VC Bill Draper And Identified.com - Still Pitching Startups At 84
(Bill Draper, third from left.)
Wednesday I had dinner with Bill Draper and several startups around the theme of "Millennials" and how their online habits are determining the business models for a new generation of online services.
It was great to see Mr Draper, still pitching his investments, at 84 years old! He looked great and he's an excellent role model for how to age gracefully and energetically.
Mr Draper, born in 1927, is sometimes known as the "father" of Silicon Valley VCs. He started work at his father's investment firm, Draper, Gaither & Anderson in 1959. His is an illustrious career, take a look at this small excerpt:
He served from 1981 to 1986 as President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and was appointed to this position by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1986, he became the head of the world's largest source of multilateral development grant assistance, the United Nations Development Programme. As the second highest ranking individual in the United Nations, Draper oversaw nearly 10,000 international aid projects.
You might think that Mr Draper would choose to take things easy. But, he is also a great example of the tireless energy of Silicon Valley's investors and entrepreneurs - they keep coming back and doing it again, and again, and again.
His latest investment is Identified, an 8 month-old startup that raised $21 million earlier this week in Series B funding. It is co-founded by Brendan Wallace (below) and Adeyemi Ajao, a Spanish entrepreneur who sold his last company, Tuenti - described as a Spanish Facebook, to Telefonica for about $100 million in 2010.
The two met at Stanford university and are now running a rapidly growing startup with more than 10 million users, focused on becoming a type of LinkedIn for younger professionals in the 18 to 30 year demographic. About 90% of its users are under the age of 35 compared with LinkedIn, with 75% of its users over the age of 35. Most of the users on Identified are in the computer science field.
"No one has the amount of data that we have about this demographic. There's tremendous business potential in this area," said Mr Wallace.
Identified has about 50 staff, many are game designers recruited from Zynga and other gaming firms. They are working hard on an enterprise product that will help corporations identify and hire the talent they need.
Users of Identified are subject to "gamification" to extract ever more data from them, which will then be used to monetize the firm and propel its fortunes.
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From the Wall Street Journal on a conversation between Mr Draper and VC Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco:
On VC ego: "It (should be) less about themselves, and all about building great companies and supporting entrepreneurs, making sure the entrepreneur gets the credit... Some names come to mind of people whose egos would fill this room, but we won't name them."
"If a VC looks you in the eye and says he hasn't made mistakes, he's lying.