The Thiel Foundation announced today the 2015 class of Thiel Fellows. Drawn from an application pool of 2,800, the 20 newly named fellows will receive $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.
“College can be good for learning about what’s been done before, but it can also discourage young people from doing something new—especially when it leaves them in debt,” said Peter Thiel, who founded the program. “Each of the fellows charts a unique course, but together they have proven that young people can succeed by thinking for themselves instead of competing on old career tracks.”
Among the list of new Thiel Fellows are four Canadian entrepreneurs, many of whom should be familiar names to BetaKit readers.
Harry Gandhi (22, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), co-founder and CEO of Medella Health
Cathy Tie (18, Toronto, Ontario, Canada), co-founder and CEO of Ranomics
Liam Horne (19, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada), CTO of PiinPoint
Simon Tian (20, Montreal, Quebec, Canada), founder and CEO of Neptune
Collectively, the 80 current and former Thiel Fellows have raised over $142 million in VC funding, and generated $41 million in revenue. BetaKit spoke with Gandhi about what the fellowship meant for him and his company, which is currently building wearable health tech dedicated to fighting diabetes.
“The results of this year’s Thiel Fellowship mean two things,” Gandhi said. “First, having four Canadians in the program goes to show how well refined the start-up scene in Canada is, and our ability to compete with the best in the world. Secondly, for Medella Health, this is a huge step as it opens networks in the San Francisco Bay Area to help take the company to the next stage of development.”