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Peter Thiel and the 16 Unicorns: The Legacy of Thiel Fellowship

Thiel Fellowship
Source: Unsplash

The Thiel Fellowship, created by entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, is a program that provides young people with the resources and support they need to turn their innovative ideas into reality. Thiel Fellows, as they are called, receive a $100,000 grant, as well as mentorship and guidance from some of the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators in the world. The program is highly competitive and attracts applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines.

This article will list 16 of the many breakthrough companies founded by Thiel Fellows.

1. Ethereum

Ethereum logo

Vitalik Buterin is the founder of Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency. At its peak, the market capitalization of Ethereum was over $400 billion. Buterin also implemented a merge on Ethereum which reduced global electricity consumption by 0.2%

2. Figma

Figma logo
Source: Figma

Dylan Field used the $100K grant to launch the collaborative design platform. Adobe acquired it for $20B+

3. Longevity VC

Longevity VC logo
Source: Longevity VC

Laura Deming is a Thiel Fellow and biotech entrepreneur whose goal is to eliminate age-related diseases. She began working in a biogerontology lab at the age of 12 and was awarded a Thiel Fellowship at the age of 17 to work on her venture. Today, her venture has raised over $1 billion in follow-on funding and is funding programs to expand the human lifespan.

4. Scale AI

Scale Ai logo
Source: Scale AI

After becoming a Thiel Fellow in 2014, Lucy Guo co-founded a company called “data platform for AI” and today it has grown to be worth $7.3 billion and generating over $150 million in revenue.

5. Loom

loom logo
Source: Loom

Shahed Khan, a Thiel Fellow, co-founded a video messaging tool that has 14 million users and is valued at $1.5 billion.

6. Luminar

Luminar logo
Source: Luminar

Austin Russell, the founder of Luminar, dropped out of Stanford at 18 after winning the Thiel Fellowship to build the company. Luminar Technologies makes sensors for autonomous vehicles for advanced safety and autonomy. In 2020, it went public at a $3.2 billion valuation via a SPAC (Special purpose acquisition company)

7. Polkadot

polkadot logo
Source: Polkadot

Polkadot, co-founded by Robert Habermeier, enables blockchain networks to operate together and today has a market capitalization of $5 billion+

8. DoNotPay

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Source: DoNotPay

Joshua Browder founded DoNotPay it, a company that uses AI to help generate demand letters, court filings, and other legal documents. The company was last valued at $210 million.

9. Upstart

upstart logo
Source: Upstart

Paul Gu founded, Upstart, an AI lending platform, which generates revenue of around $850 million. And it is valued at over $1 billion. at its peak, it was valued $30 Billion or more.

10. OYO

ooo rooms logo
Source: OYO Rooms

Ritesh Agarwal built a hospitality chain with the grant. The chain leases hotels and living spaces and generates over $600 million in revenue per year.

11. Forge

forge logo
Source: Forge

Sohail Prasad founded Forge, a company that provides data, services, and other means to help individuals buy and sell private company shares. It generated $12M+ in revenue in 2021.

12. Freenome

freenome logo
Source: Freenome

Riley C Ennis founded Freenome, a high-growth biotech startup developing next-generation blood tests to detect cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.

13. The Ocean Cleanup

TheOceanCleanup logo
Source: The ocean cleanup

Boyan Slat used the $100,000 grant he received as a Thiel Fellow to drop out and found a non-profit organization that builds technologies to eliminate ocean waste. To date, the organization has removed 2 million kilograms of trash from oceans and rivers. The organization aims to clean up 90% of floating ocean plastic pollution.

14. Stord

store logo
Source: Stord Logo

Sean Henry founded Stord, a platform that helps businesses build, expand and optimize their physical supply chain operations with the speed, flexibility and ease of modern cloud software. Today it generates over $200 million in revenue per year and is valued at $1.3 billion or more.

15. Curative

curative logo
Source: Curative

Fred Turner founded Curative, a company that provides employer-based health insurance plans valued at $1 billion+

16. Rapid API

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Source: Rapid Api

Iddo Gino founded Rapid API, an API platform, where users can build, use, and share thousands of APIs. The company is valued at over $1 billion.

There are many more.

Jim O’Neill, co-founder of Thiel Fellowship, has written an in-depth analysis of the success of the Thiel Fellows and their companies.

Additional Resources

Thank you for reading Grey Knight’s article on 2023 Spring Internships at Top Investment Banks. To keep learning and advancing your career, we highly recommend these additional resources:

Venture Capital: A Comprehensive Overview

List of Fortune 500 Companies in 2023

Summer Internships & Work Placements (2023)

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