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ValleyWag Opens Up About PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel: He's Gay

Silicon Valley gossip blog Valleywag wants to put the notion that Venture Capital is scarce of gay people to rest, letting the world know that PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is gay. They say that his sexuality is part and parcel of his success:

Thiel"His disdain for convention, his quest to overturn established rules. Like the immigrant Jews who created Hollywood a century ago, a gay investor has no way to fit into the old establishment. That frees him or her to build a different, hopefully better system for identifying and rewarding talented individuals, and unleashing their work on the world."

Valleywag also discusses a widespread unspoken homophobia in Silicon Valley venture capital: "The clubby ranks of VCs are mostly straight, white and male. They instinctively prefer entrepreneurs who remind them of themselves...VCs fund so few of the companies they talk to that it's hard to prove a case of discrimination; there are a hundred reasons why they might pass on any given startup. But gay and lesbian entrepreneurs I've spoken to agree it's real. PlanetOut, the gay and lesbian portal, had to buy out Sequoia Capital, which had come to regret its investment in the company, before it found braver VCs and eventually went public. And really: How many out gay VCs do you know?"

Valleywag feels the coverage on Thiel has been unfair: "There's been a crush of coverage on his $220 million Founders Fund, which may well change the way entrepreneurs get paid in the Valley. We know about his mansion (he rents it -- clever!), his butler, his early-morning jogs." So they say "what no one ever says out loud." Whether he likes it or not.

Peter Thiel is totally gay, people [valleywag]

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  1. I have a hard time believing this story. Venture capitalists, particularly those in Silicon Valley, care about one thing: MONEY. They don't give a shit whether the founder of a particular company is gay or straight, only whether the company's business model is a worthy investment. The comparison to PlanetOut is weak because PlanetOut has a crap product.

    It strikes me that Valleywag had some good gossip about someone, most likely because its owner, Gawker Media head honcho Nick Denton, is also gay and probably runs in the same circle as Peter Thiel. The only way they could run it without sounding like "Look who's gay!" was to make up some bullshit about discrimination.

    Posted by: crispy | Dec 21, 2007 10:53:32 AM

  2. I am in private equity and M&A -- and gay. While the world of M&A, private equity, hedge funds, and venture capital is still mostly a white straight man's world -- its a bit different in high technology, especially in Silicon Valley -- and Sandhill Road. Many high tech entreprenurs are gay and majority are gay friendly. Note that the person who saved Planet.out recently was Bill Gates, who infused $26M into the company. Also note: there is not a major IT company that does not support gay employees, including Microsoft, HP, Sun, and IBM.

    Posted by: BH Heretic | Dec 21, 2007 11:02:36 AM

  3. What Vallywag doesn't say is that Peter Thiel is basically a right wing nutjob. He adheres to Ayn Rand's political theology of objectivism while calling himself a libertarian. An alumnus of Stanford University, he co-wrote a book attacking diversity on that campus. The book is entitled "The Diversity Myth: 'Multiculturalism' and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0945999429/booksinfo-20/ref=nosim/). He also funds the conservative student run newspaper, The Stanford Review. Here's a sample of that publication's work:

    He's a billioinaire, but I dare you to find any donation by Peter Thiel in support of queer issues.

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 21, 2007 11:31:23 AM

  4. He is a nice guy, and great in the sack.

    Posted by: Andrew | Dec 21, 2007 11:35:54 AM

  5. Just waiting on the lawsuit. BTW-he has great pecs.

    Posted by: Andrew | Dec 21, 2007 11:42:18 AM

  6. VC's often are interested in reputations, of which background can be important, so they do look for people like themselves, with similar backgrounds, but prior business success is more important.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Dec 21, 2007 12:17:10 PM

  7. How do you know he has great pecs?

    Posted by: Leon | Dec 21, 2007 4:30:24 PM

  8. Last year for a few months I dated an extremely wealthy (though sadly cheap) CEO with a storied history in Silicon Valley, making unbelievable amounts of money by the time he was 20. (He skipped college.) Anyway, he didn't come out until he was 29---and then only to a few friends and family. (He's 37 now.) He used the usual "I don't see how it's relevant, and it might come back to haunt me" line to justify it.

    I could understand his perspective, but it still felt like an excuse. Though the reason I broke up with him was because, like many rich and powerful people, he viewed other people primarily as objects---means to achieving his ends. It was disgusting. Oh, and he was a liar too, and not even a good one.

    I'd much rather date a poor honest guy than a rich liar. And now I'm done venting!

    Posted by: Robert | Dec 21, 2007 5:05:39 PM

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