William H. Draper, Jr

History

Three Generations of Venture Capital

The Draper name is well known in the venture capital industry. Bill Draper’s father, General William H. Draper, Jr., became the first professional west-coast venture capitalist when he founded Draper, Gaither & Anderson in 1958. Formerly Undersecretary of the Army, General Draper was responsible for economic reconstruction of Germany and Japan under the Marshall Plan.

Bill Draper began his venture capital career in 1962 with Pitch Johnson, when he started Draper & Johnson Investment Company. In 1965, together with Paul Wythes, he founded Sutter Hill Ventures which was managed with great success until 1981, when he was appointed Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. In 1985, he was selected to be Administrator and CEO of the United Nations Development Program. While in the venture capital business, Bill Draper was a founding investor in Apollo Computer (acquired by Hewlett Packard), Dionex, Integrated Genetics (Genzyme), Quantum, Qume (I.T.T.), Activision (Mediagenic), Xidex (Eastman Kodak), Measurex, Hybritech (Eli Lilly), and LSI Logic. In 1995, he returned to venture capital by founding Draper International which focused on venture investments in India. In 1996, he turned his attention to technology companies in the U.S. and co-founded a new domestic fund, Draper Richards L.P., with his partner, Robin Richards Donohoe.

Bill Draper’s son, Tim Draper, left Alex. Brown & Sons in 1985 to become the third generation of venture capitalists in his family with the formation of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Tim restructured a family-owned Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) that had been set up by his father in 1979 and then created a highly successful early-stage venture capital fund. Draper Fisher Jurvetson has become synonymous with early-stage venture capital. Among other successes, Tim Draper was a founding investor in Parametric Technology, Digidesign, Parenting Magazine, Upside Publishing, PLX Technology, Four-1-1, Hotmail, and Skype.