The “Paypal Mafia” brought the US ecosystem to a next level. ✨ We focused on similar mafias that are rising in Spanish-speaking Latam (Rocket Internet/ Linio - Domicilios - Groupon - Rappi).
In Silicon Valley, everybody knows Paypal as a startup success story from the 2000’s. Paypal was one of the first tech exits, and many of its former executives and employees launched their own venture subsequently, bringing the US ecosystem to the next level. PayPal alumni launched Pinterest, Tesla, SpaceX and Yelp, to name just a few!
Thinking about the Latam ecosystem, the question was the following: Which Latam startup has inspired, trained, and invested in their own circle? Which one has built the most developed mini-ecosystem?
We started this research at Hi with the idea that the emergence of mafias would likely reflect the growing maturity of the Latam ecosystem. We have also been thinking about the definition of a “mafia”. So what is a mafia?
Members of mafias would share strong links. They could be involved as board members but also as business angels! We witnessed various examples of founders that re-invested heavily through the ecosystem while launching new companies - the emergence of these serial angels is key for the growth of the ecosystem!
From our research, we have decided to deep dive on 5 of these clusters in particular, whose members were so well-connected with each other, that we felt comfortable in categorizing them as mafias. More than 200 companies were founded by alumni of these companies, sometimes even successively by the same founders.