Peter Thiel, a partner at San Francisco-based venture capital firm Founders Fund, is one of the most successful technology entrepreneurs and investors of the last two decades. As a co-founder of PayPal, Thiel is one of the most prominent members of the so-called “PayPal mafia,” which refers to the group of executives who made a fortune when PayPal was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion.
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In 2004, Thiel invested $500,000 in Facebook, becoming the company’s first major outside investor. Thiel’s Facebook stake would ultimately make him extremely wealthy; Forbes estimates his current net worth to be $1.6 billion. Aside from Facebook, Thiel, 45, has invested in scores of startups including LinkedIn, Spotify, and SpaceX, the private rocket ship company founded by fellow PayPal mafia member Elon Musk. An outspoken libertarian, Thiel supported Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.