James Loftus, managing partner of PayPal Ventures, is one of the 100 leading corporate venturing professionals in our 2024 Powerlist.

James Loftus Powerlist 2024

James Loftus joined PayPal Ventures as managing partner two years ago and since then he has shifted the investment strategy more towards early-stage startups. PayPal, once the big fintech disrupter itself, is facing increasing challenges from tech rivals such as Apple and Google, and has promised that 2024 will be a “year of transition” for the company.

Loftus, who previously helped set up Google Payments and started the corporate venture capital programme at Cash App, is on a mission to help the parent company achieve this. Earlier this year, the investment arm announced an AI fund, earmarking a portion of its total funds for investment in early-stage AI investments across all industries.

A first investment from the AI fund was in Rasa, a startup that provides tools that allow enterprises to build their own customised AI chatbots. The team also seeks investments in cybersecurity, the next wave of credit startups and companies that build an ecosystem around stablecoin – a cryptocurrency token linked to the dollar – that PayPal launched last year.

Other recent investments include taking a stake in German credit card management software startup Pliant and backing the series B funding round of digital payments management platform Bezahl.de.

Loftus pushes himself and the team to make strong financial returns, as well as looking at strategic benefi ts in investments. “We cannot settle in and say, ‘this is a great two or three-times return’. That is not series A investing. If you do not believe there is the potential for an eight to 10-times-plus return, you are doing it wrong,” says Loftus.

PayPal Ventures has made more than 70 investments since it was set up in 2017. It has invested in several startups that now have valuations of more than $1bn, including ShipRocket, the Indian e-commerce platform, cross-border payments platform PPRO and blockchain company Aptos Labs.

Powerlist cover

The Global Corporate Venturing Powerlist represents the 100
individuals spearheading the future of the corporate venturing industry.

These individuals excel in terms of their venturing approach and structure, number and quality of portfolio companies and in their contributions to the corporate venturing profession.

See the full 2024 Powerlist here.