Mike Maples' $25,000 personal investment in Twitter four years ago, has multiplied more than 25 fold--and his once apparently ill-fated venture capital career is blossoming. Maples, 42, headed to Silicon Valley from Texas after stints at Tivoli Systems, Silicon Graphics, and co-founding Motive--a broadband software company, eager to become a venture capitalist. But none of the six companies he met with would hire Maples, so he used his own money to invest in start-up businesses. However, Maples did not jump at the chance to invest in Zynga, developer of the popular Farmville games. With successes such as Twitter, Digg, and text book rental firm Chegg notched on his belt, doors once closed now open for Maples. Maples, who is managing partner of Floodgate, sits on the board of Dasient, Swifftest and ModCloth.