Paul G. Allen Biography

Paul G. Allen


With lifetime giving totaling over $2 billion, investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen spent his career tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges and pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. Through both for-profit and philanthropic investments, Allen sparked important developments and innovations in the areas of science, technology, education, conservation, the arts and community improvement.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, mapped new frontiers and fueled exploration across a broad range of areas as the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., the Seattle-based company that oversaw his business and philanthropic efforts. Allen’s vision forwarded projects such as the massive redevelopment of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, founding three museums including Seattle’s MoPOP, and launching Stratolaunch Systems, which is developing a revolutionary air-launch system. He also owned the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association.

Allen is included among the world’s leading philanthropists who have pledged to give away the majority of their fortunes to charity. His giving was channeled through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and through direct gifts. In 2003, he founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science to accelerate understanding of the human brain in health and disease, supporting the Seattle non-profit with $500 million to date. A decade later, he launched the Allen Institute for the Artificial Intelligence to explore critical questions in AI. In 2014, he founded the Allen Institute for Cell Science and its inaugural project, the Allen Cell Explorer, which will accelerate disease research by creating predictive cell models. In 2016, he introduced The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, to identify and foster new ideas in bioscience around the world.

Allen’s award-winning film company, Vulcan Productions, developed and supported media projects that help audiences understand the world around them and respond to challenges. Idea Man, Allen's 2011 memoir, was a New York Times bestseller.