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Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author. He is renowned for co-founding several successful companies, including PayPal.
Peter Thiel is the author of one of the most recommended books by entrepreneurs, ‘Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future‘.
Born in Germany, Thiel moved with his family to the US right after he was born, and grew up in Southern Africa before returning to the US. He studied philosophy (B.A.) at Stanford University and afterwards got his J.D. from Stanford Law School. After graduating, he worked as judicial clerk, securities lawyer, speechwriter for former U.S. Secretary, and derivates trader.
In 1999, Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal, serving as the Chief Executive Officer until 2002, when the company was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion.
Thiel is part of the so-called PayPal Mafia, the group of entrepreneurs who were formerly members of the PayPal team and went on to create successful companies, such as Elon Musk (founder of Tesla, SpaceX), Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn), Steve Chen (co-founder of YouTube), Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman (co-founders of Yelp), David O. Sacks (founder of Yammer), and many others.
Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook in 2004, when he acquired a 10.2% stake for $500.000 – sold the majority of his shares in 2012, but he’s still on the board of directors.
Through Founders Fund, he invests across all stages and sectors. It was the first institutional investor in space exploration technologies (SpaceX). The firm’s portofolio also includes Airbnb, Spotify, Stripe and others.
In 2016, it was revealed that Thiel covered Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit with Gawker gossip website. The outcome was the bankruptcy and closing of the media publisher. Ryan Holiday wrote the book ‘Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue‘ where he covers this topic and had access to both sides of the story (Peter Thiel and Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder).
The Hard Thing About...
by Ben Horowitz