Teach Me How to Startup

Peter Thiel Talked 20 More Kids Into Dropping Out of School

Meet the 2013 Thiel Fellows!
All 2013 finalists. (Photo: Thiel Foundation)

All 2013 finalists. (Photo: Erin Ashford Photography, courtesy the Thiel Foundation)

Get ready to feel like you frittered your youth away on terrible entry-level jobs!

Peter Thiel and co. just announced the latest class of “20 Under 20″ Thiel Fellows. In exchange for foregoing traditional higher ed, each of these baby Einsteins gets $100,000, some mentors and the mandate to start a company.

Let’s hope they also get a crash course in life skills and also how to tell their bewildered parents why they did this.

There are three locals among the honorees. New York City-raised Zach Hamed is leaving Harvard’s computer science program to work on “a suite of beautifully-designed tools for K-12 teachers.” Guess a post-grad Teach for America stint just wasn’t his speed. 19-year-old Armonk native James Schuler has already done Y Combinator with a healthcare startup, and now he wants to build a crowdfunding platform for campaign finance.

And, out of Brooklyn, 18-year-old fashionista Maddy Maxey is peacing out of the Parsons School for Design to “focus on optimizing the clothing patterns and the enterprise software that make our current garment industry inefficient,” making it possible to manufacture domestically.

Other projects in the works: “3D-depth mapping and projection of interactive holograms,” software to “end the wasteful litigation epidemic” (someone’s a Young Republican!), “broad-spectrum viral therapies,” a desktop electronics fabricator, another funding platform, interactive software to teach technical skills, collaborative learning, and, uh, “challenging copyright.”

There’s also a startup to “improve how we interact with technology.” We’ll assume that’s got something to do with the Singularity.

In the announcement, Thiel Foundation president Jonathan Cain also offered a little top-line where-are-they-now for the classes of 2011 and 2012: “Over the past two years, they have launched more than thirty companies, and raised more than $34 million in outside funding, including venture investments, company sales, revenue, grants, sponsorships, and awards.”

Wonder whether any of them have returned to campus, just to visit.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com