What Is PayPal About?

At the time of the new millennium’s dawning, PayPal was still in its infancy stages in both size and growth. People began asking what is PayPal about in the year 2000 that were interested in learning more about PayPal services.

In those days people didn’t trust the internet and worried about having their financial information stolen online. As it turns out, they were right in thinking that could happen to them because it was like the wild west online.

What Is PayPal About?

What Is PayPal AboutThe internet was a free for all back in the day. There wasn’t an abundance of help available to newbies learning to use computers.

There were no mobile phones and nobody wanted to release their credit card information into a computer to make purchases yet.

Around the time of 2002 eBay became the parent company of PayPal and remained in that position until some time in 2015.

For many, myself included, eBay is what made them open a PayPal account so they could buy items they like through eBay.

This also allowed eBay members like me to earn money online by selling items and shipping them to the buyers.

When someone buys an item through eBay the seller is immediately paid via PayPal with a small service fee involved. When people think of PayPal today there’s one name that most are familiar with and that is Elon Musk. However, he was only part of the founder’s team behind the success of PayPal, I’ve listed the entire founder’s team of PayPal below.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels


The PayPal Mafia

The PayPal MafiaSomewhere along the way, the top founders of PayPal and certain various other investors were termed The PayPal Mafia.

Though it took some time before the term The PayPal Mafia became well known to everyone. There are well over 20 members, some say an undisclosed amount.

The notorious members of The PayPal Mafia are the biggest investors, which later went on to sell PayPal to eBay.

Below is a partial list containing the top members of The PayPal Mafia. They are the 6 founding members of PayPal. This is what they’ve done since eBay bought PayPal.

The post basically goes over each founding member, not in any particular order. There are links for information to each one listed below for anyone interested.

The total members of The PayPal Mafia have founded some of the largest tech companies in the world. Companies include YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp, Kiva, and Palantir.

Several other tech companies that are not mentioned are big companies today.

By most accounts, Peter Theil is considered to be the don of the PayPal Mafia.

Photo by mahdi rezaei on Unsplash


Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is a venture capitalist billionaire entrepreneur and is one of the co-founders of PayPal. He served as Chief Executive Officer with PayPal until eBay bought PayPal in 2002.

Peter Thiel by Dan TaylorAfter leaving PayPal, Peter Thiel founded Clarium Capital Management, and soon after Ken Howery joined him at the corporation.

Peter Thiel was born in Frankfurt Germany but his family moved from there when he was just an infant. He spent some time in South Africa growing up before his family moved and settled in California in 1977.

After graduating from Stamford Law School he worked for US Appeals Court Judge James Larry Edmonson.

He also worked as a securities lawyer and a speechwriter for the former US Secretary Of Education William Bennett. A little later he invested $500,000. in Facebook.

That investment made Peter Thiel the first outside investor with Facebook. That amount equated to a 10.2% stock share of Facebook which he sold most of in 2012 for over 1 billion dollars.

What Is PayPal About With Peter Thiel

Despite selling his shares of Facebook stock Peter Thiel still sits on the Board Of Directors with Facebook today. Peter Thiel has been a political right-leaning conservative liberal.

Peter Thiel

He has donated to many candidates including Donald Trump. He is against enormous spending and debt created by the government, he also doesn’t like overseas wars.

Today Peter Thiel has a net worth of about 7.24 billion dollars and continues with his foundation’s work.

His PayPal shares at the time in 2002 when eBay purchased PayPal was worth about 55 million dollars.

Peter Thiel also wrote a book entitled Zero To One as you can see in the above image.

Book Photo by Dries De Schepper on Unsplash

The Thing You Should Focus On Most!| Peter Thiel | Top 10 Rules


Ken Howery

Ken Howery originated from Texas and is a 1998 Stamford University graduate with a B.A. major in economics. While a student at Stamford Ken Howery was Managing Editor of the school’s newspaper. The paper was the original creation of Peter Thiel who started the paper run only by the students.

Ken Howery State HeadshotThe year Ken Howery graduated from Stanford he co-founded what is now PayPal along with Nosek, Theil, Levchin, Musk, and Pan.

Starting in 1998 Ken Howery served as CFO of PayPal until 2002 when PayPal was sold to eBay.

During that acquisition, Ken Howery stayed with eBay serving as Director Of Corporate Development until 2003.

In 2004 Ken Howery became Vice President Of Private Equity with Clarium Capital Management joining Thiel in the process. He was also on the Trading Teams and he was involved with Research Development at Clarium Capital Management.

What Is PayPal About with Ken Howery

Sometime after leaving Clarium Capital Management Ken Howery served on the boards of ZocDoc and Quantcast.

In recent times, on January 16th of 2019, former President Donald Trump nominated Ken Howery to be the Ambassador of the US to the Kindom Of Sweden. His official title was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America.

Ken Howery’s fortune is worth about 1.5 billion dollars.

Ambassador Howery Vising Northern Sweden.


Luke Nosek

Sometime in 1995 while attending college with fellow students Max Levchin and Scott Banister, Luke Nosek created a company called SponsorNet New Media Inc. During that time Luke Nosek also worked for the now-defunct Netscape. Back in those days, Netscape was a giant in the tech world.

Graphing Social Patterns 07 - IMG 9586 (1527725262)Luke Nosek is a venture capitalist entrepreneur who served as Vice President of Marketing and Strategy with PayPal.

He created the instant transfer product for PayPal before leaving in 2002.

The reason Luke Nosek left PayPal was that he wanted to travel around the world while seeking out angel investors for new projects.

Sometime in 2005, Luke Nosek created Founders Fund alongside co-founders Peter Thiel and Ken Howery. Founders Fund is a venture capital firm based out of San Francisco with assets management exceeding 3 billion dollars. After 12 years with Founders Fund Luke Nosek left the company in 2017 to begin a new company.

What Is PayPal About With Luke Nosek

The new company he started is based on space exploration funding and is called Gigafund. It’s worth noting that when Elon Musks’ company SpaceX began Luke Nosek was the first institutional investor in SpaceX technology. This is probably a good reason why he sits on the board of SpaceX today.

Luke Nosek also sits on the board of Research Gate today and will continue to innovate as technology evolves. With hopes of medical technology reviving him later in the future he registered for cryonically low-temperature preservation.

Luke Nosek, What Is Your Standard Of Success?


Max Levchin

During his time at PayPal Max Levchin was the CTO of the company as his company Conformity morphed into PayPal. Co-founded by Max Levchin and Peter Theil Conformity later became PayPal which everybody knows about today. Max Levchin focused on anti-fraud for the PayPal payment system.

Max Levchin-newAt the time of PayPal’s acquisition in 2002 by eBay Max Levchin had a 2.3% share hold of PayPal, it was worth 34 million at the time.

One of the members of the PayPal Mafia is Max Levchin.

The PayPal Mafia is about twenty-plus tech people that went on to create big tech giants after leaving PayPal.

This is certainly true with Max Levchin as he created a company called slide in 2004. The company was a personal media sharing service for social networks.

Companies like MySpace and Facebook used Slide services before Google purchased Slide for a staggering 182 million in 2010.

Max Levchin stayed as Vice President Of Engineering until August of 2011.

What Is PayPal About With Max Levchin

That was when Google announced it was shutting down Slide and letting go of Max Levchin. In 2011 Max Levchin started another company called HVF and by 2012 HVF had a spin-off company called Affirm which focused on building a credit network.

Max Levchin’s stake in Affirm is estimated to be worth about 2.5 billion dollars and in 2013 HVF launched a couples fertility company called Glow. The focus of Glow is a fertility app for couples to conceive naturally.

Max Levchin also invested heavily in the early days of Yelp, he owns over 7000 shares of Yelp’s stock making him the largest shareholder.

Full Interview with Max Levchin co-founder of PayPal.


Yu Pan

As an engineer entrepreneur Yu Pan was one of the original founders of PayPal. He currently works with Origin Protocol as an R&D Engineer. His career spans decades and along the way, Yu Pan worked for the biggest name tech companies that still exist to this day.

One interesting thing to note is that Yu Pan was the very first employee of Youtube, he was hired as an early youtube software engineer. Youtube today of course is the largest search engine on the internet even surpassing daily searches over Google search numbers.

What Is PayPal About With Yu Pan

Speaking of Google search, Yu Pan also worked for Google as an employee for some time while creating another business. The business he helped create and co-founded at the time was Kiwi Crate Inc., a business model aimed at inspiring learning among young children.

You can buy Kiwi Crate products on the main website or buy them at Walmart or on Amazon. The popularity of Kiwi Crate Inc. has exploded over the years and the company has seen substantial growth since its inception days. You can check out more of Kiwi Create on their main website Kiwico.

PayPal Co-founder & First YouTube Engineer Talks About His Work At Origin.


Elon Musk

Back in premillennial 1999 Elon Musk, his brother Kimbal and Greg Kouri created Zip 2. The company was built using angel funding and Elon’s profit portion when Zip 2 sold in 1999 was 7% and worth a whopping 22 million dollars.

In 1999 after selling Zip 2 Elon also created an online financial company aimed at email payment services called X.COM.

What Is PayPal About With Elon Musk

Elon Musk (3017880307)At the start of the Millenium during the year 2000 XCOM merged with a company that was founded by Theil and Levchin named Confinity.

CEO Bill Harris replaced Elon despite him having the largest share in XCOM stock. To eliminate competition at the time Confinity and XCOM merged, PayPal was the payment system that Confinity created.

Elon was the largest shareholder with 11.7% when eBay purchased PayPal in 2002 for 1.5 billion. The deal paid Elon over $100,000,000.

Citing sentimental value Elon bought the Xcom domain back from PayPal in 2017.

When you go to the domain you will find a blank white page with only a letter X in the top left corner of the page.

One could ponder he has great plans for the x.com domain, he does like to use the letter x. Two of his children’s names have the letter X. His sons are Xavier and X Æ A-12 Musk.

He also has his company SpaceX as well.

The Letter X And Elon Musk

Somehow the letter X has been very good to Elon Musk, he is currently one of the richest men in the world.

In 2003 Elon Musk co-founded Tesla Automotive Company with JB Strauble and the revenue of the company to date is 31.5 billion. The company continues to get better by innovating the electric car market every year with the next new model.

Elon Musk has many businesses and likes to buy cryptocurrency. He has exploded cryptocurrencies with huge investments.

Forbes has Elon Musk ranked the second richest in the world at 151 billion on their 2021 richest billionaires list. However, I’ve read this article that said Elon Musk is worth 196 billion dollars making him the richest over Jeff Bezo’s 177 billion fortune.

When you are that wealthy I’m not sure it matters who’s the richest, you probably can’t spend it all anyway.

Elon Musk will leave you speechless with one of the most eye-opening speeches ever.


 Wealthy Affiliate Only Uses PayPal

Having joined PayPal a very long time ago I’ve been very familiar with the ease of using PayPal to pay for many things. Selling products on eBay became a part-time hobby for me offering mostly used things I’d pick up here and there.

eBay instantly paid me for anything sold using PayPal payment services for listed items.

Wealthy Affiliate Only Uses PayPalIn time PayPal started offering revolving credit lines to long-standing account holders like myself, I applied for the Credit.

Once approved for a small line of credit I used it for larger purchases online.

PayPal is the reason I was able to join Wealthy Affiliate as a yearly premium member. The discount is worth the yearly.

The reason why I mention that is because PayPal is the only payment system Wealthy Affiliate uses.

That includes both receiving payments and paying out affiliate commissions. Signing up for PayPal is an easy process.

Wealthy Affiliate has paid out beyond 40 million in commissions with PayPal.

What Is PayPal About With Wealthy Affiliate

Learning at Wealthy Affiliate continues to be an awesome experience as my skills have improved since day one.

Have you ever thought about affiliate marketing? If so, there are no better online courses available than Wealthy Affiliate. The community-oriented platform is there to help and is available 24/7.

To receive 10 lessons and build a free website join the free starter membership.

Wealthy Affiliate uses PayPal payment services to pay affiliates for their affiliate program.

They have been in business for over 15 years and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

You can join a Wealthy Affiliate Free Starter Membership here.

Check out one of my previous posts called What Is Wealthy Affiliate About.

Thanks for reading.


6 thoughts on “What Is PayPal About?”

  1. I use PayPal all the time, and I had no idea about the history and depth of the company. Very interesting stuff. I had no idea that Elon Musk had a lot to do with PayPal. It is amazing how there are so many successful people who had a hand in this company before it was sold to eBay. I wonder what the next big company will be that will shape future visionaries. 

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment AL, it’s very much appreciated. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve had a PayPal account now for 13 years and that I’ve used the account almost every day since it was opened. However, I never knew the history of PayPal until a few years back when someone mentioned the PayPal mafia to me. After that, I wanted to learn more about the origins of the company so I started doing some research about PayPal. It’s quite a story and everyone involved has gone from millionaires to billionaires since leaving PayPal.

  2. Interesting. I have been a user of PayPal forever, but have never actually looked into the history or who owned it. I didn’t even know there was a PayPal Mafia. Interesting that most of these men have made amazing choices throughout their lives and also considerable risk. Which just goes to show that success comes with its risks and failures, and we should all learn from these individuals.

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Michel, it’s very much appreciated. The reason I created this post was that I hadn’t heard of the PayPal Mafia myself until a friend mentioned them to me a few years back. After hearing about them I did some research and dug into the history of PayPal which took me down a rabbit hole for sure. The founding members have all gone from millionaires when starting PayPal to billionaires since leaving PayPal.

  3. PayPal has come in really handy for me especially when I’m a first time buyer of a certain brand. When the trust isnt really there yet PayPal sure helps to ensure safe payments, and should a company scam you, you can just turn to paypal and they can penalize the scammer. Plus, you wont have to submit your credit card details which can be assuring for people like me, who are paranoid about giving credit card details to newer brands LOL. But the exchange rates are higher, but a pretty small price to pay for the safe transactions hahaha. 

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Julian, it’s very much appreciated. I agree 100%, PayPal has one of the best support teams I’ve ever dealt with over disputes. I’ve had only a few over the years, but PayPal refunded my money on every single one of them. I like using PayPal so much for purchases I make because I have PayPal credit which makes the purchase so easy. I often use PayPal offline, I shop HomeDepot and I use PayPal at checkout there.

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