Since 1995, people around the world have been able to buy or sell things on eBay. But who founded the platform anyway? And: What is the founder of eBay actually doing today?
“3…2…1…mine!”: People will probably associate this slogan with the online sales platform Ebay for a long time to come. The company is considered a pioneer of e-commerce. Although the platform has long since been left behind by competitors such as Amazon, it is still one of the largest Internet markets today.
eBay was developed by the Parisian Pierre Omidyar, who lives in the USA. But how did the tech company’s success story begin and what is eBay founder Omidyar doing today?
Founder of Ebay: It all started with sweets – right?
Omidyar’s parents are from Iran and moved to France to study. However, just six years after the birth of their son, the family moved to the USA. There, Omidyar discovered his passion for programming early on and later became a computer scientist.
In 1997, a PR company developed the curious story of how eBay came into being. Omidyar actually worked at the software company General Magic at the time. But one day his wife is said to have asked him whether there was a way for collectors to exchange ideas on a website and offer each other collectibles.
She is said to have been a passionate collector of fan items from the Austrian confectionery brand PEZ. Because Omidyar wanted to help his wife, he founded eBay – or so the story goes. To support this, there are still some PEZ souvenirs in the lobby of Ebay’s headquarters today.
Wherever it came from, the idea turned out to be a success. More and more companies inquired about his system and so on September 3, 1995 he founded the eBay platform in San José, California.
Ebay founder now only works as a philanthropist
After a few years, Ebay was not only available in the USA but also became popular in the rest of the world. The company now has global sales of $9.8 billion and has around 133 million active users. PayPal was also part of eBay until 2015.
Omidyar withdrew from the company board in 2015 and then only acted as a consultant. The founder is now concentrating more on his role as a patron and, among other things, finances the investigative website made famous by Edward Snowden and the NSA scandal The Intercept.
He is also known as a philanthropist overall. Through his Omidyar Network, founded in 2004, he has invested over $1.5 billion in impact investments and nonprofits addressing global issues. Loud Forbes He is one of the richest people in the world with a fortune of $8.2 billion. Today he only has a five percent stake in eBay and six percent in Paypal.
First Ebay article: What happened to Ebay’s first customer?
By the way: Canadian Mark Fraser was the first person to ever buy something on eBay – back then the shop was still called Auctionweb. It was a broken $14.83 laser pointer that he hoped to repair. At that time, Omidyar is said to have written to him in confusion to make sure that Fiber was aware that the laser point was broken.
He was aware of it. “And I have to say, that was just the beginning of a long eBay career,” Fraser proudly announced in a video celebrating the sales platform’s 20th birthday. “I still buy things.” He is proud of his over 2,000 purchases and his 100 percent positive reviews. He still has the broken laser pointer to this day.