Who is Chamath Palihapitiya?

Chamath Palihapitiya is a highly-successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist in the San Francisco Bay area. Palihapitiya, 44, founded Social Capital in 2011 to invest in companies in fields being ignored by other venture capitalists, like health, financial services, and education. The firm has since expanded to invest in tech companies like Amazon, Tesla, and Slack. In 2018, Palihapitiya shut his VC funds to new investors.

Portfolio companies include survey platform SurveyMonkey, biopharmaceutical company MeMed Diagnostics, and co-living rental platform HubHaus. Notable exits from mergers and acquisitions include peer-to-peer tutoring website InstaEU, acquired by Chegg, and Scan, a developer of image recognition and QR code scanning applications, purchased by Snap.

Palihapitiya raised six special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) over the past year, including one with Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson. He also invested in two companies going public via black-check vehicles in January: innovative lock maker Latch and solar lender Sunlight Financial.

Prior to founding Social Capital, Palihapitiya served on Facebook's (now Meta) senior management team in several capacities, most recently as the vice president of User Growth, Mobile & International. He is credited with helping orchestrate the social media platform's massive growth.

Early Career and Education

Palihapitiya first entered the venture capital world in 2006 as a principal at Mayfield Fund. Before that, he worked at AOL as the vice president and general manager of AIM + ICQ.

Palihapitiya received his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo. He was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Canada as a child with his family after receiving refugee status. He is a minority stakeholder and board member of the Golden State Warriors.

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