Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Thiel "Shows Them the Money" - pays 20 entrepreneurs $100,000 to drop out of college

CJ Westerberg, May 25, 2011 9:22 AM

peter-thiel.jpg

image: Flickr user emilyonasunday; top image: Flickr user Suzie Katz.

Winners include "Flipped Classroom" Initiatives

Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY University, announces the winners in Fast Company today:

It sounds like a reality show pitch: The legendary Facebook investor, PayPal founder, and thorn in the side of college deans everywhere announces what happens when 24 people, picked to live among mentors and innovation experts, stop going to school and start getting real--in business. . . .

Now they're all getting two years of mentoring from a network of tech and entrepreneurial experts and $100,000 to start a business. The benefactor? PayPal founder, early Facebook investor, and Stanford's least favorite alumnus, Peter Thiel. Least favorite because Thiel has been making waves by arguing that college is an overhyped, overpriced bubble, and that the world needs better ways to recognize young talent. It's all been great fodder for debate, but little more.

Until today. Thiel just put a bit of his money where his active mouth is.
He's requiring his "20 under 20" entrepreneurs (24 including some teams) to stop out of college while they pursue their dreams. Fittingly, a fourth of the proposals are in the fields of education or career development, while the others encompass a range of trendy fields.


The fields include:  Biotech, Career Placement, Economics, Education, Robotics, Energy,
Information Technology, Mobility, Space, and Career Placement.  Here's a glimpse (additional bold added for emphasis):

Dale Stephens was homeschooled and then unschooled. Now he wants to build a platform called RadMatter to revolutionize how we develop and demonstrate talent in the twenty-first century. At 19, he is a non-conformist in most aspects of his life.

Jeffrey Lim wants to increase the amount of voluntary exchange and cooperation in the world by revamping some of our core economic and social institutions. He believes it's time the means of exchange caught up with the Information Age. Once he stops out of MIT, Jeffrey plans on using his fellowship to create technologies that will help people self-organize to solve social problems. He's particularly interested in helping people protect the wealth they create from the harmful effects of inflation.

More support coming on the "flipped classroom" apparently:

Nick Cammarata and David Merfield are working on OPEN, a project that aims to flip the industrial-scale classroom experience. Instead of wasting time lecturing (content OPEN's online videos are better at providing), teachers using the platform will get to use class time for more one-to-one tutoring with students on the hard problems. With a decade of programming experience, Nick has worked for Microsoft, Stanford, and Mozilla and is an active contributor to several open-source projects. David has designed web interfaces used by millions of people around the world. He has lived and been educated in England, Singapore, France, and the USA.

John Marbach has years of experience working as an Internet marketer in customer development--he founded a vacation rental portal as a high school freshman--and he blogs frequently about emerging technologies. Now, with his start-up Ingenic, he wants to leverage web-based videos and mobile apps to bring the classroom into the twenty-first century.

Fascinating developments in energy:

Tom Currier developed a deep obsession for entrepreneurship, cost reductions, and renewable energy after starting his first business when nine years old. To achieve grid parity, Currier believes that the solar industry needs a fundamental balance of systems breakthrough. He co- founded Black Swan Solar two years ago to commercialize an invention that enables dual-axis photovoltaic module tracking.

Eden Full is the 19-year-old Canadian founder of Roseicollis Technologies, a solar energy start- up that deploys her patent-pending inventions in established and emerging markets. Currently electrifying two villages of 1000 citizens in Kenya, Eden's SunSaluter is a solar panel tracking system that optimizes energy collection by up to 40 percent for only $10. She began developing her social enterprise when she was 15
.




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It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
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