Curriculum

Draper University Teams Up With Indiegogo Life to Crowdfund Tuition

Draper University has partnered with Indiegogo Life to enable Draper University applicants to raise funds for their tuition.

At our site, you can see campaigns from budding entrepreneurs who explain why they want to attend Draper University and what business they plan to launch. Through these campaigns, we’ve gained many interesting insights about raising money on Indiegogo and how to catalyze your community.

Learn how to rally your network.

Launch a fundraiser that will personally invest your network in your success and entrepreneurial pursuits. Picture Piotr Yordanov, a Fall 2013 Draper University Alumni. Aside from his charismatic video shoot, Piotr leveraged his skills as a software engineer and website designer to incentivize his network to donate to his campaign. By knowing your strengths and skillsets, you can determine what exactly you need from others to succeed. Donors were more likely to donate to Piotr’s campaign knowing they would receive a “free” one-hour tech consultation.

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Draper University founder & famous Venture Capitalist Tim Draper strongly recommends the ability to discuss your personal strengths and weaknesses. Are you good at writing? Spend extra time crafting your pitch text. Are you great at interacting with people? Be in charge of responding to comments. In the world of business and startups, it’s vital to own what you are great at, and create a diverse team that fills in the areas you could use some help to help your campaign stand out.

Create a buzz-worthy story.

Similar to when starting a business, determining who your contributors will be and where to find them is essential to meeting your goal. Are your donors your Facebook friends and family? LinkedIn connections & colleagues? Tech lovers in the Twitterverse? Once you’ve tested where the majority of your donors are, you can more efficiently use your time by putting forth effort in these specific areas. Make sure you know where the first 30% of your funds are coming from before launching your campaign. If you aren’t confident you can hit this within the first few days, adjust your goal accordingly.

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The more compelling your story and the more convincing your business idea, the more likely you are to reach your funding goal. Your audience needs to know why your school tuition will enable your business, and the message should be powerful and clear. Your donors will want to know that their money will empower you personally, but more importantly that you’ll make a big difference in the long run. Being transparent is crucial to the success of your fundraiser. A breakdown of exactly how the funds will be used can be helpful for instilling a sense of trust.

Piotr tugged at the heartstrings of his audience by explaining his mission and making his audience feel a part of it, too. The call-to-action on Piotr’s page states this clearly, “I have a dream, that one day, the middle-east, will see entrepreneurial heroes. Together we make this dream come true!”

Get a taste of raising capital.

Crowdfunding tuition on Indiegogo Life can also be great experience for pitching your business to investors., except your contributors don’t expect anything but your happiness and success in return! Upload a video, share your story, and let your personality shine. It should be obvious at this point that launching a strong crowdfunding campaign is very similar to launching a business and can be a strong proof point that demonstrates you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

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Indiegogo Life will provide you fantastic knowledge for developing a network and raising capital. It will push you to think through the finer details of your business plan and polish an idea that’s ready for market. If your campaign is successful, you will have sharpened your startup idea and established your goals before you even step through our doors.

We encourage all future students to take advantage of this opportunity. With an effective crowdfunding campaign under your belt, you’ll hit the ground running when it comes time to pitch your ideas to private investors.

Watch the video on how to raise funds for education at Draper University!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzdteVw76dA#action=share

The New Student

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About Draper University and Student Entrepreneur Opportunities:

Draper University, founded by famed venture capitalist Tim Draper, is focused on inspiring people and accelerating ideas by igniting the entrepreneurial spirit. To date, DU has over  305 alumni, with 185 companies, raising over $15,446,500 in venture financing. They’re funded by some of the most prestigious investors including Marc Andreessen, Tim Draper and Marc Benioff.

Beyond fostering a community of diverse leaders who want to change the world, the program equips its students with the skills, access and resources available in Silicon Valley. DU teaches entrepreneurs how to build a startup from business plan to execution and in real-world, accelerated terms. Something very hard to find with collegiate programs and even internships. This concept of real world acceleration is at the heart of the program and its curriculum. 

Each program lasts 7 weeks and students come to the live-in entrepreneurship program prepared for some intense schooling. The program culminates with "Demo Day", where the students present their ideas to a panel of technology luminaries and VCs and some even walk away with a deal and/or chance to incubate their idea at Hero City. Hero City is an entrepreneurial ecosystem that houses an incubator, eco-working space and offices of VC funds. The location is conveniently across the street from Draper University’s main building.

Michael Lisovetsky’s entrepreneurial journey started in the 6th grade when he and a friend created a website called HomeworkSwap.

Their goal wasn’t to earn money but to avoid mindless schoolwork. The site did not take off nor did their next venture, a web hosting company that failed miserably, but it set the stage for Michael’s next company FazeWire, which succeeded.

The aspiring young entrepreneur sold FazeWire while still in middle school, and, though the amount was small,Entrepreneurs Michael knew this was what wanted to do with his future—he was on the road to joining a growing group of young entrepreneurs.

After high school, Michael entered New York University in the fall of 2011. He quickly realized that traditional university courses were not doing much for him, but he knew a degree would prove credible to outsiders, which fueled his drive to succeed.

Enter Draper University

Michael found Draper U completely by accident. He attended a Wearable Tech conference where he met Draper alumni and founder of Q Bracelet and Q Designs, James Kernan. James told Michael about Draper U and since he thrives on serendipitous opportunities, he felt that Draper U was a no-brainer. NYU was put on hold while Michael attended Draper in the summer of 2014.

“At best, NYU spurred a path of self-education, in which I understood the fundamentals of finance from greats such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger,” says Michael. “The $150k+ price tag on my education could’ve been funneled a lot more effectively towards practical learning, and Draper U is an excellent example of that...”

[Tweet ""I learned more about myself and the world in the 7 weeks at #DraperU than in 4 years of university""]

Michael and HomeSwipe came out on top, securing an angel investment from Tim Draper. Now HomeSwipe is rapidly approaching product/market fit. They are scaling to Chicago soon and flipping the switch to start generating revenue.

“It’s been a complete whirlwind for us, and it feels great to be behind the controls of a rocket ship that’s taking off,” said Michael. “I recently pitched HomeSwipe at the VCIC Global Finals, and won the Startup of the Year award. Winning against entrepreneurs significantly older and more experienced was an extremely humbling experience.

At 22 years old, Michael is already equipped with the experience and knowledge he needs for his entrepreneurial future, and he has Draper University to thank for teaching him how to—in the words of Tim Draper—”explore the world with gusto and enthusiasm.”

For the full article, read here.

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The Case for a "Virtual Citizenship" for Silicon Valley

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Edmilson, is the founder of the EdTech startup Edudream and alumnus of Draper University. 

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Once upon a time, in this very same galaxy...

The technology and Entrepreneurship community was shaken. Investors asked themselves: The VC Market is so hot right now... Where are the good entrepreneurs? How can we find the next big thing?

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Meanwhile, I was just an average Latin American guy with a big passion for technology and Entrepreneurship. My heroes were Steve Jobs and Larry Page, just regular Joes (like me) who changed the world by developing a technology that spread like fire.

However, those stories were in the epicenter of the digital world: Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley was a fantasy to me. Unreachable due to its high cost and my lack of connections in that world. Yet, just like the young Luke Skywalker, I dreamed of seeing the Galaxy.

My home city of Recife/Brazil is to Silicon Valley what Tatooine is to Coruscant in the Star Wars universe. We have a developing entrepreneurial ecosystem and an abundance of technical talent due to good universities. But in regard to opportunities for entrepreneurs and access to capital, we are just a big pile of sand. 

But everything changed when The Force gave me access to an amazing opportunity: Draper University of Heroes

There, I found everything I was looking for: knowledge, inspiration, networking and, most importantly, access to capital by receiving investment from Draper Associates. After graduation I felt like a Jedi and had wings to pursuit my full potential as an entrepreneur.

We incorporated in the USA to stay close to investors and clients, but our developing team is actually in Brazil, where our costs are 1/5 of that of Silicon Valley. We connect the best of both worlds: Investors, capital and clients from Silicon Valley and a brilliant, motivated and passioante team from Brazil (where the hiring costs are 1/5 of Silicon Valley´s). And guess what? We pay taxes in both countries, so we are helping to generate progress in both!

But put yourself in the shoes of a technology entrepreneur from a developing country for a minute: You are just a little nerd from a third world nation. You have an awesome idea, experience and a relentless determination to make it happen. But you have no money and no connections, there is no venture capital industry in your country and you have to work for a living while you see a great opportunity to loose its time to market.

Consider for example the case of one of our dreamers:  Deborah is a BioMedicine PhD candidate from UFPE (my alma mater) who graduates in August 2015. Deborah has been researching about Cancer RNA markers for 4 years and developed a diagnostic system that is cheap and detects very early stage cancer cells. She was accepted at the MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. From 60 thousands applicants, she was one of 50 selected! But she needs USD$10,000 to finance the tuition, airtickets and cost of living.

She might loose the opportunity to attend this amazing bootcamp because there is no early stage venture capital in Brazil. That is why we work so hard on Edudream: to build a bridge between talent and capital, anywhere in the world. Through Edudream, people anywhere can invest in her Education and get a percentage of her future income with a vehicle called Income Share Agreement.

So, after seeing so much talent in places like Latin America, Africa, Eastern Union and Asia, and so many VC firms and incubators eager to find talent it makes me concluded: 

The current allocation of capital to talent is not optimal!

Places like Draper University, or entrepreneurship bootcamps and incubators/accelerators are helping to bridge the gap. But, still, there is a great divide between the talented people all around the world and the wealth of opportunities in places like Silicon Valley.

So, dear venture capitalists and technology tycoons, my humble suggestion is that you open your mind for new possibilities. The world is big and Flat. New technologies allow people to work remotely and build good stuff from anywhere in the world. The costs of producing software are significantly lower and there are talented entrepreneurs eager for new opportunities. So, investors can find more favorable terms and an abundance of potential investments if they look outside the boundaries of Silicon Valley or disregarding nations.

And the best thing is, you do not have to have a USA Visa to be an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and follow the american dream. One can start a business online, incorporating in Delaware through a service like Clerky, open a bank account, receive the investment and manage the money everything online! Therefore, the companies you would be investing in are legal entities in the US, but the entrepreneurs can work remotely from anywhere in the world.

In Brazil, I grew up hearing that the US is the land of opportunity and where nothing is impossible. But in this new world, you do not actually have to be physically there to be an entrepreneur. Anyone, anywhere can be a virtual citizen of Silicon Valley!

And I will say it again: Companies like mine pay taxes both in the USA and in its home country. So, instead of thinking "They took our job!", let´s think about how we are creating jobs and paying taxes.

Let´s empower entrepreneurs from all over the world to be virtual citizens of Silicon Valley. 

That can be the solution for the talent pipeline problem of the venture capital industry, and a way to create wealth and opportunities for everyone!

Jennifer Tyler Lee of Crunch a Color: Making Healthy Eating Fun

jennifer tyler leeFebruary 10, 2015 - We all know what happens when kids hear "Eat your veggies." It's all pouting and head shaking and pursed lips refusing to open. Jennifer Tyler Lee, creator of Crunch A Color (2011) and author of her newest book 52 New Foods Challenge (2014), is changing this by turning healthy eating into a game. Not only is this fun for kids, but it's also simple and easy to parents to implement. Tomorrow February 11, Jennifer will be speaking to Draper University's Winter 2015 class about strategic partnerships and her experience as a former strategy consultant. You can catch her talk live at 2pm by tuning into this livestream link.

Each student will also receive a copy of Jennifer's new book 52 New Foods Challenge and 100% of the proceeds from the books will be donated to FoodCorps, a charity where emerging leaders teach kids how to eat and live healthy by building school gardens and connecting farm and school.

52 New Foods Challenge

The fun and easy way to end battles over broccoli, break your recipe rut, and get your whole family eating healthy, one new food at a time.

Don’t forget to watch the livestream of Jennifer's talk on “Strategic Partnerships” on Wednesday Feb 11 at 2pm PT!

John Egan of Pinterest: Growth Hacking to Success

john egan pinterest growth hackingFebruary 4, 2015 - Tomorrow Thursday February 5, Pinterest's growth engineer John Egan will be speaking to Draper University's Winter 2015 class on "Growth Hacking." We will be streaming his talk live from DU at 11am, so be sure to tune in here to hear his growth tips and stories. For a little more background on John Egan, read about his work and accomplishments below, and get an peek inside Pinterest with this article he wrote on the 27 metrics in Pinterest's internal growth dashboard.

John Egan's Bio

John Egan is currently working on the growth team at Pinterest where he's the tech lead for the push notification & email team. At Pinterest, there are tens of millions of people use their service every day & he has led the team that learned to grow the company at scale. Previously, he led the growth team at Shopkick, a cross-retailer mobile loyalty app funded by Kleiner-Perkins & Greylock Partners and acquired by SK Planet for $200MM.

Pinterest’s Internal Growth Dashboard

pinterest growth hackingIn this article, John answers the question: “What metrics should be in my growth dashboard?” He gives people a peek behind the scenes at what Pinterest's internal growth dashboard looks like. He goes through the 27 metrics they look at through stages of MAU's, Acquisition, Activation, Engagement, and Resurrection.

Don't forget to watch the livestream of John's talk on "Growth Hacking" on Thursday Feb 5 at 11am PT!

Superhero Training at Draper University of Heroes

draper-university-superheroes Student Post - January 27, 2015 - When I moved into my new room at Draper University two months ago, I encountered huge walls with graffiti art of superheroes, psychedelic colored room doors, white board walls in the whole building, and four dozen colorful bean bags in classrooms; I instantly knew this would not be an ordinary program.

When I left Pakistan for Draper University of Heroes, a 7-week residential entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley, I honestly had no idea what I had signed up for.

Superheroes from Around the World

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We were a group of 32 entrepreneurs from 15 different countries. The culture and diversity of the place...oh my, it was over whelming!

The founder of Draper University is Tim Draper who is known as the Riskmaster. He is by far the most unorthodox and daring person I have ever known! He believes that entrepreneurs are like superheroes, who take risks and change the world with their innovative ideas; hence, the name of the program.

Superhero Oath

Every morning at Draper University, we recited the superhero oath:

I will promote freedom at all costs. I will do everything in my power to drive, build and pursue progress and change. My brand, my network, and my reputation are paramount. I will set positive examples for others to emulate. I will instill good habits in myself. I will take care of myself. I will fail and fail again until I succeed. I will explore the world with gusto and enthusiasm. I will treat people well. I will make short term sacrifices for long term success. I will pursue fairness, openness, health and fun with all that I encounter. Mostly fun! I will keep my word. I will try my best to make reparations for my digressions.

Unique Experience

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Draper University of Heroes appears to have more in common with Harry Potter’s Hogwarts than it does with anything seen in traditional education. Its system, its outlook, its curriculum, its policies, its staff, and its culture - all of it is unorthodox and proud to be so.

During the program we got the opportunity to visit amazing places and meet real world heroes; innovators, thinkers, geniuses and more who are contributing to the future of this planet.

Innovative Curriculum

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Our curriculum consisted of topics like creativity, future, evangelism, finance, law, survival, sales, venture capital, and so much more which we learnt from the best field experts! We were pushed to our limits both mentally and physically and in the end, we did come out stronger. The entire experience is pretty much summed up in this one video.

I honestly did not have any idea how much this course would affect me, but it has contributed greatly in shaping both my personal and professional lives! The biggest lessons for me personally were to come out of my comfort zone, look beyond the fear of failing, and just try new things.

I couldn’t be more grateful for having been a part of this journey and to be part of the DU family! Thank you DraperU!

~ Guest post by Rumaisa Mughal who is from Pakistan and was part of DU’s Fall 2014 Class. Her startup Artboard was just featured in Pakistani startup news.

Draper University's Winter 2015 Class Kicks Off with a Bang

January 26, 2015 - Draper University's 8th residential program kicks off today with 36 new Heroes-in-Training. Student entrepreneurs come from all corners of the globe, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Estonia, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Russia, Thailand, and Ukraine. Students will get access to some of the brightest minds and inspirational speakers in Silicon Valley, and the week one is no exception. Check out the line up below of amazing thinkers, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs who will be speaking to DU Winter 2015 this week.

Winter 2015 Week 1

Ready to start your entrepreneurial journey? We're now accepting applications for our Spring 2015 class. Visit our website to submit your application by the final deadline: February 20.

Cal Hacks: In the Land of a Thousand Coders

Cal Hacks hackathonStudent Post – December 1, 2014 –  I was part of Draper University's Fall 2014 Class, and altogether, we were 33 students from around the world who came to learn about untried entrepreneurial principles from the reigning Riskmaster himself: Tim Draper. Sometimes called a vigilante of conformism, Tim opened the doors to a unique Silicon Valley institution in 2013 called Draper University in an effort to continue his life’s new mission: education. The schedule was packed with a leading line up of world class speakers, and two weeks into the program, my fellow students and I entered our first real task of breaking out of the "classroom mode" by participating in one of the country’s leading hackathons: Cal Hacks.

Cal Hacks Hackathon

Two weeks into Draper University's "new kid on the block" entrepreneurship program, I boarded a bus with my fellow classmates who were just as excited and confused as me. We were on our way to Cal Hacks where college hackers from all over the US came to compete in an event that consumer the massive corridors of UC Berkeley stadium. Every corner of the stadium was occupied, with hackers lining up on staircases, behind kitchens, and in tiny alleyways. This was the big leagues and hackers had come to take no prisoners.

Internal Draper University teams were formed even before we entered the premises. All the students brought sleeping bags, food containers, lamps, etc. We were here for two days straight, which meant no sleep and being armed with all the supplies that would sustain us. Granted, food was catered by the sponsors during the event, but we needed to boost our energy levels for the frenzy that would follow.

Iterate and Reiterate

The first night saw a series of temporary hacking space movements, idea pivots, and team changes. Teams that had banded together were enduring the rigorous process of high-pressure, entrepreneurial collaboration. If ideas didn’t line up or the team dynamic wasn’t right, hackers would move onto the next team until they found their niche.

Although our team stuck it out and was fortunate enough to recruit a new Detroit-based team member who we met at the event, we were no strangers to the process of pivots and space changes. Our team went through a series of idea iterations, starting from medical concierge services, all the way to the idea that we eventually designed: a same day delivery service via Uber drivers. Our team actively broke up the tasks based on our strengths and skill sets, indulging in active market research, business model validation, and Android development.

We took few breaks, but during the breaks we did take, we ventured to the sponsor booths to talk to the companies who had generously sponsored the event and provided their APIs for development. From Andressen Horowitz to Facebook, each booth had two to three employees present to provide us with insight into their company, the power of their API, and of course, access to their freebies.

The Real Victory

CalHacksAfter 48 hours of rigorous, non-stop hacking, our team made it to the final 10 teams competing for the grand prize. Judges for the pitch competition included venture capitalists from Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, etc. Each pitch was given a total time of 2 minutes with 1 minute for Q&A afterward. Each of the finalists brought a unique hack, from drones to wearable gaming devices.

In the end, we didn’t win the grand prize, but we did win Best Mobile Hack of the competition. For me, the real victory was in all the teams from Draper University coming together and supporting each other, in spite of the competition. The victor can only enjoy the spoils of winning if she or he had a formidable army of Spartans. And on the day of judgement, I had 33.

~ Guest post by Nimay Parekh who is from New York and was part of DU’s Fall 2014 Class.

Draper University Launches Free Online Bitcoin Course

Bitcoin Course San Mateo, CA – October 6, 2014 - Draper University, the innovative and disruptive school for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, has teamed up with ZapChain, a growing network for Bitcoin professionals, to build a free online course on Bitcoin. The course is designed for individuals who are new to the Bitcoin space or do not have a technical understanding of the digital currency. While there are resources available for those with a technical background to learn more about Bitcoin, this course will make the subject accessible to everyone regardless of their prior knowledge.

This new exciting online course brings together a host of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and engineers from Silicon Valley all operating in the Bitcoin space. With such a wide range of participants, students will be exposed to a plethora of ideas regarding the Bitcoin protocol, its current and potential uses, and its ability to change the world as we know it.

"When I found out that Draper University was making a Bitcoin course, I knew ZapChain needed to get involved. Bitcoin is an amazing technology that can enable innovation in so many areas of the world and I'm very proud of what we have created. I can't wait to see the new products created by people who take the Bitcoin Course," Matt Schlicht, Co-Founder of ZapChain.

Draper University was the first educational institution to accept bitcoin as a form of tuition payment and wanted to create this course as they felt there was a void in educational material making Bitcoin more approachable. The course will help the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole from the increased exposure and degree of understanding students will receive. The goal of producing this course is to provide a holistic overview of Bitcoin from a predominantly non-technical perspective, and to illustrate its potential to transform the way we interact as a global community in the financial marketplace.

The course launches on October 22, 2014. Interested participants can sign up here to receive more information and get access to exclusive interviews prior to the course launching.


⇤ Back to Home

Draper University Tradition: Breakfast at Buck's of Woodside

Buck's of WoodsideOctober 25, 2013 – The pilgrimage to Buck's happens each session for Draper University students. Buck's of Woodside is a Silicon Valley institution and it's owner Jamis MacNiven is a legend. It's where big deals have been discussed and made since the '90s, riding the tide of rising Internet fortunes.

There's an impressive list of deal-making history at Buck's.

Every session a trip to Bucks for breakfast is a requirement for all Draper University students. No, this is not a team building activity but it is a great opportunity to be immersed in the culture of Silicon Valley. Bucks is so legendary and Jamis is so gracious with his time that DU students really enjoy the experience.

According to Jamis, "Hotmail was founded here," he says. "Netscape had their early meetings in the back room; Tesla was founded here; PayPal got funded here." And Yahoo, according to MacNiven, was turned down during a meeting at Buck's. The restaurant is just miles from Sand Hill Road, site of the nation's largest aggregation of venture capital firms.

Breakfast at Buck's is just one of the unique experiences that all Draper University students have. But it's not all fun and games, students are working late into the wee hours of the morning crafting their business plans getting ready for Evangelism week that kicks off with a branding workshop and a class in creativity with Stanford Professor Tina Seelig.

Draper University's Amazing Guest Speakers from Silicon Valley

Student Post – June 20, 2013 – We had some absolutely amazing guest speakers come into Draper University during the Spring 2013 Class, they were all hugely inspiring and it was such a privilege to sit in beanbags and listen to them. In this blog post I'm going to run though five of my favorite guest speakers.

Bill Draper1. Bill Draper

Bill was one of the first venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and with this comes some great stories! Bill was fantastically captivating when talking about some of his investments and his time in the US government working for Ronald Reagan.

Naveen Jain2. Naveen Jain

Naveen is a serial entrepreneur with a special interest in science and technology. Naveen has a first rate mind and can tell you about anything science related. He also has the best business card I've ever seen!

Strikingly3. David Chen & Teng Bao

David and Teng are co-founders of YC backed Strikingly, they make it really easy to build mobile optimized websites with no coding required. They sat down with us for an informal fireside chat about their story and how they got started. They were incredibly funny and very open about the struggles of running your own startup.

Jamis MacNiven4. Jamis MacNiven

Jamis is the owner of Buck's of Woodside, a small restaurant famous for hosting VC's and entrepreneurs. Some of history's biggest VC deals were done at tables in Buck's. Jamis came in to talk about why Silicon Valley is the best place to be and start your business.

Mike Cassidy5. Mike Cassidy

Mike is a serial entrepreneur with a number of successful exits and is currently a director at Google X. Mike came in to tell us about his startup philosophy of SPEED. He told us about a story when he pitched DFJ at 8:15am and demanded a term sheet by 4:30pm.

~ Guest post by Alex Nguyen who is from the UK and was part of DU's Spring 2013 Class.