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Jul. 23, 2012 9:30 am

Tech entrepreneur challenges PayPal cofounder to $1 million chess match, considers permanent move to Philly

It’s just a friendly game of chess between national chess masters for $1 million in series A funding. Yeah, you heard that right. Entrepreneur A.J. Steigman challenged PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel to a chess match last week. Here are the stakes, as proposed by Steigman, who co-founded Soletron, an ecommerce and social networking platform for sneakers […]

Will PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (above) accept a $1 million chess challenge from entrepreneur A.J. Steigman? Photo courtesy of businessweek.com

It’s just a friendly game of chess between national chess masters for $1 million in series A funding.

Yeah, you heard that right.

Entrepreneur A.J. Steigman challenged PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel to a chess match last week.

Here are the stakes, as proposed by Steigman, who co-founded Soletron, an ecommerce and social networking platform for sneakers and streetwear: If Thiel wins, he’ll get a portion of Steigman’s Soletron equity. If Steigman wins, Thiel will invest $1 million in Soletron.

There’s been no word from Thiel yet.

Both Steigman and Thiel are ranked in the top 1 percent of U.S. chess players.

Steigman, 27, says he hopes this shows small business owners that “unconventional [fundraising] tactics can work.”

He also says he’s considering opening a company headquarters here in Philly.

About half of Soletron’s roughly 10 employees, including Steigman, are in Philly for the summer to work with marketing interns from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The rest of the staff is in New York City.

Steigman rented a house “Facebook style,” he says, in University City for the interns and himself. This is the company’s first internship based in Philly, but it’s worked with interns from Morehouse College, Emory and New York University.

Steigman says he’s “heavily leaning” towards a move to Philly for a few reasons: 1) proximity to his legal counsel, which is based here, as well as proximity to his team in New York, 2) low cost of living and 3) the ability to recruit from schools like Wharton.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technically Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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