For this cover story, Conner Forrest talked with members from the group of early PayPal employees nicknamed the 'PayPal Mafia.' Some of them went on to start the most influential companies of our time, including Tesla, LinkedIn, and YouTube, creating a blueprint for explosive growth and scale that forever changed the tech industry.
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From the story:
The "PayPal Mafia" is no mafia at all. It's a diaspora.
"Basically, we were kicked out of our homeland and they burned down our temple. So, we were scattered to the four corners of the globe, and we had to make new homes."
That's how David Sacks, former COO of PayPal and former CEO of Yammer, described it. The ominous "they" in this story is eBay, and eBay is partly responsible for both the success of PayPal and why the founders walked away from it.
It's a pretty rare occurrence that a startup will make it from inception to exit. What is decidedly less common is that startup reaching an exit upwards of $1 billion. Yet even more extraordinary is that exit becoming the catalyst for a revitalization of a local economy and a specific type of investing.
Despite astronomical odds, this is what happened when PayPal sold to eBay in the summer of 2002, and the PayPal team members went on to found some of the most important startups--and make some of the most strategic investments--of all time.
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