Torino Forum

Founders turned Investors

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Meet the speakers of the second panel of SEI Torino Forum



Xavier Niel (born 25 August 1967) is the founder and majority shareholder of Iliad, the holding of the French Broadband & Mobile telecommunication operator Free, founded in 1999. In 2002, Xavier Niel launched the Freebox, the first triple-play multiservice box in France, which revolutionized the landline Internet access market and had an incredible success due to its extremely low price. Xavier  Niel is the inspiration behind Iliad’s major strategic developments.

In January 2012, Free shook up the French telecommunications market once again by launching its mobile telephony offerings, in the form of two straightforward no-commitment plans at very attractive prices.

In parallel, Mr. Niel is a major investor in web start-ups, through his own venture capital fund – Kima Ventures – which invests in 50 to 100 start-ups each year throughout the world. In 2010 the American magazine Business Insider defined Kima Ventures as the most important business angel in terms of number of participations.

In 2013 Xavier created 42, a revolutionary IT school with an innovative peer-to-peer learning system. Located in Paris, it trains 1,000 developers each year, is free of charge, and selects its students based on talent and motivation rather than academic criteria. Drawing on the success of this initiative in France, in spring 2016 he opened a “42” school in Silicon Valley (Fremont, USA).

Xavier Niel is also the co-owner of the newspaper Le Monde & L’Obs. In 2016, Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton created Mediawan, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) dedicated to acquiring businesses in the media and entertainment industries.

Last year (June 2017) Xavier Niel opened in Paris Station F, the largest startups campus of the world.


Reid Hoffman is Co-Founder of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock Partners.

An accomplished entrepreneur, executive, and investor, Reid Hoffman has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses.

In 2003 Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service. LinkedIn is thriving with more than 500 million members around the world.

In 2009 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners. He focuses on building products that can reach hundreds of millions of participants and businesses that have network effects.

He currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Aurora, Convoy, Blockstream and a few early stage companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Kiva, Mozilla Corporation, Endeavor, and CZI Biohub. Prior to joining Greylock, he angel invested in many influential internet companies, including Facebook, Flickr,, and Zynga.

Hoffman is the host of Masters of Scale, an original podcast series and the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for featured guests. He is also the co-author of two New York Times best-selling books: The Start-Up of You and The Alliance. His next book is focused on “blitzscaling”, based on his Stanford course of the same name.

Hoffman earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree with distinction in symbolic systems from Stanford University.


Peter Thiel (born October 11, 1967) is an American entrepreneur and investor, one of the Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capitalists.

He co-founded PayPal in 1999, serving as chief executive officer until its sale to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. In 2004 he made his first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director. The same year he launched, with Alexander Karp, Palantir Technologies, a company that builds software specialized in big data analysis.

He is a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb.

He is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.


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