Tim Draper is not one to hold back his thoughts on politics and fairness when it comes to business. Elaborating on his tweet from last month, criticising the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the violence and protests that have ensued, Draper has now penned an open letter of sorts to the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We have had a long relationship and special connection with India, since my father was the first venture capitalist ever to focus on India with Draper International. I followed my father’s lead and grew to love India. Nevertheless, ten years ago, we pulled out of India because we believed that corruption in the then-government was leading to corrupt practices among the local entrepreneurs (trickle-down corruption),” Draper wrote, talking about his investments and history in India.
Prosperous governments promote freedom and equal opportunity for their people. They create a fair platform for people to participate in the global economy. – Tim Draper
While he praised the government’s demonetisation move, which boosted fintech and digital payment, Draper had been scathing on the cryptocurrency blockade and the ban-like situation around cryptos in India. Elaborating on the CAA and discriminatory policies, Draper added, “They reduce the friction of regulation, they make sure everyone feels equally welcome, you make sure people and money can flow freely through your country, they create pure transparency for their government and their businesses, and they celebrate the fruits of business success.”
Last month, Draper had tweeted saying that India choosing one religion over another makes him seriously concerned about his plans to fund businesses in the country.
In 2007, Draper first entered in India with his VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ). At that time, the venture capitalist invested around $70 Mn in startup such as Cleartrip, Komli Media, iYogi, among others.
However, in 2013, citing that India has a corrupt environment and DFJ is also facing issues with Indian entrepreneurs, Draper sold its India portfolio to NewQuest Capital Partners, making an exit.
In India, the country has had a long history of supporting a culture of need, and they have many needy people. But there is now a spark of hope for a culture of opportunity. Let’s fan that spark. The recipe for governance that leads to prosperity is not that complicated. It is: Freedom, Fairness, and Frictionlessness.
Draper added that he would be in India in March this year for the Draper Venture Network Summit, and is looking to meet Modi to discuss his plans for India.
It’s not just Draper that has come down hard against CAA. The Indian government has been facing a lot of criticism from not just countrymen but also global leaders. Earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also spoke out publicly against the law, while tech leaders also signed an open letter asking the government to reconsider the law, which has sparked off violent protests, riots and other incidents across the country.
“I’m shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous startup or lead a multinational corporation benefitting Indian society and the economy at large,” Nadella had said in an official statement, after calling CAA ‘bad’ in a meeting with journalists.