Chamath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya

Sri Lankan-American businessman who founded Social Capital and serves as its current CEO.

Chamath Palihapitiya is the co-founder of Social Capital and Athos. He is also the CEO of Social Capital and executive chairman of Athos. He lives in Palo Alto, California, United States.

Personal history

Palihapitiya was born in Sri Lanka on September 3rd, 1976. He has two younger sisters. He sought asylum in Canada with his family due to the Sri Lankan Civil Wars. He and his family were already in Canada, because his father, Gamage Palihapitiya, was a civil servant serving in Ottawa's Sri Lankan high commission. After receiving their refugee statuses, Palihapitiya and his family stayed in Ottawa, and often receives social welfare due to their living circumstances.

Palihapitiya then went on to study electrical engineering in University of Waterloo. He met his current ex-wife and Social Capital co-founder, Brigette Lau there, and moved to California with her. He has three children with Lau.

Professional history

After graduating from University of Waterloo, Palihapitiya joined the investment firm BMO Nesbitt Burns in Canada as an associate. Palihapitiya then moved to the United States and joined Winamp's parent company, Nullsoft, which at the time was consolidated with Spinner. He was hired to manage the product and development aspects of Winamp. He went on to join AOL, the parent company of both Nullsoft and Spinner, and was responsible for the development AOL Broadband, AOL's instant messaging services (AIM and ICQ), as well as Radio@AOL and MusicNet.

Palihapitiya left AOL to work on Facebook after being promoted as one of the youngest vice presidents in AOL. He met Mark Zuckerberg when AOL had a business agreement with Facebook, and Palihapitiya joined the company afterward at the vice president-level, after a stint as a venture capitalist in Mayfield Fund. He was hired to increase Facebook's userbase and user engagement.

Then, Palihapitiya left Facebook to found his own venture capital, Social Capital, where he also serves as CEO. He co-founded the company with his wife at the time, Brigette Lau, alongside Mamoon Hamid and Ted Maidenberg. In September 2018, the firm underwent a restructuring to become a technology holding company, which includes no longer accepting outside funds, and investment decisions are made completely by Palihapitiya.

Palihapitiya also founded a wearable tech company in 2011 called Athos with Chris Wiebe and Dhananja Jayalath. He is still serving as its executive chairman.

Board membership

As of August 2020, Palihapitiya is serving as a board member of remind101 and Syapse. He has also previously served as a board member of Playdom, Lemon, Integrated Plasmonics Corporation, and Agnitus.


Palihapitiya co-founded Athos.

Palihapitiya co-founded Athos with Chris Wiebe and Dhananja Jayalath, and is still serving as its executive chairman as of August 2020.

Palihapitiya founded Social Capital and became its CEO.

He co-founded the company with Brigette Lau, Mamoon Hamid, and Ted Maidenberg.

Palihapitiya started working at Facebook.

Palihapitiya joined Facebook on the vice president level, in charge of platform and monetization. Afterwards, he worked on user growth for both mobile and international markets.

Palihapitiya started working at Mayfield Fund.

Palihapitiya worked at Mayfield Fund as a venture capitalist for a year.

Palihapitiya started working at AOL.

Palihapitiya joined AOL as one of its directors after Winamp and's acquisitons by AOL. He stayed in the company until he reached the vice president and general manager positions.

Palihapitiya started working at Winamp &

Palihapitiya worked on the product and business development department.

Palihapitiya graduated from University of Waterloo.

Palihapitiya studied for an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering.

Palihapitiya started working at BMO Nesbitt Burns.

Palihapitiya worked as one of its associate for a year.

Palihapitiya moved to Canada.
September 3, 1976
Chamath Palihapitiya was born in Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.



Further reading


2019 Annual Letter | Social Capital

Chamath Palihapitiya


Chamath Palihapitiya - Medium

Chamath Palihapitiya


How Canadian Facebook billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya plans to change the world

Alec Scott


February 23, 2017

How Tech Insider Chamath Palihapitiya Wants to Disrupt Silicon Valley

Katy Steinmetz/Palo Alto, Calif.


July 19, 2018

Social Capital's Chamath Palihap­itiya Wants To Fix Capitalism

Ainsley Harris


February 26, 2018

The Unusual Ambitions of Chamath Palihapitiya

Michelle Celarier


May 31, 2020

Documentaries, videos and podcasts


Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO Social Capital, on Money as an Instrument of Change

Chamath Palihapitiya: Tesla's push toward renewable energy could make it worth trillions

July 23, 2020




Becky Peterson
May 8, 2021
Business Insider
Forget Arnold Schwarzenegger, Silicon Valley VCs are the new celebrities at the center of California's political recall campaigns.
Matthew Fox
May 5, 2021
A potential transaction could value Equinox at more than $7.5 billion, according to a Bloomberg report.
Isabelle Lee
April 18, 2021
Bitcoin's widespread name-brand recognition built over many years is one of the multiple reasons why it's the top cryptocurrency, Citi says.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni
April 16, 2021
Jake Siewert led the firm's post-financial crisis reputation makeover.
Theron Mohamed
April 16, 2021
David Einhorn. REUTERS/Mike Segar David Einhorn slammed regulators for failing to protect investors.The Greenlight Capital chief defended Game...
Will Daniel
April 15, 2021
Getty Greenlight Capital's founder David Einhorn took shots at Elon Musk and Chamath Palihapitiya in his quarterly investor letter publis...
Will Daniel
April 13, 2021
Elon Musk's creator coin on the influencer stock market BitClout sells for over $70,000, more than a brand new Tesla Model S.
Darrell Etherington
March 8, 2021
Max Q is a weekly newsletter from TechCrunch all about space. Sign up here to receive it weekly on Mondays in your inbox. Sometimes even the biggest successes look like failures on video. That's the theme of this week, because the biggest news by far was SpaceX's test launch of its latest Starship prototype in [...]
March 8, 2021
The Economic Times
Even with prices crashing, SPACs have so far been able to keep raising capital. However, their IPOs are no longer massively oversubscribed
Carla Mozée
March 5, 2021
Business Insider
Virgin Galactic shares fell after a filing showed billionaire chairman Chamath Palihapitya sold his personal stake in the space tourism company.
Darrell Etherington
March 5, 2021
The man who arguably ushered in the current SPAC rush with the merger of Virgin Galactic with his Social Capital Hedosophia holding company has divested the remainder of his personal holdings in the space tourism company. Chamath Palihapitiya, who serves as the Chairman of Virgin Galactic's board, still holds 6.2% ownership in the company in [...]
Theron Mohamed
March 5, 2021
The space-tourism group's chairman, who sold a chunk of his shares in December to free up cash, still owns an indirect stake.
Linette Lopez
March 4, 2021
Business Insider
In every financial bubble there are promoters who suddenly seem omnipresent. They are not your friends and they don't care if you make money.
Emily Graffeo
February 24, 2021
ReNew Power is an Indian renewable power producer company that is set to merge with special purpose acquisition company RMG Acquisition Corp.II.
Will Daniel
February 13, 2021
Chamath Palihapitiya gave a colorful interview featuring quotes about Warren Buffett, the recent GameStop frenzy, and SPACs.
May Teng, Áine Cain and Aman Kidwai
February 11, 2021
Business Insider
"Do you have any questions for me?" is one of the most popular interview questions among business leaders.
Harry Robertson
February 10, 2021
Business Insider
Chamath Palihapitiya shared some "loss porn" with his followers on Tuesday, expressing regret at using bitcoin to buy $1.6 million of land in 2014.
Melia Russell
February 4, 2021
Business Insider
Famed investor Chamath Palihapitiya also shared the workout routine responsible for his chiseled stomach.
Carter Johnson
February 1, 2021
Business Insider
The $250 billion a year auto insurance industry is dominated by players like Allstate and GEICO. Former Uber exec Ryan Graves is betting on Metromile.
Matthew Fox
January 27, 2021
Palihapitya said the trade was a learning experience, as he gained a front row seat to the thought process of many retail investors on Reddit.


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