Founders Fund is an American San Francisco-based venture capital firm investing in companies building revolutionary technologies. The firm invests at all stages across a wide variety of sectors, including aerospace, artificial intelligence, advanced computing, energy, health, and consumer Internet, with a portfolio that includes Airbnb, Knewton, Lyft, Spotify, Stripe, and ZocDoc. Founders Fund was the first institutional investor in Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Palantir Technologies, and one of the earliest investors in Facebook. The firm’s four General Partners, Peter Thiel, Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, and Brian Singerman, have been founders and early employees of companies including PayPal, Google, Palantir Technologies, and SpaceX. Formed in 2005, Founders Fund had more than $3 billion in aggregate capital under management as of 2016.
|Peter Thiel |
The firm was organized by Peter Thiel, Ken Howery, and Luke Nosek in early 2005 and raised its first fund of $50 million from individual entrepreneurs and angel investors in January of that year. Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and ex-president of Facebook, joined in 2006. In 2007, the firm raised a new fund of $220 million.
In 2014, Founders Fund raised a $1 billion fifth suite of funds, bringing the firm's aggregate capital under management to more than $2 billion.
In 2016, Founders Fund raised a sixth, $1.3 billion fund, bringing the firm's aggregate capital under management to more than $3 billion.
As of the fall of 2014, the firm was made up of the following partners:
- Peter Thiel, founder and former CEO and chairman of PayPal
- Ken Howery, founder and former CFO of PayPal
- Luke Nosek, founder and former vice president of PayPal
- Brian Singerman, creator of iGoogle
Former partners included:
- biotechnology and health
- consumer Internet and media
- advanced machines and artificial intelligence
- aerospace and transportation
- analytics and software
Some of the firm's investments include Facebook, SpaceX, Spotify, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb, Lyft, Yammer, Stripe, 140 Proof, Knewton, Practice Fusion, Quantcast, Nanotronics Imaging, ZocDoc, Planet Labs, Pathway Genomics, Vicarious Systems, Flexport, Transatomic Power and Altschool.
- Guynn, Jessica (December 13, 2006). "The Founders Fund emerges as venture capital 2.0". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
- Jessica Guynn (December 18, 2007). "Facebook backer now a rival to venture capitalists". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
- Founders Fund raises $250M vehicle (July 19, 2010). "Founders Fund raises $250M vehicle". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Founders Fund Closes Fourth Suite of Funds - SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/. Prnewswire.com (2011-12-01). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
- Rusli, Evelyn M. (December 1, 2011). "Peter Thiel's Founders Fund Raises $625 Million". New York Times.
- VentureBeat (March 5, 2014). "Founders Fund raises a big $1B fund to plunk into startups". VentureBeat. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- Scott Martin (March 25, 2016). "Peter Thiel's Founders Fund Bags $1.3 Billion". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "Founders Fund Closes Fourth Suite of Funds". PRNewswire. December 1, 2011.
- "Kevin Hartz Is Stepping Down as Partner at Founders Fund". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
- "Sean Parker formally leaves Founders Fund". Fortune. March 6, 2014.
- Josh Constine (December 11, 2012). "Founders Fund Partner Bruce Gibney Has Left The Firm". Tech Crunch. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- Susannah Birkwood (October 31, 2012). "Profile: Founders Fund's Bruce Gibney". Asian Venture Capital Journal. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- Founders Fund. Founders Fund. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
- Gray, Kevin. "Peter Thiel Goes Nuclear". Popular Science. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Arrington, Michael (December 17, 2007). "Founders Fund Closes $220 Million Second Fund". TechCrunch.
- "Altschool Raises $100M From Founders Fund, Zuckerberg To Scale A Massive Network of Schools Around Personalized Learning – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
- Founders Fund (official website)