Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is an icon in the VC and startup world. Learn about his top startup exits — in the most famous tech companies.
Peter Thiel is considered to be one of the most iconic startup entrepreneurs and investors of the last two decades. He co-founded PayPal, Palantir Technologies, and venture capital firm Founders Fund. He’s also the author of every startup founder’s must-read — Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future.
Although he built his initial wealth by co-founding extremely successful companies, he made even more money by investing in startups both as an angel and as a VC very early on. Without a doubt, he has an uncanny ability to spot untapped potential at the right time.
Check out Thiel’s top early investments in some of the most world-renowned tech companies.
Peter Thiel’s Most Successful Startup Investments
Thiel was the first outside investor in Facebook. His decision to invest $500,000 in the emerging social networking platform in 2004 proved to be a stroke of genius.
Recognizing Mark Zuckerberg’s visionary potential, Thiel gradually increased his stake in the company and eventually sold most of it for an astounding $11.3 million in 2020.
Thiel was a founding member of the company that represents one of his most successful investments to date. PayPal was sold to ecommerce platform eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion, just four years after it was founded.
He was a founding member of the tech firm & helped take it public in 2020 with a $20B valuation. Now, the firm is worth over $45B with Founders Fund holding a 17.7% stake & Thiel owning 8% worth $2B, per Forbes.
Thiel invested early on in Spotify via his ventue capital firm Founders Fund. Spotify currently boasts a $46 billion market cap & $9.6 billion in revenue in 2022. It went public in 2018 with a $30B valuation on the first day of trading.
Thiel was an early backer of Airbnb. He was reportedly in talks to invest $150 million in 2012 at a $2.5 billion valuation. He helped take Airbnb public in 2020 at a valuation of $47 billion. Airbnb finished the first day of trading at $100 billion, setting an IPO record.
Thiel was an angel investor in the company in 2011 before a successful $7 billion IPO on the first day of trading.
He was an early funder of Yelp, providing seed money. Yelp went public in 2012 with a $1.5 billion valuation on the first day of trading.
Again via Founders Fund, Thiel was an early backer of ride-sharing platform Lyft. It now has a $19 billion market cap & posted $2.3 billion in revenue in 2022 despite the COVID crisis.
Asana went public in 2020 via a direct listing, valued at $4 billion on the first day of trading. The market cap of the firm has grown to over $7 billion. Thiel led a Series B funding round for Asana in 2012 via Founders Fund and served on its board before exiting in 2018.
He was an early investor in cloud biz Twilio, later selling a majority stake in 2018.
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