1517 Team

Danielle Strachman (General Partner) - Danielle is a cofounder and general partner of 1517. She has worked with young entrepreneurs for about a decade. In 2010, during the founding of the Thiel Fellowship, Danielle joined to lead the design and operations. She's worked with some of the most prestigious founders like Vitalik Buterin and Ritesh Agarwal. Previous to her work with Peter Thiel, Danielle founded and directed Innovations Academy in San Diego, a K-8 charter school serving 400 students, with a focus on student-led project based learning and other alternative programs. 

Michael Gibson (General Partner) - Michael was vice president for grants at the Thiel Foundation and a principal at Thiel Capital. For nearly five years working for Peter Thiel, he has contributed research to Peter’s global macro hedge fund, assisted in teaching a course at Stanford Law School on sovereignty and technological change, and helped run the Thiel Fellowship. He serves on the board of the Seasteading Institute. Before his academic apostasy, he was working towards a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Oxford. He has written on innovation and technology for MIT’s Technology Review, the Atlantic, and Forbes.

Nick Arnett (Principal) - Nick founded and serves on the board of WayPaver Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing humanity's greatest challenges by enabling lunar settlement. Prior to his work with WayPaver, Nick worked at the Thiel Foundation where he led the growth and development of their community of young visionaries for the Thiel Fellowship program. In lieu of going to college, Nick started a nonprofit at age 18 that studied the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems in mid-sized cities throughout the United States.

Zak Slayback (Principal) - Zak is a career & communications expert whose content has been highlighted or featured in Fast Company, Business Insider, The Muse, Newsweek, and the New York Observer. He was an early team member at the startup apprenticeship company Praxis, where he was charged with recruiting new business partners and placing apprentices. He left the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 after pursuing a major in Philosophy. He writes at ZakSlayback.com.


Derik Pridmore (Advisor) - Derik is the President and CEO of Osaro, a machine intelligence software company. Previously, he was a principal at Founders Fund, where he reviewed investment opportunities and participated in all stages of the diligence and investment process. He serves as an advisor to numerous companies, such as Planet Labs and Practice Fusion. 

Shea Tate-Di Donna  (Advisor) - Shea Tate-Di Donna is the founder and CEO of Zana, acquired by Startups.co. Zana is a global, on-demand video and resource platform delivering skills for startup success from expert entrepreneurs. Previously, Shea was senior vice president and part of the founding team at True Ventures, where she built True's platform of founder services. 

Ben Patterson (Advisor) - Ben is a Venture Partner with Elementum Ventures, an early stage fund in San Francisco. He is also a cofounder of The Story Locker, a San Francisco based feature film development and production company. He also advises 10k Investments, the venture arm of the Coors family. He has deep experience in the music industry as well as in IT management and business operations.

Fernando Pontaza (Advisor) – Fernando is Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Invariantes Fund, Guatemala’s first homegrown, early stage, Venture Capital Fund. He sits on the board and advises many of the fund’s portfolio companies and is a founding member of Guatemala’s Venture Capital Association whose goal is to further the local ecosystem. For over 7 years he’s also managed a family office’s multi-asset class portfolio delivering outperformance with better risk metrics.