Peter Thiel was the first large investor in Facebook. Now he’s turning his investing skills to biotechnology.
By Antonio Regalado on March 16, 2015
WHY IT MATTERS
Investment opportunities in biotech are rapidly increasing.
Peter Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal, the investor who discovered Facebook, and the author of Zero to One, a short account of the counterintuitive thinking that’s made him a godfather figure in Silicon Valley (see “The Contrarian’s Guide to Changing the World.”)+
But what’s less well known about Thiel is his affinity for biotechnology. By now he has invested in more than 25 startups, one of which has already turned into a $1 billion success story.+
That puts Thiel, 47, at the vanguard of prominent tech investors putting their money into biology. Google drew attention when it started Calico, a life-extension company, in 2013, and this year the accelerator Y Combinator said 10 of the 116 startups it accepted were biotechnology companies (see “The Startup Whisperer”), a record for that program.+
Thiel, like Google, is motivated partly by the hope of defeating aging, an area of medicine that he says is “structurally underexplored.”