In SILICON VALLEY people are besotted by the latest thing, which is why techies rarely give a thought to PayPal, a digital-payments firm that turns 20 this month. If its name comes up, it usually has to do with the “PayPal mafia”, a group of entrepreneurs, including Tesla’s Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist, who made their first fortunes when eBay bought their firm for $1.5bn in 2002. Ask tech employees about the Valley’s largest, high-flying firm and PayPal is unlikely to make their list.
What PayPal lacks in terms of its profile, it has made up for in performance. After languishing under eBay’s control, in 2015 it broke away and re-listed. Today PayPal has a market capitalisation of $101bn and is one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable technology firms, larger than either Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley by value.