Can VCs Be Bred? Meet The New Generation In Silicon Valley's Draper Dynasty
Over the course of a half-century, the Draper family has carved out a name (and a fortune) in a place where breeding and ancestry are thought to be irrelevant. Now it's time for the debut of the youngest generation.
General William H. Draper Jr., a former undersecretary of the U.S. Army who is considered the first professional venture capitalist on the West Coast. When the general opened his VC firm in the late 1950s, he recruited his son Bill, then living in Chicago, as one of his first employees, thus launching the Draper dynasty. "We rented a car and went out and knocked on doors in the orchards," says Bill, recalling the apricot groves that filled Sunnyvale. In those early days of working for his father, Bill would pull over to any storefront that had the word technology in its name. Then he'd ask the company if they wanted help in exchange for some equity.