Higher Education

Draper University Partners with StartupWind to Launch Free Online Entrepreneurship Courses

By Henry Kronk
February 11, 2020

Two business-focused, non-traditional educators announced a new online learning initiative on February 11th. Draper University and StartupWind have partnered in an effort to empower any aspiring business founder with an internet connection with a roadmap and training that will help get their company off the ground.

The courses derive from a blueprint created by StartupWind and involve instruction from numerous Draper lecturers. They proceed in four general units: “Ideation, Customer Discovery, and Product Market Fit,” “Business Model Canvas and Business Planning,” “Growth Hacking,” and “Get Funded.”

Draper University and StartupWind Bring Together Complementary Resources to Offer Entrepreneurial Training for Free

To put these online courses together, StartupWind tapped talent from Draper University, including institution founder and venture capitalist Tim Draper, and Professors Mohanbir Sawhney and Robert Wolcott from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

“Draper University and StartupWind share a common mission to power up the entrepreneurs across the world,” said Draper University founder Tim Draper, in a statement. “StartupWind, with its large global user base, digital platform to deliver high quality coursework to anyone in the world and software tools from ideation to business planning to mentoring, is very compelling and synergistic to Draper University’s mission. We are excited about this partnership to make a far reaching impact in helping entrepreneurs anywhere in the world.”

Draper University, based in San Mateo, California, primarily offers a five-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs, known as ‘Hero Training.’ The school does not maintain a faculty. Instead, instruction is delivered by a series of unpaid guest lecturers pulled from Draper’s network. The program culminates in a pitch day competition in which students present their startup ideas.

An Unconventional Institution

The school is unaccredited—and Tim Draper told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2013 that he has no plans to pursue accreditation. As such, learners cannot pay the $12,000 price of admission with federal student loans.

Besides Hero Training, Draper also runs shorter executive leadership courses and offers an Entrepreneurship Immersion Program involving accommodation at their San Mateo campus—the historic Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Draper University also maintains a fund that invests in startups.

To date, Draper says they have educated over 500 learners who have gone on to start roughly 250 companies. Collectively, these have raised more than $24 million.

Add in a Platform and Further Resources

StartupWind, meanwhile, has developed an online platform and curriculum focused around entrepreneurship and business development. The company both partners with universities and offers classes to entrepreneurs directly via their platform.

The platform also works to connect business leaders to young startups in both mentorship and investor capacities. Professors Sawhney and Wolcott who teach StartupWind courses also serve on the company’s board of advisors.

StartupWind courses have been used by over 100 different universities around the world and accessed by roughly 25,000 students.

Discussing the new partnership in a statement, StartupWind Founder and CEO Naren Patil called it, “A great way to help entrepreneurs acquire very targeted knowhow from world-class experts to grow their startup. The content from Draper University will help entrepreneurs all over the world in demystifying the unknowns while growing their startups. We are looking forward to build on our partnership with Draper University in helping entrepreneurs at each stage of their journey, from Idea to funding and beyond.”

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. It is clear that the government has no control over federal dollars being given away. The monitoring of schools has been a disaster and the accreditation of schools is NOT dependable unless you are Ivy League school bound. Yes, smaller programs should receive funding but only with measures in pLace to ensure that every dollar is spent wisely. Money should be used as a stepping stone and should also be given to programs that provide internships that assist getting a decent first job. From there a student gains the ability to pay more of a portion of their own college expense and should be able to borrow say 50% of a college class. Community college should be free for a certain amount of credits with assistance for books for truly poor. Graduate students should pay for themselves through either job assistance or having assets to acquire a loan through a credit union or bank. I could be totally flawed in my thinking about things but I have spent many years in college and have seen a lot of waste. The for-profit college is a experience started as a good idea but has proven to be disasterous when they started trading on Wall Street. Greed and strong lobbying to keep the gravy train rolling along should have stopped a long time ago. Great performing regional programs working with local employers that gives a great stepping stone to grow and pay for future education is the way to go.