Thiel Launches Growth-Stage VC Firm

Jun 20 2012 | 12:30pm ET

Peter Thiel has raised $402 million for a new venture capital firm that will focus on established tech startups.

The PayPal and Clarium Capital Management founder has launched Mithril Capital Management with long-time collaborator Ajay Royan. Thiel is the largest single investor in the firm, but Royan told Bloomberg they have also raised money from institutional investors, including Allen & Co. in New York.

The new firm will invest in companies that have moved beyond the traditional venture-backed stage and prefer to remain private as they mature. Royan said Mithril’s investments will be smaller than those of Clarium and larger than those of Thiel’s other VC group, Founders Fund Management.

“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, who will serve as chairman of Mithril’s investment committee. “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.”

Royan, co-founder and managing general partner, also serves on the investment committee and leads the Mithril team. He has teamed with Thiel on finance and technology projects since 2003, including serving as a managing director at Clarium.

“Many great inventions are driven by a spirit of dissent and curiosity,” said Royan. “That spirit defines and pervades Silicon Valley, but it can be found everywhere in the world. Just as SAS Institute inaugurated modern business intelligence software, FANUC scaled industrial robotics, and ARM redefined efficient mobile computing, Mithril companies, if we’re right, will foment changes that will seem inevitable after they happen.”

Jim O’Neill, the former principal associate deputy secretary of health and human services, former managing director of Clarium, and co-founder of the 20 under 20 Thiel Fellowship, will also be a partner in Mithril.

Clarium, Thiel’s hedge fund, has lost over 90% of its assets since peaking at over $7 billion in mid-2008. In 2011, it announced it would shift its investment focus to private tech companies.


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