For several decades, Tim Draper, a renowned venture capitalist, has invested in hundreds of firms. Now, he has decided to try something new. For the first time, the firm is bringing in partners to launch $190 million of seed funding from Draper Associates that will primarily target early-stage companies.
Billy Draper, Tim’s 27-year old son, said that around 75% of the fund will be invested in Silicon Valley as well as other parts of the U.S., while the remaining 25% will be invested internationally. The venture fund is co-led by Tim, Billy and Andy Tang, all Draper Associates. The firm has backed several big tech companies such as Tesla, Skype, Baidu, Twitch, Cruise and Laurel & Wolf.
Billy said that they will be focusing their investments on Asia. In recent years, they have witnessed numerous talented entrepreneurs creating massive opportunities in the region.
The Draper seed fund’s main focus will be to support entrepreneurs building products and technologies in fintech, healthcare, insurance, education, logistics and govtech. These areas sync well with booming sectors that intersect with Asia’s early-stage tech companies.
According to Billy’s observations, Asia’s growing middle class is expected to spur growth and the development of numerous opportunities for innovative financial products and solutions. This will bring about transformation in several sectors such as retail banking, private investing, exchanges and alternative assets, among others. Billy added that finance is changing all over the world, and that Asia is expected to be at the forefront of this transformation.
With the numerous visionary entrepreneurs in India and the fast-growing Indonesia, this seed fund is expected to draw a lot of enthusiasm in the region.
Billy also stated that Indonesia is currently providing an exceptional opportunity for venture capitalists. They are aiming to take advantage of this, following the rapid growth of internet usage and smart devices in the country. Concerning Southeast Asia, Draper Associates is planning to consult Wavemaker, its regional partner based in Singapore, to find the best deals available for consideration in that region.
Billy also acknowledged the current high valuations in China, which he attributed to big market demands and the thriving tech sector. However, he expects that the prices will eventually go down. In the meantime, they will continue evaluating the area’s business plans. Their main area of attraction in China is Shenzhen, which has become a regional entrepreneurial hub for several startups especially in hardware. One such company is DJI, a tech company that specializes in drones.