Alumni

The Making of a Superhero at Draper University

Alumni Post written by Niti Shree of Draper University Summer 2015

I have always been a risk-taker and a confident individual. I always took the road less traveled in my personal and professional journey. But, I never considered myself as a person who could do anything without any fear or self-doubt until the Draper University experience happened to me.

This story is the compilation of the realizations of my powers and unleashing of the Superhero within me.

Fail and fail again

In almost all the competitions, my team came last or got special mention points. In the societal norms, I should be sad, disheartened or give up in such situations. We often just quote “ Failures as stepping stone for success” in theory. But, at Draper University I learned to celebrate failures, improvise and move on.

Mind over body

I always considered myself as a physically weak person. Even though I am normally a “Say yes!” person, I couldn’t break the block of wood with my bare hand in first attempt. It took me five attempts to break that wood. That “proving myself wrong” feeling after breaking was amazing. I learned the power of your mind can get anything done from you.

Exploring the world with Gusto and Enthusiasm

In our day-to-day life as we grow up, we stop feeling excited about the new activities or challenges. I became one in someway. Draper University’s experience taught me that no matter how much you have grown up, keep the excitement alive in you.

The first step towards creation is observing

We live in a technology-led world and we become so used to such a life. We forget to pay attention to things around us. We are able to fly today because some entrepreneur built the aeroplane, we are able to talk to our loved ones on the go because some entrepreneur created the mobile phone…what if these people would have just moved ahead without paying attention. I learned to observe things around me after surviving at Survival Week at Draper University.

The network effect

It’s often said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Your network shapes you. Alone you can only grow to a certain level. I can never forget the feeling of being nervous for the “Pitch Day” and my 68 friends cheering up for me. That feeling instills your belief in yourself and the work you are headed to do.

Be uncomfortable

The very first day Tim told us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We all have probably heard this quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, but liitle we practice. During the entire program, we were uncomfortable — not knowing what’s coming next and doing activities which you never even dreamt of.

Fearless

Many times we don’t try something new or don’t do something because we are afraid of unknown or known factors. I swam for the first time, faced the mighty waves of Pacific ocean for the first time, making the first ever confident presentation…many more firsts. Conquering your fears is most powerful feeling which takes your confidence to whole new level.

Have fun

Fun is the most important element of success which most of us forget. When working hard towards your goal people often believe that there is no scope of fun. That’s wrong. The true entrepreneurial journey must have lots of Fun. It keeps the creative juices flowing in your brain.

…Apart from above, there were other learning aspects too during the program. But above all, its the realization of the Superhero within me. You will get to know about my heroic skills as I go ahead in my journey.

DU Alum Redefines Sharing Contact Info

ALUMNI ALERT: Michael Juliano of Think You redefines the way we customize and share contact information via mobiles phone and now the wrist.

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MikeJuliano

Think You, Inc.,  a company that streamlines how people share contact information and connect with one another, today announced the release of youPass for Android and Apple Watch. youPass for Apple Watch brings the convenience of linking with people and sharing contact information right to the user's wrist. The Android version works just as seamlessly as the iOS version, but has received significant updates to streamline the user experience.

“With youPass on two new platforms we are now reaching a larger audience and sharing contact information in new and unique ways,” said Mike Juliano, Draper University Alumni and CEO & Founder of Think You, “We’re incredibly excited to welcome Android users for the first time and explore a whole new dimension of interaction with Apple Watch.”

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The app is easy to use, individuals simply scan a code on a mobile phone or Apple Watch to instantly link with people they meet. Users may also send a link to anyone with a mobile device—with or without the youPass app installed. The app can also send a personalized vCard with contact details that have been customized by the sender.

“Mike and his team have created a unique and centralized way for people to customize the personal contact and social networking information that they share with other people,”

said Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates/DFJ/Draper University.

“His vision and gusto embody what we try to teach at Draper University. Think big, go all out and never be afraid of failure. Redefining the way we connect with one another beyond the exchange of a phone number or email address will broaden the depth of our contacts -- something a business card cannot do.”

youPass for iOS and Android also received significant updates to streamline the user experience. With youPass v2.4, the core functions (scan, share and connect) are brought to the forefront of the UI and are accessible via simple swipes. In addition, youPass v2.4 adds support for additional ways to connect including social networks, messenger and video communication platforms. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr, YouTube, Skype, Kik, Google+, About.Me, Tsū, Ello, ooVoo, SoundCloud, Flickr and many more.

For the original version, visit PRWeb.

Learn more about Mike and his journey to Draper University.

ALUMNI ALERT: Pundit Selected to Disney Accelerator, Techstars

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Today Techstars announce the 2015 participants of Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Draper University Spring 2015 Alumni Billy Shaw Susanto, Founder of Pundit, was selected and funded as 1 in 10 media tech startups in the world to the program. Pundit will participate in a three-month mentorship and investment program, which begins July 9 this year and concludes with a demo day on October 6.

The ten companies in this year’s program represent a diverse cross-section of technologies, and we are inspired by their visions for the applicability of these technologies in the media space.

Pundit & the 9 other startups will receive up to $120,000 in investment capital to develop their ideas, along with mentor support from top Disney executives, including Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, among others. Mentors will also include other entertainment industry leaders, venture capitalists and Techstars’ extensive network of entrepreneurs, investors and executives.

Draper University supported Pundit’s early user adoption by supplying a network of influential creators to host ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions (AMAs) on the platform including Miss USA Erin Brady - fully supporting the company’s vision to be a true media tech company, far beyond yet another “social networking app.”

 

[Tweet "GET READY: Pundit is relaunching on Monday, July 13 on the App Store."]

 

Congratulations, Billy! We're proud of you!

 

For full articles & features:

Loopd Lands Additional $1.5M to Power Corporate Events Analytics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Loopd Inc.

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

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

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.

MichaelLisovety

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!

Alumni Profile: Brian Friedman of Loopd

Brian Friedman was part of our Summer 2013 class. He has since founded Loopd, a relational analytics company that uses wearable technology to collect data at events. Read our exclusive profile below. Brian Friedman

June 1, 2015 - Brian Friedman attended a formal boarding school in New Hampshire where dress code was enforced with an iron fist and students attended chapel every Monday morning. After his authoritarian experience in high school, he headed to Lehigh University where he studied materials science and engineering as well as product design and was given the opportunity to start the entrepreneurship club. While attending Lehigh, Brian also worked for Red Bull as a Student Brand Manager. In the back of his mind, however, he knew his experiences in high school and college had prepared him for a much different path.

A Successful Mentor Recommends a “Leap of Faith”

“A fellow advisor and mentor recommended that I apply to Draper University,” says Brian. “He is a very successful entrepreneur, and I knew if he told me to go then it would be worth taking the leap of faith. I was right, after all! For the first time I felt that it was possible to dream about anything.”

Most of Brian’s fellow classmates at Lehigh didn’t share his strong drive to start a venture, with the majority going to work as technical sales reps with materials companies in the middle of the US or as lab assistants in dark rooms throughout New Jersey. But Brian believes that his experience at Draper University allowed him to take advantage of his creativity and also meet other like-minded individuals. Brian actually met his two co-founders, Sambhav Galada and Allen Houng, at Draper University, and they all hit it off immediately.

Sambhav Galada is the Head of Product of Loopd. He pursued his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M. Sambhav has implemented and designed an ARM low power chip for wearable technology that enables users to get feedback on their personal fitness analytics.

Allen Houng is the Head of Software of Loopd. Allen graduated with honors in electrical engineering in Taiwan and produced an award-winning gesture-recognition engine via FPGA application. Allen has been featured on TechCrunch and StartUp Weekend Blog for his startup called Drimmit, which he built by himself from the ground up full stack.

During the program Brian learned about new trends that were the bleeding edge in Silicon Valley, including 3D printing, space mining, anti-aging pharmaceutical and blockchain technologies. He also learned that in order to build a scalable business you need to stay focused and conquer one problem at a time.

The idea for Loopd was conceived during a competition at Draper. The night before, Brian had seen a video of the Budweiser Buddy Cup, which gave people the ability to exchange Facebook information by tapping glasses. The next day in BizWorld, a startup contest, his team had to create and sell a wristband concept. Immediately he thought of BuddyBand, which was the initial idea for Loopd, but since then the concept has evolved.

“Our team put in several hours to develop our initial prototype and business model. We are a hard working group and while at Draper University we learned that you need to execute as a team if you want to build a great company,” Brian says.

After Pitch Day (and Some Refinement) Loopd Is Born

Brian and his team were in the top 10 on pitch day, the culmination of the program and what every student works toward while at Draper. While their idea was applauded by many, it was also questioned by the panel of experts, which helped Brian and his co-founders refine their concept for Loopd. Since pitch day they’ve raised $1.2MM from Tim Draper, Marc Benioff, Rick Dalzell and other notable angel investors.

Loopd is a relational analytics platform that measures proximity-based human interactions and engagement for corporate events. Loopd is the industry’s only bi-directional solution that enables attendees to exchange contact information, collect marketing materials and passively check in to speaker sessions. Using physical analytics, marketers are able to have a more sophisticated understanding of their most valuable business relationships and bring clarity to murky ROI measurements. Additional 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.

In the past 12 months, he and his team have designed and built a complete analytics platform, iOS and Android app and bi-directional beacon. Loopd won Wearable Tech Product of the Year, was selected as a top-eight finalist for smart data and enterprise at SXSW Accelerator and was selected as top 48 finalist at CeBit CODE_N. Since the company’s launch at SXSW, the team has closed its first enterprise deal with Box, and has Accenture, Salesforce and Cisco in the final stages. They have also assembled a great team of 15 amazing people in San Francisco and Taiwan who have skills in machine learning, wireless protocols, big data infrastructure and mobile development.

“Right now we are focused on building the next version of Loopd, which will be more cost effective, powerful and feature rich. Over the next eight months our team plans to power 20 Fortune 2000 Corporate Conferences with our hardware solution and 40 high quality events with our software solution. In the future, our technology will be the leading offline analytics provider for MRO in health, manufacturing, retail and developing nations worldwide. And this is all because of Draper University,” Brian finishes with a big smile.

DU Alum Co-Authors the World Economic Forum Report on Emerging Technologies

May 18, 2015 — The 2015 World Economic Forum Report on Emerging Technologies, released in March of this year, is the most read World Economic Forum report to date. The report introduces ten rising technologies -- including next-generation robotics and digital genomes -- and gives an overview of their applications. Apurv Mishra at Draper University

The report counts Draper University alum, Apurv Mishra, as co-author; along with Bernard Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM; and Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of the Scientific American.

Apurv was a member of our Fall 2013 class and also completed the Boost VC Program. He is the Founder of Glavio Wearable Computing. Read the full report on today's top ten emerging technologies here.

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.

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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!

The Rise of Tech Superwomen: Surbhi Sarna

tech superwomen surbhi sarnaFebruary 2, 2015 - Sheryl Sandburg. Melissa Meyer. Meg Whitman. These powerful and successful women have all become household names as the female execs behind Facebook, Yahoo, and eBay. But there's a new group of female thought leaders and power brokers who have all beaten the odds to succeed: Tech Superwomen. In this Forbes article, we take a look at the four Tech Superwomen below, including one of our very own alumni: Surbhi Sarna of nVision Medical!

Surbhi was listed on Forbes 2014 30 Under 30 in science and healthcare. Her company nVision Medical is "developing technology that can be used in the doctors office for diagnosing both infertility and ovarian cancer - which remains one of the most lethal cancers worldwide due to the lack of early stage detection options."

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: "Don't let them stop you!"

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!

10 Tips from Inspiring Speakers at Draper University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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U of T Alumni Raise $130k from Top Entrepreneurship Program

November 10, 2014  Founded in 2013 by prominent venture capitalist Tim Draper, Draper University is a top entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley. In its first year, Draper University graduated 203 alumni who went on to start 60+ companies and raise $6.2M in funding (more stats at http://draperuniversity.com//infographic/). Of those graduates, three alumni from the University of Toronto (U of T) raised a combined $130k for their startups (source: http://thevarsity.ca/2014/11/03/u-of-t-graduates-receive-130000-in-funding/). Colin Heilbut paired up with fellow alum Mu-Chi Sung to create Bistro - the world's first cat feeder with facial recognition. Their Indiegogo campaign reached its goal within 3 days of launching. Arun Nijhawan started a water leak detection tool, and Hubert Ka joined the TestLegends team that gamifies education and test preparation.

Like these 3 alumni from U of T, over 60% of students who come to Draper University's top entrepreneurship program are from outside the US. To join the next class of aspiring entrepreneurs at Draper University's startup bootcamp, apply online at http://draperuniversity.com//apply-2/.

Draper University Alumni Launch "Loopd"

San Mateo, CA – October 16, 2014 – Draper University, the innovative and disruptive school for entrepreneurs, announced that four alumni have launched Loopd, a proximity marketing solutions tool for marketing executives. Loopd closed $1 million in angel funding from Draper Associates and Draper University founder Tim Draper, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, and Vuclip Co-Founder Xinhui Nui. Alumni Startup Loopd“At Draper University we teach our students to think differently and provide all the necessary tools to start a business. We are thrilled to see four of our Draper University heroes going out into the world and disrupting the traditional way of marketing at conferences and events,” said Draper.

With Loopd, marketers are able to prove event ROI, deliver higher quality leads, gather accurate attendee profiles, optimize event marketing strategies, and enhance attendee engagement. Unlike stand-alone event apps, beacon systems, or traditional lead retrieval systems, Loopd combines the three essential components for an event marketer: a mobile app, event hardware including bi-directional beacons, and rich analytics.

The team of seven is based in San Francisco, CA and Taipei, Taiwan. The chips cost less than $5 dollars to manufacture and can last up to two weeks. The chip also allows users to take notes and export the information received from the app to the user’s sales software, thus making it easier for conference attendees to create contacts rather than solely relying on business cards.

“Draper University changed my life; this is almost an understatement. During my session, I met my two amazing cofounders, came up with our idea for Loopd, and decided to move to Silicon Valley to start my company,” said Brian Friedman, CEO at Loopd. “I would recommend the program with flying colors to anyone and everyone that wants to learn more entrepreneurship.”

Former Draper University alumni are out changing the world – former students have started over 60 companies, raised over $7.4 million in capital, are working at large companies including Tesla and Google, as well as at startups, and attending business school at Harvard and Stanford. Draper University is now accepting applications for its Winter 2015 programs. Application deadlines are at http://www.localhost/sites/html/apply.


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