14 Reasons to Code from 14 Girls Who Code

In 2013, women made up only quarter of the computing workforce, a rate that’s been decreasing since 1990.

In the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women; in 2012, 18%. Women are vastly underrepresented in the tech sector and in all of Silicon Valley. But perhaps things are looking up! For the first time, more women than men enrolled in intro computer science at Berkeley. Last year, Google was offering free coding lessons to women and minority. And most significantly, there is a growing number of programs striving to teach women of all ages programming languages.

Girls Who Code is a non profit organization that works to inspire, educate and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

Their vision is to reach gender parity in computing fields. The team knows it is paramount to ensure the economic prosperity of women, families, and communities across the globe, and to equip citizens with the 21st century tools for innovation and social change. They believe that the more girls exposed to computer science at a young age will lead to more women working in the technology and engineering fields.

To implement a hands on approach to learning, the Girls Who Code summer program sends the students to the campuses of tech companies such as Microsoft.

14 of the students told Microsoft why they believe it is important for girls to make their mark in the tech industry. Here’s what they had to say:


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.


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.


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.


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!

Why Audiences Love Entrepreneur Reality Shows Like ‘Shark Tank’

Re-blogged from  of NerdWallet

You’re probably familiar with “Shark Tank,” the ABC show where real entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of equity investors. Since the program first aired in 2009, a slew of similar shows have popped up, including “Food Fortunes” on Food Network and “The Profit” on CNBC. ABC also launched the spinoff “Beyond the Tank” in May. The latest entrepreneurial reality show, “Startup U,” premieres on ABC Family in August. It will follow students at Draper University, a seven-week entrepreneur education program in Silicon Valley.

“Shark Tank” averaged 7.5 million viewers in its most recent season, its sixth, according to the Nielsen Co. Why do entrepreneurial reality shows resonate with viewers? We put that question to some business and media experts.

They inspire entrepreneur hopefuls

Reality shows about entrepreneurs are a form of “success porn,” says Paul Levinson, a communications and media studies professor at Fordham University in New York. Rather than depicting contestants becoming millionaires by chance, these shows feature entrepreneurs earning investments with their novel ideas and clever inventions.

“This appeals to fans who have an idea or two about how to become rich, which they’re sure would work if only they could find the right listener,” Levinson says via email.

They teach lessons about entrepreneurship

Startup UWatching shows like “Shark Tank” and “The Profit” can teach wannabe entrepreneurs about equity capital and how to make an effective pitch. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, founder of Draper University, says “Startup U” will reveal new marketing techniques and ways of thinking about finance, in addition to showing how entrepreneurs can be successful working in teams.

Viewers “are going to learn that a lot of entrepreneurship is just taking that first step and just doing it,” Draper tells NerdWallet. “Then they’re going to learn that it’s hard.”

They give viewers a vicarious thrill

A lot of people view entrepreneurship as a skill that you have to be born with, and that therefore is unattainable to them, says Berna Aksu, a business professor at Saint Mary’s College of California, in Moraga. Watching reality shows like “Shark Tank” lets audiences experience the entrepreneurial dream vicariously without actually taking the risk, she says.

“When people can’t do something themselves,” she says, “they still like to see other people succeed.”

They advertise cool new products

Shows like “Shark Tank” are as much a marketing tool as a funding opportunity for entrepreneurs. “What better commercial than network TV?” says Lisa Hennessy. Hennessy is executive producer of the NBC weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser” and co-founder of, a site that advertises unique, short-term job opportunities, such as a photojournalist stint in Norway or three weeks with the Nitro Circus.

Products that gained popularity on “Shark Tank” include Ava the Elephant, an animal-shaped medicine dropper for kids; ChordBuddy, a guitar attachment for novice musicians; and the Squatty Potty, a bathroom step stool designed to promote “healthy toilet posture,” as its website says.

They show underdogs beating the odds

Although entrepreneurship has grown in popularity, it’s still not easy, says Marci Weisler, a creator of “Queen Bee,” a show featuring female entrepreneurs on Ora TV. Audiences enjoy rooting for entrepreneurs’ pursuit of the American dream, she says.

“Shows like these show the struggles and successes,” she says by email, “and that average people have a chance to do extraordinary things and create big business.”

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Twitter: @teddynykiel.


Don't miss the Startup U series premiere Tuesday, August 11th at 10pm|9c on ABC Family!

Humans of Hero City


Meet the Entrepreneurs of Hero City

A unique co-working space of the Draper Ecosystem. It’s a city with a vibrant culture, an eclectic community of bold people, perspectives, and possibilities.

For those of you that aspire to be extraordinary heroes, we are creating a new entrepreneurial supercharger. Hero City at Draper University is where fun loving meets risk-mastering and big challenges get tackled by innovative play. Meet three of our heroes here:


Rich Moore, Allison+Partners

What habits and mindsets make you successful?

"I regularly change my routine - join new groups, attend events I've never gone to before, grab lunch in new places - so that I increase the odds of meeting new people and discovering new companies and seeing things that I otherwise wouldn't know about. Brings a lot more serendipity into my work. I also try to remain optimistic and visualize outcomes that I want to achieve. That frequently leads me down new paths."

Get social: @RMoore @AllisonPR


HOHC #2Jake Benson, Libra 

What habits and mindsets make you successful?

“Move the needle forward every single day.”

 Get Social: @JakeRyanBenson @Libra_Tax



HOHC #3Shady Elyaski

What motivates you?

“Being surrounded by brilliant mindsets and always pushing myself out of the comfort zone by consistently learning and trying new things.”

Get social: @ShadyElyaski


HOHC#5Mark Ke, Yardbook

"What motivates you?" “Using software to improve business has always been a passion of mine. One thing I noticed over the years is how overwhelmed smaller companies can become with endless paperwork and disorganized systems. As they simply do not have the luxury to pay millions of dollars for a piece of software. It motivates me every day to see thousands of companies using our platform to become more organized, which in turn, helps them grow their business.”

Get social: @Yardbook, Yardbook


HOHCNicholas Khabbaz, Hedgesight

“What habits and mindsets make you successful?” “Having a winning perspective, but being humble at the same time; seriously listening to your gut feeling as well as constructive input from colleagues, employees and mentors whether in agreement with you or not.”

Get social:


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"][/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

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

The New Student


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.


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.

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.

DU Alum Plans to Shake Up the NYC Housing Market with HomeSwipe

May 26, 2015 -- Michael Lisovetsky, member of our 2014 summer class, was featured in Business Insider and ED News Daily this week for a startup idea that's set to rock the NYC housing market. Michael is co-founder of the app, HomeSwipe, dubbed "Tinder for apartment hunting." The app uses the swipe interface popularized by Tinder to connect house-hunters with realtors. Users can swipe through New York apartment listings based on their preferences and chat directly with realtors if they're interested in a property. Michael, 22, attended Draper University while studying business at NYU. At DU, Michael was introduced to a flurry of "Tinder for X" ideas, but he wasn't fully sold on the utility of the swipe platform. He asked friend-turned-business partner, Dean Soukeras, what the swipe model could facilitate besides dating. Soukeras, a seasoned NYC entrepreneur, promptly suggested "real-estate," and HomeSwipe was born.

Michael and Soukeras sought a tech whiz to build the app and sent out a blast on Facebook. They struck gold with a response from Jason Marmon, a talented teen coder who would eventually drop out of high school to focus on HomeSwipe full time. Once the partnership was formed, they needed seed financing. Naturally, Michael reached out to Tim Draper, who was so impressed with the HomeSwipe prototype he agreed to invest.

Michael (left) and Jason (right)

Tim urged Michael and his co-founders to raise their seed round to $500,000. They started strong, but plateaued at $400,000. The HomeSwipe team returned to Tim, who set them up with an introduction to Marc Benioff. This was the final push they needed. Benioff's interest was piqued, and he agreed to bump up their funding to the requisite amount.

Soukeras worked with New York City realtors to build a customer base for the app. In effect, it will charge realtors a small transaction fee to chat with interested parties. The app will begin exclusively in New York, but the team has plans to expand to Chicago. With the apartment hunting process in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs notoriously difficult, there is already a huge demand for the app. Since it's gone live, HomeSwipe represents 85% of available NYC real estate, boasts 47,000 downloads, and is supported by 2,200 real estate agents.

Michael credits his success to DU. Not only was he granted the networking opportunities that got HomeSwipe off the ground, but also the team building skills that come with experiential learning. He told ED News Daily, "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. I learned more about myself and the world in the seven weeks at Draper U than the four years of university I drudged through.”

Michael is a great example of a student who took full advantage of DU's resources to launch a meaningful venture. The HomeSwipe team will hit Sand Hill Road this week to secure more investors, and with all the app's promise, success seems inevitable. Read more on these accomplished young founders, and the full story of HomeSwipe's evolution at  Business Insider.

Draper University Alum and Ex-Skyper Launches Virtual Whiteboard Tool Deekit

May 12, 2015 — Kaili Kleemeier, member of the Draper University Fall 2014 online class, just launched Deekit: a virtual whiteboard to aid remote teams with research and development. Kaili is a former operations manager at Skype, and she drew from her experience there to design Deekit. Kaili recalls the struggle to collaborate with coworkers in different offices. After the unsuccessful search for a virtual tool that would allow them a visual brainstorm session, Kaili and her cofounders created exactly that product.

Deekit is a virtual whiteboard with screen sharing capabilities where users can sketch, chat, and build models together all in real time. Deekit comes with sophisticated templates for projects like blueprints or flowcharts, and boards can be shared or saved for future reference. Kaili claims that the standout element of Deekit is its simplicity. Deekit is formulated for ease of use with intuitive features and straightforward tools.

The Deekit team hopes to revolutionize online education with the platform. With extensive interactive capabilities, Deekit allows students to participate in lectures rather than simply listen to them, and already they've had success using the tool to teach 7-10 year olds programming. Deekit has been in private beta for over a year, and launched publicly on the 7th of May. With over 350 users in 21 countries, they are sure to see rapid growth in a market where global collaboration is increasingly commonplace.

Read the TechCrunch profile on Deekit here, and an interview with the team on Wired UK, where Deekit was featured as startup of the week!


DU Alum's Rideshare Service "Scooterino" Takes off in Rome

May 11, 2015 — Draper University alum, Oliver Page, has created a unique ride-sharing service in Rome with mounting success. In a city where scooters are one of the most popular forms of transportation, Scooterino allows you to hop on the back of someone's scooter who is traveling in the same direction. Oliver's idea was to adapt American ride-sharing services (like Uber) to Italian culture. Romans rely heavily on Vespas to zip through the congested metropolis, and Scooterino allows users to locate travelers on a similar route and catch a ride for just a few Euros. The service is meant to be efficient and cost effective, and Oliver will eventually take a small cut from each transaction. So far, Oliver has about 2,000 users and $50,000 in seed capital. He will test the Roman market for viability, but the service has already sparked interest in other scooter-happy cities across Europe. Read FastCompany's profile on Scooterino here.


From Latin American Oil Rigs to Silicon Valley

Student Post — March 18, 2015 — Can you imagine a young Pakistani lady working on oil rigs in the middle of nowhere in amazon jungles in Latin America? It’s hard, but it’s even harder to imagine her transition from that world to a magical place called Silicon Valley. Graduation and Oil and Gas Industry

Rig photo

My name is Maha and I was part of Draper University's Winter 2015 class. I graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan and the University of Mississippi, US in 2013. As a fresh graduate, I was swamped with opportunities, and if you ask me today, I still don’t understand why I chose working as a field engineer on international mobile for Schlumberger. I left my family, everything I had, and took a plane to Brazil. After a week of training in Rio de Janeiro, I flew to Colombia and started working on oil rigs. My job was running measurements and logging while drilling tools to provide data such as gamma ray, resistivity, neutron porosity, bulk density and others to client companies (Ecopetrol, Petrobras, Equion, etc). I was part of the drilling group and had to be on the rig from the moment drilling starts till the time it ends. After working for 5 months, I was sent to the Training Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where I was fortunate to be first in my class of 40 engineers from all over the world - and I was the only woman in my class!

After the training, I went back to Colombia to resume my work. I felt frustrated and tried to figure out why. Was it family, work rotation (I used to go to the rig for 40 days and come back for 3 days off), jungles or what?

It was during the Society of Women Engineers annual conference in Los Angeles a month later that I could see patterns. I realized that I was passionate about research, technologies, and startups.

After conducting a 26-hour long fishing operation in the rig, I stumbled on an e-mail from YouNoodle. The e-mail mentioned something about an entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley, and that e-mail ended up changing my life!

I applied to Draper University of Heroes, was accepted, and immediately packed my bags and came to Silicon Valley.

Draper University and Silicon Valley

I can neither summarize my time at Draper nor at Silicon Valley in one blog post! It’s an experience, a learning, and a feeling that can only be experienced, learnt, and felt.

But for all the prospective students and avid parents out there, I would jot down some of the key workshops I completed: Vision of the future, Agility, Evangelism, Survival, Resource Acquisition, Incorporation, and the Art of Pitching.

Draper University is not a traditional university. Neither it’s an accelerator nor an incubator. It’s something more than that. It challenges one to think beyond her limits, believe that everything is possible, and be ready to embrace failure. The university leaves no stone unturned by bringing in speakers from Facebook to Twitter to SpaceX to Khosla Ventures to Founder’s Fund to Stanford University. It would take me another 3 hours to compile a list of the incredible speakers who came to speak to our class.

Another significant thing about Draper University is the mentorship the program provides. The university inundates a student with mentors. From famous Silicon Valley VC mentors to Entrepreneurs in Residence to Alumni mentors to personal female mentors, I felt overwhelmed. But mentorship played a very crucial role in helping me build relationships which I’ll cherish forever!

To summarize, I feel completely transformed today. I feel blessed to have gone through the program and built a network of friends, mentors, and people who want to help me succeed. I feel fortunate to have explored the magical Disneyland they call ‘Silicon Valley’ and 10x more excited to begin my PhD in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University this Fall.

As Tim Draper says – the world needs superheroes and I’m going to be one of those superwomen!

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

Check out DU Alumni Startup Newsystock in China's TechCrunch TechNode

NewsystockJanuary 16, 2015 - Alumni from Draper University's innovative bootcamp program for entrepreneurs continue to launch startups that are turning heads around the world. Ryan Kyungrok Moon (Korea) from DU's Fall 2014 was interviewed by China's TechCrunch TechNode about his startup Newsystock. The article explains how Newsystock helps small investors master the market, particularly in overseas stocks. You can read the snippet below, or access the entire article here.

"Newsystock is a quantitative data based analysis system that provides accurate analysis and equity purchase recommendations in line with Korean stock market trends. They gather financial raw data, evaluate every listed stock with their unique system, then deliver the results to investors. The company also enables its users to analyze any stock by themselves, providing a thorough analysis of any stock within five minutes."

Currently based in Korea, the company is looking to expand throughout Asia and will add a Chinese language website to its Korean and English versions.

DU Alumni Startup iGreet featured in TIME article "5 Apps You Just Can’t Miss This Week"

iGreetJanuary 15, 2015 - It's only been two months since the Fall 2014 class graduated from Draper University's entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley, and our alumni are already starting to make waves with their startups. Just today, DU alumni startup iGreet was featured in TIME article "5 Apps You Just Can't Miss This Week." Vicho Dimitrov (Bulgaria) and Hua Zhao (China) met each other in DU's Fall 2014 class and joined forces to create iGreet, the world's first greeting card company that uses augmented reality to bring the cards to life before your eyes. You can download their mobile app for free from the iTunes App Store, and then create customizable greeting cards that you can pick up from a local Walgreens store near you. When the recipient scans the cards with their iPhone, the card will be brought to life with moving images

According to the TIME article, "It’s a way of jazzing up boring greeting cards and making birthday cards that much more affectionate, but it also evidence that our phones are the key to getting a lot more out of even the most mundane aspects of non-digital life."

Congrats to Vicho and Hua, and keep an eye out for new Valentine's Day cards coming out soon!

Silicon Valley Predictions for Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Venture Capitalists in 2015

January 14, 2015 - Humankind has been trying to predict the future since the beginning of time. Let’s look at some of the Silicon Valley predictions for entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists in 2015:

1. Bitcoin/Blockchain will continue to play an important role in our lives.

Venture capitalists and angel investors invested more than US$250 million in 2014, and you can expect even more in 2015.

2. There will be a growing need for better data utilization.

You've got your CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, and now: CDOs?

3. Machine learning will leave everybody wanting more.

With mass adoption of Google Now and Siri, consumers and venture capitalists can only expect more goodies.

4. Two industry titans are beginning to sweat...profusely.

Xiaomi, the world’s most valuable startup, will scare the pants off Apple and Samsung in 2015.

5. Cybersecurity budgets will grow, and possibly explode.

Being “Sony’d” is a verb now. To all entrepreneurs and startups working on this issue: take the publicity with Sony and run with it!

6. Silicon Valley fully wakes up to health care.

“Healthcare represents nearly 18% of US GDP (and rising), making it perhaps the biggest market opportunity for venture capitalists and investors anywhere.”


These trends are changing the world as we know it. Stay ahead of the curve and come to Draper University's entrepreneurship program where you'll meet the movers and shakers behind these predictions. Apply now for our Spring 2015 class at

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

Draper University Meetup in Seoul, Korea

November 19, 2014 –draper-university-startup-meetup-korea Last Wednesday, Draper University alum Cherry Kim held the first ever Draper University meetup in Seoul, Korea. Current student Ryan Moon was also able to video call into the meetup from DU's campus in Silicon Valley. More than 40 local entrepreneurs showed up for the info session and networking event. At the meetup, participants learned about and discussed the different activities in Draper University's unique entrepreneurship program and how the activities and assignments teach you to think big and build your ideas. Cherry also emphasized the importance of networking and the opportunity to get connected with Tim Draper's network.

draper-university-startup-meetup-koreaDraper University's startup bootcamp will give you the real world skills and hands on experience you need to become an entrepreneur and launch your startup. Our students come from all around the world (including Korea!), and we have an average of 60% international students in each cohort. Many of our alumni have gone on to start their own companies (over 70+ successful companies and counting), land their dream job (alumni are currently working at Google, Tesla, and Yelp), and change the world. If you want to join the next cohort of heroes at Draper University, visit our website and check out our apply page for upcoming program dates and application deadlines.