How PayPal got its first users?

Paypal MVP

PayPal was designed as a service for transferring money over email. In 1999,  Max Levchin, together with Peter Thiel and Luke Nosek founded Confinity, which was a mobile payment security system, the foundation for PayPal.

Confinity targeted small companies. It provided smoother transactions via online banking. The guys started by hiring their buddies. They made PayPal their main product.

If you had someone's email address, PayPal's first working version allowed you to send them money. Their email was everything you needed – they didn't even need to have a PayPal account. PayPal later evolved into a full-fledged digital wallet.

When PayPal hit eBay, the team created bots as one of the key PayPal user acquisition strategies. They focused on the top 20,000 merchants on eBay, called the Power Sellers. The bots were purchasing items and insisting on paying with PayPal. It helped PayPal user acquisition by creating a demand. eBay vendors became interested in the service as it seemed to be already popular. After only three months, this marketing gimmick resulted in a 33% market share!

Once Confinity merged with Elon Musk's, Musk's project was renamed PayPal, and Confinity has gone.


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