Peter Thiel Net Worth: Here’s What You Need to Know

Billionaire Peter ThielPeter Thiel’s Net Worth

Since it became public that Peter Thiel would be speaking at the Republican National Convention (RNC), a lot of people have been searching “Peter Thiel net worth.” I’m not sure what Peter Thiel’s net worth has to do with his speech, but that’s neither here nor there.

He is a fascinating character few people would have expected to support Donald Trump, especially since most of his friends are staunch Democrats. Yet upon closer inspection, this move is classic Peter Thiel. He is the ultimate contrarian.

Judging by his book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, and many of his interviews, Peter Thiel doesn’t like to follow the crowd. Ever the skeptic, Thiel thinks restaurants make for terrible business and the smartest high school students should skip university. He even paid some students $100,000 each to postpone their university educations.

But most people just want to know three things:

  1. What’s the source of Peter Thiel’s net worth?
  2. How did he make his billions?
  3. And how can they become as rich as him?

Outside of Silicon Valley, few have heard Peter Thiel’s story. They don’t know that he is one of the greatest technology investors of all time or that he is an extraordinary innovator.

For instance, most people are probably unaware that Peter Thiel is a co-founder of Paypal Holdings Inc. He had developed a cybersecurity firm called Confinity, which eventually merged with Elon Musk’s The outcome—PayPal—soon became the most popular payments method on eBay, mainly because the company built strategies to detect fraudulent activity. These strategies would later help Thiel set up his most successful firm, but that was still years down the road, before Peter Thiel’s net worth really exploded.

He hadn’t yet become a famous entrepreneur at that time. Not that Peter Thiel was a struggling programmer or anything of that kind. He had graduated from Stanford Law School in 1992 and went on to clerk at the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

After a year of working in the judicial system, Thiel left to become a derivatives trader on Wall Street. He was a trader at Credit Suisse between 1993 and 1996, then left to start what would become a legendary career in Silicon Valley.

So, he had money. However, the prestige of having founded a successful startup only came when he and Elon Musk sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion. Thiel owned 3.7% of the company then, so his personal take-home was worth $55.0 million.

Thiel used those funds to capitalize his fund, Clarium Capital.

In August 2004, Thiel made one his most successful investments ever. He bought 10.2% of Facebook Inc for $500,000. At the time, it was considered an angel investment because Facebook was still in its startup phase.

When the company went public in 2012, Peter Thiel sold off sold 20.6 million shares of his 26.6 million. He made $400 million off the trade but maintained his seat on Facebook’s board of directors. In 2015, he sold another $100.4 million worth of FB stock, providing a big boost to Peter Thiel’s net worth. (Source: “Peter Thiel just sold $101 million of Facebook shares,” Business Insider, May 5, 2016.)

Earlier this year, Thiel once again sold off another round of Facebook shares for $101 million. By a long shot, Facebook helped build Peter Thiel’s net worth, but it’s not the coolest company he’s been a part of.

That spot is reserved for Palantir Technologies, Inc. Remember when I mentioned PayPal’s fraud detection strategies? Thiel used those methods to build a firm that specializes in big data analysis. Palantir helps government agencies and companies make sense of their data and, incidentally, it helps Peter Thiel’s net worth.

So for all you folks looking up “Peter Thiel Net Worth,” just remember that he’s not just a random billionaire on stage at the RNC. He’s a legendary investor too.

Here are the full details on Peter Thiel’s net worth:

Peter Thiel Net Worth by Year

Year Net Worth
2012 $1.5 billion
2013 $1.6 billion
2014 $2.2 billion
2015 $2.2 billion
2016 $2.7 billion

Image source: Flickr; Image copyright 2014, Heisenberg Media