A record number of Canadians are taking U.S. billionaire Peter Thiel up on his controversial offer: Drop out of school and he’ll give you $100,000 (U.S.) to pursue your dream.
On Friday, the Thiel Foundation revealed a group of 20 young people who will become the next Thiel Fellows. In addition to the cash – which comes with a requirement that young folks skip or stop school for two years – the Fellowship offers to connect the young dropouts with mentors from the investing, entrepreneurial and scientific community.
The four Canadians are Cathy Tie, 18; Simon Tian, 20; Harry Gandhi, 22; and Liam Horne, 19. They were all founders or early partners in startups; Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Horne attended the University of Waterloo, and Ms. Tie attended the University of Toronto. Mr. Tian founded his company while attending the pre-college CEGEP school system in Quebec.
There have been 80 fellows since the program was announced in 2010, but for the first time the Fellowship (formerly called 20 under 20) accepted several applicants over the age of 20.
“There were so many college applicants we couldn’t say no,” says Alana Ackerson, the President of the Thiel Fellowship. “College may be right for some, maybe not for everyone.”