Peter Thiel has gone from successful entrepreneur to super successful venture investor. The PayPal cofounder was Facebook’s first professional investor, giving Mark Zuckerberg and his hoodied cohorts a $500,000 check in 2004 in return for more than 10% of the company. Thiel still sits on Facebook’s board, but sold most of his stake in the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social networking company following its May 2012 IPO. His various venture firms include Founders Fund, whose stated goal is to invest in companies that can affect dramatic technological change. To that end, Founders Fund has backed rocket builder SpaceX and CIA-backed data-mining software company, Palantir, where he is also a cofounder. Ideological to the point of eccentricity, Thiel believes technology rarely repeats itself: “There’s a sense in which technology is, by definition, non-repetitive. And every moment in technological history only happens once.” As Palantir chairman, Thiel has personally invested $40 million in the Palo Alto, Calif. firm. FORBES estimates that he controls more than 12% of the company. Thiel has long maintained that Palantir could be just as valuable as Facebook. “There’s Google, then Facebook-which is search for people-and then there’s Palantir, which can help institutions search through their massive reams of data,” he told FORBES. He is up $400 million this year because of new revelations regarding his Palantir holdings.
After completing his education, Dalio worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and invested in commodity futures. He later worked as the Director of Commodities at Dominick & Dominick LLC. In 1974, he became a futures trader and broker at Shearson Hayden Stone. In 1975, he founded the Westport, Connecticut based investment management firm, Bridgewater Associates which in 2012 became the largest hedge fund in the world with nearly $120 billion in assets under management.
In 2007, Ray Dalio predicted the global financial crisis,  and in 2008 published an essay, “How the Economic Machine Works; A Template for Understanding What is Happening Now”, which explained his model for the economic crisis. He self-published a 123 page volume called Principles, in 2011, which outlined his logic and personal philosophy for investments and corporate management based on a lifetime of observation, analysis and practical application through his hedge fund. In 2013 Dalio began sharing his “investment secrets” and economic theories onYou Tube via a 30 minute animated video which he narrates, called How The Economic Machine Works.
While assets under management at Paulson & Co. are down to $18 billion from $36 billion in early 2011, John Paulson’s hedge funds are performing well in 2013 thanks to bets on stocks like MGM Resorts and Aetna. Through the first six months of the year, the firm’s Credit Opportunities fund rose 11.2% net of fees, its Enhanced fund returned 15.6% and its Recovery fund produced a 25.2% return. However, because a significant portion of his personal investments in Paulson & Co. funds are gold denominated, Paulson’s return on his own capital was more measured, as gold sank through the first half of the year. In an unusual deal for his firm, the outfit won a bid in August to take piano maker Steinway private for $512 million. Paulson, who will always be remembered for making billions shorting subprime mortgage securities in 2007, now appears to like real estate; one of his funds picked up 875 acres in Las Vegas in 2012.
- Age: 58
- Source Of Wealth: hedge funds, Self Made
- Residence: New York, NY
- Citizenship: United States
- Marital Status: Married