The Startup Game


William Draper is a prominent American venture capitalist, and his book “The Startup Game” is partly an autobiography, partly a book on venture capital and entrepreneurship.

He starts the book with an overview of how venture capital works: “The limited partners put in the money, the general partners do the work”. He briefly talks about angels, private equity firms and venture debt.

The next section is for budding entrepreneurs. It includes traits of successful entrepreneurs according to Draper: brains and education, energy and passion,  expertise, vision, integrity, humor

The autobiographical sections describe his unsuccessful run for Congress, and public service as president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States as well as head of United Nations Development Programme.

Other sections of the book are about the venture fund he started in India and his attempt for a global venture fund. There’s also a section on exit strategies. Contrary to popular belief, Draper says VCs are focused on value creation rather than an exit. He talks about various exit strategies, such as going public, staying private etc.

The book ends with the philanthropic work Draper is involved in, which I didn’t read.

Overall, the book sounds egoistical and boring at times. Unfortunately we don’t get to hear as much about his failed investments, the anecdotes in the book are mostly about successful exits. I wouldn’t recommend reading it unless you’re really interested in the history of venture capital or Draper’s life story.

August 26, 2011



sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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