Billionaire investor and technology luminary Peter Thiel is breaking up with Silicon Valley and the tech market, scaling back his involvement in the industry he helped shape.
Citing people familiar with Thiel’s thinking, The Wall Street Journal reported the venture capital luminary is moving his home and his investment firm to Los Angeles from San Francisco and has even discussed resigning from the board of social media giant Facebook Inc. (FB). The relationship between Thiel and executives at Facebook was stressed after Thiel expressed public support for Donald Trump when he was running for president. It’s also strained due to clashes with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over leaks from the boardroom. Thiel has been on the board of the social media company since 2005, noted the Journal. (See also: How Did Peter Thiel Get Rich?)
Criticism and Backlash
People familiar with Thiel’s thinking said he has grown increasingly frustrated by what he perceives to be a left-leaning biases in Silicon Valley that is intolerant of other views. The investor is also getting increasingly negative on the prospects for technology companies in general because of the potential for more regulation. As a result of all that, he is relocating, including taking Thiel Capital and Thiel Foundation to Los Angeles during 2018.
While Thiel has been known to disagree with the tech industry, he faced a lot of criticism and backlash from other players because of his support of Trump’s presidential campaign. Thiel thinks tech companies and executives have become even more intolerant of conservative political views since Trump's election, which he said is troublesome from an intellectual and political perspective. The West German-born Thiel was quoted as saying “Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” at a recent debate on politics at Stanford University. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society when you’re all in one side,” he was quoted as saying. (See also: Peter Thiel Could Spell Trouble for Google, Amazon: Report.)
Instead of focusing on tech investments at its new home in L.A., the Journal reported one of Thiel’s endeavors will be creating a new media company. He sees an opportunity to create a media outlet that is conservative leaning in an effort to foster conversations around conservative topics. The paper noted that during the past two years he has quit the board of tech companies, Zenefits and Asana, and severed his ties to thestartup incubator Y Combinator and unloaded his stake in Twilio.