Chamath Palihapitiya made his initial impact as an investor while still at Facebook, through stakes in Palantir, Pure Storage, Playdom and BumpTop as well as Tesla, Amazon and Slack.
Chamath Palihapitiya has an opinion on almost everything, especially when it involves finance. This is not unusual in his world, but what makes Palihapitiya different is that his opinions are often strong and never mainstream. Early this year, for instance, he launched a website to propose his candidacy as governor of California, then abruptly shut down speculation on a run.
The next move by the “King of SPACs,” as he is known, is a matter of speculation almost by definition. Special purpose acquisition companies are listed vehicles that investors use to acquire privately held companies and then bring them public. But Palihapitiya is never short on advice.
“Find a way to make sure you are comfortable with what you own and, if not, don’t be afraid to make changes. Prices are temporary but your peace of mind should not be. If all else fails, remember the Persian adage: ‘This too shall pass.’ Good luck to everyone,” is typical of the tweets he sends his followers.
In a comparatively short time, he has won a good number of supporters as well as some enemies.
The 44-year-old founder and CEO of Social Capital, a venture capital investor based in Palo Alto, came to Canada with his family as a refugee from Sri Lanka, graduated from the University of Waterloo in electrical engineering. He became the youngest-ever vice president at AOL before joining up with Mark Zuckerberg as an early executive at Facebook. While credited with contributing to the social network’s fast expansion, he was later accused of bullying his subordinates there.
Palihapitiya made his initial impact as an investor while still at Facebook, through stakes in Palantir, Pure Storage, Playdom and BumpTop as well as Tesla, Amazon and Slack. After leaving Facebook, he created Social+Capital Partnership (as it was first known) with his then-wife; since then, he has never been short of opinions, particularly on his favored investment play.
“In a traditional IPO,” he has said, “you can’t show a forecast and you can’t talk about the future of how you want to do things, you’re just not allowed,” touting the advantages of SPACs, which benefit from a regulatory loophole that shields them from liability when they make forward-looking statements.