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Draper Fisher Jurvetson

American venture capital firm focused on investments in enterprise, consumer and disruptive technologies.
Summary

DFJ Growth is a venture capital firm that specializes in investing in late-stage technology startups. The firm's mission is to identify and back companies that have the potential to become leaders in their respective industries and to help them achieve their full potential through strategic guidance and support.

DFJ Growth's investment strategy is focused on companies that are experiencing rapid growth and have already established themselves as market leaders in their industry. The firm looks for companies that are disrupting traditional business models, and that have a unique competitive advantage that sets them apart from their peers.

One of DFJ Growth's core values is its focus on collaboration and partnership. The firm works closely with its portfolio companies to provide strategic guidance and support, helping them to navigate the challenges of scaling their businesses and achieving their goals. DFJ Growth's team has deep experience in the technology industry and leverages this expertise to provide insights and advice to its portfolio companies.


History

FJ Growth is a venture capital firm that was founded in 2006 as part of the Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) family of funds. DFJ Growth was established as a separate entity within the DFJ family of funds to focus specifically on investing in late-stage technology startups that had already achieved significant traction and were poised for rapid growth.

The firm was founded by a team of experienced investors, including Barry Schuler, Randy Glein, and John Fisher, who had previously worked together at the venture capital firm Softbank Venture Capital. The team brought together a wealth of experience in the technology industry and had a track record of backing successful companies such as America Online (AOL), Yahoo, and E-Trade.

Since its founding, DFJ Growth has established itself as a leading player in the venture capital industry, with a focus on investing in disruptive, high-growth companies in sectors such as software, enterprise technology, and healthcare. The firm has a collaborative approach to working with its portfolio companies and provides strategic guidance and support to help them navigate the challenges of scaling their businesses and achieving their goals.

Over the years, DFJ Growth has backed some of the most successful and innovative companies in the technology industry, including Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, and Box. The firm has also played a key role in helping many of its portfolio companies to achieve successful exits, whether through initial public offerings (IPOs) or acquisitions.

Today, DFJ Growth continues to be a leading player in the venture capital industry, with a focus on backing innovative, disruptive companies that are changing the world.


Investment criteria

DFJ Growth is a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in technology startups that have achieved product-market fit and are scaling rapidly. They have a specific set of investment criteria that they use to evaluate potential investments.

  • Large and Growing Market: DFJ Growth looks for startups that are operating in a large and growing market. They seek out markets that are characterized by high growth rates, significant revenue potential, and sustainable competitive advantages.
  • Disruptive Technology: The firm also looks for startups that are leveraging disruptive technology to create new markets or disrupt existing ones. They seek out startups that are creating new solutions to long-standing problems or innovating in areas that have not seen much innovation in the past.
  • Strong Management Team: DFJ Growth believes that the success of a startup is largely dependent on the quality of its management team. They look for startups that have experienced, talented, and driven management teams that can execute their vision and navigate the challenges of scaling.
  • Traction and Scalability: DFJ Growth looks for startups that have demonstrated traction in their market and have the potential for significant scalability. They seek out startups that have a clear path to achieving sustainable growth and a plan for expanding their customer base.
  • Competitive Advantage: DFJ Growth looks for startups that have a sustainable competitive advantage, whether it be through proprietary technology, intellectual property, or other barriers to entry. They seek out startups that have a unique value proposition that sets them apart from their competitors.
  • Strong Financial Metrics: Finally, DFJ Growth looks for startups that have strong financial metrics, including revenue growth, gross margins, and cash flow. They seek out startups that have a clear path to profitability and that can generate strong returns for their investors.

Values
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: DFJ Growth values the entrepreneurial spirit and believes that it is the key to success in the startup world. They support entrepreneurs who have a strong vision, a willingness to take risks, and a commitment to creating innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on society.
  • Collaboration: DFJ Growth believes that collaboration is essential for success. They believe that by working together, they can achieve more than they could on their own. They foster a culture of collaboration between their team, their portfolio companies, and their network of industry experts.
  • Integrity: DFJ Growth values integrity and believes that it is essential for building long-term relationships. They operate with the highest standards of honesty and ethics in all their dealings with entrepreneurs, investors, and stakeholders.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: DFJ Growth is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the technology industry. They believe that diverse perspectives lead to better decision-making and innovation. They actively seek out and support entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture within their organization.
  • Long-term Thinking: DFJ Growth takes a long-term view when it comes to investing in startups. They recognize that building a successful company takes time and are committed to supporting their portfolio companies through all stages.

Mission

DFJ was set up in 1985 by Timothy C. Draper, John H.N. Fisher, and Steve Jurvetson. DFJ is one of the largest and most effective investors in the space sector, which has had over US$10 billion of private capital invested in it since 2005.

DFJ has backed 27 companies which have each achieved more than $1 billion in value through an IPO or acquisition. DFJ’s investments include the following: Anaplan, Coinbase, Cylance, Ring, Sisense, SpaceX, Tesla,  Twitter, Unity, and Yammer.

Interestingly, like Vanity Fair writes, “even after the S.E.C. charged the Theranos founder with ‘massive fraud,’ Tim Draper (DFJ’s founder) says Theranos ‘created an amazing opportunity'” and keeps defending Elizabeth Holmes, the woman behind the Theranos company scam.


Portfolio

DFJ Growth's portfolio includes some of the most well-known and successful technology companies of the past decade. One of the most notable investments made by the firm was in SpaceX, the space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. DFJ Growth led SpaceX's Series D funding round in 2015, investing $50 million in the company.

Another notable investment made by DFJ Growth was in Twitter, the social media platform that has become a ubiquitous part of modern communication. The firm invested in Twitter's Series B funding round in 2008, and remained a significant shareholder until Twitter's IPO in 2013.

DFJ Growth has also invested in a number of successful software companies, including Box, the cloud-based storage and collaboration platform, and Unity Technologies, the game development platform used by millions of developers worldwide.

Other companies in DFJ Growth's portfolio include Formlabs, the 3D printing company; SpaceX competitor Blue Origin; the online education platform Udemy; and the autonomous vehicle technology company Zoox, which was acquired by Amazon in 2020.


References
Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Leadership team

John Fisher (Founder)

Steve Jurvetson (Founder)

Tim Draper (Founder)

Investment type
MicroVC, Venture capital
Type
Early Stage Venture, Seed,Late Stage Venture
Number of Employees
100 - 500
Headquarters
San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, West Coast
Established
1985
Social Media
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