Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
In a bizarre 8-minute CNBC interview, venture capitalist Tim Draper discussed government scrutiny of Facebook and the regulatory risks of going public. It got especially interesting when he was asked about Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, the founder who recently got charged with an “elaborate, years-long fraud” by the SEC.
Here are some of Draper’s quotes about the embattled founder:
“We have taken down another great icon.”
“She got bullied into submission.”
“And look at what she did! She created an incredible opportunity.”
“Wait. Why is it worthless? It’s worthless because this writer was like a badger going after her, like a hyena going after her, and then it became a bigger and bigger thing.”
“It was a great vision, it was a great technology.”
“I think it was a great mission, and she did a great job.”
This is not the first time Draper has defended her. But I’m slightly confused as to why he continues to defend her even after the formal fraud charges, along with $700 million gone to the wind.
Draper was one of the earliest investors in Theranos, through venture firm DFJ, when he led the seed round with $500,000. And he has been a boisterous defender of the company ever since. It appears that Holmes was childhood friends with Draper’s daughter, and they grew up in the same neighborhood. Regardless, calling Holmes “a great icon” is a little excessive.
I’m not sure what to make of this other than Draper did not lose as much money as Secretary of Education Betsy Devos did ($100 million), so it’s a little easier to chalk it up to the notion that most startups fail. “Look, when I’m in an investor in a startup, I assume that 60% of them are going to go out of business,” he said. “I make my money on a few extraordinary companies. Theranos was one of those extraordinary companies that could’ve been one of those big, huge winners.”
Looking forward to your thoughts.
FRIDAY FUN: Remember Boston Dynamics, the robotics design company that keeps releasing videos of its robots doing things that robots aren’t supposed to be able to do? It has previously featured a robo-dog opening a door for its robo-dog friend, a humanoid robot going for a stroll, and a robot doing backflips.
Now, there are terrifying videos of its robots walking around, tackling stairs, and autonomously navigating their way through an office without bumping into things. Like someone said on Twitter, “Boston Dynamics is going to be the end of us all, and the last remaining humans will be wondering how we didn’t see it coming.” Watch the videos here.
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HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
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