Peter Thiel, the tech investor and entrepreneur best-known for founding PayPal and being Facebook’s first outside investor, has decided to leave Silicon Valley and relocate to Los Angeles. Sources close to him also say that he is considering quitting his board role at Facebook over tensions between himself and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Unlike the majority of the US tech scene, Thiel is a conservative and supported President Donald Trump’s election campaign in 2016. Thiel was immediately hounded by his Valley peers after endorsing Trump, something that he says has become worse since the president’s eventual election victory. Similarly, Elon Musk was subjected to barbed criticisms after accepting a role as a White House business advisor, a post he later quit over Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
In an analysis that closely mirrors James Damore’s now-infamous Google memo, Thiel has expressed the idea that Silicon Valley is essentially an echo-chamber that does not tolerate right-wing views. The result, according to Thiel, is an abundance of tech companies that are philosophically and intellectually homogenous, which he feels lowers the prospects for innovation.
As a result of this left-wing pressure, Thiel has decided to move both his investment firm Thiel Capital and the Thiel Foundation, which gives $100,000 to ambitious college dropouts, from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
A New Beginning
Thiel, who was born in West Germany, recently called Silicon Valley “a one-party state” during a debate at his alma mater, Stanford University. His recent move is not the first time he has broken with the tech world either. Over the past two years, he has left numerous companies that he has helped to build, including Asana, Zenefits, Twilio and startup incubator Y Combinator.
Although Los Angeles is also relatively left-leaning, Thiel will undoubtedly fit right into its burgeoning tech scene. Last year alone, the city saw some 530 venture capital deals – twice the amount executed 10 years ago – worth a total of $6.5bn.
However, rather than work on sourcing and funding the next unicorn startups from Los Angeles, Thiel has reportedly said he wants to build a new media company. The company will be right-leaning in its outlook, which will foster proper debate around right-wing issues and viewpoints that are either wholly ignored or presented poorly by media incumbents.
(Photo by Dan Taylor (own work) [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
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