In 1998, Peter co-founded PayPal along with Elon Musk, Max Levchin, Ken Howery, Luke Nosek and Yu Pan. He served as the company’s CEO and is sometimes known as the “don” of the “PayPal Mafia,” a group of PayPal founders and former employees who have since went on to found other successful technology companies. In 2002, he sold PayPal to eBay and founded Clarium Capital, a global hedge fund. Two years later, he co-founded big data startup Palantir Technologies and became Facebook’s first outside investor, buying 10 percent of the company for $500,000.
In 2005, he co-founded Founders Fund, a venture capital firm, with PayPal co-founders Ken Howery and Luke Nosek. Personally and through Founders Fund, Peter has invested in some of the world’s most influential startups, such as AirBnb, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp and Spotify; some of these startups were founded by fellow members of the PayPal Mafia. He is currently ranked at number 40 on Forbes’ Midas List.
Peter founded the Thiel Foundation through which he performs most of his philanthropic works. The foundation largely supports artificial intelligence, life extension efforts and seasteading. The organisation also created the Thiel Fellowship, which gives $100,000 to 20 students a year to drop out of college and start a business; Breakout Labs, a grant-making program innovative science research; and Imitatio, which aims to further research and application of mimetic theory across the social sciences.
In 2010, Peter was a guest speaker at HomoCon, and in 2016, he was the first openly gay speaker at the Republican National Convention since the year 200. He has also supported the American Foundation for Equal Rights, GOProud and Minnesotans United for All Families.Tags: Investment and Funding, LGBTQ+, philanthropy, VC