Timothy C. Draper

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Tim Draper
Tim Draper.jpg
Born California
Education Stanford university, Harvard University
Occupation Founder and Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ)
Spouse(s) Melissa Parker Draper (Melissa Lee Parker)
Children Billy Draper, Adam Draper, Eleanor Draper, and Jesse Draper
Parents William Henry Draper III and Phyllis Draper
Profile at Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Timothy Cook Draper is an American venture capital investor, and 1985 founder of the firm which would become Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ).[1] 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.

Background and early life[edit]

He is the third in a line of venture capitalists. His father, William Henry Draper III, 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.[1]

He has a degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University,[2] and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1984.[1]

Financial career[edit]

In 1985, Draper left the bank Alex, Brown & Sons to start his own venture capital firm; former officemate Jon Fisher became a partner in 1991, and business student Steve Jurvetson became the third partner in the firm.[3]

Hotmail and viral marketing[edit]

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,[4] though the neologism itself is documented as early as a 1989 edition of PC User.[5]


Tim Draper's father, Bill Draper, was an earlier investor in Skype, and DFJ came to back Skype.[when?][6] The company owned 10% of Skype in 2005 when it was sold to eBay for US$4.1 billion.[7]

Bitcoin auction[edit]

On 27 June 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.[8] The accumulation of Bitcoins has been valued at US$19 million.[9]


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.[10] The initiative has until 18 July 2014 to acquire 807,615 signatures.[11]

Draper has also spoken out against Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, stating that they limit the viability of taking companies public.[12]

Educational program[edit]

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.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Entrepreneurs page, Harvard Business School website, accessed April 16, 2014'.
  2. ^ Melissa Lee Parker Becomes the Bride Of Timothy Cook Draper in California, New York Times, August 15, 1982.
  3. ^ Deborah Perry Piscione (2 April 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. 
  4. ^ Helen Powell; Jonathan Hardy; Sarah Hawkin; Iain MacRury (13 September 2013). Advertising Handbook. Routledge. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-1-134-71892-4. 
  5. ^ Justin Kirby; Paul Marsden (7 June 2007). Connected Marketing. Routledge. pp. 89–. ISBN 978-1-136-41564-7. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Ember, Sydney (2 July 2014). "Venture Capitalist Tim Draper Wins Bitcoin Auction". New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  9. ^ http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/02/someone-just-paid-19m-for-29656-5-bitcoins-seized-by-the-u-s-government/
  10. ^ Kayle Fields, Petition to Split California Into Six States Gets Green Light, ABC News, February 19, 2014.
  11. ^ http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/21/why-venture-capitalist-tim-draper-wants-to-divide-california-into-six-states-interview/
  12. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/05/22/us-summit-draper-idUSTRE54L01X20090522
  13. ^ Kinney, Aaron (17 April 2013). "San Mateo: Draper University welcomes first class of entrepreneurial 'superheroes'". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2 July 2014.