Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal Inc.
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LONDON — Founders Fund, the venture capital firm set up by U.S. tech billionaire Peter Thiel, has quietly entered into a partnership with a European tech investment firm called Elevat3.
Located in Germany, Elevat3 is a growth venture fund that was set up by the Apeiron Investment Group to invest in tech start-ups across German-speaking countries that are focusing on life sciences, deep tech, fintech (financial technology), property and insurance. Apeiron is the family office and merchant banking business of serial entrepreneur and tech investor Christian Angermayer.
“I have a European growth venture fund, and Peter is a strategic partner,” Angermayer told CNBC on a call from his London home. “(He’s) more than an investor, he owns part of the GP (gross profit).”
Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and analytics firm Palantir, became a strategic partner in Elevat3 at the start of 2020, Angermayer said. He said he could not disclose how much of the profit goes to Thiel.
“We were introduced — because we’re both very interested in global politics — actually way back in 2011,” said Angermayer in reference to when he first met German-born Thiel. “I know a lot of politicians as friends. In the euro crisis, I became a little bit the go-to person for many Americans and Asians, who did not understand Europe at all. How complicated we are but also how positive we are.”
Elevat3 has 100 million euros ($121 million) to invest. Aperion invested 20 million euros and the remaining 80 million euros came from external investors like Thiel.
The connection between Founders Fund and Elevat3 is also highlighted in company presentations seen by CNBC.
Last month, Thiel and Angermayer both invested in a Berlin life sciences start-up called ATAI, which is aiming to make psychedelic drugs to treat mental health disorders.
Thiel made a 10 million euro investment in ATAI through another one of his venture firms, Thiel Capital, while the rest of the series-C (late stage) funding round came from Apeiron and others.
Angermayer said he and Thiel have invested in over 15 start-ups together. “We do a lot together,” he said.
Thiel’s Founders Fund has invested in a number of other European start-ups including music streaming platform Spotify and British AI lab DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in 2014 for a reported $600 million.
Thiel did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.