Peter Thiel, the well-known investor who cofounded data-analysis firm Palantir Technologies and who bankrolled the lawsuit that ultimately drove Gawker out of business, has decided that he has had enough of Silicon Valley. Thiel is moving his home address, investment firm, and foundation 400 miles south to Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal. Thiel has also apparently raised the possibility that he will step down from Facebook’s board of directors.
Thiel rose to political prominence in 2016 when he donated $1.25 million to the Trump campaign and spoke at the Republican National Convention. As a result, his politics have reportedly driven him away from the liberal bastion of the Bay Area, with sources telling the Journal they believe that Thiel now finds the region to be “intolerant” and having “greater risk of regulation.”
The entrepreneur was born in Germany (he retains German citizenship) but spent most of his childhood in South Africa and Namibia before his parents settled in Foster City, California, south of San Francisco. He has since spent the bulk of his professional life in the Bay Area.
The longstanding libertarian recently said at a debate at Stanford University that Silicon Valley is a “one-party state. That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.”
Thiel, who founded a conservative publication known as The Stanford Review while in college, went on to found or invest in numerous major Silicon Valley companies. Thiel cofounded PayPal, which was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. He founded Palantir in 2003, and invested the paltry sum of $500,000 for a 10.2 percent stake in Facebook in 2004. He has gone on to found a handful of investment firms, including Thiel Capital.
In early 2017, it was revealed that Thiel convinced New Zealand officials to grant him citizenship—he took his citizenship oath at the New Zealand consulate in Santa Monica, California in 2011—despite the fact that he declared on his own application that he had no intention of living there. Thiel also apparently purchased an $11.5 million home in nearby Los Angeles the following year, above the famed Sunset Strip.
In August 2017, BuzzFeed reported that Thiel may have soured on Trump, even after getting a number of his former associates placed into the new administration.
If he’s looking for a political climate friendlier to his own views, Thiel must surely be aware that Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in Los Angeles County 72 percent to 22 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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