US billionaire Peter Thiel partners with European tech fund

8 Dec 2020

Peter Thiel. Image: JD Lasica/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Elevat3 has built a tech fund of €100m from investors including Founders Fund’s Peter Thiel.

Founders Fund, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has reportedly entered into a partnership with European investment firm Elevat3 Capital.

CNBC reports that the partnership has been led by Founders Fund partner Peter Thiel and Elevat3 founder Christian Angermayer.

Angermayer is a serial entrepreneur and investor who set up Elevat3 Capital in January 2020 as a VC arm for his family office, Apeiron Investment Group.

According to CNBC, Elevat3 has raised €100m to invest in tech start-ups, €20m of which came from Apeiron and €80m from external investors such as Thiel. However, Angermayer told CNBC that billionaire entrepreneur Thiel is more than an investor in the European growth venture fund, and that he owns part of the gross profit.

Elevat3 investment

Founders Fund has previously invested in European start-ups such as Spotify and DeepMind. The latter was acquired by Google in 2014 and just recently solved the complex puzzle of protein-folding – an achievement that could have a revolutionary impact on medicine. The VC firm also counts major US tech companies such as SpaceX and Airbnb in its portfolio.

The Elevat3 fund will focus on investments in German-speaking countries, with a particular interest in deep tech, fintech, proptech and biotech start-ups.

Its first investment came last month, leading German insurtech start-up Neodigital’s eight-figure Series B round.

Investors Angermayer and Thiel

Angermayer recently celebrated a successful return on a 2017 investment in UK start-up Compass Pathways, which is focused on developing the use of an active ingredient in magic mushrooms for the treatment of depression. In September, Compass became the first psychedelics company to IPO on the Nasdaq and its stock hit $1bn shortly after its debut, valuing Angermayer’s stake in the business at $316m.

Thiel was also an investor in Compass Pathways as well as ATAI Life Sciences, a psychedelic biotech company founded by Angermayer. ATAI recently closed a $125m Series C financing round and Bloomberg reports that the company is planning an IPO in 2021.

Angermayer revealed to CNBC that Thiel became a strategic partner in Elevat3 at the beginning of the year and that the two were introduced in 2011 “because we’re both very interested in global politics”.

Billionaire Thiel is best known as a co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook, where he now serves on the board of directors. He also co-founded Palantir Technologies, an analytics firm headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

Thiel has been called “the most famous Trump supporter in tech”, having been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 US presidential campaign and donating $1.25m to the campaign and associated groups. During Trump’s presidency, Palantir secured significant US government deals. The company went public in September and, in its first earnings call, reported that sales to government agencies rose 68pc to $163m, accounting for 56pc of the company’s total revenue.

This summer, the Wall Street Journal reported that Thiel’s support for Trump had waned ahead of the 2020 re-election campaign.

Peter Thiel. Image: JD Lasica/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.