Tim Draper, the legendary investor behind Tesla, Skype, Path, Box, and Baidu (China’s Google) explains how he picks out the best entrepreneurs.

By Anna Vital (Co-Founder, Vash; Founder, Funders & Founders)

If you were to get inside the mind of a superstar VC, what would you find in there? That’s the question I was asking when I approached Draper for an interview. With Skype, Baidu, and Tesla among his 400 companies, Tim has a feel for finding sensational companies.

How does he do it?

Tim does not hide the ball about what he looks for in a company and what, in fact, looks like a great company.

There are three major things:


When you meet Tim, your job is to show him an opportunity. How big? As big as you can. He wants to go after big markets. The market for Baidu, for example, is 1/6 of the world’s population.


This would be easy if you just had to be plain smart. He wants you be a lot more than that – he wants you to know what you are really good at. He wants self-awareness, which translates into knowing not only what you are really good at, but also what you are bad at. He wants you to be better than everyone else in one specific thing, but by a large margin.

Hustling Skills

Tim did not say this word. But this is how I sum up the qualities he looks for. He wants you to know how to make partnerships and get traction. That last thing is probably the most important of all. He is really straightforward in saying how much of a hustler you need to be, “use a virus, use a magnet, use whatever you can,” he says.

Here it all is in infographic form:


Or, learn more with this video explanation of the infographic:

This infographic was originally published at Funders and Founders.

About the guest blogger: Anna Vital is a co-founder of Vash.co and founder of Funders and Founders, a San Francisco-based startup promoting startupization. She has been an entrepreneur since age 14 when she opened her fist business, a test-prep school. After attending Brigham Young in Utah, she attended law school in Nanjing, China. She speaks Mandarin Chinese, English and Russian. In her ideal world, everyone from moms to engineers to executives will do startups. Follow her on Twitter at @vitalhack.