The Yelp executives join Facebook Inc. investors Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. founder Elon Musk on a short list of ex-PayPal employees poised to generate big-time riches from pending IPOs. PayPal, which developed an online payment system, was purchased by EBay Inc. for $1.5 billion in 2002, making many of its early employees rich and eager to pursue new endeavors.
“PayPal did a great job of producing a very talented class of entrepreneurs,” said Eric Jackson, the company’s first marketing director and author of “The PayPal Wars.” “They’ve gone on to do amazing things in Silicon Valley and the tech industry.”
Stoppelman, 34, co-founded San Francisco-based Yelp in 2004, after serving as PayPal’s vice president of engineering from 2000 to 2003. Levchin, 36, has been chairman of Yelp since 2004. After working as PayPal’s chief technology officer, he founded Slide Inc., a Web application developer that was purchased by Google Inc. in 2010.
Both executives were among a group of colleagues who came to be known in Silicon Valley as the PayPal Mafia. The moniker was codified by an article in 2007 in Fortune magazine.