Breakfast with Pops #3.5

Every two weeks I meet with my grandfather for breakfast. Here are some other episodes of this I have written: 1, 2, 3

“Do you know why we ended up choosing India?”

I haven’t written about it in a while, but still every two weeks my grandfather and I meet for breakfast at Buck’s restaurant in Woodside.

Around 14 years into his career, Pops (what I call him), or Bill Draper (what you call him), was asked to work in DC at the Export Import bank for the Reagan administration. This is reminding me to ask him more about that, I actually have always just skimmed over the Export Import part of his career, because I’ve always been able to relate more to the Venture Capital side. He then jumped over to being Under-Secretary General of the United Nations where he was the CEO of the United Nations Development program - which is where he got to visit 110 countries and aid in their development… Now back to Venture Capital.

After spending a lot of time traveling, he saw the incredible opportunities that exist outside of the country and decided to found the first ever venture capital fund in India! This was around 1995. In India he returned the fund before calling all the capital, and the fund ended up returning 16x on the money. You can read all about this in his book “The Startup Game.”

16 times your money is good. I think in terms of funds, it would be the equivalent of pitching a no-hitter in baseball, statistically speaking… which is hard to do.

Now, this fund that did so well, was the result of deep research that my grandfather and Robin Richards (his partner out of business school) did. They visited South America, they visited Asia. They deep dived into a lot of different parts of the globe before settling on India, where Draper International became renowned for it’s success in India. They became famous!

“Do you know why we ended up choosing India?”

After doing the research, after visiting the places, they decided on India…

“Because in India, everyone can speak English.”

Lowest barrier to entry wins. Even in Venture decisions.

This very seemingly simple decision destined India for great things over the last 25 years of Venture Capital. Billions of dollars are now invested in India every year, which was all started by a small fund called Draper International in 1995.

By Adam Draper

I ponder as a VC.

It's a quick one minute read to make you think, smile, or laugh.

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