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Venture Capitalist Gets Green Light For San Mateo Entrepreneur School

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Tim Draper speaks at the Inaugural Palo Alto International Film Festival on September 30, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. (Max Morse/Getty Images)

Tim Draper speaks at the Inaugural Palo Alto International Film Festival on September 30, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. (Max Morse/Getty Images)

ChrisFilippi 20100909_KCBS_0379r Chris Filippi
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SAN MATEO (KCBS) – A new type of school for would-be entrepreneurs is coming to downtown San Mateo. The City Council late Monday night approved a plan to open Draper University for Heroes.

The brainchild behind Draper University of Heroes is Tim Draper, a Menlo Park venture capitalist in his early 50s. He was considered instrumental in the launch of such cutting edge tech companies as Skype and Baidu. In 2011, he plunked down more than $15 million for the dilapidated Benjamin Franklin Hotel and, according to published reports, he did so “on a whim.” He subsequently began forming a plan for a three-building campus to educate innovators.

The nearly vacant Benjamin Franklin Hotel will be used as one of the buildings, with two other downtown structures supplementing the plans. The City of San Mateo, in turn, is behind the plan because of its potential to foster the image that San Mateo is an incubator for innovation and cutting-edge development.

“Now I have to create this school,” he said rather tongue-in-cheek at Monday’s City Council meeting. “It’s too important. It’s too exciting.”

“Our curriculum combines business fundamentals with creative, fun topics,” explained Carol Lo, Chief Operating Officer, Draper University. “As Tim said, we want them to feel it.”

However, not everybody in the community was so enamored with the plan.

“The fact that they’re going to have a possibility of 185 beds and so many students is not going to mitigate our parking problem, it’s going to add to it,” an unidentified man told the City Council.

But, with council approval granted Monday night, Draper University is targeting an April 2013 opening.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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