Thiel Foundation Announces 2016 Thiel Fellows

Retinad helps

developers create better VR content with tools such as heat maps and

user emotional tracking so that consumers can enjoy a more immersive,

personalized virtual reality experience.

Pamela Valdes Esteva (Mexico City, Mexico)

Beek

Social

Networking

Pamela is co-founder and CEO of Beek, a social

network for millennial book lovers. By

connecting the fragmented world of scientific research, Kynplex aims to

accelerate the pace of discovery.

Cosmo Scharf (Los Angeles, CA)

The Virtual Reality

Foundation and Visionary VR

Virtual Reality

Cosmo

co-founded The Virtual Reality Foundation, a non-profit organization

that produces the world’s largest event showcasing virtual reality

technology, VRLA Expo, as well as The Proto Awards, the premier

celebration for recognizing virtual reality content. Beek casts aside sterile 5-star

rating systems and lets users discuss and react to books while they are

actually reading them.

Introducing the 2016 Thiel Fellows

To date, companies created by Thiel Fellows are together worth more than

$1.4 billion.

Nick Mares (San Francisco)

Kettle & Fire

Food

Nick

co-founded Kettle & Fire with his brother to bring to market the world’s

first shelf-stable bone broth made from grass-fed, pasture-raised

cattle.

This year’s cohort was selected from more than 6,000 applications

received from around the world.

Aditya Agarwalla (New Delhi, India)

Kisan Network

Agriculture

Marketplace

Aditya is co-founder of Kisan Network, an online

marketplace for the $200 billion Indian agricultural ecosystem. In turn, HelloToken has created an engine for real-time contextual

research across millions of people.

Samuel F. To date, Equidate

has helped thousands of employees at private companies sell portions of

their stock to accredited investors in the absence of an IPO or

corporate sale.

Alex Rodrigues (Calgary, Alberta / Mountain View, CA)

Varden

Labs

Autonomous Vehicles

Alex is CEO of Varden

Labs, a startup developing self-driving shuttles for private campuses. Poirier (Montreal)

Retinad

Virtual

Reality; Gaming

Samuel is co-founder and CEO of Retinad, the

preeminent analytics platform for virtual reality apps.

“This has been proven true–by the successes of our past fellows, by the

new applications we get every year, and by the growing numbers of young

people who are creating their own career paths outside of college, with

or without a fellowship from us.”

Thiel Fellows receive mentorship and guidance from current and former

fellows, as well as from the Thiel Foundation’s network of technology

entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists.

“In the past few years we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way young

people approach their potential,” said Jack Abraham, Executive Director

of the Thiel Fellowship. He is now working on Quizr, a sports betting

application that launches in Europe in late 2016.

Panashe Mahachi (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada / Mountain View, CA)

Lace

Labs

Government Technology

Panashe is

co-founder of Lace, a marketplace for cities and other municipalities to

find and purchase cutting-edge software. Revlo makes it easy for

broadcasters to interact with all their fans and monetize them.

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Thiel Foundation today accepted 29 new members into the 2016 class

of Thiel Fellows. Our message may have seemed

odd four or five years ago–some found it blasphemous to question how

well American higher education was working, and to suggest

entrepreneurship as an alternative path–but today even the colleges are

waking up; top schools are creating their own incubators, crafting more

flexible stop-out policies, and even raising venture capital funds.

Young people now have more options than ever.”

James Sun (Toronto, Canada)

Revlo

Social

Gaming

James is co-founder and CEO of Revlo, a fan engagement

platform for the game broadcaster Twitch. AppHub’s mission is to empower engineers by eliminating

tedious and redundant, time-consuming work.

Joey Levy (New York)

Quizr

Sports

Gaming

Joey founded Draftpot, a daily fantasy sports platform,

from his dorm room in 2014.

Lexi Smith (Boston)

Carewell

Health IT

Lexi

is co-founder of Carewell, an intelligent caregiving platform that helps

caregivers take care of loved ones with dementia by using wearable

devices to learn the smartest ways to provide personalized care.

ABOUT THE THIEL FOUNDATION

Joey Krug (Knoxville, IL)

Augur

Prediction

Markets

Joey is building the world’s first decentralized

prediction market platform. By leveraging the power of ocean currents to

concentrate and extract plastic waste, The Ocean Cleanup is orders of

magnitude more efficient than traditional approaches that rely on boats

and nets.

Luke Sophios (San Diego)

CourseKey

Education

Technology

Luke is founder and CEO of CourseKey, a software

company that allows teachers to leverage the devices that their students

are already bringing to class – laptops, tablets, and smartphones – to

instantly create a more interactive, engaging “smart classroom”.

Eva Shang (Cambridge, MA)

Legalist

Legal

Analytics

Eva is co-founder of Legalist, a legal analytics and

alert platform that helps lawyers keep track of new developments in case

law so that they can represent their clients more effectively.

Matt Arbesfeld (Cambridge, MA)

AppHub

Developer

Tools

Matt co-founded AppHub, a company that builds tools that

let app developers deploy and update software applications easily and

instantly. He is also the

co-founder of Visionary VR, a venture-backed startup building software

for creating stories using virtual reality.

Jesse Leimgruber (San Francisco)

NeoReach

Marketing

Technology

Jesse founded and runs NeoReach, a startup

developing influencer marketing technology for Fortune 1000 brands and

their agencies. Local governments are

increasingly interested in innovation; the Lace platform helps municipal

staff to build smarter cities.

Brian Truong (Boston, MA)

HelloToken

Enterprise

Software

Brian is CEO and co-founder of HelloToken, a company

that enables digital publishers to earn up to 10x more for their content

by posing simple market research questions to readers instead of serving

ads. NeoReach is currently used by industry giants such as

Wal-Mart, Amazon, and NBC.

“We launched the fellowship in 2011 to test a simple thesis: college

isn’t right for everyone–especially for young people who want to create

new things,” said Blake Masters, President of the Thiel Foundation. The fellowship provides young people with $100,000 to

learn by doing rather than by following conventional paths like college. “Many are applying to the program with one or

two companies already under their belts–they’ve become successful

founders before they can even buy a beer. Kisan

enables farmers to sell their produce directly to institutional buyers

using a smartphone, rather than going through the physical marketplace

dominated by middlemen.

Sohail Prasad (Plano, TX / San Francisco)

Equidate

Financial

Technology

Sohail is the founder and co-CEO of Equidate, a

secondary marketplace for shares in private companies. Lunar Labs aims to bring online the 64 million

Americans–and then billions more worldwide–that don’t yet own a

smartphone.

Christian Owens (London)

Paddle.com

Software

Christian

is the founder and CEO of Paddle.com, which builds infrastructure for

software companies to help companies deal with complex issues such as

payments, taxes, localization, and analytics.

Henry Hu (Hong Kong / San Francisco)

Cafe X

Food

Technology, Automation

A native of Beijing, Henry Hu is CEO and

co-founder of Cafe X, which designs, manufactures, and operates

automated robotic cafés that serve locally roasted coffee in 10 seconds.

Anthony Zhang (Calgary, Alberta, Canada / Mountain View, CA)

EnvoyNow

Local

Delivery

Anthony is CEO and co-founder of EnvoyNow, a last-mile

food delivery service focusing on colleges and universities. BioMetrix is pushing the limits of connected

technology and insight-driven intelligence with a simple, skin-adhered

sensor.

Varden’s technology has been used to transport thousands of people, more

than any other autonomous vehicle company in the US.

The Thiel Foundation supports science, technology, and long-term

thinking about the future. For more information, see thielfoundation.org.

. Three years later, Yellowberry has pioneered a new approach

to this market, and has expanded beyond bras to underwear, loungewear,

and activewear.

Matthew Salsamendi & James Boehm (Seattle, WA)

Beam

Social

Gaming

Matt and James co-founded Beam, an interactive

live-streaming platform for gamers. Beam lets viewers of live-streamed

video game sessions get involved in the game, influencing gameplay in

real time.

Hunter Rosenblume & Rohith Varanasi (Detroit, MI)

Lunar

Labs

Telecommunications

Hunter and Rohith

co-founded Lunar Labs, a startup that sells smartphones with no monthly

contracts and pay-as-you-go data on a per-app basis starting at just

pennies per day. The system evaluates athlete movement to identify injury risk

factors and inform smarter training.

Boyan Slat (Delft, The Netherlands)

The Ocean Cleanup

Environmental

Technology

Boyan founded and runs The Ocean Cleanup, a

non-profit organization that develops technologies to rid the world’s

oceans of plastic. Augur is built on the Ethereum blockchain

and allows users to forecast events and be rewarded for predicting them

correctly.

Megan Grassell (Jackson Hole, WY)

Yellowberry

Apparel

Megan

founded Yellowberry in high school when she realized that tween girls

like her younger sister lacked age-appropriate options when buying their

first bras. Through a

workforce of students who live on campus, EnvoyNow makes delivery

direct-to-dorm room, direct-to-lecture hall, and direct-to-study nook

faster and more accurate than mapping software-based delivery services

can achieve.

Ivonna Dumanyan (Kherson, Ukraine / Durham, NC)

BioMetrix

Wearable

Performance Technology; Artificial Intelligence

Ivonna is

co-founder and CEO of BioMetrix, a wearable platform for injury

prediction and prevention. Their wholesome, slow-simmered bone broth is available at select

Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market locations, and several online

retailers.

Grace Xiao & Raul Jordan (Cambridge, MA)

Kynplex

Communication

Software

Grace and Raul are co-founders of Kynplex, a startup

that provides communication tools for scientific laboratories

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