A magic mushroom firm backed by Peter Thiel is now worth $2 billion and reportedly eyeing an IPO

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel. Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Atai Life Sciences works on the development of psychedelic and other drugs to treat mental illness.
  • The firm, which counts Peter Thiel as an investor, is looking at going public later this year, Reuters reported.
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Atai Life Sciences, a psychedelic company backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, is eyeing a potential public stock listing as soon as this Spring, reports say.

The biotech company on Wednesday announced that it had raised a $US157 ($201) million funding round from existing and new investors. Since it was founded in 2018, Atai has raised $US367 ($471) million from 35 investors, according to PitchBook data.

The company develops “psychedelic and non-psychedelic compounds for various mental health indications,” including depression and anxiety, according to the press release. Its mission has attracted some big-money investors, including Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital.

Thiel, a billionaire venture capitalist who famously-and lucratively-made a ground-floor investment in Facebook’s early days, saw his firm Palantir go public last year. The firm is now worth nearly $US45 ($58) billion. 

CNBC reported that Thiel invested in the firm’s Series C round through Thiel Capital, at a value of $US12 ($15) million.

Florian Branch, Atai’s CEO, vocally supports the use of psychedelic compounds. The funding raised from the Series D round, the company said, will focus on developing the drug pipeline. 

Reuters reported Wednesday that a company source told the news wire that Atai was eyeing a public offering as early as May of 2021. Reuters also reported that the Series D round resulted in a valuation of $US2 ($3) billion for the startup. Bloomberg also reported the valutation number. 

In February, InvestingNews.com spoke to an executive from atai as well as leaders at another psychedelics startup, Field Trip Health. The Field Trip Health CEO, Ronan Levy, told the site that demand for investments in psychedelics and psychedelic research is “pretty palpable.”