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.
Question: What do you do?
Peter Thiel: I have a background both in technology and finance. ________ high profile ________ starting a company called PayPal. People know it as PayPal at this point, which has become this global payment system. And we built it sort of from scratch to this massive business in the course of a number of years. It’s now owned by eBay.
Over the last five years I’ve been focused more on the technology and finance as an investor, and both as a venture capitalist and as a hedge fund manager.
On the venture capital side, I invest in early stage companies where people have new ideas. And the basic challenge is can we figure out better ways to allocate resources towards very talented people and help them build the next generation of things that are emerging.
On the hedge fund side, it’s more big picture questions about what are some of the things that are missing in this world economy? What’s being mispriced, and how do we we reallocate resources in that context?
Recorded on: Sep 05, 2007