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Tim Draper in November 2017
Timothy Cook Draper|
June 11, 1958
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Stanford University (BA)|
Harvard University (MBA)
|Occupation||Founder and managing director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ)|
|Children||4, including Jesse|
William Henry Draper III (father)|
Polly Draper (sister)
Nat Wolff (nephew)
Alex Wolff (nephew)
Timothy Cook Draper (born June 11, 1958) is an American venture capital investor, and in 1985, the founder of the firm that would become Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ). He also founded Draper Associates and Draper University. In July 2014, Draper received wide coverage for his purchase at a US Marshals Service auction of seized bitcoins from the Silk Road marketplace website. He also spent in excess of $5 million to push a ballot initiative to divide California into six smaller states, which has met the signature threshold but was removed from the ballot by a decision in the Supreme Court of California.
Draper is the third in a familial line of venture capitalists. He is the son of Phyllis (Culbertson) and William Henry Draper III and the younger brother of actress Polly Draper. His father is the founder of Draper & Johnson Investment Company and former 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.
In 1985, Draper left the bank Alex, Brown & Sons to start his own venture capital firm; former colleague John H.N. Fisher became a partner in 1991, and business student Steve Jurvetson became the third partner in the firm.
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, though the neologism itself is documented as early as a 1989 edition of PC User.
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. The accumulation of bitcoins was estimated to be worth US$19 million at the time.
On Sep. 23, 2014, Draper told Fox Business that he predicted that one bitcoin would reach $10,000 "in three years"; on January 27, 2015, Draper wagered about $400,000 (which is 2000 bitcoins with $200 price) that the bitcoin will rebound from a recent plunge. The price of a bitcoin crossed the $10,000 mark on November 29, 2017.
Draper was one of the first investors in the blood testing start up Theranos whose founder Elizabeth Holmes was later charged of massive fraud by the SEC. After a Wall Street Journal investigation into Theranos, Draper accused WSJ reporter John Carreyrou of vendetta and claimed that the investigation of Theranos was an elaborate conspiracy. In a 2016 interview with Rebecca Jarvis, Draper claimed that he saw "50 tests being run on 2 drops of blood" using Theranos technology and "it worked beautifully". In 2018, after the SEC had already charged Holmes with "elaborate, years-long fraud", Draper continued to defend her, calling her a "great icon" who had been "bullied into submission" despite having done a "great job".
In 2000, Draper spent $20 million on a failed measure to support school vouchers.
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. 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, partly due to fraud by a signature-collection coordinator who submitted a claimed 70,000 signatures that did not exist. Draper spent in excess of $5 million to try to qualify the proposition for the ballot, with nearly $450,000 for political consultants.
In April 2018 Draper announced collection of "about 600,000" signatures for a new petition to divide California, this time into three new states. In June 2018, the petition collected a sufficient number of signatures to qualify as an initiative in the 2018 general election. On July 18, 2018, The California Supreme Court blocked the measure from appearing on the November 2018 ballot.
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 curricula are designed by Draper.