Peter Thiel is a major backer of Ron Paul’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, contributing $2.6 million to the Endorse Liberty Political Action Committee (PAC), which supports Paul. In November, Blueseed announced Thiel will lead a funding round for the start-up, which aims to anchor a passenger vessel off San Francisco, allowing start-ups to skirt U.S. visa rules.
In May 2011, he announced the first class of Thiel Fellows, a group of 24, all under 20 years old, whom Thiel is paying $100,000 to spend two years “building the technology companies of tomorrow” rather than attending college. Thiel invested $500,000 in Facebook in 2004. He co-founded PayPal in 1998 and sold it to Ebay in 2002 for $1.5 billion, personally netting $60 million. He opened hedge fund Clarium Capital in 2005. The firm’s assets, as high as $6 billion in mid-2008, fell below $500 million last year (a quarter of that is Thiel’s money). In a July regulatory filing, Clarium said it will invest a “significantly higher percentage” of assets in private equity. Thiel co-produced the film “Thank You for Smoking.”