Peter Thiel, the superstar investor who co-founded Paypal and made a legendary early bet on Facebook, has raised $402 million for a new fund called Mithril Capital Management, designed for late stage investments in private companies. The total target for the fund is $1 billion, according to SEC documents.
Yes, Thiel borrowed the moniker for his company from the Lord of the Rings, as Mithril is the strongest substance known on Middle Earth. Thiel and partner Jim O’Neill are big fans of JRR Tolkein.
The fund will seek growth opportunities in already established, well funded startups, not including companies on the verge of going public. Ajay Royan, who will help lead the fund along with Thiel, told the New York Times that the average investment made by the fund would be around $20 million.
“We’re looking for inflection points,” Royan told the New York Times. “We’re not looking for companies that are a done deal; we want companies that are about to hit a growth stage.”
Thiel indicated the new fund would be used to address large global problems related to overpopulation and straining resources.
“Technology holds solutions to most of the world’s most pressing challenges, from resource scarcity to disease. Solving an intractable problem may require a decade of work, but a lifetime of vision,” Thiel said. “Mithril will play a patient, focused, and pivotal role in helping the world’s most outstanding creative minds and build lasting companies that change the world.”
At its heart, the new firm is all about facilitating change.
“Many great inventions are driven by a spirit of dissent and curiosity,” Royan said. “That spirit defines and pervades Silicon Valley, but it can be found everywhere in the world. Just as SAS Institute inaugurated modern business intelligence software, FANUC scaled industrial robotics, and ARM redefined efficient mobile computing, Mithril companies, if we’re right, will foment changes that will seem inevitable after they happen.”