Thiel Foundation Announces 2019 Thiel Fellows

New class includes 22 entrepreneurs in Robotics, Healthcare, AI and more

SAN FRANCISCO--()--The Thiel Foundation today named 22 people into the 2019 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.

“Each year, thousands of young people come to us with the best ideas in business and technology,” said Jack Abraham, executive director of the Thiel Fellowship. “Higher education is broken. After a year rife with scandal and the endless debt that follows those who attend, college is becoming even less attractive to young people who have ideas that are ready now.”

During the course of the two-year program, Fellows receive $100,000 and mentorship from the Thiel Foundation’s network of technology founders, investors, and scientists.

“Since its inception, the Thiel Fellowship has been supporting fearless entrepreneurs who want to do big things outside of a classroom and this group is no exception,” said Allyson Dias, director of the Thiel Fellowship. “This next generation of founders is dedicated to creating new things that solve real problems for real people.”

To date, companies created by Thiel Fellows are together worth more than $8.2 billion, not including Thiel fellow-created Ethereum, a distributed computing platform whose cryptocurrency Ether currently has a market cap of more than $30 billion.

About the 2019 Thiel Fellows (Name: Hometown/Current Location)

Adam Pollack: Oyster Bay, NY/Denver, CO
Real Estate, Financial Technology
BoardRE is a new type of mortgage company that upgrades any offer to a cash offer, giving every buyer who can afford a mortgage a better shot at winning their dream home.

Andrei Serban: Mississauga, Ontario/San Francisco, CA
Software, Cybersecurity
Fuzzbuzz is an automated software testing platform that generates and runs thousands of tests per second to help developers find bugs and security vulnerabilities in their code.

Andrew Ninh: Fountain Valley, CA/San Francisco, CA
Healthcare, Medical Device, Health IT
Docbot has developed better computer vision software to save people from colon and stomach cancers by helping colonoscopists identify more precancerous polyps.

Claire Coder: Toledo, OH/Columbus, OH & New York City, NY
Aunt Flow
Healthcare, Feminine Hygiene
Aunt Flow supplies free-vend dispensers and 100% organic cotton menstrual products to businesses and schools to ensure that everyone has access to healthy, sustainable wellness products wherever they are.

Davis Foster: Boston, MA/Boulder, CO
Scythe Robotics
Robotics, Hardware, Autonomous Vehicles
Scythe Robotics is building industrial-scale, computer vision-driven autonomous lawn mowers for commercial landscaping contexts.

Emily Wang: New Haven, CT/New York, NY
Healthcare IT, Healthcare AI, Healthcare Technology
Canairy’s software platform tracks and monitors chronic respiratory diseases by using signal processing and machine learning to evaluate qualities and changes in a person’s cough or voice.

Iddris Sandu: Ghana/Los Angeles, CA
Technology, Design
Iddris is a designer and engineer focused on creating a resource hub to empower African youth through sustainable design and technology.

Ilayda Buyukdogan: Istanbul, Turkey/Copenhagen, Denmark
Compocket is disrupting traditional electronics measurement device manufacturers by creating pocket-sized and mobile-based smart devices, starting with a mini oscilloscope.

Jake Hillard: Salt Lake City, UT/Palo Alto, CA
Red Leader
Lidar, Hardware
Red Leader is building a software-defined Lidar system that uses a fundamentally new architecture and modern digital signal processing to dramatically improve point density.

Jamie Marshall: Providence, RI/Berkeley, CA
Consumer, Software
Snackpass is an app that lets college students order takeout, earn rewards, and share discounts with friends.

Joanne Peng: Regina, Saskatchewan/Victoria, British Columbia
Biology Research
Joanne is a longevity researcher working with blood-based biomarkers to better understand how people age.

John Andrew Entwistle: Katonah, NY/Austin, TX
Software Development
Coder eliminates the limitations of the local machine for software engineers by moving software development to the cloud.

Kai Kloepfer: Boulder, CO/Boston, MA
Hardware, Smart Guns
Biofire is building smart guns that use advanced biometric technology to enable radically safer ownership of firearms.

Matthew DiMarcantonio: Williamsburg, VA/Reston, VA
SaaS, Enterprise Software, Software
Marble makes elegant self-ordering kiosks for cashier-free checkout at restaurants. The company has processed 250,000 orders and will soon launch with several national chains.

Mel Du: Houston, TX/Denver, CO
Ramp USA
Medical Robotics, Electric Vehicles
Ramp USA is expanding mobility for wheelchair users by developing a conversion kit that turns a normal wheelchair into an easy-to-use, off-road capable electric vehicle.

Neiman Mathew: Portland, OR/Palo Alto, CA
Hex Labs
Polymer Nanotechnology
Hex is a scientific research company working on quantum computing, supercapacitors, and superconductivity.

Paige Brown: Bangor, ME/Palo Alto, CA
Weather Technology, Aerospace
WindBorne’s high-altitude weather balloon system flies up to 60x longer than existing offerings, allowing it to provide high-resolution atmospheric data and superior weather prediction services to clients in agriculture, transportation, and disaster preparedness settings.

Phillip Chao: Shanghai, China/San Francisco, CA
Doppler is a modern configuration and secrets management tool that helps teams and businesses secure, store and manage API keys, tokens, database credentials, and other sensitive information.

Rohit Kalyanpur: Sammamish, WA/Chicago, IL
Optivolt Labs
Decentralized Energy
Optivolt Labs develops remarkably efficient solar arrays that easily integrate to power existing devices like drones, scooters, and robotics.

Sean Henry: Atlanta, GA
Logistics Technology
STORD provides networked, flexible, and on-demand warehousing, freight, and software solutions that cut transit times and optimize supply chains.

Tieshun Roquerre: Boston, MA/San Francisco, CA
Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Decentralized DNS
Namebase is a domain registrar and exchange for the Handshake blockchain; Handshake is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol.

Will Manidis: West Chester, PA/Boston, MA
Biotech, Healthcare
Cascade is rethinking how biomedical researchers find and share technical information in order to accelerate therapeutic and clinical workflows.

About The Thiel Foundation

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


Zach Keating


Zach Keating