Renowned venture capitalist Peter Thiel is popularly known as the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor of Facebook. He is also responsible for starting the Founders Fund, Palantir Technologies, and Clarium Capital Management. As of 2023, Peter Thiel has a net worth of $4.1 billion according to Forbes.
Peter Andreas Thiel was born on October 11, 1967, in Frankfurt, West Germany. His parents are Susanne and Klaus Friedrich and the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, when Peter was one year old. He also has a younger brother named Patrick Michael who runs The Thiel Foundation.
His father worked as a chemical engineer for various mining companies in the US and Africa. Because of this, Peter attended seven different elementary schools. His family eventually settled in Foster City, California.
He graduated valedictorian from San Mateo High School in 1985. Then, Thiel went to Stanford University and studied philosophy. He attended Stanford Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1992.
Thiel’s first pursuit was founding Thiel Capital in 1996. Two years later, he worked with Max Levchin to create PayPal. It was initially intended to be a payment system for Palm devices, known as personal digital assistants (PDAs).
Peter became the CEO when the company rented a building floor in Palo Alto, California. In the same building, Elon Musk’s rival startup, X.com, leased another floor. Both companies decided to merge, and they adopted the PayPal brand.
Musk was chosen as CEO, but when he was removed by the board of directors, Peter took his position. This may be the reason why the two have had a rocky relationship through the years. They are essentially completely different people, despite being long-time partners.
In 2002, eBay purchased PayPal for $1.5 billion. Peter Thiel earned a lot from the sale, and he used a chunk of the money to launch the global macro hedge fund, Clarium Capital Management. The following year, he created the data analysis firm Palantir Technologies.
Thiel decided to join Facebook’s board of directors in 2004 after making a $500,000 angel investment in the firm for a 10.2% share. In 2005, he established the venture capital fund called Founders Fund.
Through this and his personal money, Thiel became an early investor in companies like Spotify, SpaceX, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Quora, Friendster, and more. He wrote a hit book, Zero to One, in 2014. In 2016, he admitted to paying legal expenses to take down the blog Gawker.com.
Net Worth and Earnings
When PayPal was acquired by eBay, Peter had a 3.7% stake in the company, worth around $60 million. In his Facebook investment, Thiel sold most of his shares in 2012 for over $1 billion. He left the company’s board in 2022.
Today, his top-performing stocks include Airbnb, Lyft, Asana, Zynga, and Yelp. He continues to hold executive roles in the companies he founded. With this, Thiel has built a fortune of $4.1 billion.
Peter Thiel is an openly gay person and is married to Thiel Capital’s portfolio manager Matt Danzeisen. Thiel and Danzeisen made their marriage vows in 2017.