Joseph Todd Lonsdale V is an American entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He is a founding partner at 8VC, a technology investment firm. Most recently, Lonsdale was a founding partner at Formation 8, the precursor firm to 8VC. Lonsdale also co-founded and serves as chairman of Addepar, a wealth management technology company, and OpenGov, a technology platform that helps manage data intelligence and budget processes of governments and several other companies include Affinity, Epirus and Esper. In 2004, Lonsdale co-founded Palantir Technologies, a company focused on analyzing, integrating, and visualizing data especially in defense and finance.
Early life and education
Lonsdale grew up in Fremont, California, and attended Mission San Jose High School. He was a two-time scholastic state chess champion. He was raised in his mother's Jewish faith (his father is of Irish Catholic descent).
Lonsdale graduated from Stanford University in 2003 with a degree in computer science. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of The Stanford Review, the university’s conservative/libertarian newspaper. Lonsdale is a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
Lonsdale joined the financial arm of PayPal as an intern while a student at Stanford. After graduation he left to work in a variety of roles with PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. Lonsdale also served as an early executive from 2002-2009 at Clarium Capital, a macro hedge fund founded by Thiel. At Clarium's peak the fund grew to $8 billion in assets under management, but eventually shut down after a series of unprofitable investments and client redemptions resulting in its assets declining to between $300-400 million as of 2011.
In 2004, Lonsdale co-founded Palantir Technologies with Thiel, Alex Karp, Stephen Cohen, and Nathan Gettings. Palantir’s software allows human analysts to explore data from many sources, specifically in the intelligence and financial services sectors. It had a corporate culture modeled in part on Google's. Lonsdale initially served as co-head of product at Palantir. After the core leadership and engineering teams were established, Lonsdale and Eric Poirier built Palantir Finance (Later known as Metropolis, and then replaced by Foundry) as a separate division within Palantir. They created a technology platform analogous in scope to the government platform but focused on time series data and financial ontologies.
The company was valued at $20 billion in 2015. It announced a move from Silicon Valley in California to Denver, Colorado in 2020.