Draper eyes Russia, Turkey

Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s efforts to start a fund focused on Russia and Ukraine are still underway, Managing Director Tim Draper told attendees of the Stanford Global Technology Symposium earlier this month in Palo Alto, Calif.

“We’ve had two false starts and we keep plowing ahead,” Draper said. “We’re running as fast as we can.”

DFJ is also considering investing in Turkey, Draper said, as part of its broader focus on emerging markets.

PE Week reported in 2005 that DFJ was working with Kiev-based TechInvest to raise $50 million to $80 million for a new fund called the DFJ-Nexus Fund to provide funding for Ukrainian and Russian startups. The fund did not close and has not made any investments to date.

However, the global activities of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm are on the rise. Its network of affiliated international funds includes DFJ DragonFund, which targets China, DFJ ePlanet, which invests in Europe, Israel and Asia, and DFJ VinaCapial, which backs Vietnamese companies.

Turkey is also looking increasingly ripe for venture investment, Draper said. The country’s GDP grew 5% in 2006, according to the CIA World Factbook. The Turkish-U.S. Business Council is upbeat on prospects. The council is hosting an investment conference in New York later this month headlined: Turkey: The New Destination for Direct Investment and Private Equity. —Joanna Glasner