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Billionaire Underwrites Next Generation of Tech Entrepreneurs

Billionaire Peter Thiel, the first outside investor in Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal, is concerned about the state of innovation in the United States and is putting his money where his mouth is. “Innovation slowed down dramatically after the 1960s,” notes Thiel. “We are not focused enough on getting back to a culture of innovation—people are just trying to figure out ways to coast.”

Part of the problem, according to Thiel, is our society’s higher education system which is chaining young students with large loans and forcing them to accept low-risk jobs. To combat the issue, he has created the nonprofit Thiel Foundation’s Twenty Under Twenty program which offers students under age 20 $100,000 grants to leave college and pursue entrepreneurial projects.

“The Fellows are a tremendous group of young people who are going to advance the frontiers of knowledge, shake up staid industries, and change the world,” said Thiel. “Tomorrow will not take care of itself. In order to solve vexing problems and increase the quality of life for people everywhere, the world’s economy needs continuous scientific and technical innovation from outstanding creative minds.”

The Fellows will pursue scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship and receive mentorship from the Foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs and innovators.

Innovate New Albany, the city’s incubator for technology startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses, features 16,000 square feet of space within the New Albany Business Park’s Signature Office Building, 8000 Walton Parkway.

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