We built startup companies and designed the ecosystems that foster entrepreneurial innovation.
Our founders, Victor and Greg, started in 2005 by asking a crazy little question: “Was it possible to create a venture capital firm that filled the gap between private innovators and public resources?”
They noticed a huge, systemic gap. On one hand, they observed how startups frequently failed not due to their own fault, but because of system-wide inefficiencies that prevented access to the right talent, ideas, and capital. On the other hand, they saw how business and political leaders desperately wanted to foster innovative growth across entire corporations or communities, yet took the wrong actions, often investing in things that never made real-world impact. As a result, needs and solutions were often disconnected.
Victor and Greg saw an opportunity to bridge that gap. It was more than an academic problem to them; they viewed it as a moral responsibility. Because of this gap, children were dying from lack of clean drinking water technologies, ill patients could not access life-saving medical treatments that never made it to market, wars were started because of scarce energy resources, and businesses failed due to lack of information. Shaking hands over dinner 1,000 feet in the air—at the top of the Sky Tower in New Zealand—they launched T2VC.
The organization started as T2 Venture Capital, based in Silicon Valley. T2 originally stood for technology transfer. Their plan was to invest selectively in technologies spinning out of universities and government research, crossing the chasm from public science to private markets. They had some early successes. But over time, leaders kept asking for Victor and Greg’s advice on how to build more innovative systems. How to unleash innovation across vast populations? How to create new organizational networks? How to structure capital? How to shape innovation policy?
So they decided to transform T2VC from a boutique venture investment firm into something new: a Silicon Valley venture firm and ecosystem design studio, rolled into one. They expanded their team. They started writing down their ideas. They accelerated their work with clients seeking to foster innovation in the hardest places. And they changed their company’s name. T2 became technology + trust. And VC became venture + creation.
Today, T2VC is no longer active. But in its time, T2VC was an expert team that helped design innovation projects on every continent except Antarctica. We developed a body of fresh ideas on innovation ecosystems, drawing from the latest research in biology, psychology, design, sociology, law, business, and economics. We published numerous writings, including the award-winning book The Rainforest on how innovation ecosystems work and how to grow them, plus frequent columns in media like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur. We launched a Silicon Valley conference, the Global Innovation Summit, that attracted major development institutions and participants from over 50 countries. We started the world's first training workshops for "ecosystem builders." And we built startups, including one making the fastest, finest filter for safe drinking water ever invented.
We are still driven by a deeply-held belief: "Every innovator deserves a fighting chance, a level playing field, and the right to pursue a dream." Most great ideas and smart people never get a fair shot at the market. We help even the odds.
At the core of our work is the idea that sustainable innovation and entrepreneurial growth come from ecosystems, not mere assets. Such ecosystems—what we call Rainforests—are are not tightly controlled systems. Instead, they are environments designed from the bottom-up to foster serendipitous interactions. We believe that ecosystems, done right, can raise standards of living for billions of people.
Rainforests are nurtured by several key cultural traits: connectivity, diversity of ideas and talents, deep levels of trust, motivations that rise above short-term zero-sum calculation, and cultural norms that encourage dreaming, risk-taking, and paying it forward. We call this the invisible infrastructure of a community.
That particular culture—which is at the heart of Silicon Valley’s success—is what we design into our work. It’s what we seek to foster everywhere in the world.