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“PayPal黑手党”:手握硅谷半壁江山的男人们

互联网经济国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

“PayPal黑手党”:手握硅谷半壁江山的男人们

20世纪90年代,埃隆·马斯克、彼得·泰尔和雷德·霍夫曼在PayPal担任高管,那时他们还未成为亿万富翁投资者或企业家。 他们以及该公司其他十几位早期高管,包括和基思·拉博伊斯都被称为“PayPal黑手党”——硅谷鼎鼎有名的企业家和风险资本家网络。

“PayPal黑手党”的成员创建了YouTube、特斯拉、SpaceX、 Palantir、LinkedIn、 Yelp这些公司, 他们还成立了诸如Founders Fund和Valar Ventures等风险投资公司,并加入了红杉资本、科斯拉风投(Khosla Ventures)和Greylock Partners等公司。同时,他们还是Facebook、Uber、Lyft、Airbnb、Square、Pinterest、Stripe以及硅谷在过去二十年里诞生的众多独角兽的主要投资者。

多年来,“PayPal黑手党”得到了媒体的大量报道,但其投资目录尚不完整。 利用Crunchbase、陶氏以及媒体对投资进行报导提供的数据,我们汇编了一个较为全面的“PayPal黑手党”投资活动数据库。这些数据集包括投资者资料、投资公司情况和投资日期。另外,他们还添加了指标变量,以显示公司是否从多个“PayPal黑手党”成员那里获得投资,并向投资者展示共同点。

“PayPal黑手党”成员皆为男性,因此常常被指责是造成技术行业中女性匮乏的原因之一。我们设置了一个变量,以确定公司是否至少有一位女性创始人来衡量“PayPal黑手党”成员在此类公司中所做的投资比例。

该数据库包括了20名“PayPal黑手党”成员进行的个人投资以及与Crunchbase黑手党成员“合伙投资”的“PayPal黑手党”附属风险投资公司进行的投资。此外,还将黑手党附属风投公司投入“PayPal黑手党”成员创立的公司的投资计算在内。

这种方法是保守的,一些“PayPal黑手党”成员可能投资的更多。例如,雷德·霍夫曼作为Crunchbase的合伙人,在Greylock Partners的投资可能比在Crunchbase那的投资还要多。

总体而言,在1995年至2018年6月期间,“PayPal黑手党”成员及其附属风投公司对646家公司进行了计1005项投资。能够确定这646家公司中的642家公司的创始人,其中89家公司(14%)中至少有一位女性创始人;另外,有一家初创公司的创始人为跨性别者。

为了将这些数字与整个行业进行比较,我们通过一项利用了Crunchbase数据的研究发现:从2009年到2014年,15.5%的初创公司至少有一位女性创始人;同时在此期间,13%“PayPal黑手党”投资的初创公司中有女性创始人。

如下图所示,可以看到随着时间推移,“PayPal黑手党”所做的投资数量。 该群体在21世纪初期中叶大幅增加了投资活动,当时它每年进行10-40次投资,2010年再次进行约100次投资。 自2010年以来,它每年总共进行大约70至130项投资。

如下图所示,可以看到每个“PayPal黑手党”成员投资的公司数量(如果黑手党成员多次投资于同一家公司,便只能显示一次)。彼得·泰尔和斯科特·班尼斯特是最多产的投资者,他们各自负责对100多家公司进行投资。另有六名“PayPal黑手党”成员分别投资了几十家公司。

对于戴夫·麦克卢尔和雷德·霍夫曼这两名“PayPal黑手党”成员来说,超过20%的公司投资至少有一位女性创始人。(2017年,戴夫·麦克卢尔在被指控性骚扰并承认其“不恰当”行为后,从 500 Startups 辞职。)

针对“PayPal黑手党”成员之间联系的强弱,特别是对于一家接受黑手党成员投资的公司来说是否意味着该公司将获得另一名黑手党成员的投资也值得考究。

结果发现,31%泰尔投资的公司也从另一名黑手党的成员那里获得至少一笔投资。拉布瓦的这一数字为47%、霍夫曼为16%、拉夫琴为41%、萨克斯为46%、班尼斯特为18%。数据集中的646家公司中,103家(16%)接受了多个“Paypal黑手党”成员的投资。

在下图中,两个“PayPal黑手党”成员之间的线路厚度代表两个成员进行投资的公司数量。 该图显示了“PayPal 黑手党”的的内部核心网络,该网络由萨克斯、拉夫琴、拉博伊斯、泰尔和班尼斯特组成。

有时候人们忍不住将硅谷视为一个抽象概念,但“PayPal黑手党”网络已经覆盖了数百家公司和数十亿美元,实在令人叹为观止。

注:“PayPal黑手党”主要成员名单

Before Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman were billionaire investor-entrepreneurs, they were executives at PayPal in the 1990s. They, and over a dozen other early executives at the company, including Max Levchin, David Sacks, and Keith Rabois, have become known as the PayPal Mafia, Silicon Valley’s most famous network of serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Youtube. Tesla. SpaceX. Palantir. LinkedIn. Yelp. Members of the PayPal Mafia founded them all. The have also founded venture capital firms like Founders Fund and Valar Ventures, and joined firms including Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Greylock Partners. They have been major investors in Facebook, Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Square, Pinterest, Stripe, and most other unicorns Silicon Valley has produced in the past two decades.

The Mafia has inspired substantial media coverage over the years, but there has not been a thorough catalog of its investments. Using data available from Crunchbase, Dow, and media reports of investments, we have compiled what we believe to be a quite comprehensive database of Mafia investment activity. Our dataset includes the investor, the company being invested in, and the date of investment; we’ve added indicator variables to show if a company receives investments from multiple Mafia members and show the investors in common.

The Mafia is all-male and has been accused of contributing to the lack of women in the technology industry, so we hand-coded a variable for whether a company had at least one female founder to gauge the percentage of investments Mafia members made in such companies.

We include personal investments made by 20 Mafia members* as well as investments made by Mafia-affiliated venture capital firms** if they are listed as “partner investments” with a Mafia member in Crunchbase. Additionally, we count investments if they are made by Mafia-affiliated VC firms into companies founded by Mafia members.

We believe this methodology is conservative, and that several Mafia members are probably responsible for more investments than we’ve captured here. For example, Reid Hoffman was probably responsible for more investments at Greylock Partners than just the ones in which he is named as a partner on Crunchbase. A more detailed explanation of our methodology can be found here.

Overall, we found 1,005 investments by Mafia members and affiliated VC firms into 646 companies over the period from 1995 to June 2018. We were able to identify founders for 642 of these 646 companies, finding 89 (14 percent) with at least one female founder; one startup had a founder who identifies as gender nonbinary.

To compare these numbers to the industry as a whole, a study using Crunchbase data found that, from 2009 to 2014, 15.5 percent of startups had at least one female founder. During the 2009-2014 period, 13 percent of startups the Mafia invested in had one such founder.

In the figure below, we show the number of investments the Mafia made over time. The group significantly increased investment activity in the mid-2000s, when it collectively made 10-40 investments per year, and then again in 2010, when it collectively made about 100 investments. Since 2010, it has collectively made about 70-130 investments per year.

In the next figure we show the number of companies each individual Mafia member has invested in (so if a Mafia member invests in the same company multiple times, that only shows up as one observation). Peter Thiel and Scott Banister, the most prolific investors, are each responsible for investments in over 100 companies. Another half dozen Mafia members have invested in several dozen companies each.

For two of the Mafia members, Dave McClure and Reid Hoffman, more than 20 percent of the companies invested in had at least one female founder. (In 2017, McClure resigned from 500 Startups after being accused of sexual harassment and admitting to “inappropriate” advances).

We were also interested in examining the strength of the ties between Mafia members, and in particular whether a company receiving an investment from one Mafia member meant the company would get an investment from a different Mafia member.

We found that 31 percent of the companies Thiel invests in also receive at least one investment from another member of the Mafia. That figure is 47 percent for Rabois, 16 percent for Hoffman, 41 percent for Levchin, 46 percent for Sacks, and 18 percent for Banister.

We found that, of the 646 companies in the dataset, 103 (16 percent) received investments from multiple Mafia members.

In the network graph below, the thickness of the line between two Mafia members represents the number of companies in which both members have made investments. The graph reveals a core network within the PayPal Mafia consisting of Sacks, Levchin, Rabois, Thiel, and Banister.

There is sometimes a temptation to think of Silicon Valley almost as an abstraction. But the PayPal Mafia network, spanning hundreds of companies and billions of dollars, is made up of actual people making observable decisions. The full dataset is here, spanning over two decades of technology history.

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