Startup (and Life) Lessons from Bill Draper

Student Post – July 3, 2013 – A few months ago, I didn’t know anything about the Draper family. After I applied to Draper University, I started to figure them out. I knew DU was a crazy and innovative school for entrepreneurs, but I never imagined how much work and history was behind it. Tim Draper has been empowering entrepreneurs in every stage of his life and Draper University students are the latest ones. MariaGandaraWhen I started to read and to ask about Tim Draper (founder of Draper University and Draper Fisher Jurvetson), I realized that I was very lucky. I knew that for 6 weeks I was going to be surrounded by the visionary who first invested in Hotmail and Skype and who indeed has an amazing family and values.

While reading Bill Draper’s book "The Startup Game" I saw how Tim’s dad's life related to me and where I am in my life. Bill Draper is not only a prominent Venture Capitalist; he has also been behind amazing strategies and plans. He has worked in public service, at the United Nations Development Programme, and has supported many social entrepreneurs.

Bill came to our school this week and when we asked him about characteristics that entrepreneurs should have, he answered:

• Drive • Courage • Energy • Brain Power • Creativity

We wanted to know in what kind of person he would invest in and he answered that the kind of person that had a sleeping bag in his office. A person that is energetic, hardworking, and exudes confidence. When I asked Bill for advice on how to create entrepreneurship ecosystems, he told me that we needed a strong relationship between academia, business people, and industry. He said that a new Silicon Valley can grow wherever there is a good technical university.

"There wouldn’t be a Silicon Valley without a Stanford," said Bill.

Bill Draper is a perfect example that shows us that by doing business we can change many lives and confirms us that entrepreneurship will enhance the development of our countries and our life. At the end, Bill Draper gave us some tips on how to pitch to VCs, and to close his talk he told us that he has had a lucky life.

~ Guest post by Maria Fernanda Gandara Gil who is from Mexico and was part of DU's Summer 2013 Class.