Peter Thiel, One of the prominent member of PayPal Mafia. A real visionary who want to uplift humanity through modern science and technology. He is the co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund. As of May 2023, Peter Thiel had an estimated net worth of $4.3 billion (for real-time data visit Forbes.com). Although every entrepreneur’s life is unique but this man’s life is more interesting and inspiring than other entrepreneurs.
Let’s deep dive into his life and try to extract good qualities of him. And try to apply those qualities into our life in order to do something unique which will benefit both humanity and us.
|Born||11 October 1967,|
United States (1978-present)
New Zealand (2011-present)
|Occupation||Entrepreneur and Investor|
|Title||Chairman of Palantir|
President of Clarium Capital
Chairman of Valar Ventures
Partner in Founders Fund
Chair of Mithril Capital
|Education||San Mateo High School (High|
Bachelor of Arts from Stanford
Juris Doctor degree from
Stanford Law School.
and Founders Fund.
|Net Worth||4.3 billion USD|
Peter Thiel was born on 11 October 1967 in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany. His father name was Klaus Friedrich Thiel who was a chemical engineer. His mother name was Susanne Thiel. He has also a younger brother named Patrick Michael Thiel. When Peter was one year old, the whole family shifted to United States.
After some years, they shifted to South Africa and then to South West Africa. And then they lived there for several years. At last, they settled in Foster City, California, in 1977.
Peter Thiel’s Educational Qualification
As we have already seen in earlier section that Thiel family has shifted for many times. And due to that Peter Thiel has to change his elementary school for seven times. He faced a strict rule in his school life which was very negative and according to him that experience has shaped his mind on some very important topics of society. And it can be seen in his support for individualism and libertarianism.
After completing elementary school, he went to attend Bowditch Middle School in Foster City. When he was in Bowditch, he excelled in mathematics and scored first in a California-wide mathematics competition. And then for high schooling, he went to San Mateo High School.
He is also a student of philosophy which he did from Stanford University. Basically, he graduated in Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 1989.
After that he enrolled in Stanford Law School and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1992.
Career Journey of Peter Thiel
Starting Career – Some times Peter Thiel feels like a synonym for PayPal but there are other things which he did before founding PayPal. In the early stage of his career, he worked as a clerk for a judge, then he worked as securities lawyer for Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. But he was not satisfied by that job. So, then he joined Credit Suisse as a derivatives trader in currency options. Again, he was earning a good amount of money but he was not satisfied by his profession. So, he left and started finding more meaningful profession.
These were the time of 1990s. Thiel noticed that the development of the internet and personal computer had launched the dot-com boom. So, he decided to do something with this. He decided to set a capital management firm which he later named Thiel Capital Management. To start this, he raised $1 million from his family and friends. At starting, he invested $100,000 in his friend Luke Nosek’s startup but that startup did not work. And it was a major setback for him. But again, he invested in an another friend Max Levinch’s startup which was a cryptography related company. And this time, it was successful and later it became their first venture called Confinity in 1998.
PayPal – The first major success of Peter Thiel in his career was PayPal. The first venture of him was Confinity and with Confinity, Thiel noticed that they could develop software to fill a gap in making online payments. It does not mean that it was him who thought of this online payment system idea. It was already there. People were using credit cards and ATMs. But the main problem was not all merchants had the necessary hardware to accept credit cards. Hereby people had to pay only by exact cash or check. And, this was an old method which was not very secure and convenient for the people. Peter Thiel wanted to create a type of digital wallet for people’s convenience and security by encrypting data on digital devices. And guess what happened? In 1999 Confinity launched PayPal.
With PayPal came new possibilities of handling money which was great at that time. It was year 1999, when PayPal launched at a press conference. What happened in the press was that Thiel got funding of $3 million from representatives of Nokia and Deutsche. And the interesting thing was that they paid money using PayPal on their PalmPilots.
One of the key thing which helped Thiel to grow his PayPal was the merges with other companies. In 2000, PayPal merged with X.com which was a financial company of Elon Musk and with Pixo which was a company specializing in mobile commerce. These mergers helped or allowed PayPal to grow and expand into the wireless phone market. These margers also helped him to build a more safer and more user-friendly tool by enabling users to transfer money via a free online registration and email rather than by exchanging bank account information. And this was a revolution in online payment industry at that time.
Time passes, PayPal faced many ups and downs but it was a successful startup. On 15 February 2002, PayPal went public. Then PayPal was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion in October in the same year. At the time of sale, Thiel had total of 3.7% stake in the company which was valued of $55 million at that time. At that time, people at Silicon Valley referred Thiel to as the “Don of the PayPal Mafia”. And that was a fact by the way.
PALANTIR– After PayPal, in May 2003, Thiel incorporated Palantir Technologies. Palantir Technologies was a big data analysis company. The name of the company was taken from Thiel’s favorite childhood fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He continues to serve as its chairman as of 2022. So, the idea behind Palantir Technologies was to fight against terrorism. Thiel stated that the technology which he used in PayPal to fight with frauds can also be used in much wider aspects. And that is how Palantir Technologies was born. He visioned Palantir Technologies as providing data mining service to government intelligence agencies that were maximally unintrusive and traceable.
Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel was the first backer of Thiel’s Palantir. The company faced many ups and down but steadily grew. And in 2015, Palantir was valued at $20 billion. Thiel was the company’s largest shareholder at that time.
FACEBOOK – This is was the year 2004, when Facebook now Meta was a growing company. At that time, very few people understood the vision of Facebook. And Peter Thiel one among those few people. In the month of August of 2004, Thiel invested $500,000 in Facebook as an angel investor for a 10.2% stake in the company. And he joined the board.
The interesting fact about this investment was that it was the first outside investment in Facebook. Many people think that board members involve in companies activities. And in many cases it is true. But in case of Peter Thiel, it was not true. As a board member, he was not actively involved in Facebook’s activities. But he helped Zuckerberg in raising money in future. In an interview, Zuckerberg all said that he helped him in many rounds in raising money and thanks him for those efforts.
Thiel sold his shares of Facebook multiple times at different valuation. And as of April 2020, he owned less than 10,000 shares in Facebook.
Thiel put an end point to his relation with some political reason. On 7 February 2022, Thiel declared he would not stand for re-election to the board of Facebook owner Meta at the 2022 annual stockholders’ meeting and will leave after serving 17 years. And this was the end of his relation with Facebook.
This is not the end. He also created and owned some other world’s big companies which is a revolutionary company itself such as Founders Fund, Clarium Capital, Valar Ventures, Mithril Capital etcetera.
Thiel also joined Y Combinator as a part-time partner in March 2015.
Peter Thiel as an Investor
When we see Thiel as an investor, it seems like he is a true visionary who visioned very earlier that these companies will grow to a very big level. He made quite number of experiments. Thiel invested in almost all the big companies which is an industry leader in their respective industry.
Here is the name of some big companies in which Thiel had invested…
Philanthropic Works Done by Peter Thiel
Thiel Foundation gives a small number of young entrepreneurs $100,000 over two years to skip collage and build their own company.
Thiel has always been a curious and visionary person. He has provided fund to many research institute. He provided $100,000 to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a non-profit organization that promotes the development of friendly artificial intelligence. In 2015, OpenAI (founded by Sam Altman) announced that Thiel was one of their financial backers.
He has also funded some non-profit foundation who are doing research in anti-aging. Thiel has also supported Seasteading Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is to build permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems. Like these he has done many philanthropic works from which maybe we have knew some of them.
Personal Life of Peter Thiel
By birth Peter Thiel is a German citizen as we seen in the early life section. He became a naturalized citizen of the US in 1978, and a citizen of New Zealand in 2011.
Thiel is a Gay by gender. In the month of October 2017, he got married to Matt Danzeisen, in Vienna, Austria. And they are living their life happily.
Awards and Honors
Obviously, we can’t know the exact number of awards, Thiel got in his life but we will see some of famous awards and honors he got.
In 2006, Thiel won the Herman Lay Award for Entrepreneurship.
Thiel was honored as Young Global leader by the World Economic Forum as one of the 250 most distinguished leaders age 40 and under in 2007.
On 7 November 2009, Thiel was awarded an honorary degree from Guatemalan Universidad Francisco Marroquin.
In February 2013, Thiel received a TechCrunch Crunchie Award for Venture Capitalist of the Year.
Books written by Peter Thiel
It is a very rare combination to see that a person who is super successful in business and investing who is also a great author. And Peter Thiel is an example of one of those rare combination. But here is the thing that we will not go to the detail of the book because if you read by yourself you will end recommending to your peers. Here is the two which he co-authored.
1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
2. The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford
Peter Thiel’s Future Vision
As we have seen throughout the whole blog that Peter Thiel is super visionary man. And his life decisions show this fact clearly. He has always been passionate about technologies. And this is why most of his invested company belongs to tech industry. He is looking for the technologies which will change how humans live and for those technologies which can take humanity to the next level.
So, now we have come to the end of this blog. Although, there are many things to write about Peter Thiel but we do not want to make this blog long. This was the article which highlighted one of the revolutionary personality of 21st century Peter Thiel.
We hope you have learned something from this blog. And if you think that we have to add something to this blog or want to give us any feedback then you can type an email to the given email id. We would love to connect with you.
According to Forbes, the Net Worth of Peter Thiel is $4.3 Billion.
Peter Thiel is a Gay by gender.
In the month of August of 2004, Thiel invested $500,000 in Facebook as an angel investor for a 10.2% stake in the company.
Matt Danzeisen is the spouse of Peter Thiel.
Yes, Peter Thiel was the member of PayPal Mafia.