Major tech incubator won't cut ties to Thiel over Trump support

Major tech incubator won't cut ties to Thiel over Trump support
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An influential Silicon Valley startup incubator won’t cut ties with investor Peter Thiel over his support of Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE.

Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, said in a series of tweets Sunday night that while he disagreed with Trump — who has been accused of sexual misconduct — he didn’t believe it was right to end a business relationship over support of a “major party nominee.”


“Thiel is a high profile supporter of Trump,” Altman said. “I disagree with this. YC is not going to fire someone for supporting a major party nominee.

“That's a dangerous path to start down.”

Altman's comments follow Thiel’s decision to donate $1.25 million in support of Trump’s campaign. Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention this summer, but his representatives had claimed he had no plans to donate to the candidate.

Thiel is a longtime player in tech. He was a founder of PayPal — though the company was sold in the early 2000s — and an early investor in Facebook. He is also a founder of Palantir, a company that produces data analysis software that often seeks government contracts.

His continued support of Trump has drawn criticism in some tech circles. His donation, which he announced this weekend, also follows two weeks in which Trump has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women. Trump has also been charged by some with using racially coded rhetoric to mobilize his supporters.

Those controversies have caused some to say that organizations linked to Thiel should cut their ties with the investor. In addition to being a “part-time partner” at Y Combinator, which provides startups with seed money and guidance, he is a board member at Facebook and other companies.

A spokeswoman for Facebook declined to comment on Thiel’s donation on Sunday morning. Thiel was reelected to the company's board in June.

Altman, who is known to have a personal relationship with Thiel, said on Sunday that sometimes “the hardest and most important thing is to sit down with a friend and try to teach instead of yelling."

“On a personal note, Peter is one of the two people (along with PG) who has taught me the most about how to invest in startups,” he said when announcing Thiel’s involvement with Y Combinator in 2015. “I am confident that Peter joining will be great for YC.”