Winter 2015

Tech Guru Overwhelmed By Draper University Opportunity

dwaynesamuels3March 12, 2015 - Dwayne Samuels, the first Jamaican entrepreneur accepted to Draper University, graduated today as part of DU's Winter 2015 class. If you'd asked him a few years ago whether he would be accepted to Draper University and travel to Silicon Valley for a 7-week entrepreneurship program, "he would have laughed in disbelief." You can read about Dwayne's journey from Jamaica to Silicon Valley in the Jamaica Gleaner, and check out the main highlights below.

Dwayne Samuels & his startup Grikly

Dwayne, 25, is from a humble community in suburban Manchester and always had a knack for computer applications and software creations. His startup Grikly is an app that allows persons to share business cards via smartphones. He is working on expanding his idea to Grikly Events, which allows event planners to execute events and gather information of users who 'check' into the location with their smart phones.

His Goal for Attending Draper University

To get a better understanding of the US market, widen his network here in Silicon Valley, and expand his business operations to the US.

Why He's Never Given Up

Through all his failures and successes, Dwayne cites his drive to succeed and his parents for being the reasons he's never given up.

"My parents have sacrificed so much for me and I love them immensely. I couldn't ask for better parents, they are the main reason I am where I am today. I'm a part of the best program of its nature in the world."

Read the entire article on Dwayne Samuels here.

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!

Naveen Jain @ Draper University: How to Build a Billion Dollar Company

naveen-jainFebruary 6, 2015 - “It's not about the innovation, it's about flawless implementation.” There are some people who think that if you have a good idea you are going to “own” the market. Naveen Jain has a different perspective on that. He believes that the execution of an idea can be more important than the idea itself. In fact, he says that the idea is a 10% of a business and execution is the other 90%.

Naveen visited Draper University last week and spoke to DU's Winter 2015 Class. He stated that if you want to create something big, you don’t have to see outside of the box, you have to be in a completely different box. He went on to say, "If nine out of ten people don’t consider you crazy for your idea, then you are not thinking big enough.” Naveen believes this is the only way to solve challenging problems, such as today's education system, which according to him is not broken, but obsolete because it doesn't apply to the realistic situations and problems. It only allows for either a right or wrong answer with no gray area. That’s not the case in the life. In reality, problems are solved by teams working together to find different solutions.

Advice for Entrepreneurs

Naveen believes that in order to be a successful entrepreneur you need to work with people whose perspective are opposing your own. He also says that you have to deeply believe in yourself, have a passion, and make your differences your advantages. You can never beat someone in their own game, you have to beat them being you, in your game. Then, you can use all the things that make you different as your weapons. Be yourself and take advantage of what makes you stand out from your competition.

~ Guest post by Raimundo Silva who is from Santiago, Chile and is currently a student in DU’s Winter 2015 Class.

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!

Naveen Jain of Moon Express: Shoot for the Moon

naveen jain moon expressJanuary 29, 2015 - Have you ever wondered what the moon is made of? What new materials and opportunities may be there? Thanks to Moon Express, you may be able to have those answers. We have the pleasure to announce that Naveen Jain, co-founder and chairman of Moon Express (amongst an impressive resume of other startups and companies), is coming to Draper University's Winter 2015 class!

Naveen Jain

Amongst being an amazing entrepreneur and philanthropist, Naveen Jain is also behind impressive companies such as Moon Express, inome, TalentWise, Intelius, World Innovation Institute, and InfoSpace. Also he writes in Forbes, WSJ, Huffington Post, and Inc.com. Currently Naveen is exploring ways to use neuro-plasticity to create better learners and develop neuroscience-based in multi-sensory video games that are effective and additive for teaching students skills like math, science, and history. He is convinced that our education system is obsolete, not meeting the needs of the present threating all the kids like if they where in an assembly line being exactly the same, while they are all different with different learning. Another thing he mentions is that we are advancing the kids in an annual basis and not when they are ready to advance to the next grade, which could be a month or a year depending on the person.

Moon Express

Moon Express is currently working on the lunar lander MX-1 - a low cost spacecraft that is powered by sunlight and use hydrogen peroxide as fuel (oxygen enriched water compound). But this is not any ordinary lunar lander. The MX-1 can support many apps, so it can explore the moon and it's resources. If everything goes according to plan, the MX-1 should be lunched this year. In 2010, NASA selected Moon Express to take part in the Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data program, and in the same year, they were recognized leaders by Google Lunar XPRIZE due to the flexible and scalable MX-1 that is going to dramatically reduce the costs of space exploration.

We invite you to read more about Naveen and see his TED talk about the most complex problems on the growth of the population in the world. We'll also be livestreaming his talk to DU's Winter 2015 class tomorrow Friday 1/30 at 10am so be sure to tune in!

~ Guest post by Raimundo Silva who is from Santiago, Chile and is currently a student in DU’s Winter 2015 Class.

Scott Nolan @ Draper University: How Much of a Difference Are You Making in the World?

scott nolan founders fund at duJanuary 28, 2015 - "When starting something, ask yourself: how much of a difference am I making in the world?" This is one of the truths that Scott Nolan lives by, one which inspires every aspect of his work - both as an entrepreneur and as an investor. This is why, as a partner at Founders Fund, Scott is constantly looking to back founders who work on solving complex problems by building companies working far into the future.

An Inside Look at Founders Fund

"We always ask ourselves this question: How do we make a difference as investors? That’s why we try to invest in  smart people solving difficult problems, especially those working with engineering-driven technologies." Usually, these "big problems" are less crowded places for investors. "When we invested in SpaceX, no one was doing anything like it, and it seemed too far-reaching. But we trusted the team tackling a difficult problem. We’ve created FF Science to make sure we invest a portion of our fund in deep technology that will make the biggest impact in the world."

Scott enjoys working at a venture capital firm that is willing to stand by the founders of their portfolio companies. "At FF, we believe in backing our founders. We have never replaced any founder in the company they started. We always bet on them, allowing them to run the company. We provide strategic support, but we are very hands-off."

When asked about the thought process behind his work, Scott said that FF tries to pick a future winner in an industry. They specifically seek out teams that will be leading a company in an industry that is not currently crowded because it's focus is on reaching for the future, not on current trends. Future and return come hand in hand.

Advice for Startups and Entrepreneurs

scott nolan founders fund du studentsEven as a young entrepreneur with little experience, going after difficult problems will allow a person to have more power when convincing others to be part of a team. Businesses should always think about the scope of what their trying to do; bigger and more complex problems make people think harder, ideate unique strategies, and make themselves more difficult to be copied in the future. "You want to make yourself unique. Find the right time to scale and then scale fast."

Here are Scott's tips for startup founders:

  • Despite experience and background, what matters is what you have done. Why should people join your team and dedicate years of their lives to build a company? How much have you accomplished? The team you build is critical, especially at early stages.
  • Don't work for a company you're not excited about.
  • Don't assume you can't do something.
  • Why you should tackle the difficult problems:
    • You can get more resources/specialization
    • You’re less likely to get competition
    • Motivation to bring talent
  • Ways to create a great company:
    • Create value
    • Capture the market (eliminate the possibility of someone copying it)
    • Build it to last

If you want to learn more from inspirational speakers like Scott Nolan, check out Draper University's entrepreneurship program where you'll meet over 50 guest speakers and mentors from Silicon Valley.

We’re now accepting applications for our Spring 2015 class. Visit our website to submit your application by the final deadline: February 20.

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.

Scott Nolan of Founders Fund: The Fire Behind Our Future

founders-fundJanuary 22, 2015 - We’re excited to announce that Scott Nolan of Founders Fund is coming to speak to Draper University's incoming Winter 2015 class! First and foremost, Scott Nolan is a futurist, technologist, entrepreneur, and investor. He is also a partner at Peter Thiel’s groundbreaking venture capital 2.0 firm: Founders Fund where he works to see startups thrive by helping founders reshape the world of today and tomorrow. At Founders Fund, Scott focuses on investing in technology-driven companies across a wide variety of sectors. Recently, the firm invested in Privateer to become the first institutional investor in the marijuana industry, confirming their leadership in spearheading novelty in the world of venture capital. He is also currently a board member at Collectivehealth, Tachyus, Tribogenics, and two other stealth-mode companies.

Scott Nolan

Prior to Founders Fund, Scott was an early employee at SpaceX, one of Founders Fund's portfolio companies, where he helped develop the propulsion systems used on the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Dragon vehicles. After SpaceX, Scott spent time at Bain & Company working with its private equity clients, and later co-founded a startup focused on building social web apps on the Facebook Connect platform. Regarding his education background, Scott earned both a BS and MEng in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University in 4 years, and received his MBA from Stanford University where he was co-president of the Entrepreneurs Club.

Founders Fund

At Founders Fund, a San Francisco based venture capital firm investing in companies building revolutionary technologies, Scott gets to be at the forefront of the startups and VC funds shaping our future. He is constantly looking for companies that push for a wildly more advanced future. Founders Fund invests at all stages across a wide variety of sectors, including aerospace, artificial intelligence, advanced computing, energy, health, and consumer Internet, with a portfolio that includes Airbnb, Knewton, Lyft, Spotify, Stripe, and ZocDoc. Founders Fund was the first institutional investor in Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Palantir Technologies, and one of the earliest investors in Facebook. In 2014, Founders Fund raised a $1 billion fifth suite of funds, bringing the firm's aggregate capital under management to more than $2 billion.

Scott Nolan will be speaking to Draper University's Winter 2015 class next week - check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for live updates!

Draper University's Entrepreneurship Program Now Open to Cal Poly Students - For Credit!

Draper UniversityOctober 29, 2014 – Draper University and California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) are forming a partnership to offer aspiring entrepreneurs at Cal Poly the opportunity to attend Draper University's innovative Silicon Valley entrepreneurship program for credit. Up to 24 Cal Poly students will be part of the Winter 2015 Class at Draper University to enhance their 'Learn by Doing' experience. Cal PolyThe course is part of a new university-wide program at Cal Poly called "Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs: A Study Away Entrepreneurship Immersion Program." It is an interdisciplinary effort to allow students in business, engineering, liberal arts, and any other field, to spend a quarter involved in entrepreneurial activities in Silicon Valley while maintaining progress toward a degree.

What Cal Poly has to say

“This is a unique opportunity for Cal Poly students from all disciplines throughout the university,” said Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Cal Poly president. “The Draper University program, like Cal Poly’s 'Learn by Doing' approach, fosters creative thinking and teaches students the value of jumping in, doing the work and learning from failure on the way to success.”

What Draper University has to say

“We know our hand-on training and access to Silicon Valley innovators provides an experience that can’t be replicated in a university setting,” said Tim Draper, founder of Draper University. “We are honored to work with all these potential technology innovators of the future from Cal Poly.”

Why This is Important

At a time when increasing numbers of students are taking alternative educational and career paths in startup bootcamps and business accelerator/incubator programs, traditional universities are finding innovative ways to keep up with their students. As this infographic shows, universities across the US are becoming more and more entrepreneur-focused with the establishment of entrepreneurship clubs, groups, and classes.

The exciting partnership features a curriculum focused on experiential education. The goal is to teach entrepreneurship to people who are relentless in their desire to change the world and make things happen in a traditional and nontraditional learning environment.

Draper University is still taking applications for its Winter 2015 Class, which runs from January 25 to March 13, 2015. Apply online by 11/18 at http://www.localhost/sites/html

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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