Peter Andreas Thiel is a well-known tech entrepreneur who co-founded the popular money transfer service company ‘PayPal’. He is the president of Clarium Capital which is a global macro hedge fund. He is also the managing partner at ‘The Founders Fund’.
Thiel was born on 11th October, 1967 in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany. He migrated to the U.S with his family when he was just a toddler. Thiel went to Stanford University where he studied 20th century philosophy. He got his degree of Bachelor in Philosophy in 1989 and in 1992 got a J.D from Stanford Law School. In 1987 he founded the university’s main newspaper ‘The Stanford Review’. Some of his peers from Stanford later became employees at PayPal. Thiel started as a clerk for Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, J.L Edmondson. In 1996, he established a multi strategy fund called ‘Capital Management’.
Two years later Peter Thiel co-created a website that offered an online payments system. The company became public in February 2002. It was purchased by eBay the same year for $1.5 billion with Thiel receiving a 3.7% stake that was valued at almost $55 million. Right after PayPal was sold, Thiel formed a global hedge fund which he called ‘Clarium Capital’. In 2004 Thiel did an angel investment of $500,000 dollars in 10.2% of the giant of social media, Facebook. He also joined its board however was not involved in their day to day decision making. He made several other investments apart from Facebook such as LinkedIn, Slide, Booktrack, Friendster, Yammer, Rapleaf, Yelp Inc., Geni.com, Practice Fusion, Vator, Metamed, Powerset, IronPort, Asana, Votizen, Caplinked, Big Think, Palantir Technologies, Quora, Stripe, Rypple and Legendary Entertainment. Many of these were started by his previous colleagues at PayPal. Some people even call Peter Thiel ‘Don of the PayPal Mafia’. He also launched the ‘Founders Fund’ which was mainly for venture capital investments and angel investments. Thiel is the founder of Palantir Technologies which is financed by the CIA venture capital arm ‘In-Q-Tel’. He also created Mithril in 2012 which is a late-stage investment fund.
Peter Thiel is also involved in many philanthropic activities most of which are carried out through his non-profit organization called the ‘Thiel Foundation’. Most of his efforts focus on potential revolutionary technologies. He donated $3.5 million for the foster anti-ageing research. His foundation funds researches of the SENS Foundation and Cynthia Kenyon, an anti-ageing researcher. The Thiel Foundation also supports the Human Rights Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists. He is an open homosexual thus supports many gay right causes such as ‘GOProud’.
Thiel was given the TechCrunch Crunchie Award for ‘Venture Capitalist of the Year’ in 2013. In 2006, he was awarded with the ‘Herman Lay Award’ for Entrepreneurship. The next year he was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global leader aged 40 and under. Apart from his business activities, Thiel is also a teacher at his alma mater, Stanford University.