Five Canadians selected among 6,000 applicants for 2016 Thiel Fellowship

Thiel Foundation

The Thiel Foundation has announced its 29 latest Thiel Fellows — a group of young people awarded $100,000 and mentorship from the Foundation’s network of founders, investors, and scientists, provided they forego college or university during the two years of the program. This year’s cohort was selected from more than 6,000 applicants around the world, and among them are five Canadians from across the country.

“In the past few years we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way young people approach their potential,” said Jack Abraham, executive director of the Thiel Fellowship. “Many are applying to the program with one or two companies already under their belts—they’ve become successful founders before they can even buy a beer.”

“Our message may have seemed odd four or five years ago—some found it blasphemous to question how well American higher education was working, and to suggest entrepreneurship as an alternative path—but today even the colleges are waking up; top schools are creating their own incubators, crafting more flexible stop-out policies, and even raising venture capital funds. Young people now have more options than ever.”

The Canadians include:

    Alex Rodrigues, co-founder of Varden Labs
    Anthony Zhang, CEO of EnvoyNow
    James Sun, co-founder and CEO of Revlo
    Panashe Mahachi, co-founder of Lace
    Samuel F. Poirier, co-founder and CEO of Retinad (Poirier is also the first French-Canadian to make the list)

BetaKit spoke with Revlo co-founder James Sun, who is currently in the Valley for Y-Combinator. When ask what made his application stand out from 5,999 others, Sun had this to say.

“We are a company with great traction and growth. Many of the other applicants were students who were still in college working on an MVP. For me, I had already taken a leave from school for a year, and Revlo is used by 18,000 plus broadcasters to engage 6 million plus fans.”

Sun also said that Revlo would use the money to hire more developers as the company expands its team in the Valley. “We are seeing great growth as a company, and the biggest limiting factor for us is talent,” Sun said.”

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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