“WE’RE excited to be working with them, and we hope they will help young people everywhere realise that you don’t need credentials to launch a company that disrupts the status quo,” declared the Thiel Foundation on May 25th as it announced its first batch of “20 Under 20” fellows.
The lucky winners were all under 20 when they applied. There are actually 24 fellows, rather than 20, and each will receive $100,000 over two years, along with mentorship from a network of entrepreneurs and innovators selected by the initiative’s sponsor, Peter Thiel (pictured above). The only condition set by Mr Thiel, who made his billions first by co-founding PayPal then investing early in Facebook, is that they drop out of college (or high school) to focus full-time on building a business. A few of the new fellows appear to have dropped out–or, as the press release quaintly puts it, “stopped out”–before they were chosen, to launch a start-up or even to climb mountains.