The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation is honored to be able to consider the many ideas presented to us that aim to achieve substantial positive change in the world. As described below, our team conducts deep diligence on social enterprises that move to the final stages of consideration, as many of the proposed ventures are cutting edge. This includes a thorough scan of existing approaches to the issue at hand and the likelihood of success and sustained impact the proposed project could achieve, as well as assessment of the entrepreneur’s leadership ability.
Submit Applications | 8-10 Weeks
The Foundation has a rolling online application process throughout the year; there is no deadline to apply. After each application is received, it is carefully reviewed by a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation staff member. Based on our appraisal of the fit of the venture with our investment style, we select approximately 25% of applications to move to a first interview. Those not invited will receive an email around six weeks after submission to bring the process to a close.
First Interview: Exploratory Phase | 1-2 Months
Within a month or two, interviews are arranged via email. In the interview (phone or in-person), a member of the DRK team will talk with you about you, your idea and your plan for the social enterprise. There may be a few subsequent calls with other members of the DRK team.
Due Diligence + Follow-on Interviews | 1-2 Months
Approximately 25% of those interviewed will move on to the diligence phase. This is a more in-depth process in which the entrepreneur provides resources, materials and plans. The DRK team member deeply researches your idea, the marketplace, and the skills of your team. We talk to people in your network whom you have recommended and to people in our own network familiar with the issue you are addressing. At any point in this process, if there isn’t a fit, we will let you know to honor your time and effort. About 15% will continue through to the final diligence phase.
Final Diligence: Planning and Scheduling | 1-2 Months
Toward the end of our diligence, the entrepreneur and DRK work towards very clear goals for the new venture, including metrics and milestones that help articulate the organization’s ability to achieve its mission. These metrics will be used in our work with the organization throughout the 3-year funding term. These plans are a critical foundation for the launch and expansion of the venture. In addition, we ask you to meet several other members of our team.
Grant Awarded | 3-6 Months
DRK investments are distributed twice a year over a three-year term, totaling $300,000. For for-profit organizations, we typically make program-related investments with an initial investment of $150,000 and we’ll do a subsequent investment of another $150,000 depending on the achievement of certain organizational metrics and milestones. A senior member of the DRK team, most frequently the team member who led the diligence process, will join the board of the organization for the 3-year term to actively support the entrepreneur to build capacity in the social venture to scale and realize their goals.