Republican National Convention: Day Four
CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21: Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Peter Thiel surprised Silicon Valley enough when he endorsed controversial Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump at the Republican National Convention earlier this year. Valley investors and entrepreneurs — the vast majority of whom do not support Trump — are likely to be even more taken aback by the news that Thiel has chosen this point to donate $1.25 million to his campaign.

The timing is interesting to say the least. Trump is currently being eviscerated in the media after evidence has emerged about his insulting behaviour towards women was recorded by the syndicated program “Access Hollywood” and a number of accusers have even gone public.

According to sources close to the investor, Thiel is motivated by his view that feels the country ‘needs fixing’, and thinks Mr. Trump can do it.

The New York Times reported that Thiel will make his first donation in support of Mr. Trump’s election via a combination of super PAC donations and funds given directly to the campaign. No other high-profile tech investor supports Trump, with most supporting Hilary Rodham Clinton’s Democratic candidacy. Uber investor Shervin Pishevar, for instance, is a high-profile investor and supporter, while LinkedIn founder and investor Reid Hoffman has pledged to support a crowd-funding campaign for veterans if Trump releases his tax returns, and even produced a satirical card game: “Trumped Up Cards: The World’s Biggest Dek.”

Trump’s racist and sexist attitudes are also at odds with Silicon Valley’s ongoing concerns over its lack of diversity.

He has criticised tech firms such as Amazon and Apple, as well as taking a polar-opposite view on immigration from the tech industry.

All of which makes Thiel’s support for Trump — a self-professed gay man who emigrated from Germany as a child — a position which the vast majority of the tech industry views as bewildering.

Thiel also funded the wrestler Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit against the gossip site Gawker (which was later forced to close), a move viewed by many as anti-democratic by many in tech.

But whether there will be tangible ‘blowback’ in the tech world from his move remains to be seen.

Voices in tech commenting on Thiel’s decision are starting to appear online today.

Catherine Bracy, Co-Founder and ED of techequity.us and formerly of @codeforamerica and #Obama2012 tweeted:

Tech leaders: when you make excuses for Peter Thiel for supporting Trump, we hear you. Women and ppl of color are taking notes.

Founder of Thington Tom Coates weighed in with

One can only assume Peter Thiel made his money by accident, because I see no evidence of intelligence here:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/technology/peter-thiel-donald-j-trump.html?_r=0 

Peter Thiel will give $1.25 million to Donald J. Trump’s presidential bid through a combination of super PAC donations and funds given directly to the campaign.

Peter Thiel to Donate $1.25 Million in Support of Donald Trump

The billionaire investor, the only prominent supporter of the Republican candidate in the tech community, joins a very short list of large Trump contributors.

And Laura I. Gómez, CEO of @GetAtipica, and who has 280,000 followers did not mince her words:

Fuck you, Peter Thiel. I swear on my mother’s grave I’ll never take money from you or your fund. https://apple.news/AMNWS3aDCTcOpF44cKr4HEw 

Photo published for Peter Thiel to Donate $1.25 Million in Support of Donald Trump

Peter Thiel to Donate $1.25 Million in Support of Donald Trump

The billionaire investor, the only prominent supporter of the Republican candidate in the tech community, joins a very short list of large Trump contributors.

Thiel just became a part-time advisor of Y Combinator, viewed as the Valley’s most powerful accelerator, a move which is being hotly discussed on Hacker News in relation to this story.

It’s a fact which could make board meetings interesting between Thiel and YC founder Paul Graham, given the latter’s concerns about a Trump presidency:

Others may be reassured to hear Trump has only a 15% chance of winning, but it terrifies me. In Silicon Valley 15% is a good chance.

Advertisements