Steve Jurvetson is a student of technology and new ideas. He taps into that knowledge base to identify investment opportunities. One of seven partners at Menlo Park, ­California–based venture capital firm Draper Fisher ­Jurvetson, which has $7 billion in committed capital, Jurvetson sits on the boards of SpaceX, Synthetic ­Genomics and Tesla Motors. Before joining DFJ in 1995, he was a research and development engineer at Hewlett-­Packard. An optimist, Jurvetson thinks economic growth comes from technological advances and change will accelerate as more people join the worldwide intellectual conversation via computers, smartphones and other connected devices. “Three billion new minds are coming online for the first time in the next eight years,” says the 45-year-old, who holds master’s degrees in electrical engineering and business administration from ­Stanford. “Imagine those people contributing to the dialogue.” In ­December, ­Institutional ­Investor Senior Writer Julie Segal talked to Jurvetson about innovation and the venture capital business. 

1. What are venture....