Peter Thiel has raised yet another billion-dollar tech fund.
The Silicon Valley maverick — an early Facebook investor who has since made big bets on marijuana, cancer research and space travel — will launch his venture firm’s sixth fund as soon as this week, The Post has learned.
Thiel’s decade-old Founders Fund has secured commitments of more than $1 billion for its latest fund — possibly bigger than the San Francisco-based firm’s fifth fund that was launched in 2014, sources said.
That’s despite a slew of markdowns on tech companies that lately has slammed the valuations of high-fliers such as Snapchat, Dropbox and Palantir, a secretive data-sleuthing startup that was co-founded in 2004 by Thiel himself.
Industry insiders say tech “unicorns” valued at $1 billion or more may struggle to get new financing this year from venture firms, which are increasingly concerned about downside risk, or at least limited upside.
Last month, Morgan Stanley slashed the value of its Palantir stake to nearly a third below the $20 billion valuation the company got from big investors in a funding round last year.
That spurred others to question whether Palantir — which Thiel originally helped launch with members of PayPal’s antifraud team — deserved such a slap.
Still, many agreed that recent “down-rounds” at firms like food-delivery startup DoorDash have been a long time coming.
“There have been cuts to valuations and down-rounds, but you have to ask yourself whether those valuations were realistic,” a source close to Thiel’s firm told The Post, speaking about the recent tech wreck in general. “If anything, this is an opportunity for smart investors.”
Most insiders say smaller tech firms are still driving innovation rather than Fortune 500 firms, with many predicting that 2016 will see as many new venture funds as last year.
Thiel’s new fund isn’t the only sign that Silicon Valley remains unbowed by the recent carnage.
Earlier this week, venture-capital giant Accel Partners announced it’s launching two new funds worth $2 billion. A smaller, $500 million fund will focus on early-stage companies, Accel said, while a larger, $1.5 billion fund will fund growth at larger, more mature firms.
Thiel’s new, billion-dollar fund hasn’t told its investors much about its specific plans, according to sources close to the situation.
But they can expect more big bets on “moonshot” startups that build spacecraft, robots and revolutionary medical treatments, sources said.
“What they do is make lots of early stage bets and then large concentrated bets in businesses that they really believe can be outliers,” according to one source close to Thiel.
Those have included Elon Musk’s SpaceX startup, which was valued at $11 billion in a funding round last year. Founders Fund began investing in SpaceX in 2008, when the company was valued at just over $300 million, according to investors.
Founders Fund’s other key investments include New York-based Oscar Health Insurance, Airbnb and DeepMind, whose artificial-intelligence machine this week beat champion Lee Sedol in a five-game match of Go, an ancient Asian board game said to be more complex than chess.