Startup Advice

6 Steps to Being a Better Founder

michaelstaton Information provided by Michael Staton of Learn Capital as part of his lecture at Draper University.

1. Get more productive

It’s never going to get easier or more simple. What you need to learn is how to juggle and hustle, while keeping in mind that nothing will go according to plan.

[Tweet "Fail fast and iterate!"]

2. Reduce your personal burn

You can’t get a company off the ground without all the founding skill sets to create that product on your team. You need a Doer, Promoter, and Leader. Hire a team that will complement your strengths.

3. Get current and stay current

Be aware of your competitive landscape. An investor won’t give you money if you aren’t willing to take 6 months to educate yourself on what needs to be done. Learn as much as possible.

4. Build serendipity inbound and truth outbound networks

You've got to hire slow, and fire fast. High expectations are met through designing and implementing human systems. Carry with you & seek out the "entrepreneurship" gene in your networks.

5. Build an audience

Dave Mclure says: A startup is confused about at least one of three things: What their product is, who their customer is, or how they make money. Know all of these to build the proper audience.

6. Skill up

The skill most necessary to being a better founder is design—or the methodology to choose from infinite possibilities. This means being able to make disciplined choices and form ideas into concrete actions.

Loopd Lands Additional $1.5M to Power Corporate Events Analytics

Tim Draper, Marc Benioff, and Mesh Ventures provide followup funding to help Loopd expand their team and scale out internationally.

[embed width="123" height="456"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nns54nMHkt8[/embed]

Following its initial seed round last Fall, Loopd has raised a total of $2.6 million from key East Coast, West Coast and international angel and seed fund investors. Leading the current round are Salesforce CEO and founder Marc Benioff; venture capitalist Tim Draper; and Taiwan-based Mesh Ventures.

With its new round of investment, Loopd plans to focus on building a more cost-effective, feature-rich relational analytics system; growing a world-class, high-velocity sales initiative; enhancing its operational capabilities; and exploring new market opportunities.

During the next year, the Loopd team plans to power 20 Fortune 2000 corporate conferences with its wearables-based connected hardware solution and 40 high-quality events with its app-based software solution.

At events, corporate marketers can generate real-time physical (also known as "off-line") analytics from an active network of smart badges and apps. By employing its patent-pending bi-directional hardware and software solutions, Loopd enables attendees to exchange contact information on a face-to-face basis, collect marketing materials instantaneously, and check-in to speaker sessions passively. By tracking this information, corporate marketers can create actionable analytics to drive product development, partnerships, and customer acquisition strategies.

In the future, Loopd's technology could become the leading "off-line" analytics provider beyond events in operationally oriented industries, including health, manufacturing, supply chain and retail. It also could play a central role in humanitarian relief operations in the developing world and in the deployment of military ground troops.

"Loopd bridges the gap between physical and virtual connections, melting the distinctions between 'wearable technology', real-world connections and social networks," said Brian Friedman, CEO and co-founder. "The possible use cases for Loopd are boundless, from helping healthcare workers glean details about patients instantly, to facilitating military ground troop communication, to turning handshakes into information swaps."

Loopd launched at the major interactive tradeshow South by Southwest 2015 by partnering with 13 exhibitors to power the official SXSW scavenger hunt. This demonstrated how to share content, and analyze Loopd's overall event value. More recently Loopd provided analytics, smart badges, and mobile event apps for BoxDev 2015, the annual developer conference for content collaboration, in San Francisco and for Xerocon 2015, a conference for leaders in cloud accounting, in Denver in June.

During the past 12 months, Loopd has built the world's first analytics platform for the real world; complimentary iOS and Android apps; and a smart badge leveraging its proprietary bi-directional beacon protocols. At a series of global startup competitions, Loopd won the 2015 Wearable Tech Product of the Year (Wearable Tech World), was selected as a top 8 finalist for "smart data and enterprise" at SXSW Accelerator, and was selected as a top 4 finalist for "Internet of Things data analytics" at CeBit CODE_N awards.

[Tweet "Emerging leader @loopd bridges the gap between physical and virtual connections at corporate events closed a $1.5 million bridge round."]

About Loopd Inc.

Founded at the Silcon Valley's entrepreneurship academy Draper University of Heroes in September 2013, Loopd Inc. provides physical intelligence to corporate events. We help corporate marketers learn how people interact with each other, with the company, and with the company's products. The Loopd relational analytics solution is the industry's only bi-directional solution that enables the exchange of content and contact information automatically. It also gathers rich analytics data so that marketers have a more sophisticated understanding of their most valuable business relationships. Loopd is headquartered in San Francisco. To learn more, visit www.loopd.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit: Copyright (C) 2015 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.

7 Hacks to Learn Anything

7hackstolearnanything Our brain is constantly soaking up information and looking for ways to apply it. While learning something new can be exciting, it can also be confusing - and sometimes downright frustrating. We want to help make it easier with these tips and tricks. [Tweet "While the list of learning hacks is probably endless, we’ve narrowed it down to the best 7 ways to learning anything."]

 

1. Be Uncomfortable.

Step out of your comfort zone. Here, you’ll find self growth and discovery. You learn best when you’re stretched to the edge of your ability. It needs to be challenging and unfamiliar - that’s how your brain grows.

2. Get Up and Do It.

The most efficient way for you to master something, is to actually get up and do it. Whether it is a language, habit or skill - reading about it or studying it is important - but people learn best by applying and utilizing their knowledge.

3. Check Your Motivation.

Understand why you are investing your time and effort. Ask yourself, “Why am I learning this?”. People are more motivated and willing to commit when they have a clear end goal. Choose something that excites you and you are passionate about.

4. Set A Realistic Agenda.

Define benchmarks and goals for your learning path. Be ambitious but also realistic! Challenge your abilities but also schedule in time for relaxation and absorption of the information - this is known as the “spacing effect”, and its known to improve long-term recall.

5. Track and Share Your Progress.

Record your learning journey. Whether it’s on Evernote, a journal or even Twitter, tracking your progress allows for reflection and learning from your mistakes. Sharing the experience with others also welcomes feedback and holds you accountable for your goals.

6.Teach What You Know.

A great method of information retention is to explain or demonstrate to others. Articulating your knowledge is a challenge in itself and as Albert Einstein once said - [Tweet "“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”"]

7. Be Okay With Failing.

When learning something new, you may fail once, or twice, or more - but that’s to be expected otherwise you’re not learning! Get comfortable with hearing the word “no” or feeling defeated. You learn best from your mistakes and failure brings growth and resilience.

3 Indicators of a Good Founding Team

Inside the investor's mind: 3 indicators of a good founding team

How does a VC pick out the best entrepreneurs to fund? There are three top indicators for a good founding team.

Indicators of a Good Founding Team

1. Relentless Enthusiasm

When an investor meets with the founders of a startup, intelligence of the team is a given. But it's not enough. Having great enthusiasm for the problem you are solving allows you to sell yourself. An investor funds your idea based on the notion that you will do everything in your power to make it a reality. Oftentimes it's not the one you first envision, but the idea in the back of your mind that makes you successful. Never lose enthusiasm for your work.

2. Thoroughness

Steve Jobs was a stickler for details. From Jobs' point of view, every detail, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, mattered.

In a growing industry, this will set you apart from the rest. Put in the extra 15% that your competitor neglects by focusing your energy to work harder and smarter. Pay attention to detail while discovering features your customer will crave in a product. Then, lower the friction for your customer to get to your product. Make it easier, faster, cheaper, and better than your competitors'... and you’ll win!

[Tweet " "Use a virus, use a magnet, use whatever you can" - the father of viral @timdraper"]

3. Team Dynamics

How your team gets along with each other and the respect you have for each other determines how an investor will perceive your team as a whole. As a general rule of thumb, find people who are smarter than you. Practice self-awareness by knowing not only what you are really good at, but also what you are bad at. Evaluate your personal character traits and skills, and seek team members with qualities that complement yours.

tim-draper-infographic
For the full interview, check out the Funders and Founders interview here. Information shared by Anna Vital.

Top 5 Startup Tips from a VC

Startup tipsfrom a top vc
1. Delight your customer

What do you have without a happy customer? The key to success in business hinges on how clients and customers perceive you. That depends entirely on how well you serve them. Think of a happy customer as a brand ambassador who will go into the world and share the greatness of your product with their network. For free. Because you did your job. Make this a priority.

2. Hire carefully

Picking your cofounder is the biggest decision you'll make. Walk down the aisle with someone you can trust and someone you know will match you in terms of drive, stamina, and creativity. Inventory your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. The last thing you should do is hire 5 clones. Plug those weaknesses, and find people smarter than you.

3. Fail and fail again

Can you spot your mistakes? Every entrepreneur has made plenty of mistakes, you aren’t alone! The sign of a good entrepreneur is the ability to spot them, correct quickly, and not repeat them.

4. Know how to reach your customers

Who is your target market and where are they located? Pick a persona for your ideal client and use this persona frequently when determining how and where to reach your customers. Give her a name, background story, and character traits. When you humanize your ideal customer, locating them in real life is less trying.

5. The best ideas are simple

You don't have to reinvent the wheel to create a profitable business. Are you cheaper, faster, or better? Be two of these things. The first two things Investor Tim Draper looks at: whether you’re in a billion-dollar market and if you can make big margins.

If you're looking to grow your startup in the company of passionate leaders, Silicon Valley resources & world-class VC's, check this out.

Reblog: 5 Surprising Mistakes Found in Seed-Stage Startup Pitch Decks

I Stared at Startup Pitch Decks for 3 Straight Weeks – Here’s What I Learned

startup pitch deckReblog from NextView Ventures' Blog - February 25, 2015 - A few weeks ago, we launched two startup pitch deck templates for raising seed capital — part of NextView’s platform of exclusive startup resources. And while the NextView partners served as the editors and directors of the project to ensure its usefulness to founders, I wanted to share a few of the more surprising or alarming lessons and trends I witnessed after spending weeks of my life staring at actual pitch decks from dozens of startups to inform our templates.

Some of these lessons might be useful because I’m not the founder who created those decks. Sometimes, when you’re too close to a task or challenge at hand, you miss the obvious. You lose the forest thanks to all those damn trees.

Other lessons I learned might be useful because, well, how often does someone spend hours upon hours of their waking life comparing and contrasting pitch decks? I wasn’t evaluating companies, mind you, but the decks themselves — nitpicking every little design and layout element to borrow and adapt and inform our project. How often does that happen? (Answer: Never, because that sounds like what a crazy person would do. But for three weeks, this was my world. As an aside, please send coffee. I’m still recovering.)

So, begging for your sympathy aside, here are the biggest things I learned after sorting through pitch decks and re-building the wireframe from the ground up. In sharing them, I hope you can create a deck that’s better informed, more compelling, and more effective at raising capital for your venture.

5 Surprising Mistakes Found in Seed-Stage Startup Pitch Decks

#1: Founders Often Miss the Most Important Slide

The first thing that jumped out was just how often decks lacked a clear, over problem statement. “THIS is why we exist. THIS is what we aim to solve. THIS is why customers will care.”

You can make the case that the “what we do” slide is the most important, but in the seed stage, the exact details of the product and even the target customer is a moving target.

Instead, I’d argue that the most critical slide to include early in the deck is a succinct, jargon-free problem statement. The “what” and “how” are still being developed, though you will obviously include some of those details in the deck. But the “why” of your company is absolutely essential.

The “why” is about two things:

  1. Explaining the market opportunity. Why will your customers care about your company? Is this a really big problem right now? Is it only growing as a problem/opportunity? Are there other solutions that exit but fall flat, thus putting you in a position to win?
  2. Validating you as the founder. Why are YOU out to solve this problem? Why do you care? Are you authentic as a founder who’s hell-bent on solving this issue? Will you run through inevitable future brick walls because you care so much, or did you just spot a weakness in a market and may not be overly passionate? In short, what’s your unfair advantage to gain traction and distribution and start to solve this particular problem?

It can’t be overstated — stating this clearly and early is crucial to the success of your pitch, whether you’re pitching investors, customers, or potential new hires.

#2: Type-A People Try to Cram Too Much Information onto Every Slide

If you were a Type-A student and always over-prepared for tests, then you’re likely to struggle with the copy and layout of your pitch deck a bit more than other founders. That much was clear when reviewing all the various types of decks I used during my research and matching them to my perception of a given entrepreneur.

I am that Type-A person too, so take it from me: On a single piece of paper, write down the main point each slide tries to make. Then add exactly those points to the slides. Leave the color commentary to the slide notes or appendix.

Good pitch decks are clear, concise, and contain only the most critical information … not ALL information. It’s hard to avoid if you’re this type of person, but don’t feel the need to cram in every single detail about your company. Nor should you stuff tons of copy onto a single slide.

Again, like the above mentioned “why” slide, this clarity and focus is also great practice for selling your product to customers.

#3: Claiming You Won’t Need Future Funding Is Actually a Mistake

I always believed that, were I to found a company after NextView, I’d say exactly that. I’d simply raise a single round then never fundraise ever again.

Not so fast. As it turns out, claiming that you’ll never need another round after your seed financing can hurt your credibility as a founder. A lot of the reasons why are implied, not stated, simply by you raising capital at all. First of all, if the business is destined for greatness, you’re likely to want future capital to step on the gas. Additionally, by raising institutional capital, you’re implying that high growth potential is the name of the game. It’s much different than a friends and family round or even an angel round in some cases. When raising from a VC, you’re signaling that you’re trying to maximize growth and returns.

#4: Many Decks Fail to Mention a Distribution Strategy

gtm slide

In our templates, this information can be found on the Go-To-Market slide, which has its own dedicated explainer slide ahead of it just because it’s so critical. The slide itself — and the reason it was a surprising lesson learned after my time staring at these decks — both point to one reality: Many founders focus too much on the tech rather than how they’ll actually get that tech into the hands of customers. (Some decks did include this fact made the mistake of citing very broad generalizations. “Content marketing” is not a go-to-market strategy.)

I need to acknowledge that the lack of info around distribution could be due to the number of Boston based startups I reviewed. It’s a common knock that Boston entrepreneurs think about tech and tech alone and fail to articulate how they’ll generate demand. (I personally disagree and think that this is a gross generalization of Boston-based marketers and entrepreneurs. As an aside, I believe the area’s founders are actually very good at targeting customers, but lousy at targeting tech press and larger, splashier goals. And for that reason, the tech press believes they lack good marketing chops overall.)

As NextView’s David Beisel likes to say, “We live in a demand-constrained world. Tell us how you’ll combat that issue when you launch.”

Show you’re thinking about distribution, and even better, show you have an unfair advantage for gaining traction.

#5: Many Founders Share Decks in Editable Files, Ruining All Design

Many of the decks sent to me by the NextView partners were originally shared in PowerPoint. These are editable files and can cause disastrous perception problems — namely, the design, layout, fonts, and alignment of all slides can suddenly appear incredibly sloppy.

This is an easy one to avoid: Send a PDF. It’s that simple. As a bonus, you can hyperlink to things in PDFs through Adobe Acrobat Pro that are instantly clickable, compared to PowerPoint-based links.

(It’s worth noting that our pitch deck templates are indeed built in PowerPoint in order for you to download and easily edit the slides. But if your operating system or specific edition of PowerPoint causes any design issues, check out our SlideShare account for two PDF versions you can view alongside the PowerPoint as you edit.)

#6: More Than Half of All Pitch Decks Weren’t Framed as a Story

We believe telling a compelling, authentic story is so critical that we built a template called “The Show” which is quite literally a story-telling deck. Even if you don’t use that version, you can still adapt the framework of good storytelling into your more straightforward pitch deck.

The Show template aside, the pitch decks I studied were mainly fact-based flipbooks of copy and graphs. But the biggest realization I had while working with NextView’s partners on this project is that, in every case, you’re better off telling a coherent, compelling story about your company and where it’s heading.

Luckily, every story from nursery rhymes to Shakespeare to stellar startup pitches can be distilled into three parts: a status quo, some conflict, and a resolution.

This is the absolute best way to tell your own story and pitch your company. Gone are the days of transactional, slide-by-slide pitches being the most effective option. Investors make decisions with their heads and their gut instincts. You need to target BOTH.

And for a step-by-step template for doing exactly that, as well as compiling either of two effective startup pitches, I invite you to check out our startup pitch deck templates.

Best of luck telling your startup’s story.

--

jay acunzo

A Brief History of Venture Capital for Entrepreneurs

January 20, 2015 - As the old adage goes, history often repeats itself, and speculators are always trying to figure out when the next bubble will burst. Entrepreneurs have a lot to learn from venture capitalists and the history and trends that inform their investment decisions. In this blog post, we summarize the history of venture capital as written by Jerry Neumann in this article. Read on for main takeaways and trends by decade - all of which may be a hint of what's to come.

1960s

As technology improved, time truly became an item of luxury. If a venture capitalist moved too slow, that VC might miss out on a deal of a lifetime. VCs knew they had to move quickly not only to keep up with the times, but also to secure deals.

venture-capital-time

Lessons of the 1960s

Time is a luxury. It not only affects VCs, but also entrepreneurs. The more VCs you know, the better - meet and stay in contact with as many as you can.

1970s

A change in government regulations allowed pension funds to be considered a “prudent” investment. This spurred change within the venture capital community because VCs were now armed with pension funds as extra money, which they then used to invest in early stage companies.

venture-capital-policy

Lessons of the 70s

You better believe venture capitalists stay up-to-date on government policies, and you should too. Information is power, and past, present, and future venture capital will continue to be influenced by government in some way, shape, or form.

As an entrepreneur, you can use the fact that venture capitalists are getting in early on your company to always ask for help and mentorship. Early VCs will be just as interested in your success as you are.

1980s

Venture capitalists realized what were once top returning sectors were no longer the top returning sectors. Something had to give, and VCs started to invest in different directions and new sectors. Many VCs ended up investing in later-stage companies and already-established markets, thereby going against what they had learned in the 70s about investing in early stage and not heavily established markets.

venture-capital-gem

Lessons of the 80s

Venture capitalists are always looking for diamond-in-the-rough sectors to invest in, but sometimes they accidentally miss them or just aren’t positioned correctly.

1990s

The Internet changed everything. After seeing the early successes of Internet companies like Amazon and Netscape and their IPOs, venture capitalists ramped up investments in Internet companies. An influx of VCs looking to invest meant an influx of money so that anybody and everybody associated with the Internet received investment from VCs.

venture-capital-internet

Lesson of the 90s

Venture capitalists are human and follow visible trends. If you stay up on the latest trends, you may literally be "following the money" is those trends become a reality. 

Early 2000s

The hype caught up to venture capitalists. Unfulfilled promises sent stock prices tumbling thus defining the 2000s as the era of the dot com crash. However, because of their investments, VCs helped usher in a new era of technology, and their failed investments may have actually helped humanity in the long run.

venture-capital-fail

Lesson of the early 2000s

Venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and humans in general make mistakes all the time. Was believing the Internet hype justifiable? In a way, yes, but it did cost a pretty penny. By using and learning from your own and others' mistakes, you can bounce back and ultimately help others.

Late 2000s

Not all was lost in the 2000s. Social media took off like a rocket and created another market for venture capitalists to get into. VCs have backed well-known social media companies that now shape our daily lives and habits.

venture-capital-rebound

Lesson of the late 2000s

Just like entrepreneurs, venture capitalists will fail and fail again until they succeed. VCs were willing to give Internet companies another chance, and it was a good thing they did or we may not have Facebook and Google was we know them today.

Today

There are thousands and thousands of companies in already established markets seeking funding from venture capitalists. If this trend continues, VCs, entrepreneurs, and the rest of the world may face stagnation. VCs are in danger of returning back to the ways they invested in the 1980s.

venture-capital-risk

Lessons from Today

History seemingly repeats itself at will. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists must be aware of history and use it to their advantage.

Recap of Lessons Learned by VCs

  • 1960s: Use time wisely
  • 1970s: Information is power and success is more likely with a team
  • 1980s: When opportunity knocks, open the door
  • 1990s: Trends might become future reality - stay at the forefront
  • Early 2000s: Learn from your mistakes
  • Late 2000s: Fail and fail until you succeed
  • Today: Be brave

10 Tips from Inspiring Speakers at Draper University

Student Post – January 6, 2015 – Culled from the 2014 Summer class draper-selfie1. “Want to be a billionaire? Do this: solve a billion dollar problem OR solve a billion people’s problem.” — Naveen Jain

2. “After your first 12 years, you become a know-it-all. It’s simply the nature of intelligent beings. Now, we’re all tasked with re-gaining the template of being open or facing impending stagnation.” — Dr. Joon Yun

3. “You’re always better off renting; software, office, staff, etc. ” —  Joel Yarmon

4. “There’s honestly no better customer in the world than the desperate mom. That’s why I love direct-to-consumer marketing in the education industry.” — Dave McClure

5. “Once you get OPM (other-people’s-money), you officially have a boss. Entrepreneurs have bosses too. ” — Trip Hawkins

6. “Experts will either tell you why it can’t be done or give you an incrementally better idea. So, if you have a brilliantly disruptive idea, never go to an expert.” — Naveen Jain

7. “All technologies are combinations of technologies that already exist. Nothing is truly new.” — Steve Jurvetson

8. “It’s okay to say ‘no’ to unreasonable people. Protecting your network and reputation is paramount.” — Heidi Roizen

9. “When the going gets tough. Grab a partner. And MOSH.” — Chocolate Heads Movement Band

10. “It’s an incredible sight to watch when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object.” — Tim Draper

Interested in an opportunity of a lifetime? Apply today: http://draperuniversity.com//apply/.

~ Guest post by Adé O. who is from Maryland and was part of DU’s Summer 2014 Class.

Eight Promising Student-Founded Startups to Pitch to Tim Draper at YouNoodle Live

We’ve partnered with YouNoodle, a global startup competition platform and network of over 50,000 startups, and their virtual demo day series, YouNoodle Live, to bring you YouNoodle Live With Tim Draper on Tuesday December 9th at 9AM (PST). The event will shine the spotlight on eight of the most promising student entrepreneurs from around the world as they pitch for Tim Draper’s feedback and global exposure. As an active advocate for entrepreneurs around the world, Tim is excited to be part of YouNoodle Live. “We are constantly recruiting young founders for Draper University and are proud to have one of the best networks for innovators looking to launch their ideas into the marketplace,” said Tim. “This is a great opportunity for us to see what is out there in terms of new and unique ideas.”

Pitching students belong to YouNoodle 1K – the top 1,000 entrepreneurs and ideas selected from over 28,000 startups coming through more than 400 YouNoodle-driven startup competitions worldwide in the past 12 months. And, with only the highest standard of applicants presenting, you will be sure to catch some pretty inspiring pitches!

Draper University is proud to support YouNoodle’s mission to level the global playing field for startups so that they may access opportunities no matter where they are located. The virtual and cost-free nature of YouNoodle Live does just that. See the pitch-off go down by registering free at www.younoodle.com/live

Online Learning: 4 Tips for Staying on Track

February 18, 2014 – The beauty and curse of online learning is that you get to set your own schedule (for the most part). This being the case, it can be easy to fall behind. Draper University Online asks for a lot of your time and energy - over and above what you put into other major life commitments. Draper University OnlineWhen it comes down to it, this is what starting a business will be like. Whether you choose to start your business on the side while you're still employed or take the leap and start full speed ahead, tasks will inevitably pile up faster than you have time to do them. Your experience with online learning in Draper University Online is a great opportunity to practice effective time-management, and we thought we'd get you started with a few pointers:

1. Set deadlines for yourself

It sounds like a no-brainer, but creating systems for yourself is probably the most effective way to keep on track. Write tasks down in your calendar and you'll be much more likely to finish them. Take time this week to plan ahead by carving out blocks in your schedule for your coursework.

Also, feel free to create your own events in the Calendar section of the site. This will be especially helpful for coordinating group activities like this week's virtual business plan meeting.

2. Split big projects into smaller tasks

The biggest projects are often the most daunting. Splitting them into smaller, more manageable pieces will make it easier to get started.

Take, for example, your Rube Goldberg assignment from Creativity. Instead of trying to attack this in one sitting, try splitting it into three separate 15-20 minute tasks: research and planning, gathering materials, and assembling, for example.

3. Make your online learning social

Make a point to engage your classmates, friends, and family about the content and work you encounter over the course of the program. Did one of the speakers blow your mind? Were you surprised by something you read in one of the reading assignments? The best way to deepen your understanding of new content is often to discuss it with others - plus, it can make for great dinner conversation!

Turn assignments like Painting into group activities: invite friends over to paint self-portraits and watch one of the recommended movies together (more great dinner conversation!).

4. Have fun with it!

At Draper University, we believe that online learning can and should be a good time! Starting a company takes a lot of work, so the ability to find an element of fun in every task at hand will make a huge difference in your ability to endure the hard times and make the best of the good times.

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.