Where are they now: Mithril Capital

The firm co-founded by Peter Thiel has seen seven of 11 team members depart in the past four years.

You can change your website, but the internet never forgets. Case in point: Mithril Capital, a growth-stage venture firm co-founded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan in 2012.

Visit the firm’s website today and you will find a 76-word description and a link for LPs. That’s it. No mention of portfolio companies, much less the names of its team.

But if you mouse through the cached pages of the internet back to December 2015, you will find a robust website that featured the smiling faces of Royan, Thiel and nine others.

Of the 11 people featured on Mithril’s website four years ago, seven are no longer with the firm. A few of them left to work at companies backed by Thiel. Others left to join another firm or pursue a passion project.

In at least one case, the split was acrimonious, with Mithril suing former Managing Director Crystal McKellar in October. McKellar responded with her own suit against Mithril in November.

Royan did not respond to a request for comment sent to his LinkedIn account.

Here’s what the Mithril alums are up to now.

Brian Behlendorf (managing director, August 2013 – May 2016). Behlendorf is a leading figure in the open-source software movement. After Mithril, he was named executive director of the Hyperledger Project, “an open source collaboration initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation,” according to his LinkedIn.

Colin Greenspon (managing director, May 2013 – May 2018). Greenspon left to be a partner at Revolution, an investment firm founded by Steve Case, where he remains today, according to his profile.

Matt Grimm (principal from December 2014 – August 2016). Grimm is COO of unicorn Anduril Industries, according to his profile. He co-founded the defense tech company in March 2017 alongside entrepreneur Palmer Luckey. Anduril reportedly raised funding in September that valued it at more than $1 billion. It previously raised money from Thiel’s Founders Fund.

Sam Ecker (investor from July 2015 – September 2017). Ecker joined Grimm at Anduril Industries in October 2017. He works in “business development and mission operations,” according to his profile.

Crystal McKellar (managing director and general counsel, June 2012 – February 2019.) McKellar is a managing partner at Anathem Ventures, an early-stage firm she founded in July. McKellar filed papers with the SEC on behalf of Anathem Beta on Oct. 24 stating her intention to raise $25 million. The fund had not raised any capital at that time. “I can’t give much context around my investors or fundraise (because it is ongoing), but I can confirm that I held a first close in October,” McKellar said in an email.

She said she has already invested in her first company and is joining the board of the company, which she declined to name. Anathem is a single-GP fund, but McKellar is supported by “three venture partners whose backgrounds span robotics, computer science, enterprise software, viral consumer marketing, defense industry, and seed and venture investing who are helping to source and diligence deals,” she said.

Anathem, which takes its name from a Neal Stephenson novel, will focus on “investing at the Series A and B in companies that have developed breakthrough tech with strong IP protection that they are pragmatically leveraging to win and own well-defined, high-margin markets,” McKellar said. “New and valuable tech is a prerequisite for consideration for my fund.”

Jim O’Neill (managing director, March 2012 – March 2019). The self-described life sciences investor was named interim CEO of SENS Research Foundation in October, according to his profile. SENS, which is supported by Thiel’s foundation, is focused on “regenerative medicine solutions for the diseases of aging.”

Stephanie Watkins (director of corporate affairs, 2012 – March 2018). Watkins joined Andreessen Horowitz as an executive assistant in August 2018, her profile states.

Still going

It isn’t clear how many investors remain at Mithril, which re-located from San Francisco to Austin, Texas, in late 2018.

At the very least, four of the 11 people featured on its website in 2015 continue to this day: co-founders Royan and Thiel; Managing Director Paul Leggett, who joined in August 2014; and Senior Principal Investor Amit Mulgaonkar, who joined in November 2014.

Despite departures and legal drama, Mithril continues to plug along.

In fact, it enjoyed a big exit this year with the sale of portfolio company Auris Health in April. Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $3.4 billion in cash for maker of surgical robots, plus up to another $2.35 billion if it meets certain milestones. Mithril earned $510 million from the sale, and it could make as much as $870 million, returning more than Mithril’s $540 million Fund I, according to a Bloomberg report.