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A candid chat with the legendary Tim Draper, the VC behind the likes of Skype, Hotmail & Tesla

A candid chat with the legendary Tim Draper, the VC behind the likes of Skype, Hotmail & Tesla

Tim Draper is a third-generation venture capitalist and the Silicon Valley money man behind companies like Skype, Hotmail, and Tesla Motors. 

Tim Draper comes from an incredibly talented family. His father, along with his business partner “Pitch” Johnson essentially invented the venture capital infrastructure, which underwrote the development of Silicon Valley. His leadership at Draper Fisher Jurvetson has been essential in the formation of a number of emerging companies we all use on a daily basis.

He launched the Draper University of Heroes, a wacky school for start-up aspirants. Draper University provides innovative online and residential program for the brightest entrepreneurs from around the world. Located in the Silicon Valley, it is an immersive program that teaches entrepreneurship and business through listening to speakers whose businesses revolve around relevant topics, and through individual, group and class activities including public speaking, cold calling, hydroponics, speed reading, and business simulations.

As a part of the program our co-founder, Naren had a quick fire side chat with Mr. Tim Draper on his future plans and his opinion on the Indian startup ecosystem.

[Edited Excerpts]

Inc42: What was the main idea or goal behind launching Draper University?

Tim: The world needs more heroes. People who will try things and make our lives better. I thought by creating a school for heroes that I could attract people with a spark for heroism, but needed some training and encouragement in heroism and make them true heroes as they pursue their life’s goals.

Inc42: How do you differentiate Draper from the existing schools which entrepreneurship?

Tim: Other schools to date teach a lot of history of entrepreneurship. We teach future, and we teach human skills.

Inc42: What are the main qualities you look for in an applicant for Draper University?

Tim: We are looking for a spark. Something that distinguishes that person from all others, and a drive to try something new and original.

Inc42: How does a traditional day at Draper University look like?

Tim: There is no typical day at Draper University. One day they might be cliff diving and another day they might listen to six lectures and having team activities.

imageImage Via Facebook

Inc42: Where do you see Draper University 10 years from now?

Tim: We believe Draper University will achieve world class status as our alumni start to break out and succeed. We hope Draper University Online will become as good an experience as the residential school has delivered.

Inc42: What according to you are the three main ingredients of a successful entrepreneur?

Tim: An entrepreneur has to have a vision that they can explain to a group of people and get converts even if the vision is something people have never imagined.

Inc42: How do you see startup ecosystem has evolved in past few years?

Tim: So many ways. The ecosystem now includes AngelList, FundersClub, Indiegogo, Eshares, LegalZoom, Kickstarter, Second Market, etc. All of that will change the whole dynamic in starting a business.

Inc42: What are the most important attributes you look for before investing in any startup?

Naren With Tim Draper

Tim: Big market, a simple product and great enthusiasm.

Inc42: What are your views on current Indian startup ecosystem in comparison to Silicon Valley? What can Indian startups learn from Silicon Valley?

Tim: India needs corruption to stop! Now! When Indian entrepreneurs see culture changing, they will also become more direct, honest, and honorable. Pressure on the people at the top (via social networks) to be honorable will do much to improve the impoverished nation that is India. Rule of Law is critical. Entrepreneurship and Heroism are awesome, but the corruption in the society is keeping a billion people down

Inc42: Would you like to recommend any changes that you want to see in India startup ecosystem?

Tim: Sure. They have a higher hurdle now, because our experience in the 20 companies we have funded in India has not been entirely positive. On the downside, we have seen entrepreneurs just run away from their businesses. On the upside, we have had to renegotiate. Again, rule of law and maybe a good bankruptcy law could help a lot.

Inc42: According to you what sectors will be the trendsetters in the coming time?

Tim: I like Bitcoin (particularly in India where people don’t trust the currency), crowd sourcing, crowdfunding, wearable devices, electric transportation, 3-D printing, drones, etc.

You can find out more about Draper University here.

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