This year, Venture Alpha West 2014, saw Paypal co-founder and entrepreneur-investor, Peter Thiel, speak briefly about his bestseller Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future while also offering a piece of his mind about what he thought was “thematic and overhyped” and how education and healthcare IT software, mobile computing, SaaS, the cloud, and big data were mere “buzzwords.”
Thiel is suspicious of everything that is not “sufficiently differentiated.” Citing instances of his early investment in Friendster and disappointment at finding pictures of the CEO adorning the walls of the “fairly dysfunctional place,” he pointed out how the social networking site never added up to much, reports Venture Beat.
Thiel believes in investing in technologies that are ‘real’ and cannot be overlooked or generalised. An initial investor in Facebook, he put in $500,000 in 2004 so that when Facebook went public, his shares were worth over $500 million. Presently, he’s tracking science and anti-aging technologies and is backing disruptive technologies, like Airbnb, which he believes is transformative and “fits the narrative” of companies he would invest in.
“I think the kinds of things that are underestimated are the companies that don’t fit into some straightforward narrative. A one-of-a-kind company is often one where it’s much harder to tell a narrative — one that is strange, and you don’t know what quite to make of it,” he said.
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(Image source: Ken Yeung)