Ringmaster of the venture capital playground – What can be done to encourage entrepreneurship?

Timothy C. Draper approaches his work with fun twists, but he has serious tips for the hopeful entrepreneurs at the Florida Venture Forum.

What’s with the elephant?

Officers of the Florida Venture Forum knew they were in for an unconventional speaker at their recent conference in Orlando when they invited Timothy C. Draper.

Draper, a third-generation venture capitalist and managing partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson in Menlo Park, Calif., is renowned for his ability to look at the big picture and pick a winner.

He was an early backer of Hotmail and suggested the use of viral marketing via the Web to spread an Internet product. He has set up an international network of Draper affiliates to tap promising startups worldwide. And he is such an ardent supporter of entrepreneurs that he wrote a rock song celebrating their exploits, then had a widely known singer put it to music (more on that later) and sent 5,000 copies to clients for Christmas. On the CD’s cover is a photo of Draper, dressed in safari clothes and sitting astride an elephant.


What can be done to encourage entrepreneurship?

Good technical education. Good business schools, and get the two to talk to each other. Business plan competitions are great for the community.

By KRIS HUNDLEY, Times Staff Writer

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