Venture capitalist Tim Draper has a reputation as something of a quack. He regularly wears the same, hideous purple-and-yellow Bitcoin-emblazoned tie. He memorably defended Elizabeth Holmes long after Theranos was exposed as a fraud, casting his portfolio founder as the victim of a “witch hunt.” Lots of reporters and Silicon Valley insiders roll their eyes whenever anyone says his name.
But he is also very rich. The Drapers, after all, are a Silicon Valley institution: Tim’s grandfather was one of the first venture capitalists in the Bay Area, and Tim co-founded one of its iconic firms, Draper Fisher Jurvetson. His son, Adam—who made a killing as a seed investor in Coinbase—constitutes a fourth generation of Draper startup investors. Tim was also, as we now know, unequivocally right about the value in Bitcoin. Forbes pegs his net worth at $1.5 billion, but given his crypto holdings, that’s probably way off.
And for decades he’s channeled that fortune into politics. His quests have been—and I’m being awfully charitable here—quixotic. In 2014, he tried to pass a measure splitting California into six states. In 2018, he reconsidered—the real solution was to split California into three states. Last year, Draper endorsed Mighty Ducks child star-turned-crypto evangelist Brock Pierce as President of the United States—support that helped Pierce gain 0.03 percent of the national popular vote.