Hedge Fund Manager/Venture Capitalist, 46
With more than $2.2 billion under his belt, Thiel wields power in multiple arenas. Cofounding PayPal earned the young gay entrepreneur a sizable fortune, but being Facebook’s first outside investor turned Thiel into a powerhouse. He’s the only openly gay man at the upper echelons of the investment industry and continues to invest in eccentric areas, such as antiaging efforts, space travel, and encouraging students to drop out of college. His focus of late has been on Palantir, a CIA-backed data-mining software company he thinks could be bigger than Facebook. A conservative libertarian, Thiel believes gay rights are a nonpartisan issue and supports many Republican candidates and conservative super PACs.