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Gary Fowler: Building Thriving Startup Ecosystem to Help Companies Grow



While there is no lack of motivation and determination among entrepreneurs planning on launching their own startups, it’s still increasingly hard to face and overcome all the challenges to establish global companies with enough support. And the key to success in such initiatives is a diverse, experienced team with a proven track record.



The company is a venture studio like no other. GSD provides a platform for emerging companies in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and blockchain to leverage the intellectual capacity and expertise of professionals from around the world and scale their business to a global level under the mentorship of its co-founders Gary Fowler and Derek Distenfield.


GSD doesn’t simply raise capital for its portfolio companies like other venture studios. Unlike traditional investors or accelerator programs, Gary and his team join these companies at a more senior, co-founder-level and leverage their gained trust, reputation, network, fundraising expertise and experience to ensure fast growth and to #Get Stuff Done. This way, they have closed an important yet overlooked gap in the venture capital market, while providing guidance and advice to the emerging global companies. Moreover, unlike the rest of the venture capital industry, they are ready to dive into the work headfast and invest their full–time and energy to see the portfolio company succeed. GSDVS’s mission is to help emerging companies gain momentum and expand globally.

An Innovator Guiding Industry Success


Gary Fowler is the CEO, President, and Co-founder of GSD Venture Studios. Previously, he co-founded top CIS accelerators GVA and SKOLKOVO Startup Academy. Gary has also founded 15 companies, such as Yva.ai, DY Investments, Broadiant, GVA LaunchGurus, Fowler International, Tecra, ClickSoftware, which was sold to SalesForce for US$1.35 billion, and has a successful IPO under his belt. The majority of these companies achieved success soon after their launch.


Gary had a major contribution to the rapid growth and increasing valuation of the Menlo Park-based AI startup he co-founded as the CEO and President, Yva.ai. He co-founded one of the country’s first corporate accelerators, GVA LaunchGurus. Most recently, Gary co-founded Yva.ai with David Yang, one of the Russia’s most famous entrepreneurs. Yva.ai was recently named one of the “Top 10 Most Innovative Global AI Executives in 2020” by Analytics Insight.


Additionally, Gary has won numerous awards, including named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential AI Executives” by Analytics Insight and one of the “Top Transformational Business Leaders of 2019” by IndustryWired Magazine. He is currently an active contributing writer for Forbes.


Gary assists GSD Venture Studios in all phases including sales, marketing, business development, operations, as well as offers his mentorship for all GSD portfolio companies. Across all of the portfolio startups at GSD, he steps in as the CEO with his partner, Derek who assumes the COO role and contributes to the growth and acceleration of the company with his several decades of experience. Gary has an eye for potential and can spot promising startups early on, leading them to explosive global growth from his experience in startup GSDVS, a top accelerator and Startup Academy. 


He is based in the Silicon Valley area but travels often to Europe, Middle–East, Asia and the CIS to establish GSD’s global presence. 

Accelerating Change through technology mentorship


GSD’s initiative of #GoingGlobal sets its mission as discovering the best intellectual resources and developing diverse teams that will help emerging companies in AI, blockchain and VR reach their maximum potential and establish a strong presence globally.


With technologies such as AI, VR and blockchain sweeping across industries, transforming daily lives and business operations, it is important to be able to identify projects and ideas that can be at the forefront of this revolution and lead the change in the first place. GSDVS provides a supporting platform for such projects to be fostered and transformed into global companies through experienced and diverse teams of experts as well as the guidance of Gary and David as mentors.

Capitalizing on Expertise to Build Resilient Teams


In early 2019, Gary and Derek scheduled regular coffee meetings to brainstorm how they could offer innovative and meaningful solutions to frequent startup failures. 


The way traditional accelerators such as Y Combinator works, they quite literally “hand-hold” the startups throughout their formation. One of the main things that caught Gary’s eye was that for emerging ground-breaking technologies such as AI or blockchain, many young companies needed more than the traditional 13 weeks of accelerator training for a better planned product-market fit focusing on these technologies. He believes that AI is not just a trend or a concept of the future anymore. It’s very real, omnipresent and penetrating industries and markets across the globe.


Venture studios have already proven to be efficient, with over US$5 billion in Venture Capital and 20 large exits since 2008. There are also many countries around the world, such as Russia, for example, which have long been home to talented and visionary IT professionals that haven’t been given the opportunity to be exposed to the Silicon Valley environment and use it as a trampoline to achieve global success because of geopolitical and cultural factors.


GSD’s theory follows that talent and intellect are evenly distributed across the world, but unfortunately, opportunity is not—just like it is in the case of Russia; so GSDVS chose the country as its main area of focus for its global initiatives. After choosing the geographic area for its main activities, the company narrowed its domain focus to the specific areas that Gary and Derek have deep expertise in: AI, blockchain, and VR. Gary’s influence and success in the AI field, coupled with Derek’s knowledge and experience in blockchain and VR, made GSDVS what it is today.

Recognizing Success through Business Excellence


GSDVS is passionate about helping startups realize their true potential. Here are a few notable testimonials the company received for its work focused on business growth results.


“Derek is a champion for startups and has a knack for providing the right advice that is not always what you want to hear but is practical. He has been very helpful. He was a key early mentor in my career as an entrepreneur.” – Andrew Baer, Content Manager at Aspiration Marketing


“Gary Fowler is one of the best execution CEOs, starting from zero and getting to funding. He is deeply connected in Silicon Valley with a vast network of very high-level contacts, well respected as the go-to startup CEO to take a project from an idea to success, and a serial entrepreneur from ecommerce to AI. He is an executive with marketing, sales and operations experience.” – Nikolai Lebedovsky, CEO at CrowdToolz.com


“Gary is great at establishing contacts, initiating ideas and processes and building relationships that can yield results for many years.” – Ron Lewin, Founder and Managing Director at TerraLink Technologies and Co-founder at RTR Drone.

“If your startup wants to go global you should find such a person as Gary Fowler. He is incredibly connected and can be a bridge to your startup’s global market expansion as today’s investors in the states don’t invest in ventures with Russian roots. So, you will need a CEO like Gary Fowler. If I can name a person who is the best in taking a Russian company global, they should talk to it is Gary Fowler, my co-founder in Yva.ai.” – David Yang, Founder of ABBYY, CEO, co-founder at Yva.ai, Ph.D.



Originally published on IndustryWired

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