84 Facts About Peter Thiel


Peter Andreas Thiel is a German-American billionaire entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and political activist.


Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and Luke Nosek in 1998, serving as chief executive officer until its sale to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.


Peter Thiel sold the majority of his shares in Facebook for over $1 billion in 2012, but remains on the board of directors.


Peter Thiel co-founded Valar Ventures in 2010; co-founded Mithril Capital, serving as investment committee chair, in 2012; and served as a part-time partner at Y Combinator from 2015 to 2017.


In 2016, Thiel confirmed that he had funded Hulk Hogan in the Bollea v Gawker lawsuit because Gawker had previously outed Thiel as gay.


Peter Thiel is a conservative libertarian who has made substantial donations to American right-wing figures and causes.


The family migrated to the United States when Peter Thiel was one year old and lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father worked as a chemical engineer.


Peter Thiel's mother became a US citizen, but his father did not.


Peter Thiel attended a strict establishment in Swakopmund that required students to wear uniforms and utilized corporal punishment, such as striking students' hands with a ruler.


Peter Thiel excelled in mathematics and scored first in a California-wide mathematics competition while attending Bowditch Middle School in Foster City.


Peter Thiel served as The Stanford Review's first editor-in-chief and remained in that post until completing his Bachelor of Arts in 1989.


Peter Thiel enrolled in Stanford Law School and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1992.


Peter Thiel left the law firm after seven months and three days, citing a lack of transcendental value in his work.


Peter Thiel then took a job as a derivatives trader in currency options at Credit Suisse.


Peter Thiel joined them in 1993 while working as a speechwriter for former United States Secretary of Education William Bennett, before returning to California in 1996 to seek a more meaningful occupation.


Peter Thiel's luck changed when Nosek's friend Max Levchin introduced him to his cryptography-related company idea, which later became their first venture called Confinity in 1998.


Peter Thiel wanted to create a type of digital wallet for consumer convenience and security by encrypting data on digital devices, and in 1999 Confinity launched PayPal.


Peter Thiel viewed PayPal's mission as liberating people from the erosion of the value of their currencies due to inflation.


When PayPal launched at a press conference in 1999, representatives from Nokia and Deutsche Bank sent $3 million in venture funding to Peter Thiel using PayPal on their PalmPilots.


In Silicon Valley circles, Peter Thiel is colloquially referred to as the "Don of the PayPal Mafia".


Peter Thiel used $10 million of his proceeds to create Clarium Capital Management, a global macro hedge fund focusing on directional and liquid instruments in currencies, interest rates, commodities, and equities.


In 2004, Peter Thiel spoke of the dot-com bubble having migrated, in effect, into a growing bubble in the financial sector, and specified General Electric and Walmart as vulnerable.


In May 2003, Peter Thiel incorporated Palantir Technologies, a big data analysis company named after the Tolkien artifact.


Peter Thiel continues to serve as its chairman as of 2022.


Peter Thiel stated that the idea for the company was based on the realization that "the approaches that PayPal had used to fight fraud could be extended into other contexts, like fighting terrorism".


Peter Thiel envisioned Palantir as providing data mining services to government intelligence agencies that were maximally unintrusive and traceable.


Peter Thiel steadily grew and in 2015 was valued at $20 billion, with Thiel being the company's largest shareholder.


Peter Thiel provided help with timing the various rounds of funding and Zuckerberg credited Thiel with helping him time Facebook's 2007 Series D, which closed before the 2008 financial crisis.


In September 2010, Peter Thiel, while expressing skepticism about the potential for growth in the consumer Internet sector, argued that relative to other Internet companies, Facebook was comparatively undervalued.


Facebook's initial public offering was in May 2012, with a market cap of nearly $100 billion, at which time Peter Thiel sold 16.8 million shares for $638 million.


Peter Thiel retained his seat on the board of directors.


On 7 February 2022, Peter Thiel announced 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 in order to support pro Donald Trump candidates in the 2022 United States elections.


In 2005, Peter Thiel created Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund.


Also in 2017, Peter Thiel was one of the first outside investors in Clearview AI, a facial recognition technology startup that has raised concerns in the tech world and media for its risks of weaponization.


In March 2015, Peter Thiel joined Y Combinator as one of 10 part-time partners.


On 15 August 2016, Peter Thiel published an opinion piece in The New York Times in which he argued that his defense of online privacy went beyond Gawker.


Peter Thiel highlighted his support for the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, and said that athletes and business executives have the right to stay in the closet as long as they want to.


Peter Thiel is a self-described conservative libertarian, though more recently he has espoused support for national conservatism, and criticized economically liberal attitudes towards free trade and big tech.


In 2019, Peter Thiel called Google "seemingly treasonous" and urged a government investigation, citing Google's work with China and asking whether DeepMind or Google's senior management had been "infiltrated" by foreign intelligence agencies.


Peter Thiel is a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group, a private, annual gathering of intellectual figures, political leaders, and business executives.


Peter Thiel, who is gay, has supported mostly conservative gay rights causes such as the American Foundation for Equal Rights and GOProud.


Peter Thiel invited conservative columnist and friend Ann Coulter to Homocon 2010 as a guest speaker.


In 2012, Peter Thiel donated $10,000 to Minnesotans United for All Families, in order to fight Minnesota Amendment 1 that proposed to ban marriage between same-sex couples there.


O'Keefe went on to produce the ACORN undercover sting videos but, through a spokesperson, Peter Thiel denied involvement in the ACORN sting.


In July 2012, Peter Thiel made a $1 million donation to the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative 501 organization, becoming the group's largest contributor.


Peter Thiel contributes to both Libertarian and Republican candidates and causes.


In 2010, Peter Thiel supported Meg Whitman in her unsuccessful bid for the governorship of California.


Peter Thiel contributed the maximum allowable $25,900 to the Whitman campaign.


Peter Thiel initially supported Carly Fiorina's campaign during the 2016 GOP presidential primary elections.


Peter Thiel was a headline speaker during the convention, during which he announced that he was "proud to be gay," for which the assembled Republicans cheered.


On 15 October 2016, Peter Thiel announced a $1.25 million donation in support of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.


Peter Thiel has his own political-action committee, Free Forever, which is committed to supporting political candidates who support stricter border control, restrictive immigration policy, funds for veterans, and anti-interventionist foreign policy, among other things.


Peter Thiel supported 16 senatorial and congressional candidates, several of whom were proponents of the falsehood that there was significant voter fraud in the 2020 election.


Peter Thiel carries out most of his philanthropic activities through the Peter Thiel Foundation.


In 2006, Peter Thiel provided $100,000 of matching funds to back the Singularity Challenge donation drive of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a nonprofit organization that promotes the development of friendly artificial intelligence.


Peter Thiel provided half of the $400,000 matching funds for the 2007 donation drive, and as of 2013 the Thiel Foundation had donated over $1 million to the institute.


In December 2015, OpenAI announced that Peter Thiel was one of their financial backers, a nonprofit company aimed at the safe development of artificial general intelligence.


In September 2006, Peter Thiel announced that he would donate $3.5 million to foster anti-aging research through the non-profit Methuselah Mouse Prize foundation.


Peter Thiel said that he is registered to be cryonically preserved, meaning that he would be subject to low-temperature preservation in case of his legal death in hopes that he might be successfully revived by future medical technology, and is signed up with the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.


On 29 September 2010, Peter Thiel created the Peter Thiel Fellowship, which annually awards $100,000 to 20 people under the age of 23 in order to spur them to drop out of college and create their own ventures.


The Peter Thiel Foundation is a supporter of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which promotes the right of journalists to report the news freely without fear of reprisal.


Peter Thiel is a supporter of the Human Rights Foundation, which organizes the Oslo Freedom Forum.


In 2011 he was a featured speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum, and the Peter Thiel Foundation was one of the event's main sponsors.


In 2011, Peter Thiel made a NZ$1 million donation to an appeal fund for the casualties of the Christchurch earthquake.


Peter Thiel married his long-time partner Matt Danzeisen in October 2017, in Vienna, Austria.


Peter Thiel was in a long-term relationship with Jeff Thomas, a social media influencer, from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic until Thomas' sudden death in March 2023.


Peter Thiel is a self-described Christian and a promoter of Rene Girard's Christian anthropology.


Peter Thiel began playing chess at the age of six, and was at one time one of the strongest junior players in the United States.


Peter Thiel holds the title of Life Master, but has not competed since 2003.


On 30 November 2016, Peter Thiel made the ceremonial first move in the first tiebreak game of the World Chess Championship 2016 between Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen.


Peter Thiel is an occasional commentator on CNBC, having appeared on both Closing Bell with Kelly Evans, and Squawk Box with Becky Quick.


Peter Thiel has been interviewed twice by Charlie Rose on PBS.


Peter Thiel has contributed articles to The Wall Street Journal, First Things, Forbes, and Policy Review, a journal formerly published by the Hoover Institution, on whose board he sits.


Peter Thiel described the film as "wrong on many levels".


Peter Thiel was a German citizen by birth, and became an American citizen by naturalization.


Peter Thiel had received permanent residency in New Zealand in 2007.


Peter Thiel had visited the country on four occasions prior to his application for citizenship, and had spent 12 days in New Zealand, fewer than the typical residency requirement of 1350 days.


Peter Thiel became a New Zealand citizen in 2011, which became public in 2017.


Peter Thiel did not require permission as he was a citizen.


Peter Thiel's case was cited by critics as an example of how New Zealand passports can be bought, something the New Zealand government denied.


In 2021 it was revealed by ProPublica that Peter Thiel had purchased 1.7 million founders shares in the entity that would become PayPal using $1,700 in a Roth IRA in 1999.


In 1995, the Independent Institute published The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford, which Peter Thiel co-authored along with fellow tech entrepreneur David O Sacks, and with a foreword by the late Emory University historian Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.


In Spring 2012, Peter Thiel taught CS 183: Startup at Stanford University.


Peter Thiel has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' self-help book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.