of the dot-com bubble and Internet services were starting to gain followers.

After eBay bought PayPal, Thiel retired from the company and was engaged in other businesses that include hedge funds, the big data analytics firm Palantir and the venture capital Founders Fund .

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These last two were created in conjunction with other members of the PayPal mafia.

But Thiel is best known for being the first external investor of Facebook (he contributed in 2004 US $500,000 and, at present, the sales of shares have already made him more than US $1,000 million) and, more recently, for having supported the campaign to the presidency of Donald Trump.

Elon Musk

Although today he is known as the CEO of Tesla and founder of Spacex , at the beginning of the new millennium his main role was that of shareholder and general manager of PayPal.

The company of Musk, X.com, merged with PayPal in 1999 and the South African entrepreneur took over the firm during a short period, as he was dismissed in October 2000.

Reid Hoffman

Hoffman had been part of PayPal’s board of directors since its inception and was its executive vice president when eBay bought the firm in 2002.

That same year, together with former colleagues from PayPal and his previous company, SocialNet, he founded the social network dedicated to the professional field LinkedIn .

The firm is now owned by Microsoft, which acquired it for US $ 26.2 billion last year, and has more than 100 million users per month.

Hoffman joined the Microsoft board of directors in 2017.

But he has also contributed to the creation and development of other companies through his role as an investor. Among them, are Facebook, Airbnb and Change.org.

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