Venture capitalist Peter Thiel left $50 million of his own cash in doomed Silicon Valley Bank — even though his company had raised the loudest alarm leading to its panicked shutdown a week ago.
Thiel, 55, admitted to the Financial Times that he failed to follow his own Founders Fund firm in pulling out money from the bank, which experts say caused the crisis-sparking federal intervention last Friday.
“I had $50 million of my own money stuck in SVB,” the PayPal co-founder told the UK financial paper.
Thiel’s firm moved all its money out of the little-known, California-based tech lender that Thursday, a day after it disclosed a $1.8 billion loss on its bondholdings.
It sparked a mad rush by others, widely blamed for starting the panic that left SVB being abruptly shut down last Friday by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
However, Thiel maintained that he left his own money in the bank because he was certain SVB would not fail.
His account was frozen when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took control of SVB last Friday.
He risked losing it all had the Federal Reserve not intervened on Sunday, with its emergency funding protesting depositors, including the usually savvy tech investor.
Still, unlike with many others, it would not have ruined Thiel, the first major investor in Facebook who is now worth more than $4 billion, according to Forbes.