Timothy C. Draper

Timothy C. Draper
Born Timothy Cook Draper
(1958-06-11) June 11, 1958
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University
Stanford University
Occupation Founder and Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ)
Spouse(s) Melissa Lee (Parker) Draper[1]
Children Billy Draper, Adam Draper, Eleanor Draper, and Jesse Draper
Parent(s) William Henry Draper III and Phyllis (Culbertson) Draper
Relatives Polly Draper (Sister)
Website Profile at Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Timothy Cook "Tim" Draper (born June 11, 1958) is an American venture capital investor, and 1985 founder of the firm that would become Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ).[2] Draper is also the founder of Draper Associates and Draper University. In July 2014, Draper received wide coverage[3] for his purchase at a US Marshals Service auction of seized bitcoins from the Silk Road marketplace website.

Background and early life

Draper is the third in a line of venture capitalists. He is the son of Phyllis (Culbertson) and William Henry Draper III, who founded the Draper & Johnson Investment Company in 1962 and was chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. His grandfather, William Henry Draper Jr., founded Draper, Gaither and Anderson in 1958.[2]

He has a degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University,[4] and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1984.[2]

Financial career

In 1985, Draper left the bank Alex, Brown & Sons to start his own venture capital firm; former officemate John H.N. Fisher became a partner in 1991, and business student Steve Jurvetson became the third partner in the firm.[5]

Hotmail and viral marketing

Although the history of the term is not fully clear, it is commonly argued that Draper and Jurvetson "invented viral marketing" in 1996, due to their idea of automatically attaching a brief advertising message to the bottom of outgoing Hotmail emails,[6] though the neologism itself is documented as early as a 1989 edition of PC User.[7]


Tim Draper's father, Bill Draper, was an earlier investor in Skype, and DFJ came to back Skype in 2004.[8][9] The company owned 10% of Skype in 2005 when it was sold to eBay for US$4.1 billion.[10]

Bitcoin auction

On June 27, 2014, Draper purchased for an undisclosed price nearly 30,000 bitcoins which had been seized by the US Marshals service and auctioned to the public.[11] The accumulation of bitcoins has been valued at US$19 million.[12]

On January 27, 2015, Tim Draper wagered about $400,000 (which is 2000 bitcoins with $200 price) that the bitcoin will rebound from its recent plunge.[13]


Draper has spoken out against Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, stating that they limit the viability of taking companies public.[14]

In 2000, Draper spent $20 million on a failed measure to support school vouchers.[15]

Six Californias

In early 2014, Draper filed a petition which was accepted by California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin collecting signatures to divide California into six smaller states, arguing that California is "increasingly ungovernable" as one state.[16] However, on September 12, 2014, it was announced the plan fell short of the required amount of valid signatures to land it on the 2016 ballot.[17] Draper spent in excess of $5 million to try to qualify the proposition for the ballot, with nearly $450,000 just for political consultants.[18]

Educational program

In 2013, Draper launched Draper University of Heroes, an educational program that offers a crash course in entrepreneurship. The university's residential program is based in San Mateo, California, and the curriculum is designed by Draper.[19]


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/15/style/melissa-lee-parker-becomes-the-bride-of-timothy-cook-draper-in-california.html
  2. 1 2 3 Entrepreneurs page, Harvard Business School website, accessed April 16, 2014'.
  3. Ember, Sydney. "Venture Capitalist Tim Draper Wins Small Piece of Bitcoin Auction". The New York Times.
  4. Melissa Lee Parker Becomes the Bride Of Timothy Cook Draper in California, New York Times, August 15, 1982.
  5. Deborah Perry Piscione (April 2, 2013). Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-1-137-32421-4.
  6. Helen Powell; Jonathan Hardy; Sarah Hawkin; Iain MacRury (September 13, 2013). Advertising Handbook. Routledge. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-1-134-71892-4.
  7. Justin Kirby; Paul Marsden (June 7, 2007). Connected Marketing. Routledge. pp. 89–. ISBN 978-1-136-41564-7.
  8. "Skype Closes 'B' Round Funding from Top Venture Capitalists" (Press release). PR Newswire. 2004-03-15. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  9. Bruce J. Schulman (2014). Making the American Century: Essays on the Political Culture of Twentieth Century America. Oxford University Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-0-19-984541-5.
  10. Ori Brafman; Rod A. Beckstrom (2006). The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. Penguin. pp. 176–. ISBN 978-1-59184-143-2.
  11. Ember, Sydney (July 2, 2014). "Venture Capitalist Tim Draper Wins Bitcoin Auction". New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  12. Harrison Weber (July 2, 2014). "Someone just bought $19M in bitcoins seized by the U.S. government (updated)". VentureBeat.
  13. Olga Kharif (January 27, 2015). "Venture Capitalist Draper Bets $400,000 More on Bitcoin Revival". Bloomberg.
  14. David Lawsky and Anupreeta Das (May 22, 2009). "Draper helps take companies "prublic"". Reuters.
  15. Carla Marinucci. July 15, 2014 . Six Californias measure heading for 2016 ballot, backers say. SFGate. Retrieved: July 15, 2014.
  16. Kayle Fields, Petition to Split California Into Six States Gets Green Light, ABC News, February 19, 2014.
  17. Chris Megerian (September 12, 2014). "'Six Californias' plan falls short of making November 2016 ballot". Los Angeles Times.
  18. Cadelago, Christopher (April 29, 2015). "'Risk master' Tim Draper soliciting ideas for next ballot proposal". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  19. Kinney, Aaron (April 17, 2013). "San Mateo: Draper University welcomes first class of entrepreneurial 'superheroes'". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
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