Facebook Investor Peter Thiel Backs 3D Printing Entrepreneur
Peter Thiel, the entrepreneur-investor who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, today announced the 2012 class of Thiel Fellows. This set of 20 young entrepreneurs are under 20 years old and embarking on ambitious technical and scientific projects. Thiel will be awarding them with $100,000 each as well as mentorship from his network of investors, entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators.
“Pundits and hand-wringers love to claim that universities are the only path to a successful life. In truth, an inquisitive mind, rigorously applied to a deep-rooted problem can change the world as readily as the plushest academic lab,” said Thiel. “In 1665 when Cambridge University closed due to the plague, Isaac Newton used his time away to pursue self-directed learning and ended up inventing calculus. The drive to make a difference is what truly matters.”
Projects pursued by this class of fellows span numerous areas of cutting edge technology, including energy, robotics, 3D printing, biotechnology and medical breakthroughs, software and digital communication, education, public health, artificial intelligence, and open source ecology.
“We continue to be blown away by the quality of ideas coming from 20 Under 20 applicants,” said Jonathan Cain, president of the Thiel Foundation. “The mentors in the Thiel Network are very excited to work with the 2012 class as they explore new frontiers, experience the setbacks and successes of entrepreneurial pursuits, and begin changing the world one idea at a time.”
We were very excited to see 3D printing as a primary focus of one of the entrepreneurs, Chris Olah.
Chris Olah (19, Toronto, ON, Canada) wants to use 3D printing to reduce the scope of scarcity. His goal: empower anyone with a 3D printer to make educational aids, basic scientific equipment, and tools that improve their quality of life. He is currently working on a project called ImplicitCAD, which is a math-based attempt to reinvent computer-aided design and make it more affordable.
Chris, pictured below presented at Maker Faire NYC, was gracious on Twitter upon being accepted into Thiel’s program.
“I’m pleased to be one of this year’s Thiel Fellows. I’ll be working on crazy 3D printing, functional programming, language design, and math.”
Good luck to Chris and the rest of the class!
Peter Thiel photo by thekenyeung used under Creative Commons license.