Facebook investor Peter Thiel opens up new venture investment firm

20 Jun 2012

PayPal co-founder, investor and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, and early Facebook investor, has co-founded a new private venture investment firm called Mithril Capital Management, which will be investing in later-stage, privately held technology start-ups that are focused on innovating around areas such as disease prevention and solving global issues, such as resource scarcities.

As part of its filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Mithril describes itself as a limited partnership that falls under a pooled investment fund and venture capital fund.

According to the SEC filing Mithril has raised US$402m towards its first fund, but the filing also indicated that it may raise as much as US$1bn.

Thiel, who reportedly sold around US$640m worth of Facebook shares in its recent IPO, is the co-founder of the fund and will be chairing Mithril’s committee.

The company is named Mithril, in reference to the precious metal that J.R.R Tolkien coined in The Lord of the Rings.

Thiel’s business associate Ajay Royan will be managing Mithril. Since 2003 he has collaborated with Thiel on finance and technology projects, including acting as managing director at Clarium Capital, the US investment management and hedge fund company that is headquartered in New York.

In a statement, Thiel alluded to how Mithril will be focusing on companies that are pioneering innovations around solving problems such as resource scarcities and diseases.

“Technology holds solutions to most of the world’s most pressing challenges, from resource scarcity to disease. Solving an intractable problem may require a decade of work, but a lifetime of vision,” said Thiel.

“Mithril will play a patient, focused, and pivotal role in helping the world’s most outstanding creative minds and build lasting companies that change the world,” he added.

In March 2011, Thiel was one of the investors to invest in the Irish start-up Stripe, which was set up by two young Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic