SOURCE: VC Taskforce

VC Taskforce

April 19, 2012 10:15 ET

VC Taskforce Announces 2012 Innovation Catalyst Award Recipient: The Draper Family

Drapers Have Shaped VC Industry for More Than 50 Years

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Apr 19, 2012) - VC Taskforce™ (, a leading organization committed to enhancing collaboration in the venture community, announced that the Draper family will receive its prestigious 2012 Innovation Catalyst Award (ICA). Every year VC Taskforce honors an individual or group in the venture capital community for distinguished work in innovation and entrepreneurship. The Draper family has, over three successive generations, invested in and grown hundreds of start-up companies, many of which have become household names, such as Activision, Hotmail and Skype. VC Taskforce will present the award to the Drapers at the ICA gala event on October 30, 2012.

"Venture capital runs deep in the Draper blood," wrote Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, in the foreword of Bill Draper's 2011 book, The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs. "General William Draper Jr. was a pioneering American venture capitalist who started the world's first limited partnerships. His son Bill, who now has several hundred investments to his name, got started in 1959, before the phrase 'venture capital' was even understood. Bill's son, Tim, is among the most prominent VCs working today. All three Drapers have played an integral role in the unfolding of this fascinating venture capital entrepreneurial ecosystem."

In 1959, General William Draper Jr. made history when, together with two friends, he formed Draper, Gaither, and Anderson, the first venture capital firm on the West Coast, in Palo Alto.
In 1962, Bill Draper left his father's firm to form Draper & Johnson Investment Company with friend Pitch Johnson. In 1965, together with Paul Wythes, he founded Sutter Hill Ventures. Early investments included Tellabs, Xidex, Linear Technology and AmeriGroup. Sutter Hill developed what today is known as the entrepreneur-in-residence program.

In 1995, Bill Draper and Robin Richards Donohoe founded Draper International, the first U.S. venture capital fund to focus on investing in private companies with operations in India. Later he co-founded Draper Richards LP, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies in the U.S., and also founded Draper Investment Company, which concentrates on seed investments in Europe and Asia. Bill was a founding investor in Hotmail, Skype, OpenTable, Athenahealth, 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.

Tim Draper is the founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, begun originally in 1985 as Draper Associates, and the DFJ Global Network, which has venture capital presence in countries including China, Russia, Vietnam, Israel, Japan, Brazil and South Korea. Tim Draper was a founding investor in Baidu, Tesla Motors, Parametric Technology, Digidesign, Parenting Magazine, Upside Publishing, PLX Technology, Four-1-1, Hotmail, and Skype. He currently sits on the boards of DoAt, Glam, Meebo, Prosper, SocialText, and DFJ Plug 'N Play.

In 1997, Tim founded the BizWorld Foundation ( to inspire entrepreneurship among children. The foundation has developed curricula used by educators in the United States, the Netherlands, Korea, India and Singapore. More than 375,000 students have benefited from BizWorld programs.

About the Innovation Catalyst Award
VC Taskforce established the ICA in 2009 with the purpose of acknowledging and celebrating the contributions made by visionary leaders in the investment community. The 2011 honoree was Reid Hoffman, a partner at Greylock Partners and co-founder and Executive Chairman at LinkedIn. He is a board observer at Airbnb and Swipely, an advisor to Groupon, a director at Zynga, Mozilla Corp., Shopkick, Wrapp, Edmodo, and He is an angel investor in Digg, Facebook, Flickr,, Ning, Six Apart, and Zynga.

The 2010 and 2009 honorees were Richard "Dick" Kramlich and Franklin "Pitch" Johnson, respectively. Kramlich, chairman and co-founder of New Enterprise Associates (NEA), stands out as one of the venture community's financial architects. He funded and helped commercialize everything from balloon angioplasty to PowerPoint. In 1978, when the start-up hat was being passed among a half-dozen individual investors for a new computer company in Silicon Valley, Dick dipped into his own pocket and put in $22,500; the company was Apple Computer. Today, NEA is a firm with $11 billion in committed capital and more than 650 funded companies. Johnson, founder and chairman of Asset Management Company, pioneered deal-making in Silicon Valley. His visionary insight enabled the creation and pursuit of new business paradigms in the 1960s. His leadership was key to the success of AMGEN, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, Applied Micro Circuits, Boole and Babbage (merged with BMC Software), among others. Asset Management Company became a cornerstone of the investment community and many Silicon Valley businesses owe their success to its leadership.

About VC Taskforce
"Enhancing collaboration in the venture community" VC Taskforce™ provides forums for real-time information exchange and dialogue through a series of networking events, panels, workshops and roundtable meetings conducted by business and industry experts that assist venture capitalists, institutional investors and venture-backed company executives in managing their businesses for maximum success. Visionary thinking, uncensored questions and opinionated discussions around pressing issues that face members are the hallmark of the events. Today, more than 12,000 members and participants have been actively involved in VC Taskforce.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Carol Felton
    InsightCircle PR
    Tel: 408-807-3780
    Email Contact