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The University of Heroes Trains Aspiring Entrepreneurs

A course for aspiring entrepreneurs features arms training
The University of Heroes Trains Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Illustration by Paul Windle

Even by Silicon Valley standards, venture capitalist Tim Draper is an oddball. He co-owns a luxury resort in Tanzania, helped produce a Nickelodeon mockumentary series about his sister’s kids, and ends speeches by singing a five-minute ode to entrepreneurs called The Riskmaster. His latest passion is Draper University of Heroes, where students aged 18 to 26 discuss the future instead of history, play volleyball with two balls, and learn survival skills that include suturing and weapons training. Set to open in April, the program is a $7,500, eight-week crash course in entrepreneurship. “Other schools out there are focused on getting an A, which means don’t make any mistakes,” Draper says. “Our school was created to fail and fail big and succeed and succeed big.”

A typical University of Heroes morning will begin with a lecture from a well-known speaker. Zappos Chief Executive Officer Tony Hsieh and Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors and CEO of SpaceX, spoke during a pilot class Draper ran last year. The rest of the day will mix courses on urban survival training, finance, and sales as well as viral marketing and idea generation. There will be yoga, go-karting, and riflery. The Heroes version of baseball more closely resembles Calvinball from Calvin and Hobbes—players may run the wrong way around the bases or change positions after every pitch. And, yes, there will be karaoke.