Since 2011 Peter Thiel has been giving out $100K to college students to drop out and start a company.

Forbes wrote, "Thiel Fellows will create lesser successful companies than degree holders."

10 yrs later, they've founded some of the most breakthrough companies of the decade:
1/ @ethereum

@VitalikButerin founded the 2nd-biggest cryptocurrency ($150B+, at peak it was $400B+).

Its merge reduced global electricity consumption by 0.2%.

2/ @figma

@zoink used the $100K grant to launch the collaborative design platform. Adobe acquired it for $20B+.
3/ Longevity VC

@LauraDeming wants to eliminate age-related diseases.

She started working in a biogerontology lab at age 12, & became a Thiel Fellow at 17 to work on her venture.

Today, it has amassed $1B+ in follow-on funding, & funded programs to expand the human lifespan.
4/ @Taylor_Wilson

Taylor is an American nuclear physicist.

In 2008, he became the then youngest person to achieve controlled nuclear at age 14.

He received the $100K grant to expand applications for nuclear medicine.
5/ @scale_AI

After becoming a Thiel Fellow in 2014, @lucy_guo co-founded the "data platform for AI."

Today, it’s a $7.3B company, generating $150M+ in revenue.

6/ @loom

@_shahedk co-founded the video messaging tool, which has 14M+ users & is valued at $1.5B+.
7/ @luminartech

Austin Russell dropped out of @Stanford at 18 after winning the Thiel Fellowship to build the company.

It makes sensors for autonomous vehicles for advanced safety and autonomy.

In 2020, it went public at a $3.2B valuation via SPAC.
8/ @Polkadot
Co-founded by Robert, it enables blockchain networks to operate together.

Today, it has a market cap of $5B+.

9/ @donotpay

@jbrowder1 founded AI it (which uses AI to help you generate demand letters, court filings, & more). Last valued at $210M.
10/ @Upstart

@paulxgu built the AI lending platform, which generates ~850M+ revenue, & is valued at $1B+ (at peak, it was $30B+).

11/ @oyorooms

With the grant, @riteshagar built the hospitality chain, which leases hotels & living spaces. It makes $600M+/yr in revenue.
12/ @Forge_Global

Founded by @sohailprasad, it provides data, services, & other means to help you buy & sell private company shares. It made $121M+ in revenue in 2021.

13/ @freenome

@RileyCEnnis founded the biotech startup—a platform for early cancer detection.
14/ @TheOceanCleanup

The $100K grant helped @BoyanSlat to drop out and found the non-profit to build technologies to eliminate ocean waste.

To date, it has removed 2M+ Kg of trash from oceans and rivers.

It aims to clean up 90% of floating ocean plastic pollution.
15/ @GetSTORD

@seanhenryatl built Stord—a platform that helps businesses to build, expand, & optimize their physical supply chain operations with the speed, flexibility, and ease of modern cloud software.

Today, it generates $200M+/yr in revenue and is valued at $1.3B+.
16/ @Curative (h/t @zaidrmn)

Founded by @FredTurnerBio, it's an employer-based health insurance plan (valued at $1B+).

17/ @Hired_HQ

@sujaytyle founded the talent marketplace, which was recently acquired.
18/ @Rapid_API

@iddogino build the API platform, on which you can build, use, and share 1000s of APIs. It's valued at $1B+.

There are many more.

@regardthefrost, co-founder of Thiel Fellowship, deep dives here:
@Rapid_API @iddogino @regardthefrost The Thiel Fellowship is extremely competitive.

Its acceptance rate is a mere 0.1% (compared to Harvard's 4%, Yale's 5.3%, and Stanford's 3.9%).

So, what qualities do the best founders have?

That's the wrap.

Let me know if you are building something.

I run a marketplace of vetted engineers from Europe and Latam. We help startups to hire them directly to your team for temp or long-term projects.

Happy to give a 15% discount for the first 4 weeks of work.
If not:

1. Follow me @volodarik. I share everything on the way to growing to $100m/y. People say it's fun to watch.

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