Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$1 Billion
Sep 3, 1976 (47 years old)
Sri Lanka
Entrepreneur, businessman, venture capitalist
💰 Compare Chamath Palihapitiya's Net Worth

What is Chamath Palihapitiya's Net Worth?

Chamath Palihapitiya is a Sri Lankan Canadian venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has a net worth of $1 billion. Chamath Palihapitiya is best known as the founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Social Capital. Previously he was the youngest Vice President in AOL's. At AOL he oversaw Instant Messenger. He joined Facebook in 2005, at a time when the social network was only a year old. He was a senior executive at Facebook from 2007 to 2011. In 2011 Chamath left Facebook to launch his own fund, The Social+Capital Partnership, which was eventually renamed Social Capital. Today Social Capital manages well over $1 billion in assets. In 2015 Social Capital was the leading investor in Slack Technologies funding round. Other investments include Palantir, Paydom (which was purchased by The Walt Disney Company), Bumptop (which was bought by Google) and Pure Storage soared in value.

Among his other endeavors, Palihapitiya co-hosts a popular technology podcast entitled "All In."

Chamath is a minority investor in the Golden State Warriors, having invested with the group of partners who bought the team in 2010 for $450 million. Today the team is worth $5.5 billion. Chamath is believed to own 10% of the organization.

Early Life and Education

Chamath Palihapitiya was born on September 3, 1976 in Sri Lanka. When he was five years of age, he moved with his family as refugees to Canada. To financially help his struggling family, Palihapitiya worked at a Burger King as a teen. He went to Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, and graduated when he was 17. Subsequently, Palihapitiya attended the University of Waterloo, where he obtained his degree in electrical engineering.

Career Beginnings

Following his graduation from Waterloo, Palihapitiya worked for a year at the investment bank BMO Nesbitt Burns as a trader of derivatives. After this, he moved to California and joined AOL, where he became the company's youngest-ever vice president and headed its instant messaging division. Palihapitiya left AOL in 2005 to join the venture capital firm Mayfield Fund. A few months later, he left to join Facebook, which had only been around for a little over a year. At the company, Palihapitiya worked on user growth, leading Facebook to hit one billion users in 2009. Although he found success with the company, it was reported in Steven Levy's book "Facebook: The Inside Story" that Palihapitiya was considered a bully by his subordinates, whom he allegedly made cry on a regular basis.

Social Capital

Palihapitiya left Facebook in 2011 to start his own company, which was originally called the Social+Capital Partnership. Formed with his then-wife, the firm specializes in funding technology startups through seed money, private equity, and venture capital. In 2015, the firm changed its name to Social Capital. Through Social Capital, Palihapitiya has invested in such companies as Glooko, SecondMarket, Box, Slack, and Yammer. The fund had over $1.1 billion in total assets in 2015. However, three years later, Social Capital experienced a drastic decrease in operations, and saw a major exodus of top management brass. Reportedly, Palihapitiya was spending long stretches of time with his girlfriend in Italy, and was seldom coming to the office or answering employee correspondences. As a result, Social Capital transitioned into a family office and returned investor capital.

Following the conversion of Social Capital to a family office in 2018, Palihapitiya decided he wanted to restructure the company to better serve other entrepreneurs, and not just limited partners. To do this, he has used the firm to make investments in the areas of life sciences, biotechnology, and climate science. Additionally, Palihapitiya has focused on decentralizing the digital economy through blockchain and other assets.

Chamath Palihapitiya Net Worth

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Palihapitiya is heavily involved in sponsoring SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies. In 2019, he helped Virgin Galactic go public through this strategy. Palihapitiya sold his stake in Virgin Galactic in 2021 for around $213 million; he remains the chairman of its board of directors. Also using a SPAC, he took the online real estate marketplace Opendoor public in 2020. Later, he took the financial services platform SoFi and the Medicare insurance company Clover Health public through SPACs.

Palihapitiya has received a great deal of criticism for his constant use of SPACs to take companies public, as well as for luring investors into problem businesses. The Financial Times complained that he was "shilling risky reverse-mergers to retail investors on a (sic) almost bimonthly basis." Additionally, after making the Clover Health SPAC, the firm Hindenburg Research argued that Palihapitiya had failed to inform investors about Clover's alleged deceptive business practices, which were being investigated by the Department of Justice.

Political Activity

Over the years, Palihapitiya has made donations to both major US political parties. However, he has mostly donated to the Democratic Party, with an estimated total of $1.3 million from 2011 to 2021. In the 2020 presidential election, he supported Michael Bloomberg to head the Democratic ticket.

In 2013, Palihapitiya founded the lobbying group, which seeks to improve education, foster technological innovation, and reform immigration policy. Later, in early 2021, Palihapitiya announced his intention to challenge incumbent California Governor Gavin Newsom if Newsom ended up being recalled. He claimed that he would cut the state income tax to 0% and provide a $2,000 credit for every child born in the state, among other campaign goals. However, the following month, Palihapitiya decided not to run for governor.

Investments and Donations

Among his various notable investments, Palihapitiya has invested in several startups through the venture capital firm Embarcadero Ventures. In 2010, he helped buy the Golden State Warriors for $450 million, and continues to hold a minority stake.

On the philanthropic side of things, Palihapitiya has made frequent donations to his alma mater of the University of Waterloo, including a $25 million contribution to the engineering department. Additionally, he donated $7 million to provide clean drinking water to families in California's Central Valley.

Personal Life

While still in college, Palihapitiya began dating Brigette Lau. The two moved together to California, got married, and had three children; they later divorced in 2018. Subsequently, Palihapitiya began a relationship with Italian model and pharmaceutical heiress Nathalie Dompe, the CEO of Dompe Holdings. Together, the couple has one child.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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