Paul's Biography

Four decades after co-founding Microsoft, entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen is still exploring the frontiers of technology and human knowledge, and acting to change the future.

Through his company Vulcan Inc., Paul is working to save endangered species, slow climate change, improve ocean health, share art, history and film, develop new technology, tackle epidemics, research how the human brain works and build sustainable communities. In all his endeavors, Mr. Allen constantly asks “What if…?” and pushes people to challenge conventional thinking, collaborate across disciplines and reimagine what’s possible.

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As the idea man and original technologist behind Microsoft, Paul has used his wealth to expand the horizons of human possibility. All told, Paul’s philanthropic contributions exceed $2 billion. Even before becoming a member of the Giving Pledge, Paul committed to giving away the majority of his fortune, an endeavor that continues every day. He invests in brain science and robotics research, retail space and outer space, documentaries and feature films, global health and local education.

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Paul is deeply invested locally in his hometown of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, and has created public spaces including Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, MoPOP and the Living Computer Museum + Labs—where people learn and interact with Seattle’s historic, cultural and musical heritage. The Seattle Art Fair and Upstream Music Festival have put the city on the map as one of the premier art and music destinations in the U.S.

He also thinks globally, making impact investments that will help developing countries expand their health, infrastructure and nurture a diversified economy.

Many of his ventures were seeded in his youth, and reflect the depth and diversity of his passions. He strives to create a new kind of future — a future that maps the intricacies inside our head, sets hidden talent alight and upends conventional thinking.

If we can understand the mysterious organ, the brain, we can pave the way towards understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s. If we can change the economics of space launches, we can change space travel and exploration. If we can get the formula right for a new kind of downtown neighborhood, it becomes a guide for the innovation centers of tomorrow. Paul is motivated by his commitment to sharing his ideas and discoveries with the world to help catalyze a better future.

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