Wharton FinTech
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Wharton FinTech

Peter Sanborn, Head of Corporate Development at PayPal and Managing Partner of PayPal Ventures

In today’s episode, Anirudh Singh sits down with Peter Sanborn, Head of Corporate Development at PayPal and Managing Partner of PayPal Ventures.

Peter’s Background:
Peter started his career on the road less traveled, joining HSBC in Mexico City to get an international view of financial services. Later, in an attempt to develop his expertise in Asia, Peter moved to Hong Kong to help with HSBC’s M&A and investment strategy across the region. He got exposure to investments in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, and more.

Joining PayPal & Launching PayPal Ventures:
After working more with accelerator programs, and seeing their passion and drive to transform financial services, Peter looked for more early-stage, growth-oriented work. He was introduced to the PayPal team and joined them 2 days before the spinoff from eBay. Peter joined the corporate development team, working on mergers & acquisitions, as well as one-off investments. The team quickly realized that some of the early investments they made generated financial value and kept PayPal closer to the market. They decided to formalize the venture arm and kicked off a $350M first fund. The team is now investing off of their $500M second fund and has about 40 portfolio companies. Peter leverages the PayPal network to recognize trends, source deals, and add value to portfolio companies.

Evolution as an Investor:
When the team first started raising the fund, they invested largely based on relationships and deals that were coming through the door. Since then, they have transitioned towards more a thematic investing approach. This discipline is especially important as the number of companies looking to fundraise and the amount of capital in the space is at an all-time high.

Investing Internationally:
One of PayPal’s strengths is its ability to invest globally, by leveraging PayPals broader network overall. Peter has seen different themes play out at different times throughout the world. Modular is an example of such a company, which applied some of the payments-as-a-service trends and embedded payments trends stemming from Open Banking regulation, to provide payment APIs to businesses. Another example is Neon, the Brazilian neobank. With Neon, the PayPal Ventures team was able to take some of the learnings from a previous investment in Toss in South Korea. Overall, Peter relies on both a global perspective and an on-the-ground presence to drive his investment decision-making.

Rapid Fire Round:

  • What is your favorite book?
  • Last show you binge-watched?
  • Hobbies picked up during the pandemic?
  • Did you have a 2021 resolution? How is it going?
  • Favorite vacation?
  • Best piece of advice you got on the job?

And more!

Peter Sanborn:
Peter Sanborn serves as Vice President, Head of Corporate Development at PayPal and Managing Partner of PayPal Ventures, responsible for identifying, evaluating and executing global M&A and corporate venture capital investments. At PayPal since 2014, Peter is focused on the intersection of financial services, commerce and technology and on providing strategic thought leadership and business insights within PayPal and to PayPal’s venture portfolio companies as an investor & board observer. He has led or helped manage the acquisitions of Honey, Xoom, Hyperwallet, Swift Capital, Happy Returns and Paydiant as well as investments in Acorns, Toss, Pine Labs, Tala, Paidy, Paxos, Neon, Divvy, Flutterwave and MercadoLibre. Prior to PayPal, Peter worked in financial services at HSBC for over nine years in Asia (Hong Kong) and Latin America (Mexico City) in M&A/investment, strategy, finance and investor relations roles. Peter enjoys working with passionate entrepreneurs and serves as an advisory board member for Village Capital’s US Fintech program and as a mentor in the Endeavor network.

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About the Author
Anirudh Singh is a second-year MBA Candidate at The Wharton School, where he is part of the Wharton FinTech Podcast team. He has a passion for economic development, venture capital, financial services, and all things FinTech. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, feedback, and opportunities at singhan@wharton.upenn.edu.

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Anirudh Singh

Anirudh Singh

Wharton MBA Candidate, Fintech Enthusiast, Early Stage Investing