Former Paypal executive and ex managing director of Thiel Capital Jack Selby has launched a brand new, $110 million venture fund that he intends will invest mostly in his state of Arizona, where he has lived since 2022.
Introducing AZ-VC, which is backed by a number of real-estate outfits in Arizona, along with a major local utility company. And while Thiel will be a big part of the fund’s future, he is not an investor and nor are any of Thiel Capital’s many institutional backers.
“I don’t mean this to compliment myself, but it was a two-year-long courting process to get them across the finish line” Selby said, during an interview with TechCrunch. “With my day job with Peter, and I say this very humbly, but I basically know every LP that allocates venture capital in the world, whether they’re here in Abu Dhabi or Tokyo or New York or wherever it is. They all know who we are, and they would love to curry favor with him by giving money to some new fund that’s connected to Peter’s universe. But I wanted to use the fund as a litmus test to see if the Arizona community wanted to see something like this fund rise up and get off the ground. Honestly, I didn’t know what the result was going to be, but I was very heartened by the fact that people raised their hand and put us in business.”
“My day job with Peter is protecting the nest, so to speak, and the nest is very important” Selby said.
“Peter is my golden goose. I’ve been working with him longer than anyone else. He’s a very close friend. He’s a very loyal person. As you might imagine, we get barraged with unsolicited inquiries looking for his backing all day long. So sure, I could have gotten [their collective backing] but I didn’t go to a sovereign wealth fund in Abu Dhabi or go to Peter because they have no connection or ties to Arizona and I want people to be involved. I want people to be advisors. I want them to be deal scouts. I want them to be mentors. And the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund is not going to do that.”