Peter Thiel is moving to Los Angeles.
For about four decades, Thiel has played a crucial role behind some of tech’s biggest successes stories including founding PayPal, as well as making early investments in Facebook and SpaceX. The Wall Street Journal reports the billionaire is severing ties with Silicon Valley over its left-leaning politics, and moving his home and operations of his venture fund Thiel Capital to Los Angeles.
Thiel, 50, has long served as Silicon Valley’s most prominent libertarian. Since attending Stanford University in the 1980s, he has pushed backed against the region’s left-leaning politics, founding a libertarian newspaper, and bringing his iconoclastic views with him into tech. He switched parties in 2016 to become a backer of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (donating $1.25 million to the campaign), and headlined the GOP national convention in 2016 in support of his candidacy.
As US polarization intensified during the election, his support for Trump made him an embattled figure in the Valley. Founders called on entrepreneurs to boycott Thiel’s fund. Conflicts with others on the Facebook board incited an internal feud over his fate among the company’s directors. Thiel for his part has not retracted his support for Trump. He continues to criticize the region’s politics. ”Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” he said last month during a debate at Stanford University. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.”
Of course, it’s unlikely that Thiel will encounter a friendlier atmosphere for his conservative views farther south, where the wildly liberal entertainment business is headquartered. Los Angeles county cast 2,464,364 votes for Hillary Clinton compared to 769,743 for Donald Trump in the last election. That means at least three out of four people in the area opposed Trump’s candidacy.
Thiel may have been preparing to leave for some time. He bought his $11.5 million home overlooking the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 2012. Last year, he cut ties with startup accelerator Y Combinator where he was a partner, and left the boards of companies such as Zenefits. Thiel’s move to Los Angeles may portend his next possible venture: the creation of a rumored conservative media outlet.