The Draper family’s involvement in the venture capital industry dates back to 1958 when General William H. Draper, Jr. founded the firm Draper, Gaither & Anderson. The first professional venture capital firm on the West Coast of the United States, Draper, Gaither & Anderson quickly benefited from William H. Draper Jr.’s economic acuity having worked on the reconstruction of Germany and Japan under the Marshall Plan. William H. Draper Jr.’s son, William H. Draper III (Bill Draper), entered the venture capital industry as an associate at his father’s firm shortly after it began operations. Bill Draper left Draper, Gaither & Anderson four years later to co-found Draper and Johnson Investment Company, which enjoyed considerable success. In 1965, Bill Draper partnered with Paul Wythes to found Sutter Hill Ventures. Throughout his career, Draper invested in many important technology companies including Apollo Computer, Activision, Integrated Genetics, Quantum, and Hybritech. In the early 1980s, Bill Draper left the venture capital industry when he was appointed Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Five years later, Bill Draper was chosen to head the United Nations Development Program.
Bill Draper returned to the venture capital industry in 1995 with the inception of Draper International, which was the first U.S. venture capital firm to single out innovative technology companies with ties in both India with a bridge to the West as its primary investment objective. A year later, Bill Draper refocused on American technology companies when he founded Draper Richards L.P. with Robin Richards Donohoe. Inspired by Draper International’s success in India, Bill Draper then launched Draper Investment Company. Draper Investment Company expanded Bill Draper’s international interests, targeting markets and emerging technologies around the globe while locating its management center in Zürich, Switzerland. Focusing on sustainable technical innovation, Draper Investment Company invests in early-stage technology entrepreneurs with motivated and experienced teams. Draper Investment Company’s portfolio includes companies like Plista, Dialcom Networks, and Imagini.
Tim Draper, Bill Draper’s son, embarked on his own venture capital career. In 1985, Tim Draper launched Draper Fisher Jurvetson, an early-stage Silicon Valley venture capital fund that is now a global venture firm with a global network program in several countries.