Billionaire Peter Thiel believes in challenges. He is an investor in Facebook (News - Alert). He was a co-founder of Pay Pal and Palantir. His early-stage venture capital fund is known as Founders Fund. Now, he has started Mithril Capital Management with $402 million.
It is a growth venture-capital fund and will concentrate on later-stage technology-oriented companies which are privately held, according to Reuters. Its targets will be in such large sectors as energy or disease. Mithril could raise up to $1 billion from investors.
Fortune explained the fund may be most interested in investments which do not plan to hold an IPO. In a statement from The Wall Street Journal the kind of investments the new fund has in mind can be compared to how Skype (News - Alert) competes with telephony and how Sony redefined personal media.
Ajay Royan, the ex-managing director at Clarium Capital hedge fund (which is Thiel’s) will lead Mithril. Royan, Thiel and Jim O'Neill – an ex-Clarium managing director – are partners at the fund. Allen & Co. is a top investor.
Reuters (News - Alert) explained Mithril is mentioned in J.R. Tolkien's books, including "Lord of the Rings." It is a make-believe metal that is mined by dwarfs.
In looking at the new fund’s future, TechCrunch notes there could be a “late-stage correction” after Facebook’s lackluster IPO.
“We’re very willing to be patient with a growth cycle that might take years to become apparent to other counter parties,” O’Neill told TechCrunch. “We think in the long run this space makes sense for investors at all stages, even though there might be peaks, valleys, twists and turns in the short run.”
Thiel is also co-founder of the “20 Under 20” Thiel Fellowships for promising young entrepreneurs. Each fellow gets $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation and is mentored by a network of entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, thought leaders and innovators, according to TMCnet. The newest group of fellows will work on such sectors as energy, robotics, 3D printing, biotechnology and medical breakthroughs, software and digital communication, education, public health, artificial intelligence, and open source ecology.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli