PayPal Holdings Inc. has built itself into a financial juggernaut during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s now worth more than Walt Disney Co., Netflix Inc. and every U.S. bank except JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Making Venmo a true money machine for PayPal will depend on its new general manager, Darrell Esch, a PayPal veteran who took over the role in March after the company cycled through leaders over the previous four years. PayPal acquired Venmo as part of its $800 million purchase of startup Braintree in 2013.
“This is our time and we’re really going to seize the moment,” Esch told MarketWatch this week in an exclusive post-earnings interview.
Once primarily a way for friends to split the dinner check without paying fees, PayPal’s Venmo service has increasingly become a tool that lets people pay artists for virtual concerts or tip service workers during the pandemic. Those types of payments can lead to more revenue for Venmo, as the service can charge the merchants on the other end of the transaction,much like core Paypal does, while continuing to allow users to send payments for free, and Esch hopes that Venmo can expand further into business payments.
The company has been slowly plodding along with attempts to monetize Venmo over the past three-plus years, but now it…