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William Henry Draper III: Wikis


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William Henry Draper III in 2009. Photograph by Steve Jurvetson

William Henry Draper III (born 1928) is a prominent American venture capitalist.

Draper is the son of banker and diplomat General William Henry Draper, Jr., married to Phyllis Draper and the father of venture capitalist Timothy C. Draper, actress Polly Draper and Becky Draper.


Education and Early Career

He attended Yale University with George H. W. Bush, graduated in 1950, the year after George H. W. Bush and is a member of the secret society Skull and Bones. After graduating from college, Draper served as a second lieutenant in the Korean War. Upon returning to the United States, he attended Harvard Business School and studied under professor Georges Doriot, who is often credited with starting the venture capital industry. Draper graduated with a Masters of Business degree, with distinction, in 1954. He then worked from 1954-1959 as a steel salesman at Chicago's Inland Steel Company.

Early Venture Capital

In 1959, Draper left Chicago to work as an associate at his father's newly formed firm, Draper, Gaither & Anderson, the first venture capital company on the West Coast. In 1962, Draper left Draper, Gaither & Anderson to co-found the venture capital firm Draper & Johnson Investment Company with his good friend Pitch Johnson, whom he had met while working at Inland Steel. In 1965, Draper founded Sutter Hill Ventures, which to this day remains one of the top venture capital firms in the country. During his twenty years as the senior partner of Sutter Hill, Draper helped to organize and finance several hundred high technology manufacturing companies.

Sabbatical from Silicon Valley - Public Service

Draper has played an international leadership role in expanding the world economy. 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 this post, Draper assumed a leadership role in U.S. efforts to sustain world trade in the face of major liquidity problems among the developing countries.

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. During his time at the UN and the Export-Import Bank, Draper traveled to 101 developing countries and met with over 50 heads of state.

Return to Venture Capital

In 1994, Draper and Robin Richards Donohoe founded Draper International, the first U.S. venture capital fund to focus on investing in private companies with operations India. In 2002, he co-founded Draper Richards LP, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies in the U.S., and he also founded Draper Investment Company, which concentrates on seed investments in Europe and Asia.

The Draper Richards Foundation

In 2002, along with Robin Richards Donohoe and Jenny Shilling Stein, Draper co-founded the Draper Richards Foundation, which provides selected social entrepreneurs with $100,000 annually for three years. The funds are specifically and solely for entrepreneurs starting new non-profit organizations. Run much like a venture capital fund, in addition to financial support, the foundation also provides expert guidance and coaching to its fellows and fosters their growth from a start-up non-profit to a successful venture. Draper Richards is highly selective, awarding fellowships to approximately 1% of applicants each year. Since its founding, the Draper Richards Foundation has awarded nearly 30 fellowships.

Community Service

As a civic leader, Draper has been involved in many community service programs. He is currently on the boards of the Atlantic Council, The Draper Richards Foundation, Hoover Institution, Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies at Stanford University, World Affairs Council of Northern California, the United Nations Association of the United States of America and the Harvard Business School California Research Center Advisory Board. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the President’s Council on International Activities at Yale University.

Draper formerly served as the Chairman of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, Chairman of the Institute of International Education, as a Trustee of Yale University and as Chairman of the Board of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; he was a former Board member of Population Action International, George Bush Library Foundation, the Advisory Council of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the World Rehabilitation Fund in New York.

Awards and Honors

In 1982 Harvard Business School honored Draper with its Alumni Achievement Award, and in 1992 he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In 1996 he received the Citizen Diplomacy Award from the International Diplomacy Council, and in 2002 he received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 2005 Draper received the Vision Award from SD Forum and was inducted into the Dow Jones Venture Capital Hall of Fame. In 2006 he received the Silicon Valley Fast 50 Lifetime Achievement Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the Institute of International Education. In 2009 Draper received the Global Citizen of the Year Award from International House Berkeley, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Commonwealth Club, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Business Forum, and the Philanthropic Leadership Award from the American India Foundation. In addition, he has received honorary decorations from Bolivia, Morocco, and Samoa and an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from Southeastern University in 1985 and an honorary M.A. from Yale University in 1991.

See also

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Bradford Morse
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Succeeded by
James Speth
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