Fortune: The “paypal mafia” photographed at Tosca in San Francisco, Oct, 2007. Back row from left: Jawed Karim, co-founder Youtube; Jeremy Stoppelman CEO Yelp; Andrew McCormack, managing partner Laiola Restaurant; Premal Shah, Pres of Kiva; 2nd row from left: Luke Nosek, managing partner The Founders Fund; Kenny Howery, managing partner The Founders Fund; David Sacks, CEO Geni and Room 9 Entertainment; Peter Thiel, CEO Clarium Capital and Founders Fund; Keith Rabois, VP BIz Dev at Slide and original Youtube Investor; Reid Hoffman, Founder Linkedin; Max Levchin, CEO Slide; Roelof Botha, partner Sequoia Capital; Russel Simmons, CTO and co-founder of Yelp

We are sure you’ve heard of the PayPal Mafia, but do you know the 14 people credited as their original members? 

Today’s Founder Friday focuses on the famous Silicon Valley mafioso and the companies and VC firms they created post-eBay acquisition. When you look at the companies they helped create, the number of tech giants they invested in, what they’ve done for countless startups, and the wealth they created, it is mind-blowing… 

Peter Thiel 

  • Co-Founder & CEO 
  • Post-PayPal: Clarium Capital (hedge fund); co-founder of Palantir; investor in Facebook; founding partner of Founders Fund; co-founder of Valar Ventures; co-founder of Mithril Capital; partner with Y Combinator; established the Thiel Foundation (Breakout Labs and the Thiel Fellowship) 

Max Levchin 

  • Co-Founder & CTO 
  • Post-PayPal: founder of Slide; investor in Yelp; board for Yahoo!; founder of HVF Labs; co-founder of Affirm; chairman of Glow 
Fortune: Elon Musk

Elon Musk 

  • Co-Founder & CEO of 
  • merged with Confinity (founded in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Luke Nosek). Musk caused Thiel to resign; he was eventually fired as’s CEO by the board, and Thiel again returned to and eventually took its most popular service and turned it into PayPal. Musk was PayPal’s largest shareholder when eBay acquired it. 
  • Post-PayPal: founder of SpaceX; investor and chairman of Tesla (that’s right, he was not Tesla’s founder); founder of Starlink; investor in SolarCity; founder of OpenAI; co-founder of Neuralink; founder of The Boring Company; acquired Twitter; founder of the Musk Foundation 

Kenny Howery 

  • Co-Founder & CFO 
  • Post-PayPal: stayed on with eBay; co-founder of Clarium Capital; co-founder of Founders Fund; US Ambassador to Sweden 

Luke Nosek 

  • VP of Marketing & founding team member 
  • Post-PayPal: co-founder of Founders Fund; co-founder of Gigafund 

Russel Simmons 

  • Sr. Software Engineer & founding team member 
  • Post-PayPal: CTO for MRL Ventures; co-founder of Yelp; founder of Learnivava 

David Sacks 

  • COO 
  • Post-PayPal: producer of Thank You for Smoking; founder of; founder of Yammer; investor in Zenefits; angel investor; co-founder of Craft Ventures 

Jawed Karim 

  • Software Engineer 
  • Post-PayPal: co-founder of YouTube; co-founder of Youniversity Ventures (Y Ventures); investor in Airbnb 

Jeremy Stoppelman 

  • VP of Technology 
  • Post-PayPal: co-founder of Yelp 

Andrew McCormack 

  • Assistant to the CEO (Peter Thiel) 
  • Post-PayPal: operations at Clarium Capital; founder of Sprezzatura Restaurant Group; Principal at Thiel Capital; co-founder of Valar Ventures; Head of Singapore Innovation Hub for BIS 

Premal Shah 

  • Product Manager 
  • Post-PayPal: co-founder of Kiva; President of Branch International; co-founder of 

Keith Rabois 

  • EVP, Business Development, Public Affairs, & Policy 
  • Post-PayPal: VP, Business & Corporate Development at LinkedIn; EVP, Strategy & Business Development at Slide; COO at Square; Managing Director at Khosla Ventures; General Partner at Founders Fund; co-founder of OpenStore 

Reid Hoffman 

  • Board of Directors (and later COO) 
  • Post-PayPal: angel investor; co-founder of LinkedIn; Partner at Greylock; co-founder of Inflection AI 

Roelof Botha 

  • Director of Corporate Development (and later CFO) 
  • Post-PayPal: Partner at Sequoia Capital 

And the list of mafia members has grown since Fortune’s 2007 story and their PayPal Mafia photo (Musk was unable to attend the shoot back then). Some media now credit the group as having more than 20 members with such tech notables as… 

  • Scott Banister 
  • Steve Chen 
  • Chad Hurley 
  • Eric Jackson 
  • Jared Kopf 
  • Jack Selby 
  • Premal Shah 
  • Yishan Wong 
  • Dan Chan 
  • Jason Portnoy 
  • Dave McClure 

Truly amazing that all of this came out of a single startup!


*Image Source: Fortune – The PayPal Mafia

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