Peter Thiel, for one, has one of the most colorful hats in the business arena. He is not just an entrepreneur but also a serial investor, venture capitalist, philanthropist, author, and political activist. The Germany born billionaire capitalized on the internet boom to start his venture capital company, Thiel Capital in 1996. He has since expanded, founding many other firms such as PayPal, supporting setups through his Founders Fund organization, and serving on the board of several companies like Facebook.
Thiel gained national attention for his support of Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign. He also sparked a national debate by encouraging young people through his Thiel Fellowship to learn before schooling.
Who is Peter Thiel?
Peter Andreas Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal was born on the 11th of October, 1967 in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany. His parents, Suzanne and Klaus Friedrich Thiel moved the family to Cleveland, the United States when Peter was just one year old. Klaus worked as a chemical engineer for different mining companies, leading to the family moving from place to place including South Africa and southwest Africa (Modern-day Namibia) before finally settling in Foster City, California in 1977. As such, Peter Thiel and his younger brother, Partick Michael Thiel had an itinerant upbringing. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1978 and a New Zealand citizen in 2011.
Thiel, going by the nature of his upbringing attended about seven elementary schools. He also attended middle school in San Mateo, California where he exhibited elite academic performances in subjects like math; he finished first in a California-wide mathematics competition.
Academics wasn’t his only forte though. He was also a game enthusiast; he began playing chess at the age of 6 and holds the Life Master title. Also, he is an avid reader of science fiction series. One of his favorite works was J. R. R. Tolkien’s and he named six of his firms after the characters therein. Peter Thiel was also the valedictorian of the 1985 class at San Mateo High School.
He attended Stanford University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, in 1989, two years after he founded The Standford Review. Thiel received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Standford Law School in 1992.
With his Standford days well behind him, he clerked for Judge James Larry Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals, then took a job as a securities lawyer for the law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, New York. He also worked as a speechwriter for William Bennett, former-United States Secretary of Education, and as a derivatives trader at Credit Suisse from 1993 to 1996, prior to returning to California.
After living in San Francisco for over two decades, Peter Thiel moved to Los Angeles in early 2018. He left after calling Silicon Valley a “one-party state” and blames its liberalism on higher education.
Peter Thiel is the 1 New York Times bestselling author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (2014). He has also written other books including The Diversity Myth.
Tapping into the internet boom, Peter Thiel founded Thiel Capital Management in 1996. Though he had a setback in one of his early investment bids, luck smiled on him and he co-founded Confinity, a cryptography-related company in 1998 with Max Levchin.
The next year, they launched PayPal, a software to help bridge a gap in making online payments, redefining online commerce. He served as the CEO until 2002 when it was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. Peter Thiel shifted his focus to directional and liquid instruments in currencies, interest rates, commodities, and equities. Consequently, he founded a global macro hedge fund known as Clarium Capital in 2002.
This was followed by Palantir Technologies, a CIA-backed big data analysis company, in 2004. As of 2015, the company is valued at $20 billion with his estimated 10% shares making up two-thirds of his wealth. He served as its chairman until 2018. Also, in 2004, he became the first big investor in Facebook after the social media platform was launched. He acquired a 10.2% stake for $500,000 in August 2004 and sold most of his stakes in 2012 for over $1 billion, though he still sits on the company’s board of directors.
Peter Thiel launched a venture capital firm named Founders Fund in 2005 with his PayPal partners Ken Howery and Luke Nosek. Through the fund, he makes early investments in many startups like LinkedIn, SpaceX, Airbnb, and Yelp. In 2010, he co-founded Valar Ventures and serves as its chairman. Two years later, he also co-founded Mithril Capital to target companies that are beyond the startup stage and ready to scale up.
Thiel is the investment committee chairman of the company and served as a partner at Y Combinator from 2015 to 2017. He also founded other organizations such as Arda Capital, Lembas LLC, and Rivendell LLC among many other investments.
Philanthropy and Other Causes
Peter Thiel created the Thiel Foundation to foster his philanthropic activities. Through the medium, he oversees the grant-making bodies Breakout Labs and Thiel Fellowship as well as funds nonprofit research into artificial intelligence, life extension, and seasteading. Moreover, he encourages young people through his Thiel Fellowship to learn before schooling by providing a number of young entrepreneurs $100,000 over two years to skip college and pursue their business dreams.
He has also supported political activism such as gay rights, being gay himself and has supported as well as donated to many politicians including John McCain, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. Thiel considers himself a conservative-libertarian and is a lifelong member of the Republican Party.
In 2016, Thiel revealed that he had funded Hulk Hogan in the Bollea v. Gawker lawsuit, which ultimately led to the destruction of Gawker.
Is Peter Thiel Gay? Partner or Boyfriend
Thiel is gay and a great supporter of gay rights and causes. He tied the knots with his long-time partner Matt Danzeisen on October 11, 2017, in Vienna, Austria. Matt works as a portfolio manager at Thiel Capital.
How Much Is He Worth?
Being a serial investor, a venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author is a handful of jobs for one person to be known by. Peter Thiel is engaged in all of these jobs and with jobs comes wealth, no matter how little or how much. The Stanford lawyer-turned investor rose to unimaginable riches on the internet boom and amassed a lot of assets thereafter. He has a whopping net worth of $2.5 billion as estimated by Forbes.