The billionaire indirectly owns stakes in various companies through his interest in venture capital firm, Founders Fund. His stake in the firm is calculated to be 42.5% based on information in the company’s 2020 Form ADV filing. Its valuation assumes insiders own 21% of the $15.9 billion in assets managed across its funds.
Thiel first invested in Facebook in 2004. According to regulatory filings, he sold 16.8 million shares of Facebook at its May 2012 initial public offering, followed by 22.3 million shares in August 2012. Thiel holds 11,561 shares of Facebook directly, according to a May 2020 filing.
Prior to the IPO, Thiel sold half his stake in Facebook to Digital Sky Technology in May 2009, according to ‘The Facebook Effect,’ a history of the early years of the company. This transaction is valued at $200 million based on the private market valuations of Facebook at the time.
Thiel was a co-founder of PayPal and is estimated to have collected about $100 million in proceeds from the company’s 2002 initial public offering and subsequent stock sales, according to company filings and data.
How Did he Make his Fortune?
Peter Thiel made his fortune through various investments in tech companies. In 1999, he co-founded PayPal on expectations that people would want a more integrated way to spend money online. He ended up making as much as $90 million after the company’s public offering and subsequent all-stock sale to eBay in 2002.
Following his successful investment with PayPal, the trained attorney started the Clarium Capital hedge fund. The company’s assets grew to over $8 billion within six years. However, following the financial crises, Clarium’s asset reduced to a few hundred million dollars, almost all of which belongs to Thiel.
Thiel being a smart investor, was the first outside investor in Facebook, initially loaning $500,000 to Mark Zukerberg in June 2004.
Although he has sold most of his stake in the social network but still sits on the company’s board. In 2004, he co-founded Palantir Technologies, a CIA-backed big data startup, which went public via a SPAC in 2020 and had a $37 billion market cap in early May 2021.