Peter Thiel to enter Trump inner circle as tech adviser

Although an informal arrangement for now, Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel will have the incoming president's ear.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
2 min read
Enlarge Image

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention in July.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel is a contrarian no longer.

The only tech angel to publicly sing the praises of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, Thiel is set to reap big dividends for his views. Thiel told The New York Times on Wednesday that he will have the president-elect's ear on matters of technology and innovation at least as an informal adviser.

Trump's win on Election Day surprised both presidential campaigns and the country as a whole. The vast majority of polls and predictions showed Clinton easily winning the presidency. Silicon Valley and many of its top executives were vocal supporters of Clinton, who aligned with business and social issues generally backed by Silicon Valley as a whole.

Thiel was one of the few in the tech industry to defy the trend and support Trump, including with a $1.25 million pledge to the campaign.

Watch this: Peter Thiel touts Trump's accomplishments at RNC

Thiel, a billionaire, Facebook board member and PayPal co-founder, made his fortune backing internet staples such as Facebook when those companies were mere startups with big dreams.

His support of Trump earned him a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, where he said Trump would be the right person to bring Silicon Valley's level of success to the US as a whole. In that speech, Thiel conjured up a golden age when innovation and opportunity existed throughout the United States and not just in a West Coast tech hub, an era when the US was preparing to send a man to the moon and "the future felt limitless."

Thiel also gave a pro-Trump speech October 31, reiterating his support for the Republican presidential candidate and arguing the nominee had tapped into a wellspring of discontent across the country.

"What Trump represents isn't crazy," Thiel during that speech. "It isn't going away."

He did not immediately return CNET's request for comment.

First published November 10, 8:23 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:45 a.m. PT: Background added.