Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

How Venmo Co-Founder Iqram Magdon-Ismail Pays It Forward by Applying Past Wins to New Projects

Since Venmo took off, Magdon-Ismail has combined his passions with the lessons he learned from the successful payments company.


On this episode of How Success Happens, we chat with Iqram Magdon-Ismail, co-founder of mobile payments company Venmo and audio-sharing app Ense, which is in beta.

Nomi Ellenson | Getty Images

Magdon-Ismail co-founded Venmo in 2009 with his freshman-year roommate, Andrew Kortina, a few years after they graduated. But first, they dabbled in other ventures, including a real estate startup that brought in just enough revenue to pay for Venmo's first Philadelphia office space.

Not all of the co-founders' early instincts about Venmo proved correct, but many were right on the money. Braintree acquired Venmo in 2012, and PayPal acquired Braintree in 2013. 

Related: 5 Lessons Venmo's Co-Founder Learned While Building a Twice-Acquired Company

In our chat, Magdon-Ismail shares how the Venmo team initially positioned the app for mass adoption, explains why he believes the adage "success leaves clues" and describes a global opportunity for entrepreneurial problem-solving.

Check out the full conversation below and find more episodes of How Success Happens here.

Lydia Belanger

Written By

Lydia Belanger is a former associate editor at Entrepreneur. Follow her on Twitter: @LydiaBelanger.