Peter Thiel set up the Thiel Fellowship in 2011 offering to pay talented college students $100,000 to drop out and start companies of their own.
Now in its fourth year, the Fellowship received over 2,000 applications for 2015, but only twenty have been successful.
Each of the fellows will use their grants to explore their entrepreneurial passions with guidance from the Thiel Foundation’s network of investors, founders and scientists. Oh, and they’ll all be ditching formal education.
This year’s fellows are made up of five women and 15 men, ranging in age from 17 to 22.
Thiel believes that the college system can discourage young people from trying something new, especially if they have gotten into debt to attend university.
As well as announcing the successful fellows, the Foundation has expanded eligibility to include anyone of college-age. It was previously capped at 20 but hundreds of 21 and 22-year-olds were still applying every year.
According to the Fellowship’s executive director, the current and former Thiel fellows have already raised over $142 million in capital and generated over $40 million in revenue, as well as creating over 350 jobs.
The new fellows will be attending the Thiel Foundation Summit on June 6-7 in San Francisco, where they will discuss their projects with other young entrepreneurs. Attendees can also pitch ideas and be in with the chance to land a $1,000 grant to get started.
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