Peter Thiel is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist.
He first gained attention for innovations in banking and startup finance. Today he is known as the mentor of the PayPal mafia of entrepreneurs, as well as for his warnings of a coming technology deficit with severe economic consequences. He works to accelerate innovation to prevent such a crisis by identifying and funding promising technology ideas and by guiding successful companies to scale and dominate their industries.
In 1998, Mr. Thiel made e-commerce easier, faster, and more secure by co-founding and leading PayPal, which now has more than 117 million active financial accounts. In 2002, he sold PayPal to eBay and founded a global macro fund, Clarium.
In 2004, he co-founded Palantir Technologies, which offers platforms for finance companies and intelligence, defense, and law enforcement communities to integrate, visualize, and analyze the world’s information.
In the same year, he made the first outside investment in Facebook, a social networking hub that now has more than 1 billion active members. He serves on its board.
Building on his personal success as a venture capital investor, Mr. Thiel co-founded and manages Founders Fund, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital fund that has pioneered new methods of venture financing that benefit founders. Through Founders Fund, as well as through his private investing, he has helped the next generation of tech companies, such as SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp, RoboteX, Spotify, Practice Fusion, and ZocDoc.
And in 2012 he co-founded Mithril Capital Management, an international technology investment fund.
Mr. Thiel established and funds the Thiel Foundation, which promotes freedom in all its forms. He sponsors the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Seasteading Institute, and the Human Rights Foundation. He funds the artificial intelligence research of the Singularity Institute. He aids work against violence through the Oslo Freedom Forum and through the research of philosopher René Girard, which is extended and promulgated by Imitatio. He also promotes better health by funding the longevity research of Dr. Cynthia Kenyon and the SENS Research Foundation.
Mr. Thiel created the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship, which nurtures the tech visionaries of tomorrow. And he formed Breakout Labs to help independent scientists, engineers, and inventors advance their most radical ideas.
Mr. Thiel earned a B.A. in philosophy from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he occasionally teaches on globalization and technology. His articles have appeared in Policy Review and the Wall Street Journal. He co-produced the film Thank You for Smoking, was rated a master by the United States Chess Federation, and received the Innovation Award from the Economist in 2010. He lives in San Francisco.