The peaks and valleys of 2020 have been a boon for Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and billionaire backer behind the curtain of Facebook’s early rise. Palantir, his federally funded big data company, is helping the United States and a dozen more countries track COVID-19 data using software usually reserved for the CIA.
As the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated and normalized remote work, the Founders Fund-backed work collaboration software Asana is becoming the next Slack. In fact, both Thiel-tied enterprises recently entered the stock market through direct listings (an alternative market route taken by the previously mentioned workplace-communication startup), with Asana hovering up 10% and Palantir skyrocketing over three-times its debut price. As the world turns the corner into 2021, Thiel sees the global economy finally catching up to technology, and the clairvoyant venture capitalist is keeping his digital wallet open for even more growth investment opportunities.
Through both Founders Fund and his philanthropic venture, The Thiel Foundation, the entrepreneur is firmly committed to accelerating innovations in transformational technology. In other words, he’s investing in making the future come sooner, at least as far as growth investments are concerned, and the pandemic has opened up several industries to sudden and protracted demand. While Palantir and Asana cover big data and small business respectively, Thiel is now pointing his financial considerations toward European tech startups, a sector he once called “a slacker with low expectations.”
Armed with multiple venture capital firms boasting billions in capital, he has made significant commitments to up-and-comers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the whole of Scandinavia, investing heavily in biotechnology and financial technology. In addition, Thiel is leveraging his portfolio on the development of psychedelics as mental health treatments, sowing major funding to ATAI Life Sciences, a pioneer in the field, leading a funding round that raised $125 million for the company.
Furthermore, Thiel is teaming with Christian Angermayer, ATAI’s founder and principal, and a like-minded entrepreneur and investor, to provide funding to American biotech Peptilogics. The Pittsburgh-based company specializes in the emerging field of peptide therapeutics, which has yet-unknown potential for application in several health treatments.
Back in the U.S., Thiel’s Palantir has landed a contract with the Food & Drug Administration to employ software that should expedite data and analysis for the research and evaluation of new drugs and therapies. Between the promising future of fintech, urgent biotech advancements, and the new remote workplace, Thiel is ensuring his place in the world’s future.