“I try to look for ideas that will break down borders,” said Adam Draper, the youngest venture capitalist in the Draper family.
Global venture investing, funding startups internationally, runs in the Draper blood. The eldest of the three, Bill Draper, first started working as a venture capitalist for his father in 1959, after fighting in the Korean War. In 1986, Bill Draper moved on to become the head of the United Nations Developmen
t Program, and after eight years of public service, he co-founded one of the world’s first venture capital firm, Draper International. After achieving early success in emerging markets such as India, the company grew rapidly and is now investing in many areas of Asia and Europe, as well as extensively in the US. Bill attributes his early international work as one of the major reasons for his international investing success.
Influenced by his father, Tim Draper also possesses a talent for global venture investing. His company, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), founded DFJ Athena Korea in 1993 and now has DFJ-branded affiliates all across the world.
The youngest of the Drapers – Adam – continued the family legacy. He helped create Boost, a startup incubator and accelerator. Adam is also the co-founder and chairman of Ender’s Fund, a company focused on producing casual online games.
With almost 100 years of combined investment experience, the three Drapers offered a number of insights, rooted in deep personal experiences of both success and failure:
Regarding Korea, Tim Draper commented: “[Korea] is more advanced than [many] other countries in the world.” He specifically complimented the Korean education system and encouraged international students to immerse themselves in entrepreneurship, through programs such as Draper University.
Adam Draper spoke about the new model of connecting entrepreneurs to venture capitalists. Specifically, he discussed the growing importance of crowdfunding, including platforms such as Angel List: “It’s never been cheaper to start a company; it’s never been easier to access capital.” Adam contributed this phenomenon to the spread of the internet as entrepreneurs are just clicks away from one of the over 450 active venture capital firms in just the US alone.
The Drapers later participated in judging five startups in the Korean Startup Battle morning session. They were particularly struck by the superb presentation from Tony Ryu, CEO of Korbit. Tony is building Korea’s first BitCoin exchange and with a solid background in the Financial Industry, as well as his previous experience of building a BitCoin startup he is well placed to hit great success with his new venture.