Venture capitalist Peter Thiel, the first outside investor in Facebook, is a huge fan of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series of fantasy books.So much so that he held some of the Facebook shares he just sold through Tolkien-named entities, Lembas LLC and Rivendell One LLC.
Thiel’s inner circle seems well aware of his fondness for Tolkien’s world of elves and magic. One source who claims to be close to Thiel says there’s an in-joke about his venture-capital firm, the Founders Fund, being nicknamed “The Precious.” That’s the name that the character Gollum used for the magical ring of power at the centre of Lord of the Rings saga.
The broader world, too, has noted how fond Thiel seems of Tolkien-themed names. Thiel also runs Valar Ventures, an early-stage venture-capital firm focused on overseas investments. And he recently started Mithril Capital Management, a growth fund.
And in 2004, Thiel cofounded Palantir, a maker of information-analysis tools used by corporations and government agencies.
For the uninitiated: Lembas is a bread made by elves in Tolkien’s fantasy world. Rivendell is an Elven city. The Valar are mythical spirits. Mithril is a magically strong metal. A palantir is a magical seeing stone.