Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel
Organization: Thiel Fellowship

The 44-year-old billionaire, PayPal founder, and Facebook (FB) investor's Thiel Fellowship program, currently in its second cycle, is giving $100,000 apiece to about 20 people -- all under the age of 20 -- to research and develop their tech ideas. The fellows, whose interests range from biotechnology to energy to robotics, are also given access to bigwig Silicon Valley mentors.

The catch? The participants can't be enrolled in college for the fellowship's two-year duration. Libertarian-minded tech entrepreneur Thiel may have a BA and a law degree from Stanford (and he recently taught a class at his alma mater), but he's encouraging promising youngsters to go the Gates-Jobs-Zuckerberg route. These famous dropouts are testaments to the fact that if you're really, really good, you don't need to sit through years of lectures to make it big.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated August 10 2012 02:20 PM ET
Join the Conversation

Incessant exposure to negativity isn't just a drag -- it's actually bad for your brain, researchers say. Here are some ways to protect yourself.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.