Two-Part Special on the Fellowship Will Air on CNBC July 11 and 12 at 10PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — June 12, 2012 — Peter Thiel today introduced the 2012 class of twenty new Thiel Fellows. The second set of young entrepreneurs to be awarded 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowships, these fellows will pursue innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the innovative companies of tomorrow.
“Pundits and hand-wringers love to claim that universities are the only path to a successful life. In truth, an inquisitive mind, rigorously applied to a deep-rooted problem can change the world as readily as the plushest academic lab,” said Thiel. “In 1665 when Cambridge University closed due to the plague, Isaac Newton used his time away to pursue self-directed learning and ended up inventing calculus. The drive to make a difference is what truly matters.”
During the two-year program, each fellow will receive $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation as well as mentorship from the Foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, thought leaders, and innovators. Projects pursued by this class of fellows span numerous areas of cutting edge technology, including energy, robotics, 3D printing, biotechnology and medical breakthroughs, software and digital communication, education, public health, artificial intelligence, and open source ecology.
“We continue to be blown away by the quality of ideas coming from 20 Under 20 applicants,” said Jonathan Cain, president of the Thiel Foundation. “The mentors in the Thiel Network are very excited to work with the 2012 class as they explore new frontiers, experience the setbacks and successes of entrepreneurial pursuits, and begin changing the world one idea at a time.”
CNBC’s “20 Under 20: Transforming Tomorrow,” a two-part special capturing every step of this amazing journey and telling the stories of the extraordinary young men and women each vying for the Thiel Fellowship, premieres July 11th and July 12th at 10PM ET. Previews and program information are available at 20under20.cnbc.com
“The world needs a renaissance in entrepreneurship and game-changing ideas,” said Susan Krakower, SVP, Strategic Programming and Development, CNBC. “20 Under 20: Transforming Tomorrow is a celebration of the ambition, achievement, and intelligence that it takes to re-invent industries in ways never before imagined.”
Nearly a thousand young people have now applied for a 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship. During the recent application period, applications arrived from more than 40 countries, and from more than 350 high schools, junior colleges, community colleges, four-year colleges, and graduate schools. At a time of increasing concern over the value of a college education and a national student debt burden that tops $1 trillion, the Thiel Fellows are part of a growing national movement exploring alternative ways to build successful futures.
“Since becoming Thiel Fellows over the last year, members of our inaugural class have already done some amazing things,” said Jim O’Neill, co-founder of the Thiel Fellowship. “They’ve started and sold companies, closed million-dollar funding rounds, won international entrepreneurship and scientific awards, spearheaded innovative social movements, and begun to transform fields like education, software development, clean energy, electric vehicles, robotics, medical technology, and finance.”
“We’ve all had a wonderful year working with the first group of Thiel Fellows, as they’ve dug into their projects, established lifelong connections with the mentor network, and provided peer feedback to each other’s work,” said Danielle Strachman, program director for the Thiel Fellowship. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of the professional and personal maturity of these exceptional young men and women as they pursue their interests and dreams full-time.”
ABOUT THE 2012 FELLOWS:
Clay Allsopp (20, Raleigh, NC) thinks people should be able to forget about technology and simply focus on being creative. His start-up, Apptory, helps individuals and businesses create and distribute content for touch-screen devices, using an intuitive, easy-to-understand interface.
Dylan Field (20, Penngrove, CA) envisions a world where people define themselves by what they create rather than what they consume. Currently stopped out of Brown University, Field is working with his former classmate Evan Wallace on making better creative tools.
Kettner Griswold (19, Bethesda, MD) and Paul Sebexen (19, Staten Island, NY) are stopping out of school to work on a benchtop genome synthesis device, which will allow individual laboratories and medical practices to synthesize large genetic constructs in-house for an unprecedented low recurring cost. This product would massively disrupt the fields of biotechnology and health care, fueling innovation and stimulating interest and research sector-wide.
Anand Gupta (20, Palo Alto, CA) and Tony Ho (19, San Jose, CA) are using their expertise in biology and computer science to transform the way doctors diagnose patients. Their service will enable doctors and researchers to receive quantitative analysis of biomedical images, allowing for faster, more accurate diagnoses of complex diseases – and more lives saved.