There was a question on Quora.com (a site where I answered a lot to lots of questions): “Who are the top 3 most influential tech entrepreneurs (or teams) in each decade the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s and why?”
Here is my answer to that.
One of the most influential teams of 2000s is the, so-called, Paypal Mafia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal_Mafia
It was an outstanding team of 20 or so people put together by the founders of Paypal: Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and COO David O Sacks (together with Elon Musk which came after the merger of X.com and Confinity, forming thus Paypal).
Basically, is hard to find today known startups which DON’T have or had one of these people as investors, advisors, founders or CEOs.
Here is the dream team and their actual or past involvements:
- Peter Thiel – founder (Founders Fund, Facebook, Geni, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yammer, Yelp, Slide, Friendster, Palantir, Powerset, Clarium Capital, IronPort, etc)
- Max Levchin – founder (Slide, IronPort, Yelp)
- David O Sacks – COO (Yammer, Geni, film producer also)
- Roelof Botha – CFO (Sequoia Capital, Youtube, Joost, Facebook, TokBox, Xoom)
- Elon Musk – short time CEO after Paypal acquisition of X.com (Tesla Motors, SpaceX, SolarCity)
- Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim – designer, engineering manager and engineer (Youtube)
- Reid Garrett Hoffman – EVP (Linkedin, Zynga, Friendster, SixApart, Flickr, IronPort, Digg, Technorati, Tagged, Ning, etc)
- Eric M. Jackson – VP of Marketing (Caplinked, WND Books)
- Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman – Lead Architect and VP of Technology (Yelp)
- Keith Rabois – executive (LinkedIn, Slide, TokBox, Xoom, Geni, Youtube, Yelp)
- Luke Nosek – VP of Marketing (Founders Fund, Halcyon Molecular, SpaceX, Pathway Genomics)
- Premal Shah – product manager (Kiva.org)
- Dave McClure – Director of Marketing (500Startups, Mint, KISSMetrics, Twilio, TeachStreet, SlideShare, LinkedIn, SimplyHired, etc)
- Daniel Issen – (AdBrite)
- Jared Kopf – assistant executive (Slide, Adroll)
- Ken Howery – pre-financing CFO and Director of Corp Dev (Founders Fund)
- Yishan Wong – Director of Engineering (Facebook, Appbistro)
Here is an article about them on CNN Money (2007).
Now, after Facebook IPO, maybe there will be another team like that coming from the social network giant which will get involved into tech startups at the scale the Paypal original team did.
Or, maybe, other teams from other tech startups which hits it big will do the same. It will benefit the upcoming entrepreneurs for sure.
NOTE: This article was published first by me on Quora.com on Feb 5, 2011.