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Chamath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya

Sri Lankan-American businessman who founded Social Capital and serves as its current CEO.

Chamath Palihapitiya is the co-founder of Social Capital and Athos. He is also the CEO of Social Capital and executive chairman of Athos. He lives in Palo Alto, California, United States.

Personal history

Palihapitiya was born in Sri Lanka on September 3rd, 1976. He has two younger sisters. He sought asylum in Canada with his family due to the Sri Lankan Civil Wars. He and his family were already in Canada, because his father, Gamage Palihapitiya, was a civil servant serving in Ottawa's Sri Lankan high commission. After receiving their refugee statuses, Palihapitiya and his family stayed in Ottawa, and often receives social welfare due to their living circumstances.

Palihapitiya then went on to study electrical engineering in University of Waterloo. He met his current ex-wife and Social Capital co-founder, Brigette Lau there, and moved to California with her. He has three children with Lau.

Professional history
Employment

After graduating from University of Waterloo, Palihapitiya joined the investment firm BMO Nesbitt Burns in Canada as an associate. Palihapitiya then moved to the United States and joined Winamp's parent company, Nullsoft, which at the time was consolidated with Spinner. He was hired to manage the product and development aspects of Winamp. He went on to join AOL, the parent company of both Nullsoft and Spinner, and was responsible for the development AOL Broadband, AOL's instant messaging services (AIM and ICQ), as well as Radio@AOL and MusicNet.

Palihapitiya left AOL to work on Facebook after being promoted as one of the youngest vice presidents in AOL. He met Mark Zuckerberg when AOL had a business agreement with Facebook, and Palihapitiya joined the company afterward at the vice president-level, after a stint as a venture capitalist in Mayfield Fund. He was hired to increase Facebook's userbase and user engagement.

Then, Palihapitiya left Facebook to found his own venture capital, Social Capital, where he also serves as CEO. He co-founded the company with his wife at the time, Brigette Lau, alongside Mamoon Hamid and Ted Maidenberg. In September 2018, the firm underwent a restructuring to become a technology holding company, which includes no longer accepting outside funds, and investment decisions are made completely by Palihapitiya.

Palihapitiya also founded a wearable tech company in 2011 called Athos with Chris Wiebe and Dhananja Jayalath. He is still serving as its executive chairman.

Board membership

As of August 2020, Palihapitiya is serving as a board member of remind101 and Syapse. He has also previously served as a board member of Playdom, Lemon, Integrated Plasmonics Corporation, and Agnitus.

Timeline

2012
Palihapitiya co-founded Athos.

Palihapitiya co-founded Athos with Chris Wiebe and Dhananja Jayalath, and is still serving as its executive chairman as of August 2020.

2011
Palihapitiya founded Social Capital and became its CEO.

He co-founded the company with Brigette Lau, Mamoon Hamid, and Ted Maidenberg.

2007
Palihapitiya started working at Facebook.

Palihapitiya joined Facebook on the vice president level, in charge of platform and monetization. Afterwards, he worked on user growth for both mobile and international markets.

2006
Palihapitiya started working at Mayfield Fund.

Palihapitiya worked at Mayfield Fund as a venture capitalist for a year.

2001
Palihapitiya started working at AOL.

Palihapitiya joined AOL as one of its directors after Winamp and Spinner.com's acquisitons by AOL. He stayed in the company until he reached the vice president and general manager positions.

2000
Palihapitiya started working at Winamp & Spinner.com.

Palihapitiya worked on the product and business development department.

1999
Palihapitiya started working at BMO Nesbitt Burns.

Palihapitiya worked as one of its associate for a year.

1999
Palihapitiya graduated from University of Waterloo.

Palihapitiya studied for an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering.

1982
Palihapitiya moved to Canada.
September 3, 1976
Chamath Palihapitiya was born in Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Invested in

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

2019 Annual Letter | Social Capital

Chamath Palihapitiya

Web

Chamath Palihapitiya - Medium

Chamath Palihapitiya

Web

Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO Social Capital, on Money as an Instrument of Change

Web

Chamath Palihapitiya: Tesla's push toward renewable energy could make it worth trillions

Jessica Bursztynsky

Web

July 23, 2020

How Canadian Facebook billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya plans to change the world

Alec Scott

Web

February 23, 2017

News

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Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Connie Loizos
September 15, 2021
TechCrunch
Retail investors love him. Venture capitalists envy him. But pretty much everyone writing checks these days is paying attention to Chamath Palihapitiya, whose star has been on the rise since the outset of his career at an early online media player called Winamp that was acquired by AOL. Indeed, over the last 20 years, Palihapitiya [...]
Mike Butcher
July 29, 2021
TechCrunch
Cast your mind back to that scene in Minority Report where all those autonomous cars are whizzing through the city. The more practically-minded of you may well have gone: "Yeah, but what about the insurance...?". Among the startups building the on-demand, connected insurance world for the vehicles of tomorrow right now are UK-based Zego which [...]
Mike Butcher
July 29, 2021
TechCrunch
Cast your mind back to that scene in Minority Report where all those autonomous cars are whizzing through the city. The more practically-minded of you may well have gone: "Yeah, but what about the insurance...?". Among the startups building the on-demand, connected insurance world for the vehicles of tomorrow right now are UK-based Zego which [...]
Shalini Nagarajan
June 3, 2021
markets.businessinsider.com
The latest additions build on Palihapitiya's roster of 6 special-purpose acquisition companies already raised, yielding more than $1 billion.
Shalini Nagarajan
June 3, 2021
Business Insider
The latest additions build on Palihapitiya's roster of 6 special-purpose acquisition companies already raised, yielding more than $1 billion.
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References

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