Facebook investor and American billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel will be the keynote speaker at an ideas conference aimed at accelerating New Zealand's prosperity.

The event is being organised by Auckland business incubator the Icehouse on July 8.

Icehouse chief executive Andy Hamilton said it took several requests before Thiel agreed to come.

It's believed to be his first public speaking engagement in New Zealand.

Thiel is an investor and philanthropist whose interests include a venture capital fund that backs promising Kiwi technology companies.

He co-founded online payments company PayPal in 1998 and, after selling it to eBay in 2002, funded a number of startups including social-networking site Facebook.

In 2005 he founded Silicon Valley venture capital firm the Founders Fund and invests in next-generation tech companies such as SpaceX and LinkedIn.

Thiel is also the chairman of the investment committee of Valar Ventures, a New Zealand venture capital fund he launched last year to invest in high-growth Kiwi tech firms.

To date Valar has invested $4.5 million in accounting software firm Xero and fibre-optic cabling company Pacific Fibre.

He has called New Zealand "utopia" and is a big Lord of the Rings fan. Valar Ventures is named after the deities who created Middle Earth.

"New Zealand is a vibrant and growing country with a great deal to offer the world.

"Its inventive spirit and open economy will support the next generation of great companies, many of which we'll be discussing in July," he said.

Hamilton said New Zealand was already getting leverage from Thiel's involvement here. His PayPal co-founder Max Levchin was on holiday here last week and spent several days talking to Kiwi business people.

The Ice Ideas conference in July will feature about 30 speakers and is designed to look at how New Zealand businesses can lift their success over the next decade.

Other confirmed speakers include entrepreneur and angel investor Rob Adams, Benesse Corporation chief executive Sochiro Fukutake, Xero chief executive Rod Drury and The Hyperfactory co-founder Derek Handley.