Peter Thiel on what the decline of hedge funds means for Main Street

Venture Capitalist and Technology Entrepreneur

Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist.  He is Clarium’s President and the Chairman of the firm’s investment committee, which oversees the firm’s research, investment, and trading strategies. Before starting Clarium, Peter served as Chairman and CEO of PayPal, an Internet company he co-founded in December 1998 and was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002.

Prior to founding PayPal, Peter ran Thiel Capital Management , the predecessor to Clarium, which started with $1 million under management in 1996. Peter began his financial career as a derivatives trader at CS Financial Products, after practicing securities law at Sullivan & Cromwell.

In addition to managing Clarium, Peter is active in a variety of philanthropic and educational pursuits; he sits on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Research Institute, the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School, and is an adviser to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Peter received a BA in Philosophy from Stanford University and a JD from Stanford Law School.   He is self-described libertarian and a minority investor in Big Think.

  • Transcript


Peter Thiel: Actually, I think the role’s been somewhat less than people have said. It’s, people have been focused and obsessed with the hedge fund industry for a number of years and the reality is that the problem turned out to be the investment banks, which were hedge funds in disguise. It turned out to be the retail banks, the subprime lenders, maybe even the insurance companies.  The AIG blowup was something that came very much out of left field, and more generally it turned out to be extremely excessive leverage which most hedge funds actually were not excessively leveraged.

Recorded: October 23, 2008