Tim Draper

Tim Draper photo

Timothy Cook Draper (born June 11, 1958) is an American venture capital investor, and 1985 founder of the firm that would become Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ). Draper is also the founder of 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[1].



A Billionaire, Tim Draper: “I’m not selling my Bitcoins”

Background and early life

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.

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

Financial career

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.

In 2013 he announced his departure from Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

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


Draper’s father, Bill Draper, was an earlier investor in Skype, and DFJ backed Skype in 2004. The company owned 10% of Skype in 2005 when it was sold to eBay for US$4.1 billion.

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. The accumulation of Bitcoins was estimated to be worth US$19 million at the time.[3]

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.


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

In 2000, Draper spent $20 million on a failed measure to support school vouchers.[4]

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. 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.[5] Draper spent in excess of $5 million to try to qualify the proposition for the ballot, with nearly $450,000 for political consultants.

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.[6]


More than 30 years after Draper created His company, which now manages assets worth five billion US dollars, he discovered a cryptocurrency entrepreneur who is ready to invest in innovative projects. Draper is on the list of the wealthiest owners of Forbes cryptocurrencies. A significant part of his digital coins he purchased by buying bitcoins Silk Road, auctioned by U.S. marshals in 2014. He was lucky: he had the necessary capital and accreditation to purchase 32,000 bitcoins for the amount that now seems insignificant – 18 million dollars.

Despite the fact that its arrival on the cryptocurrency market was successful, there were no rough edges. As one of the main authors of the Tezos Foundation, he was forced to stand trial. The main stumbling block in this case was that bitcoin has since grown significantly in price. Tezos won from this, but did nothing for investors who parted last year with their bitcoins for the sake of the promised XTZ.

When Draper was asked about the volatility of bitcoin, he categorically rejected the assumption that high volatility discourages “ordinary people”. He stressed his confidence in bitcoin, saying: “my bitcoins are safer than my dollars in the Bank… It’s very reliable.” While some entrepreneurs (one of the most famous among them – Steve Wozniak) had to admit that the brutal and chaotic cryptocurrency market did not suit them, Tim Draper seems to like this adventure, and he does not intend to sell the “future for the past”.

External links

See Also on BitcoinWiki


  1. Venture Capitalist Tim Draper Wins Small Piece of Bitcoin Auction
  2. Melissa Lee Parker Becomes the Bride Of Timothy Cook Draper in California, New York Times, August 15, 1982.
  3. Someone Just Bought $19M in Silk Road Bitcoins From the Feds
  4. Carla Marinucci. July 15, 2014.Six Californias measure heading for 2016 ballot, backers say. SFGate. Retrieved: July 15, 2014.
  5. ‘Six Californias’ plan falls short of making November 2016 ballot
  6. San Mateo: Draper University welcomes first class of entrepreneurial ‘superheroes’