Peter Thiel Bio

In recent years, I have found myself being drawn to the rich and famous, the successful, and the billionaires. I am fascinated with their business history, how they made their money, and in what ways they chose to use their wealth to benefit others.

This is why I thought Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal (one of the world’s most powerful online payment systems,) was a great person to write a biography about. I want to share with you everything from his childhood and education to his early business career and where he’s living today.

So in this Peter Thiel bio, let’s take a look into his personal life. and find out how he came to have a net worth of over $5 billion.

And when you’re done here, if you want to find out more about people who have made their millions through the power of the internet, you should take a look at our Elon Musk bio for a fascinating read.

Peter Thiel is a German-American businessman and billionaire. He is the co-founder of the popular online payment survive, Paypal, and also Palantir Technologies. He holds a small stake in the social media platform Facebook and has an estimated net worth of over $5 billion.

Peter Thiel Bio Facts

Full Name: Peter Andreas Thiel
Birth Date: 11th of October 1967
Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany
Nick Name: N/A
Nationality: German-American
Siblings: Brother – Patrick Michael Thiel
Children: No Children
Partner / Spouse: Matt Danzeisen
Profession: Cofounder of PayPal
Salary: Unknown
Net Worth: $5 billion
Social Media: Peter Thiel (@peterthiel) / TwitterPeter Thiel (@peterthiel01) • Instagram photos and videos(1) Peter Thiel | Facebook
Companies Associated With: PayPal, Facebook, Clarium Capital Management, Thiel Foundation.
Last Updated: August 2022

Peter Thiel Key Facts Summary

Peter Thiel Key Facts

  • He attended the Bowditch Middle School in Foster City.
  • He has been the co-founder of PayPal since 1999.
  • Thiel spent $10 million creating Clarium Capital Management, a company that focuses on
  • He was ranked 297th on Bloomberg’s Billionaires index.
  • He launched Palantir Technologies in 2003.
  • He governs the grant-making bodies for Thiel Fellowship and Breakout Labs
  • He funded Hulk Hogan in the Bollea. V. Gawker lawsuit.
  • He is a conservative libertarian.
  • He has made many significant donations to American right-wing causes.

Peter Thiel Birthplace and Early Life

Growing Up

Peter was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on the 11th of October, 1967. His parents were called Susan and Klaus Friedrich. [1]

Peter’s family migrated to America when he was just a year old. They lived in Cleveland, Ohio. When Peter was a young boy, his father was a chemical engineer and worked for several mining companies. After they had been in the U.S for a few years, his mother became an American citizen, but Klaus never did. [2]

Eventually, the family settled in Foster City in 1977, but before they did, they also spent time living in South West Africa and Namibia.

During his childhood, Peter went to several elementary schools, one of which was a rigorous school in Swakopmund regarding their teaching methods.

They believed in corporal punishment and used methods like smacking children with rulers when misbehaving. I think this part of his childhood played a prominent role in how he views regimentation today and is probably why he stands behind libertarianism and individualism.

Regarding hobbies, when he was a little boy, he enjoyed playing dungeons and dragons and spent a lot of time reading sci-fi. He also claimed to have read Lord of the Rings over ten times.

He loved Tolkien’s work so much that he even named firms after some of it in his adult life, such as Mithril Capital, Palantir Technologies, Rivendell, and Lembas.

School and University

Peter Thiel always showed significant skills in the mathematics areas of education [3]. I think it was one of his favorite subjects. He also started to show an interest in politics from a very young age in his admiration for the President of the United States at the time, President Ronald Rogan.

When he started his later studies at Stanford University, he studied Philosophy, and in 1987 Peter co-founded The Stanford Review. This libertarian and conservative newspaper was funded by Irving Kristol. [4] He was the newspaper’s editor-in-chief until he finished his studies at Stanford in 1989. [5]

Peter enrolled with Stanford Law School in 1992, where he met Rene Girard, who influenced him to study the workings and better understand the Mimetic Theory.

Peter Thiel Early Business Success

Peter Thiel Early Business Success

After he had finished his studies, he worked as a clerk for Judge James Larry Edmonson [5] and then moved on to work as a security lawyer for the firm Sullivan & Cromwell, based in New York City. He only worked for the firm for seven months because he believed the company didn’t value his work enough. [6]

His next job was in 1993 at Credit Suisse, where his role was a derivatives trader, and at the same time, he was working for the Secretary of Education at the time, William Bennett. After three years, he moved back to California on the lookout for a new occupation. [7]

Once back in California, his friends and family helped him to raise $1 million to start his own company, Thiel Capital Management, and from there, his career really started to take a turn for the better; and thanks to his strong business strategy, the future was looking bright for Peter. [8]

How PayPal Was Born

With online payments becoming more frequently used, Peter realized that not all sites had the facilities to accept payment cards.

So, he came up with the idea of a kind of virtual wallet that would not only make life easier for the user but would mean more businesses would have the ability to take payments online, it also appeared to be an area in which there was no competitors. Thus, PayPal was born. [9]

The launch of PayPal was exciting. It would be the top, safe way to handle and transfer payments via the internet.

In 1999 PayPal held a press conference whereby Deutsche Bank and Nokia funded Peter using the platform on the PalmPilots.

Ever since, PayPal has continued to grow and make money. It went public in 2002 when eBay bought into the company for $1.5 billion. They were the first online buying and selling platform that was recognized for using PayPal as their primary payment option. [10]

Clarium Capital and Palantir

Clarium Capital and Palantir

After he sold PayPal to eBay, Peter used the proceeds to set up Clarium Capital Management, which is a hedge fund that focuses on liquid and directional instruments in currency and interest rates. Peter said they had the idea because the world was running out of oil, meaning there were no alternatives. [12]

In 2003, Peter incorporated a data analysis company called Palantir Technologies. This is where he currently still serves as Chairman.

Involvement in Facebook

In 2004, Peter invested $500,000 into the social media platform Facebook in return for a 10.2% stake. He also joined their board. At the time, the company was worth $4.9 million, and Peter was the first person ever to make an investment in it.

After selling his shares in various stages between 2012 and 2022, Peter no longer holds any stakes in Facebook and resigned from the director’s board. This was so that he could concentrate more on supporting pro-Donald Trump candidates during the 2022 elections.

If you want to find out more about Facebook and its founders, then check out our Mark Zuckerberg Bio, which goes into more detail about the company.

Other Ventures

Peter has also founded many other ventures and funds, such as the founders’ fund in 2005, a venture capital fund, Valar Ventures, which he co-founded with James Fitzgerald and Andrew McCormack. He also launched Mithril Capital Management, which he named after the metal featured in his favorite book series, The Lord of the Rings.

Lastly, in 2015, he became a partner of Y Combinator. According to reports, the company cut all ties with Peter two years after he joined.

Peter Thiel Videos

PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel talks about Bitcoin Keynote during the Bitcoin 2022 Conference

Powered by Marathon Digital Holdings.

PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel – Bitcoin Keynote – Bitcoin 2022 Conference – YouTube

Talking in a positive sense, Peter Theil is one of the most dangerous investors today. He is a true force of nature with power, a robust plan, and plenty of money to back it all. Listen to how Peter is playing the game of power.

Peter Thiel: America’s Most Dangerous Billionaire Investor | Full Documentary – YouTube

Listen to Peter Thiel’s views in his essay “The Straussian Moment.”

Peter Thiel on “The Straussian Moment” – YouTube

Peter Thiel Business Failures

As everybody knows, PayPal is still one of the internet’s most widely used payment platforms, so it would be hard to say that he has ever made any epic fails. Still, of course, anyone with such a varied career is bound to have stumbled across a few bumps in the road, and Peter is no different.

Very early in his career, when he was in the first years of his business venture Thiel Capital Management, Peter invested $100,000 into his friend’s company, a web-based calendar idea. Unfortunately, the project was unsuccessful.

However, I still don’t think I would say this is a massive failure in the grand scheme of things, and things turned around for Peter soon after when he was introduced to another friend’s cryptography project, which became a huge success. [11]

Peter Thiel Family

Peter is married to his long-term partner Matt Danzeisen. The couple tied the knot in 2017 in Austria. Matt works as a portfolio manager.

The couple raise a daughter together, called Eleanor, but they like to keep the details of their daughter’s life out of the public eye as much as possible.

Peter Thiel Net Worth and Career Earnings

As it stands, Peter has a net worth of around $5 billion. His earnings have come from various connections over the years, and vary year to year depending on the industry climate. It is unclear what his yearly salary is from his various investments and companies.

Peter Thiel Real Estate Holdings

Peter Thiel Real Estate Holdings

Peter owned a house in the Marina District of San Francisco which he sold for over $9 million. The house was impressive with many eloquent features, such as the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge. The property features a penthouse lounge boasting panoramic views across the land.

He also purchased an impressive cottage in L.A, his hideaway situated just above Sunset Strip. He paid $1 million under the asking price for the property. It features a two-door garage, a large reception room with glass walls, hardwood floors, a fireplace, and a skylit ceiling.

It also has an impressive floating staircase that leads to a sunken lounge and media room. It also features an outdoor gallery area with a heated patio for outdoor dining.

However, the house he seems to spend most of his time living in is located in Hollywood Hills, which he purchased for £11.5 million in 2012.

In 2011, he spent an eye-watering $27 million on a property in Hawaii. The most anyone had ever spent on a home in the area at the time.

Peter Thiel Quotes

Peter is a highly influential person in the business world, and we can learn a lot about his methods and advice. Here are some of the things he has to say about his success.

“Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”

“We can’t take for granted that the future will improve. That means we should work to create it today.”

“Whatever the career, sales ability distinguishes superstars from also-rans.”

“Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.”

“If you think your initial market is too big, it almost certainly is.”

Peter Thiel Bio FAQs

Question: Is Peter Thiel Gay?

Answer: Yes. Peter has always been open about his sexuality. He is happily married to portfolio manager Matt Danzeisen. The couple got married in 2017.

Question: Who is Peter Thiel’s Daughter?

Answer: Peter and his husband have a daughter named Eleanor, who they shield from the public eye for her protection. Therefore nothing is known about her personal life.

Question: Why Did Peter Thiel Invent PayPal?

Answer: After Peter discovered a gap in the market surrounding how companies can accept online payments, he came up with the idea of an online wallet, which meant businesses without the hardware to accept credit card payments, could improve their sales.

Recommended Reads:

Research Citations:

  1. Peter Thiel | Immigrant Entreprenuership (
  2. Peter-Thiel-release-1-February-2017.pdf (
  3. – peter-thiel’s-contrarian-strategy
  4. The Unwinding – The Inner History of the New America
  5. Donald Trump and Peter Thiel Deny Supreme Court Rumor | Fortune
  6. Q & A: Legal Matters « Stanford Lawyer (
  8. Peter Thiel’s Contrarian Strategy | Fortune
  9. When PayPal was young: the early years (
  11. PayPal founder Max Levchin talks bitcoin and digital payments
  12. Peter Thiel’s Contrarian Strategy | Fortune
Latest posts by Maddy Chiffey (see all)
Scroll to Top