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Startup U

Startup U

Photo Credit:  ABC Family/Ron Koeberer
  • Premiered: 
    August 11, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: ABC Family
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Reality
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: School
  • Tags: business, entrepreneurship

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Plot Synopsis

STARTUP U is a one-hour reality series that follows a group of entrepreneurial millennials as they embark on a semester at Draper University in Silicon Valley, while pulling back the curtain on what it takes to achieve success in the most innovative and competitive marketplace in the world. Led by billionaire founder and venture capitalist Tim Draper, the seven-week program teaches the fundamentals of launching a startup company under the mentorship of America's business leaders. In the end, students pitch their ideas to a panel of hungry venture capitalists with the hope that they'll receive a life-changing investment to launch their business. To date, more than 150 Draper graduates have received funding totaling more than $15 million from mogul investors and Tim Draper himself. The series opens with move-in day. After meeting Program Director Charlie Taibi and Entrepreneur in Residence Sequoia Blodgett, the first item on the agenda is jumping in the pool fully clothed. Then, Charlie sends everyone into a panic when they learn they have to give a one-minute pitch about their startup; their presentations let the staff know where their businesses are now and where they need to be on Pitch Day. As it turns out, Charlie and Sequoia aren't the only tough critics; their classmates have a few opinions of their own. Meanwhile, make-up demonstrator and notable YouTube personality Michelle Phan visits Draper University and shares her business background and motivation for success. Other guest speakers this season include Naveen Jain (Founder, Moon Express, World Innovation Institute, iNome, TalentWise, Intelius, and Infospace), Ben Parr (Co-founder & Managing Partner of DominateFund,), Jesse Draper (Founder, The Valley Girl Inc), Jane Buckingham (Founder & CEO, Trendera), Michael Volpatt (Co-Founder and Partner, LarkinVolpatt), Allie Webb (Founder, Drybar), Gina Kloes (Founder, EOS Programs), Dan Price (Founder & CEO, Gravity Payments), and Erin McPherson (Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios). Michelle Phan also returns later this season.
On Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 5pm ET/PT, ABC Family premiered the season finale of STARTUP U. In the season ender, "Fund Me," Pitch Day is finally here, and each student presents their idea to a panel of premiere venture capitalists in the hopes that one or more will give them the funding necessary to start their dreams. But only one student can be crowned "Best in Class," and Tim makes it very clear that he is looking for that special idea that will transform the world. After the winner and runner-up are announced, they must make some important decisions about their respective futures. Tim is very confused when the winner is hesitant to accept his generous offer of funding, forcing the premiere venture capitalist to try and find out what is really going on. Finally, after the excitement of Pitch Day, graduation is the last major milestone, and it's clear that the students have learned many lessons during their time at Draper University, the most important being that anything is possible.


  • Draper University - San Mateo, California USA - Map It!