SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Thiel Foundation today named 24 people into the 2020 class of Thiel Fellows. The Fellowship program, which launched in 2011, encourages talented young people to pursue big ideas and start companies instead of attending college.
“Of all the bad ideas permeating college campuses, the worst is the self-serving myth that everybody has to go to college, and pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it,” said Blake Masters, President of the Thiel Foundation. “This is even more obvious when ‘college’ just means wasting time on Zoom.”
During the course of the two-year program, Fellows receive $100,000 and mentorship from the Thiel Foundation’s network of technology founders, investors, and scientists.
“If you want to be optimistic about the future, just look at what young people are creating now,” said Allyson Dias, director of the Thiel Fellowship. “This year marks our tenth class of Fellows, and every year they continue to exceed our expectations and push the boundaries of what is possible.”
To date, companies created by Thiel Fellows are together worth more than $29 billion, not including 2014 Thiel fellow Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum, a distributed computing platform whose cryptocurrency Ether currently has a market cap of more than $40 billion. This year alone, 2013 Fellow Austin Russell and 2011 Fellow Paul Gu led their companies, Luminar and Upstart, through successful public offerings and are now valued at $8.5 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively; 2018 Fellow Robert Habermeier launched Polkadot, a blockchain-connecting platform that facilitates digital asset interoperability and now has a market cap of $6.6 billion; and 2018 Fellow Tara Bosch sold her company, SmartSweets, for $400 million.
Thiel Fellows also answered the call in the fight against COVID-19, with 2017 Fellow Fred Turner creating and growing Curative to over 10 million COVID tests with the help of 2011 Fellow Laura Deming, 2019 Fellow Emily Wang leveraging AI technology at Phoenix Health to develop new diagnostic methods, and 2019 Fellow Claire Coder pivoting Aunt Flow’s supply chain to make and deploy essential PPE where it was needed most.
About the 2020 Thiel Fellows (Name: Hometown, Current Location)
Blake Resnick: Las Vegas, NV
- Brinc Drones designs and manufactures advanced aerial robots that help tactical teams respond to barricade, hostage, and active shooter situations.