Peter Thiel made a really wise bet on Facebook as the social network’s first angel investor back in 2003. Of course, now Thiel’s foresight has paid off—the company is not only the biggest social network in the world but it is valued in the tens of billions. In fact, Thiel, who was being interviewed by Sarah Lacy, said today at TechCrunch Disrupt that Facebook’s $30 billion valuation is still undervalued. That’s something that FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit agrees with as well.
But interestingly, Thiel told Lacy that looking back he would be a lot more careful about funding a Facebook-like idea today. In 2003, Thiel made a $500,000 angel investment in Facebook for 10.2 percent of the company. What he meant is that he would think twice about investing in Facebook again because there are not going be that many innovating companies coming from the web. He thinks that a lot of the current big guys, like Google and Yelp, will be at the forefront of innovation and that there’s not many game-changers emerging that will innovate on the web. He tells Lacy, “Yelp of cellphones will be Yelp, the Google of cellphones will be Google.”
But, Thiel of course is a strong believer in Facebook as one of its early investors and he clearly belives the company is worth more than its current valuation. And Thiel also said that Facebook’s CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is a product visionary that resembles Apple CEO Steve Jobs. As long as Zuckerberg stays at Facebook, the company will be about building new products.
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Peter is Clarium Capital’s President and the Chairman of the firm’s investment committee, which oversees the firm’s research, investment, and trading strategies. He is also a managing partner at The Founders Fund. Before starting Clarium, Peter served as Chairman and CEO of PayPal, an Internet company he co-founded in December 1998 and was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002. Prior to founding PayPal, Peter ran Thiel Capital Management , the predecessor to Clarium, which started with...