2020 has been a year of transformation for society on every level. It’s a year that reminded us of how connected we are globally. For GSVlabs, it’s the year we transitioned to become OneValley, a brand that reflects our vision for the future of entrepreneurship—one that is more connected, more inclusive, and more global.
Since 2014, we’ve been known as GSVlabs, a startup incubator and co-working space in the center of Silicon Valley. GSVlabs was created to help entrepreneurs get the education, mentorship, and resources they needed to grow their ideas into successful businesses.
In five years, we launched innovation centers in Silicon Valley and Boston and worked with over 600 companies. But while doing so we realized that even if we launched hundreds of more innovation centers, we would still only be able to reach a tiny fraction of the over 6 million technology entrepreneurs globally.
We had a hypothesis. If we build a virtual version of our innovation centers, can we recreate the magic of startup communities in Silicon Valley not just for hundreds but for hundreds of thousands of founders and innovators across the globe?
We launched Passport last year to test that idea. At a radically low price compared to the cost of joining an elite startup accelerator, we created an online portal where entrepreneurs gain direct access to a global peer group of innovators as well as experienced mentors, investors, and nearly $1 million in discounts and credits for mission critical technology services like AWS, Stripe, Zoom, Salesforce and more.
We also launched Passport OS to allow organizations to use Passport as the infrastructure for their own startup communities including academic institutions, enterprises, accelerators, and foundations.
Throughout 2019, Passport and Passport OS grew steadily alongside our physical innovation centers, complementing each other and enabling us to expand our reach and impact.
Then 2020 hit. The number of entrepreneurs across our Passport and Passport OS platforms grew by 10X in less than one year. Startup communities had to transition online overnight. A virtual innovation platform became an imperative for entrepreneurship ecosystems to survive.
Our mission to democratize entrepreneurship and empower innovators has stayed the same. But our vision is bigger now.
2020 has proven that an entrepreneurship ecosystem focused in Silicon Valley and a few major tech hubs isn’t just limiting. It would be catastrophic to the post-pandemic economic recovery that demands a new generation of entrepreneurs to step up globally.
As OneValley, we are committed to:
Supporting startups and founders anywhere in the world through Passport.
Empowering organizations to grow innovation communities through Passport OS.
Fostering physical communities in key markets through our innovation centers.
Investing in promising startups globally through our new venture capital group, OneValley Ventures.
We envision a world where anyone can be an entrepreneur. We believe innovation is possible anywhere with access to the right tools, support, and community. We believe in #OneValley.