Thiel Foundation Announces 2018 Thiel Fellows

New class includes 20 entrepreneurs in blockchain, wearables, and AI

SAN FRANCISCO--()--The Thiel Foundation today named 20 people into the 2018 class of Thiel Fellows. The Fellowship program, which launched in 2011, encourages talented young people to pursue big ideas and start companies instead of attending college.

The environment for entrepreneurs is the best it’s ever been,” said Jack Abraham, executive chairman of the Thiel Fellowship. “This year’s class proves that there’s still a hunger for individuals seeking unconventional approaches.”

Fellows receive $100,000 and mentorship from the Thiel Foundation’s network of technology founders, investors, and scientists.

College isn’t for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for everyone fresh out of high school,” said Allyson Dias, director of the Thiel Fellowship. “Leaving behind the safety of the classroom and choosing to build a business instead isn’t easy or glamorous. But our Fellows have found what we suspect to be true more broadly: young people learn best by doing things in the real world.”

To date, companies created by Thiel Fellows are worth more than $3 billion combined, not including Thiel fellow-created Ethereum, a distributed computing platform whose cryptocurrency Ether has a market cap of about $50 billion as of June 22.

About the 2018 Thiel Fellows

André Bertram (Toronto, Canada)
Medical device
André is CEO of HelpWear, a company creating a 24/7 at-home, clinical-grade ECG monitor worn on a patient's wrist or arm.

Andrew Sampson (Dallas, GA)
Rainway, Inc.
Game streaming
Andrew is a co-founder and CEO of Rainway, a web-based game-streaming platform that lets users play their favorite PC games anywhere, across a variety of different devices.

Aparna Krishnan (Chennai, India / Muscat, Oman / Berkeley, CA)
Mechanism Labs
Aparna is a co-founder and CEO of Mechanism Labs, the world's first open source research lab. It tackles pressing problems in blockchain through cryptoeconomics, currently focusing on incentive design and alternative consensus.

Axel Ericsson (San Francisco, CA / Stockholm, Sweden)
Axel is a co-founder of Vest, a company building software for Ethereum and other blockchains that enables users to earn interest on their cryptocurrency.

Daniel Ternyak (Minneapolis, MN)
Daniel is the CTO of MyCrypto, and is helping to facilitate the transition to a decentralized society by bringing accessibility to Ethereum and other blockchains.

Divyaditya (Divy) Shrivastava (Madhya Pradesh, India / Lewis Center, OH)
Software, hardware
Divy is creating technology that helps firefighters respond faster and more accurately to the exact location of an emergency.

Erin Smith (Lenexa, KS)
Health IT
Erin founded FacePrint, an AI tool to diagnose and monitor Parkinson's disease and commonly misidentified neurological disorders using video technology and early-stage facial muscle indicators.

Gemma Busoni (San Salvador, El Salvador / Los Angeles, CA)
Discovr Labs
Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality
Gemma is a co-founder of Discovr Labs, which uses VR/AR immersive technology to deliver the most effective education and training experiences.

Greg Tseng (Weston, MA)
Privacy technology
Greg founded Diluvian, a company that has developed new privacy technologies to help everyone better protect their personal and business information.

Jamie Cox (Oxford, U.K.)
Internet infrastructure
Jamie is a co-founder of Flare, which is building technology to turn any internet-connected device into a cloud server and eventually build the infrastructure for a new decentralized internet.

Joey Varikooty (Edison, NJ)
Amber Agriculture
Joey is a co-founder of Amber Agriculture, a company leveraging the latest in analytics and automation to manage, protect and market grain.

Joshua Browder (London, U.K.)
Artificial intelligence
Joshua is the founder and CEO of DoNotPay, the world's first robot lawyer, which aims to make the law free, automated and instant for consumers.

Josh Sakhai (Great Neck, NY)
Ephemeral Tattoos
Consumer biotechnology
Josh is a co-founder of Ephemeral Tattoos, a company developing a suite of semi-permanent tattoo inks—applied by tattoo artists— that disappear completely on their own.

Julián Ríos (Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico)
Higia Technologies
Julián is a co-founder and CEO of Higia Technologies, a company developing an accessible and non-invasive wearable device for breast cancer risk assessment.

Kimberlie Le (Edmonton, Canada / San Francisco, CA)
Terramino Foods
Food technology
Kimberlie is a co-founder and CEO of Terramino Foods, which uses fungi-based protein to replicate the taste, texture, and nutrition of seafood and meat.

Liam Berryman (San Mateo, CA)
Energy efficiency
Liam is a co-founder and CEO of Nelumbo, a company that has developed a new materials platform that is able to significantly increase the energy efficiency of any refrigeration system.

Meghan Sharkus (Oregon, WI)
Medical accessory
Meghan is a founder and CEO of ExpressionMed, a company that creates supplemental adhesives for wearable devices in chronic care, allowing people with diabetes to wear their devices longer, more comfortably, and without pain or residue upon removal.

Robert Habermeier (Bethesda, MD)
Robert is a co-founder of Polkadot, a project that aims to reshape the existing internet structure into a completely decentralized web.

Shak Lakhani (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada)
Avro Life Science
Shak is a co-founder of Avro Life Science, a company developing skin patches for generic drug delivery. Avro's easy-to-use patches are made from a novel polymer and allow multiple medications to work faster and last longer.

Tapa Ghosh (Portland, OR)
Computer processors
Tapa is the founder and CEO of Vathys, a company creating machine learning chips that operate 10x faster than current options.


The Thiel Foundation supports science, technology, and long-term thinking about the future. For more information, see


Torch Communications
Lauren White


Torch Communications
Lauren White