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Please take a moment and make a financial contribution to TheFunded. If we have helped you, help us with resources to further grow the both the site and our entrepreneur training program, The Founder Institute.

Draper Richards  CERTIFIED

Firm Rating:

Rated 3.4 / 5.0 by 19
Track
Record
3.8
Operating
Competence
3.1
Pitching
Efficiency
3.4
Favorable
Deal Terms
3.2
Execution
Assistance
3.3

Firm Homepage:

FIRM OVERVIEW: Small Private VC founded in 1994 based out of San Francisco, USA (US West)

FIRM DESCRIPTION: Draper Richards is an active investor, dedicated to helping entrepreneurs achieve their maximum potential through contacts, advice, and support. We provide portfolio companies assistance in the areas of strategy, executive team recruiting, and raising capital.

TEAM MEMBERS: Cynthia Lam, Robin Richards Donohoe, William H. Draper III,

13
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1
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Howard's a Straight Shooter and More....

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by neal24 on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

As an entrepreneur who has pitched to Howard before and been turned down, the only thing I can say is that I have a lot of respect for Howard. He is really sharp, and insightful. He was upfront with us and told us exactly how we felt about our business, what metrics/goals he would like to see in order to get him interested in the deal.

Then he jumped to the whiteboard and actually helped us think through our pitch!!! He gave us pointers as to how we could make it more compelling. Last, he forwarded us to a couple of people he thought who could help us out.

I am surprised that some people have had such a bad experience with him. Based on the responses at the Funded, it has to be his upfront, honest feedback that might put people off.

All in all my meeting with Howard was the best one that I had out of all the VCs and angels I met. I would actually recommend entrepreneurs to get on his calendar before scheduling any meetings with other VCs.

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Very Different Experience if He's an Investor...

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-23

PUBLIC:

We were introduced to Howard by another fund (top-tier), he asked a lot of good questions and moved quickly into the A round. Sure he's blunt (sometimes very), but so what: he's extremely helpful on the bizdev front, available, quick to respond, and thinks out-of-the-box. His prior life as an entrepreneur hasn't hurt either, and I'd work with him again on the next one.

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12
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Great Experience in Pitch and Board

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Howard and Bill sized up our company and opportunity faster than anyone we pitched (over 12 VC's). The feedback was honest, the timeline to close was clear, and they moved quickly. The integrity of Bill in particular was shocking - he shook our hands, promised a close in X days, and when the lawyers dragged, he wired the money anyway. What VC has ever stuck to his word" It's crazy. Since then Howard joined our Board and has worked harder than any VC I've worked with. He's like a free VP, Biz Dev. I've worked with KPCB, Benchmark, Sequoia, and others on 8 start-ups. Believe me, he's operationally top notch. And I just met the guy for the first time in my pitch.

It's surprising to me to read this other feedback here, for that doesn't seem like Howard at all. I wouldn't hestitate to say those kinds of things about other VC's - there are tons of nut jobs on Sand Hill, and would go as far to say that a majority of them should be selling insurance instead. We went with Howard and Bill because their integrity was a breath of fresh air.

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12
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Howard is an Observer on My Board

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Howard is no-bullshit, no sitting on the fence investor. He likes it or he doesn't like it. The strategy is good or it's not. As an entrepreneur, it's refreshing to get black and white from an investor. The roldex is healthy and always open. Board level value-add comes in the form of concise, on-topic and insightful observations/recommendations.

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11
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A Straight Shooter

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by dufficy on 2007-05-06

PUBLIC:

Our start-up recently had the pleasure of pitching our company to Howard Hartenbaum at Draper Richards.

Howard gave us his undivided attention, was very thorough in his questions, and brought up key points that showed a shrewed analytical ability sometime lacking with VC's.

He is honest and forthright, and not in the phony way many VC's are as they try to lower your valuation out the gate. He genuinely tries to understand the business model, core strategies and market dynamics - and does not simply focus on the "financials" which is so annoying to entrepreneurs whose goal is to first make sure the person across the tables understands your vision.

All in all, a very positive experience.

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11
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Had a Great Meeting with Howard

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Had a great meeting with Howard some time ago after an intro from another Angel-firm.

We spoke the same language and his question where sharp and direct. His experience is of great relevance for us and he seems to have the mindset to understand disruptive technologies and how they affect markets. Also, he gives the impression of beeing well-connected and understanding what kind of experience that would be useful for us.

PRIVATE: Members Only

11
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Experience with Howard Hartenbaum

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-26

PUBLIC:

I've been reading the negative feedback and comments for Howard. I find these comments disturbing and amazing. My experience in pitching Howard was extremely positive.

Last week we pitched Howard. He was extremely attentive, courteous and pleasant. He gave us invaluable thoughts, comments and feedback. He also asked very thoughtful and insightful questions.

He then volunteered to introduce us to several companies and to people who he thought could help us - and he followed up on his commitments afterwards; this was very generous and considerate of him.

About a week afterwards, Howard he sent me an email stating that he ran our pitch by the partners and they decided not to invest. I'm not happy with this result but at least he didn't leave me 'hanging' in limbo! (I've pitched other VCs and and I've never heard from them again!).

Overall my experience with Howard was extremely positive.

--IG 04/25/2007

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Howard is Human

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-23

PUBLIC:

Howard Hartenbaum likes entrepreneurs, treats them with respect, and does what he does very well. He is a pleasure to pitch, and a supportive and productive board participant. One of the good guys.

PRIVATE: Members Only

8
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Very Impressed with Howard

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by abeson on 2007-08-01

PUBLIC:

I've met with Howard both to collaborate on investment projects as well as to solicit feedback on my own company and have been extremely impressed each time. He always adds great insight and goes to great lengths to solicit others to help. And rare in the Bay Area, he is always prompt and attentive.

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Howard Asked Right Questions and Offered Great Ideas to Enhance Our Value Prop

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Howard was the first in the VC community that I showed my latest stealth venture to and my experience was very positive. He was really honest and professional. He offered many good ideas to improve the product. In fact our team was so excited about one of his suggestions that they started working on it right away. He also offered to help spread the word about the site, once we are ready for Beta.

I think Howard is the real entrepreneur's VC. He knows how we think and work.

If someone holds a gun and asks me to find anything negative at all, the only things comes to mind is that maybe he's become a bit too content because of Skype success. But hey, he deserves it and I have no problems with it.

PRIVATE: Members Only (197 Characters)

8
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We Had a Positive Experience

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Cory on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

We had a meeting with Howard this week and found him to be really straight forward. He ultimately passed on our deal, but he told us that he was taking a pass before we even left the table. It was one of the most kind and honest conversations that I have had in some time.

I see that there are some negative opinions here but that has not been my experience at all.

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Howard is the Best.....

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Ajax on 2007-07-20

PUBLIC:

Ok, I have known Howard for 4 years, and in all that time Howard has always been supportive, honest, insightful and a great guy to get along with. He doesn't have time to coddle you, but he returns calls promptly, gives you well thought out and reasoned advice, and is just about the only guy in the valley I really trust to look out for me as an entrepreneur.

Last year I took a company I am on the board of out to meet Howard. he gave them straight forward advice that meant they had to change a LOT. A year later they did it all and Howard got them 5 meetings in a week. Howard got nothing out of this, but did it because he is a good guy who likes to see entrepreneurs succeed.

Howard is the man.

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7
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Howard is Great

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by bhl211 on 2007-07-10

PUBLIC:

I think that Howard is very insightful and very straight forward. Some people may be put off by this approach but it helps, in my opinion, to cut to the chase and through the b/s

PRIVATE: Members Only (51 Characters)

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Howard and Bill

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by joescout on 2007-07-02

PUBLIC:

I met Howard Hartenbaum and Bill Draper 3 weeks ago through a referral from another VC. We had just 2 days earlier closed a small seed round with a small VC and a group of angels. They gave great feedback, asked great questions, and followed through with an investment exactly as promised.

Howard and Bill scheduled around me and agreed to meet me first thing in the AM - I showed up 10 minutes early and we started right away. Both asked great on point questions as they had prepared in advance and obviously read the ppt and executive summary I had provided them a day before the meeting. It was also clear by their questions, they had done some phone calls to learn more about me and the business already.

I only showed one slide (the business model) as the questions and answer discussion was on track and covering the key items I wanted to cover. 50 minutes into the meeting - Bill turned to Howard and they talked about what they thought to each other (in front of me). They then agreed to fund the same amount on the same terms as the original VC and add to our just closed round. They agreed to make it happen in a week subject to them checking 2 references on me. 7 days later they sent their signature pages and wire as agreed.

Summary - I have not worked with Howard and Bill before - but based on their great questions, track record, and doing what they said they would so far - I am super excited to have them involved.

PRIVATE: Members Only (775 Characters)

7
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CEO

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by astirrup on 2007-05-06

PUBLIC:

Howard is definitely an entrepreneur's VC. I have worked with Howard for over two years. He was great to work with prior to the investement and after. He gives great advice, he listens and he knows from first hand experience what it is like to be a CEO. I consider him a friend and a partner.

Howard is always one of the first people I recommend if one of my friends is looking for an investor.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Very Refreshing!

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-23

PUBLIC:

I recently reached out to Howard and Robin regarding funding a venture in Florida. Although they are not making investments in Florida, they responded quickly and provided a direct referral to a Florida-based VC, with whom they have co-investing experience. This is how pros behave. Very refreshing!

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6
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A Pleasure

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-16

PUBLIC:

I met with Bill and Howard in late 2003 to pitch my business (at Buck's in Woodside no less!) and I was impressed with their enthusiasm and energy.

Within hours, both Bill and Howard are calling contacts to both vet us and make useful intros. I spent some time chatting with Bill one-on-one and was impressed at how genuine and personable he was. Howard was particularly inciteful in his analyses of business and markets in our industry. I liked the way he was thinking & the fact that he didn't fear thinking out loud.

They decided to pass, but they so helpful and gracious.

Truly a couple of gems in this industry.

Meet or pitch 'em if you ever get the chance.

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Bill and Howard are Fantastic

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by auren on 2007-07-17

PUBLIC:

while i have never pitched Bill or Howard, plenty of the companies i have been an angel investor in have. Bill and Howard are both great guys and they are the "good guys" in the venture world. they have both been extremely helpful to me over the years with lots of helpful advice, contacts, and insights. they are definitely a go-to stop for an entrepreneur.

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Howard is the Best VC Out There.

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by alecpeters on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Howard is the first VC I went to after a bad experience with Crosslink Capital in my last company. Having been the victim of a VC (Jim Feuille) who was more interested in taking over the company than doing what was right for ALL the shareholders, Howard is one VC who is genuinely interested in the entrepreneur and who will give you the best feedback he can. He actually DOES add value and always returns my calls. While Howard didn't invest in my company (Bill wasn't keen on fantasy sports), he agreed to serve on my board and he has already driven more value to my company than I could have hoped. He is the man!

Howard has a good sense of humor. I can see how some people might take it the wrong way, but lighten up! Howard is a good guy who really cares.

I took a company I am on the board of here in Atlanta out to see a few VCs and get their input. Howard told them to change their focus radically. Some might have been offended, but these guys took Howard's advice and they keep telling me how pivitol that was and what great advice it wound up being.

So I give Howard a huge thumbs up!

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5
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CEO

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-09

PUBLIC:

Bill is a very nice and helpful person. He's a VC because he likes being around entrepreneurs, not because he's driven by making more money (though I'm sure he enjoys it--though I think he gives most of it to the Symphony and other places). Howard is a sharp guy and a straight-shooter. I've seen him really keep the interests of entrepreneurs in mind.

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4
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Bill and Howard

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by SG on 2007-06-21

PUBLIC:

I've worked with Draper Richards twice now. Each time I've found them to be good investors and partners. They have a unique approach to VC, but it works well for them and they've had some great wins. Bill and Howard use different approaches, but both bring a lot to the table. Bill is the epitome of old school VC - he's a gentleman that invests in people first and technology second. Howard is the new school - smart and aggressive. He likely understands your market better than you do. It's his job to find and/or qualify deals - and he's good at this. However this requires a certain amount of pessimism and critical thinking. I can see how some folks might have trouble with this - everyone wants (needs) to believe that their idea is extraordinary. It's Howard's job to make sure that it really is - and that it will be a successful investment. Once you're past this process and these guys invest in your company, Howard will be an ardent supporter and do everything possible to help you succeed.

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Howard's the Man!

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-06-15

PUBLIC:

Raising capital is quite the experience - and a different one at that for each investor you speak to. Meeting with a diverse group of venture investors, I've found that no one is exactly quite like Howard. At a period when he wasn't really interested in our business, he still took the time to provide us with real guidance and feedback on how we could improve our business model and product. Not like many VC's, which simply want you to hear their point of view and break down your whole business model before you are even out of the gate. Howard is experienced, logical, and responsive.

As our business model evolved and became more refined, in large part due to Howard's guidance and recommendations, our product offering has become more focused and our market credibility has significantly increased.

Most importantly, Howard takes the time to brainstorm with you for the best direction for your Company, and was even willing to help direct us to other firms which he felt would be strategic. Overall, he is someone with integrity and intelligence, willing to provide candid feedback that doesn't come across in the wrong way. Howard has yet to fund our Company, but he is definitely on the short list of VC's I would like to work with and bring on as a stratgic partner. Howard did not ask me to write this, but I felt it was important to share my experience for others.

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CEO

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-06-09

PUBLIC:

Howard and Bill are a unique team. Bill has been in the VC game since the beginning and brings the kind of insight and advice and wisdom that is rare. Bill's advice is valuable even on those rare times when he is not 100% on target. He is the kind of mentor and board member that every board and CEO would be blessed to find.

Howard is like a younger Bill. He gets the technology, the business proposition and your company instantly. If you're having trouble with Howard it is usually a sign that you are off your game or you're just taking too much time to explain something. He is like a race car - response is instant.

These guys are terrific.

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4
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Try to Get Howard

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by khatibda on 2007-06-04

PUBLIC:

if you can get a meeting with howard, take it. it's different from the standard pitch and grin meetings in the valley. he brainstorms with you and tries to engage in debate and solve problems. and don't mistake this for someone telling you how to run your biz - he's giving you a frank glimpse into what a working relationship would be like. that's both rare and valuable. we didn't get funded, but we left HH and DR impressed.

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Sharp as a Tack

Fund: Draper Richards

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-08

PUBLIC:

We had some interesting meetings with Draper Richards, most of them worthwhile and enlightening. Howard is smart and he knows it, but the BS factor is substantially less than in most other firms, which I appreciated. I'm definitely one of those entrepreneurs who likes direct feedback. He was open with us about his concerns, but also was open about the fact the he liked our space, our product, and our management team. Bill Draper was a bit of a wild card in the meetings --- you can never predict what kind of question he's going to ask (relevant or not), or even if he'll attend the entire meeting. That said, he's a stand-up guy, and I felt much better about his involvement after meeting him at his home to finalize terms. During negotiations, there's a bit of a good cop/bad cop routine going on between Howard and Bill, but in general I appreciated the fact that they pushed it toward closing, though with more legal back and forth than I would have liked. Overall, we're extremely fired up to be working with Bill and Howard, and Draper Richards is highly recommended.

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