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Tim Draper expands Draper University with addition of Draper Ecosystem

Tim Draper expands Draper University with addition of Draper Ecosystem

Tim Draper welcomes his students, in a promotional video.

Tim Draper welcomes his students, in a promotional video.

Above: Tim Draper welcomes his students, in a promotional video.

Image Credit: Draper University

Draper University, a kind of accelerated bootcamp in entrepreneurship founded by legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper, has hired a new chief executive and is expanding its scope with the addition of a satellite of related ventures.

The new CEO, Andrew Tang, was formerly managing director at ABB Technology Ventures. He is also currently managing director of the Draper Dragon Fund.

The complexity of the new Draper Ecosystem is a bit dizzying, so I asked Draper to explain a bit.

“It all revolves around growing entrepreneurs and providing deal flow for Draper Associates,” Draper said. “We want to provide as much service as possible for entrepreneurs because we want to continue to attract the best from all over the world.”

To that end, the Draper Ecosystem contains four unique components:

  • Draper University: A seven-week program that runs four times a year, aimed at teaching students “the fundamentals of launching a startup.” Tuition is $9,500, although the company offers scholarships.
  • Hero City: An incubator that includes a co-working space and storefront, directly across the street from Draper University. VC funds are also located in this space.
  • VCx: A one-week, invite-only program aimed at teaching high net worth individuals “how to invest in early stage companies.”
  • Executive Education: a one-week program educating executives on “the fundamentals of new ventures as a way to push innovation inside corporations.”

In addition, a constellation of venture funds are standing by to soak up all the deal flow the above four components will generate:

  • Draper Associates: A seed-stage VC fund that counts Silicon Valley high-fliers Tesla, Twitch, Theranos, and DocuSign among its portfolio.
  • The DFJ Global Network: A collective of 14 independent VC funds (with over 100 VCs and more than 500 portfolio companies) across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Draper University is a bit of an odd experiment, which is maybe not that surprising coming from the guy who has a plan to split California into six states. It’s located in downtown San Mateo, California, in an old hotel building that has been converted into student dormitories and classrooms (it’s a residential program). The front of the building sports giant photos of entrepreneurial “heroes” Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, and the University’s rhetoric is unabashedly focused on the “heroism” of entrepreneurship.

Despite the oddity, the program appears to be successful, with more applicants than spaces for every quarter since it started in 2012. Including the class that just kicked off — its 8th — Draper University has over 300 alumni from 38 countries.

“We have set out to make a long term personal investment in the entrepreneurs and want to create more heroes in this world,” Tang told me.

“It’s hard to put a number on the value of the networks they build here, but to give you a few examples, many students, through our networks, have found investors and gotten funding in the five, six and seven figure range; students have gotten jobs through our network, and learn invaluable skills that would be difficult to attain in such a short-period.”

Tim Draper, Founder and a Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is one of the most successful early-stage venture capitalists of the past 20 years. His original suggestion to use “viral marketing” in web-based e-mail to geometr… read more »

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