Recap: Draper Network VCs gather in Tokyo for annual GP retreat

Every year, Draper Venture Network gathers the General Partners (GPs) from its 22 Member Funds for their annual GP Spring Forum. The gathering is considered the “most valuable week” for the Draper Network as the VCs learn about each other’s focus areas, gather industry best practices and form deeper relationships with one another.

Our host, Draper Nexus

Our US-Japan cross border Fund, Draper Nexus Ventures, hosted the gathering of over 40 GPs on April 17th-19th in Tokyo. Their team (Q Motiwala, Draper Nexus Tetsu, Akira Kurabayashi, Mitch Kitamura, Rio Maeda, Nat Zihnioglu, Deepak Jagannathan, Yoshimi Nomura, Yuma Tanaka, and Richard Koo) did a fantastic job with a jam-packed itinerary that spanned across industry and cultural visits.

GP Meeting

The visiting GPs were treated to a Best Practices session that included advice from Tim Draper, a raucous game that tested VC’s convictions, and deep dives on advisory boards, LP interaction, and CEO community building. The group also got to meet new Member Funds. The GP Meeting is an integral part of the Spring Forum.

Tim Draper sharing fund practices at Draper Associates and DFJ throughout the years

Local Startup Scene Tour

We visited three fantastic companies: (1) Sansan, a business card management app that has seen tremendous traction in Japan, (2) Shift, a cutting-edge software testing service, and (3) Groove-X, a unique “pet” robot that made quite an impression with our guests.

Visit to Entrepreneurs Organization Japan

Draper Nexus’ B2B Summit

A 500-person conference featuring Japan’s leading corporations and the B2B startups that are catering to — or disrupting — them.

It included a keynote from our own Tim Draper, a panel of DVN GPs discussing global B2B trends, and a startup battle where the winning team was awarded ‎$10,000 USD.

“Global B2B Trends” Panel with Gabe Turner (DVN) moderator and panelists Karthik Reddy (Blume Ventures, India), Diego Serebrisky (Dalus Capital, Mexico), and Paul Santos (Wavemaker Partners, Southeast Asia)

Local Fun

The local team ensured it wasn’t all just business. At our welcome dinner we fished our own meals. We participated in an expert sake tasting, belted out at karaoke, and ended with a Zazen (zen) retreat at a Buddhist monastery — a mindful way to end a fabulous trip!

GPs in meditatation
Arigatōgozaimasu 🇯🇵🙏🏼