Peter Thiel says Silicon Valley has 'jumped the shark' and there may be no more big consumer internet companies

Key Points
  • Peter Thiel spoke at the DealBook conference in New York on Thursday.
  • Thiel called Silicon Valley the "madness of crowds" and said that "all the big ideas have been tried" in consumer internet companies.
  • Thiel predicts Trump will win re-election in 2020 if the economy is good.
Peter Thiel
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Tech investor and Republican donor Peter Thiel said Silicon Valley has "jumped the shark" and there won't be many more breakthrough consumer internet companies.

"With respect to consumer internet, which has been the big area in tech for 25 years, it's been the single area that's dominated all others, perhaps there aren't as many big breakthroughs left in consumer internet," he said. "The big ideas have been tried."

Thiel made the remarks on Thursday at the annual DealBook conference in New York. His comments about consumer internet ideas being exhausted are particularly telling, given Thiel's background: He first gained notoriety as a co-founder and CEO of PayPal, and earned much of his fortune as an early investor in Facebook.

Peter Thiel moved his home base to Los Angeles from the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year. In September, he moved one of his venture firms, Mithril Capital, from its headquarters in San Francisco to Austin, Texas.

"There's certainly a political layer where Silicon Valley feels like a one party state. There's a sense that the network effects that made Silicon Valley good have gone haywire," he said. "It's not the wisdom of crowds, it's the madness of crowds."

Thiel on Trump

Thiel also predicts a 2020 victory for Trump, as long as the economy is strong.

"In 2020, I suspect we'll have an up-down referendum on the economy. The question will be: is the economy in a boom? If so, Trump will get re-elected. If not, he will have challenges."

According to a Federal Election Commission filing published in mid-October, Thiel poured $250,000 into Trump's joint fundraising committee (the Trump Victory Committee) this summer. The donation was Thiel's first known contribution to Trump's campaign since his 2016 presidential election.

Interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin asked if Trump's "dishonesty" upset the investor.

"We want our politicians to tell the truth. There's always this question of how one scores the honesty or dishonesty of politicians," Thiel said. "The inaccuracies President Trump tells are an exaggeration of the truth. That's the way most of his supporters hear them."

On the Mueller investigation, Thiel said, "I think it is within some limits…At what point does it become a wild goose chase?" he asked. "There's a sense that if the next two years involve a discussion about the Russians and you don't find anything then Trump will get re-elected."

Thiel gives his first six-figure donation of midterms to RNC