Haute 100 Update: Peter Thiel Launches Program to Fund Enterprising Early-Stage Scientific Research

Tech magnate and PayPal founder Peter Thiel announced on Tues., Oct. 25 during a speech at Stanford University the launch of Breakout Labs, a new program aimed at providing funding for cutting-edge, early-stage science and technology research ideas.

Breakout Labs will operate as part of the tech icon’s Thiel Foundation, a non-profit he founded. The program’s goal is to fund innovative and bold research proposals, namely the ones that are deemed too early-stage or radical to obtain funding from venture capitalists or government grants.

Funding is said to range anywhere from $50,000 to $350,000 and will consider all types of scientific proposals. The foundation stated that it has already begun the evaluation process of its proposals and expects to announce its first grants as early as next month.

As one of Facebook’s initial investors, it is safe to say that Thiel has a knack for spotting talent early, regardless of others’ pessimism. His boldness and risk-taking is what has made him such a success, and it is exactly that that may make Breakout Labs a game-changing program.

“Venture capital firms look for research that can be brought to market within five to seven years, and major funders like the National Institutes of Health have a low tolerance for radical ideas,” explained Breakout Labs’ executive director, Lindy Fishburne. “At Breakout Labs, we’re looking for ideas that are too ahead of their time for traditional funding sources, but represent the first step toward something that, if successful, would be groundbreaking.”

Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets. To see the entire Haute 100 San Francisco list, click here.