Fall 2014

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.

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!

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.

Online Entrepreneurship Program Offers Special Completion Challenge

San Francisco, CA – August 07, 2014 – Draper University is proud to announce the Draper University Online (DUO) Completion Challenge. Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 students will get 50% of the $850 tuition back if they complete the core curriculum. Draper University Entrepreneurship ProgramThe goal of the DUO Completion Challenge is two-fold. First, Draper University intends to make the online entrepreneurship program more affordable to those who have real commitment to learning about building startups. Secondly, the school hopes to attract more applicants and collect user behavior data to create state-of-the-art online learning experiences for entrepreneurs.

A recent Draper University study has shown interesting findings pertaining to the learning behaviors of online entrepreneurship students at Draper University. Surprisingly, among all three delivery formats, interactive assignments, video lectures and reading, online students are most actively engaged with interactive assignments even though completing an interactive assignment requires much more work than clicking through a video lecture or a reading assignment.

The study is based on user data of the Winter 2014 cohort. On average, the Winter 2014 cohort achieved an average engagement rate of 75%, already well above the industry average engagement rate for online courses. This indicates that on average, a student engaged with 75% of all course content in the core curriculum. Interestingly, the average engagement rate of interactive assignments is 83%, substantially higher than the 74% average engagement rate for reading introductions and the 69% average engagement rate for video lectures.

Similar to other MOOC programs, Draper University Online’s core curriculum exhibits a downward trending engagement rate over the 7-week program. The first module, Vision, has an average engagement rate of 85% and the last module, Brilliance, has an average engagement rate of 68%.

By comparison, the interactive assignments were an exception. The average engagement rate of assignments started with an average engagement rate of 87% in the first module and only decreased slightly to 83% in the last module. Moreover, the interactive assignments consistently outperformed the other two delivery formats in engagement rate in all 7 modules.

Acknowledging the relatively small sample size in the study, the high engagement rate of interactive assignment likely resulted from both Draper University's innovative assignment design and the hands-on nature of its target student group, entrepreneurs, and aspiring entrepreneurs. The program requires students to complete a series of fun but challenging assignments, which instill the most essential skills of entrepreneurship to its online entrepreneurship program students.

Alumni of the online entrepreneurship program appreciate the unique learning experiences. Tony Capasso of Summer 2014 Class donated one full scholarship for a 1st or 2nd generation American to attend the program.


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Draper University Announces Downtown Project Entrepreneurial Prize for Top Graduates

San Mateo, CA – August 7, 2014 – Draper University is proud to announce the Downtown Project Entrepreneurial Prize for the top two graduates of the Draper University’s Fall entrepreneurial program. Tony Hsieh has generously donated an all expense paid trip for two Draper University students to fly to Las Vegas on a premier JetSuite aircraft to experience the Downtown Project. Tony Hsieh Downtown Project“We're excited to partner with Draper University for the first Downtown Project Entrepreneurial Prize and to welcome their graduates to a whole new side of Downtown Las Vegas!” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com and Founder of Las Vegas Downtown Project.

Students will stay in the one of the fully furnished apartments hosted by the Downtown Project and will spend their time immersed in the entrepreneurial spirit of the Downtown Project. They will also be able to tour Zappos and other local companies as well as check out the downtown Vegas scene and meet other startup founders in the community.

“We are thrilled to participate in such an exciting award for an inspiring program!” – Alex Wilcox, JetSuite Founder and CEO.

As a top startup program teaching entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Draper University seeks to give unique opportunities to Draper University graduates in order to meet other like minded individuals who are trying to launch a business and learn from successful startup founders like Tony Hsieh.

About Downtown Project: The goal and purpose of Downtown Project is to help make Downtown Las Vegas a place of inspiration, entrepreneurial energy, creativity, innovation, upward mobility, and discovery, through the three Cs of collisions, co-learning, and connectedness. We are doing this by investing in tech startups, small business, real estate and development, arts, culture, and education.

About JetSuite: JetSuite’s vision to provide the freedom and exhilaration of private air travel to more people than ever is realized through efficient operations, acute attention to detail, acclaimed customer service, and industry-leading safety practices. And JetSuite continues to be the only jet charter company to guarantee its instant, online quotes for its fleet of WiFi-equipped JetSuite Edition CJ3 and Phenom 100 aircraft. Refreshingly transparent!


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