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Tim Draper is back at it.
In a bizarre eight-minute CNBC interview, venture capitalist 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 CEO:
“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.
It’s important to note that Draper did not lose as much as some of the other investors. The Walton family lost $150 million, Rupert Murdoch lost $125 million, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos lost $100 million. As a result, it’s likely a little easier for Draper to chalk it up to the notion that most startups fail. “Look, when I’m 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.”