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Derek Disten, COO and Co-founder, GSD Venture Stuidos

Derek Distenfield: Breaking Barriers, Leading Innovation, and Inspiring people to Achieve

The world is a big scary dwelling filled with its variety of twists and turns and where everyone is interconnected, especially when it comes to business. Whether you produce and sell goods internationally or you don’t, global businesses tend to impact every organization.

Let’s say you’re a business owner, manager, or employee. Then an important question you might ponder on is how can you gather the information, tools, and resources to put your organization on the global map?

Self-motivated entrepreneurs have often had to fight an uphill battle to launch a global company with very little support. In that respect, an unproven team without the right knowledge and expertise or the trust factor is not the ideal preference. Alas, this age-old tradition has come to an end, all thanks to the inspiring California-based enterprise – GSD Venture Studios.

GSD Venture Studios travels the globe in search of resilient teams, inviting them to establish collaborations that ensure organizations grow the right way, without games or gimmicks. Leading from the front is the astute COOCo-founder, and operational mastermind of GSD – Derek Distenfield.

Derek’s high tolerance for ambiguity and complexity makes him a vital source of inspiration and counsel for growth-oriented firms and founders. He is known for introducing ground-breaking new ideas to organizations that provide rapid development and for being efficient with little resources.

Derek is the operational brain at GSD, bringing together a diverse set of talents to effectively serve each portfolio firm. Derek resides in Silicon Valley with his wife and two children and regularly goes to Russia to work with GSD’s global clientele.

How it all started

Working in technology companies that were $0 failures to $2 billion companies, it would be appropriate to say that Derek has accumulated quite a few battle scars. Throughout this journey, Derek has focused on a variety of industries in both B2B and B2C markets. He is passionate about simplifying experiences for users both in terms of product and messaging.

Derek realized this personal mission when he first built and sold a storytelling marketing firm called Cult Following, where his team built online and offline communities for brands. Importantly, he learned how to accomplish missions with little to no resources and get things done as a US Army officer.

Eventually, as a culmination of his career to democratize financial and intellectual capital for start-ups, he co-founded GSD Venture Studios alongside Gary Fowler.

Gary is one of the top influencers in Artificial Intelligence and has a global view of how companies should be started. He believes that entrepreneur 2.0 is decentralized teams that are globally based that are intergenerational – start-up veterans with the battle scars working with younger guys with fresh ideas.

GSD Venture Studios

GSD travels the world looking for resilient entrepreneurs that are bold enough to #GoGlobal. In the words of the astute Derek, “We believe intellectual capacity is evenly spread throughout the world, but opportunity is not. If entrepreneurs can pop the ‘Silicon Valley bubble’ with the capital, network, and tools they need, then anyone can build a unicorn!”

GSD also believes that ‘start-up support’ today the world over indexes on helping people start a company and helping them scale. The between stage is the reason that 80-90% of start-ups still fail.

“By focusing on start-ups outside the Silicon Valley bubble, meaning companies with international roots or groups that have been marginalized in the US, supporting them after they have shown some success but are not ready to scale, we are curating unicorns,” added Derek.

At heart, the company comprises venture builders that take an entrepreneurial view of the world, incorporating additional values such as ScrappinessLoyalty, and Diversity, all with a #GoGlobal perspective.

The Pandemic Dictate

When asked about the trials and tribulations presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Derek responded by saying, “The best way to navigate a crisis like COVID-19 is to act like a trauma surgeon who makes quick, deliberate decisions, and not as a neurosurgeon that waits for 100% of the information before moving forward. Additionally, you need must maintain both a realistic outcome and the incredible optimism that you will succeed.”

Using Technology to Connect with The World

The Venture Capitalists invest a lot of money in ‘change-making companies,’ however, historically have been slow to act themselves. Additionally, Venture Capital has been very centralized, not diverse at all. GSD is making changes by using technology to connect itself to the whole world to curate the best companies to #GoGlobal.

A Household Name

Derek Distenfield has been featured in the ’40 Under 40 Innovators’ list by Analytics Insight and celebrated as one of ‘The 10 Most Influential People of 2020’ by Yahoo Finance.

Additionally, Derek is one of the official members of the exclusive Forbes Business Council for successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. He was selected based on his depth and diversity of experience and knowledge, and since then has gone on to publish his expertise on

Don’t take our word for it

“We participated in GSD Venture Studios accelerator program in Q4 / 2021 and were very happy with the outcome. Derek Distenfield and the team provided a concrete, professional, and hands-on program for creating a clear investment deck, messaging, and strategy for a growing tech company like Choicely no-code app development platform. Derek successfully connected us with relevant investors and funds from their network that works with SaaS technology platforms like ours. We look forward to continuing a partnership with GSD Venture Studios and highly recommend start-ups to join the program.”

  • Kaius Meskanen, CEO of Choicely

“Derek and GSD have been a major part of the growth of Frostwolf. Through the program, I have been able to make great connections and build relationships with like-minded individuals, advisors, and investors.”

  • Natnael Tsegai, Founder of Frostwolf

“Derek and GSD helped us to re-position our company with our capital raising. Derek is aggressive and very precise in articulating the message, which helped us to articulate our message to the investors.”

  • Tony Weeresinghe, Founder & CEO of Ustocktrade

“GSD Labs has been a major part of the growth of Xoxoday; through the accelerator, we made great connections and built relationships with like-minded individuals, advisors, and investors.

GSD labs taught us that Silicon Valley is not a geographic location but a mindset. We are thrilled to have worked with them and learned how to #GoGlobal and land $30m in funding and scale across the world.

We are confident that Xoxoday will be a unicorn, and GSD Labs will help our journey tremendously.”

–         Manoj Agarwal, Co-Founder of Xoxoday

What the future holds for GSD

Unlike its competitors, who make global trips once every few years and have a few tokens of global investments, GSD has companies from more than 38 countries. As for what the future holds, GSD will continue its #GoGlobal World Tour developing authentic, tangible relationships that start-ups flock to.