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The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs Hardcover – January 4, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Whether you've experienced the joys and pains of Silicon Valley directly or just want to learn from those who have, you can't do better than this firsthand account of the storied three generations of Drapers. Bill has done a huge favor for those of us who are passionate about technology and innovation by chronicling their experiences. Theirs is a tale worth knowing.” ―ERIC SCHMIDT, Chairman and CEO of Google

“Bill Draper, who began investing back when Silicon Valley was only known for its fruit orchards, tells the story behind some of the most pivotal companies of the last half-century and offers a fascinating look at the inner workings of the venture capital industry.” ―ELON MUSK , cofounder of Paypal, cofounder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX, cofounder and CEO of Tesla Motors, chairman of Solar City

“No single venture capitalist more embodies the best in venture capital; Bill Draper sets the bar high. It is not just his demonstrable success in business, but it is also his high ethical standards that earn him the respect and the following that he has in the world of business.” ―PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH

“I wish I had this book when I started salesforce.com. This is more than a book about how to win over a venture capitalist, or an inside look at this mysterious and powerful industry. This is a book about innovation. Anyone trying to transform a good idea into a breakthrough company with massive impact must read this book.” ―MARC BENIOFF, Chairman and CEO of salesforce.com

“This is an inspirational tale about using entrepreneurial talent and energy to improve the world. In this book Bill describes a life of meaning and impact that spans venture capital, public service, and philanthropy. We need more Drapers!” ―WILLIAM H. SAHLMAN, Dimitri V. D'Arbeloff, MBA Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for External Relations, Harvard Business School

“Bill Draper is one of the most successful and respected individuals in the venture capital industry. Having funded several hundred technology companies, he has seen it all. The Startup Game is not only a captivating account of Silicon Valley, its entrepreneurs, and the venture capitalists who backed them, but it is also an intriguing depiction of how the world of entrepreneurship works.” ―JOHN DOERR, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

“An absolutely fascinating and well-told story by one of the great men--and gentlemen--of the Silicon Valley startup world. Must - indeed, required -- reading for anyone interested in the American entrepreneurial adventure.” ―CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY, author and political satirist

“While Bill has a famous reputation as a venture capitalist, the best untold story is how strategic he has been in backing a cadre of world-class social entrepreneurs who are creating massive change. Consider the stories of Bill as a philanthropist as an unexpected bonus of reading this book” ―John Wood, Founder and Executive Chairman, Room to Read

“Required reading. William H. Draper III, to give him his correct title, has lived an adventurous life, which makes his book more exciting than simply a list of high-tech firms he has backed . . ..If the subject interests you then this volume offers advice from a wise figure.” ―The Financial Times

“Moving back and forth between the worlds of business and international diplomacy, Draper's book uses anecdotes from a varied career to illuminate the partnership between VCs and startups as well as the ever-changing role of entrepreneurship in economies around the world.” ―The Huffington Post

“Reads like a first-person history of the venture capital industry. It includes lots of exposition for those not familiar with venture capital, a generous dose of advice, and anecdotes.” ―Fortune

“Bill Draper has written a gem . . .a mix of practitioner stories with some autobiography mixed in.” ―Business Insider

“Bill Draper is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about venture capital investments.” ―International Business Times

“His passion for helping startups get off the ground runs deep.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“It's not a stretch to say that the story of Bill Draper is the story of venture capital.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Draper comes across as eminently likable . . .If Draper's book were merely a good window into Silicon Valley's past, it would be well worth a read, but he leavens the anecdotes with practical tips for would-be investors and entrepreneurs alike . . .The passion comes through frequently in the book.” ―San Jose Mercury News

About the Author

William H. Draper, III is one of the West Coast's first venture capitalists and the founder of Sutter Hill Ventures in Palo Alto, California. Former Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and Undersecretary General of the United Nations, he is currently the General Partner of the venture capital companies Draper Richards L.P., Draper Investment Company, and Draper International.He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the President's Council on International Activities at Yale University.He received the Vision Award from Software Developers Forum and was inducted into the Dow Jones Venture Capital Hall of Fame. He has also received honorary awards from the Silicon Valley Fast 50, the International Business Forum, the National Venture Capital Association, Harvard and Yale Universities, University of California, and Institute of International Education. He lives in Atherton, California.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023010486X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230104860
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After writing Do More Faster with David Cohen, I have deep appreciation for the effort involved in writing a book. After reading a bunch of entrepreneurship books, I've decided there are three categories: (a) autobiographies, (b) consultant roadmaps, and (c) practitioner stories. I like the practitioner stories best, followed closely by autobiographies. I do not like consultant roadmaps and have decided I won't read them anymore.

Bill Draper (officially William H. Draper III) has written a gem called The Startup Game. It's a mix of practitioner stories with some autobiography mixed in. Draper is one of the original VCs - his father (William Henry Draper, Jr.) started Draper Gaither & Anderson, one of the first VC firms on the west coast that coincidentally was the first firm to use a limited partner (LP structure). His son, Tim Draper, started Draper Fisher Jurvetson. And William III started several firms, including Draper & Johnson, Sutter Hill Ventures, Draper Richards, and Draper International. Yup - lots of Drapers, but they've all collectively accomplished some amazing things.

In The Startup Game, Draper talks about the early days of venture capital, the creation and evolution of the industry, and many of the early players whose names are well known to any VC insider. Along the way he tells stories about companies he's funded (or missed funding) and generally teaches at least one lesson in each story. This isn't an autobiography - while he mixes in lots of biographical information, the chronology is self-admittedly random and he bounces between stories of his father and son along with his sojourn to Washington DC which he calls his lost years.

SF Gate published an interview on Sunday titled William Draper, veteran venture investor, reflects and SiliconValley.
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Format: Hardcover
William Draper's account of his amazing career, and the lessons he learned along the way, is both a delight to read and a great introduction to the world of venture capital. Of course, any successful investor must be shrewd, intelligent, and skeptical. A successful venture capitalist, however, must also possess a degree of optimism that is perhaps uncommon in our age of cynicism. Draper has that quality. The irrepressible optimism of the man shines forth on every page. It is difficult not to come away from the book with a heightened sense of the possibilities for one's own life. If you've ever wondered whether you really can do what you love and have the money follow, here is a concrete example of how one man did it.

Draper does of course admit that there's an element of luck in his life. He was lucky, he says, to have had a good education, a great father, and superb partners. Draper's father, General William Draper, clearly played a key role in the author's success. It was General Draper who formed the first venture capital firm on the west coast, Draper Gaither & Anderson. It was the General who summoned his son to California from the Chicago area, where he was working for Clarence Randall at Inland Steel. But William Draper the son had done very well for himself at Inland Steel, where he had gone through the "Randall's Ranger's" management training program and had already assumed a prestigious role in the hierarchy of Inland Steel. This is the point at which the son could have gone on to have a very successful but perhaps none too remarkable career as a business man. Back in the late 1950s, venture capital did not have the reputation it has today. Clarence Randall probably summed up the attitude of most businessmen at the time when he said "Venture capital? Sounds risky.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Startup Game: Inside The Partnership Between Venture Capitalists And Entrepreneurs" is more of an autobiography than the what's, how's, and "why's of the startup world. Bill Draper, a pioneer and giant in Silicon Valley, provides a good historical perspective on the emergence of Silicon Valley, his (and his firm's) role in its creation, his interest and eventual career stint in public service (the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the United Nations Development Program), the creation of the cutting-edge DFJ Global Network of venture investing, and the creation of the Draper Richards Foundation which is focused on seeding nonprofit organizations.

First time entrepreneurs may find Draper's chapters "How it Works," "What it Takes," and "Finding the Exit" insightful and useful. Those who have been in the game longer will not find much new here but should find the "Startup Game" a good read due to Draper's role in the creation of the "Valley."

For me, I found the chapters on the creation of the DFJ global network and "The Business of Philanthropy" to be the most relevant and of greatest interest. I have been involved in China for two years and have a real appreciation for the globalization of innovation and venture capital. DFJ has been a leader in both.

I was unaware of the Draper Foundation and its sponsorship of social entrepreneurship. What a grand effort! The author provides information on 23 of their investments in this area. As a result, I am now a full-fledged member of KIVA, a nonprofit focused on alleviating poverty by giving entrepreneurs in the developing world access to capital through microloans. A personal loan of as little as $25 in conjunction with many others goes a long way in helping deserving projects get off the ground.
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