Photo: Draper University/YouTube
Going out and starting a business has become a somewhat glamorous alternative to college and a traditional career path. Increasingly, people are trying to capitalise on that, feeding into the demand for support and training for a career path and set of skills that are notoriously hard to teach. One of the odder entries in the field comes from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper. Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ari Levi takes a look at the “Draper University of Heroes,” an eight week course on entrepreneurship set to launch in April. Draper put $20 million of his own money into the program. It will cost students $7,500.
Some of the program is fairly standard, including lectures from speakers like Tony Hsieh, Elon Musk, and Ron Johnson, and classes on pitching, finance, and viral marketing.
Levi points out some more unconventional parts of the program as well, which, according to the website, will be “centered around superhero themes.” The course will feature urban and other survival training, which will include learning how to suture, riflery, and other weapons training. The website also lists SWAT training, hydroponics, neurolinguistics, lie detection, and martial arts as components of the program.
Still, despite these unconventional components, it’s hard to argue with Draper’s success as an investor. He bet early on companies like Skype, Tesla, and Baidu.
It’s also an opportunity for students to get ideas off the ground. Each student creates a company, with advice and mentorship from experts. They end the program with a two minute pitch to real investors, and Draper expects to invest his own company’s money in the startup of one of the students who attended a pilot program last year.
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