GSD Labs Cohort 7: Monopolizing the Future

Derek Distenfield
4 min readMay 13, 2022


GSD Venture Studios now has a portfolio of 70+ startups that have accelerated their growth with the knowledge, guidance, network, and funding opportunities provided by the GSD Labs accelerator. With over 40 countries participating in the accelerator to date, Cohort 7 brings a group of ambitious, resilient entrepreneurs, with 36% led by women, minorities, or founders from emerging markets.

The cohort culminated with a “Demo Day” where the startups pitched investors as part of the mantra that GSD Labs has become known for. The Demo Day featured startups in FinTech, the future of work, the metaverse, and artificial intelligence joining from Finland, the UK, Switzerland, France, Nigeria, Canada, India, Spain, Kenya, and the US.

“We help international startups pop the Silicon Valley bubble by providing the access to capital necessary to define, dominate and monopolize a new space and put a dent in the universe.” — Derek Distenfield, COO of GSD Venture Studios.

Kicking things off with multi-player online gaming in the metaverse and an impressive 100K of year one revenue with zero marketing is AcceleratXR. This low-code platform enables teams of any size to build successful experiences at scale for gaming, entertainment, and the metaverse.

Founder Jean-Phillipe Steinmetz explained that the demand in this space is unprecedented. They plan to capture their market share with a team of 65+ veterans, triple-A developers, five strategic partners, and $1.5m under contract. To expand their platform and form more valuable partnerships, they are seeking $5M in funding.

“How do you qualify buyers and tenants at scale?” asks James Owusu, UK-based Founder of the AI-powered SaaS platform, Checkboard. Background checks are messy and time-consuming, plus the process of running background and financial checks is fragmented. Checkboard’s solution is a quick and simple 3-step process with a $14 billion market opportunity at the intersection of background checks and financial services.

With the initial focus on the property industry, $5.4 million ARR in the pipeline, and 370 B2B customers onboarded, Checkboard is seeking $1.4 million to scale their product, marketing, and sales.

Remote work is here to stay but companies are scrambling to remain organized and synchronized and experience many other challenges around latency, security, and onboarding. Based in Spain, SimpleCloud is a Platform as a Service offering remote and hybrid teams a frictionless, secure solution involving automated talent onboarding and customized cloud workstations that can be set up in 15 minutes with no coding and limited IT support required.

Remote work and education are predicted to grow to $14b in just two years, doubling today’s market size. With 40 clients and the Best IBM Cloud Partner Award of 2021 under their belt, Olivier Wolff and his team are seeking $6.5 million to accelerate their global deployment.

Witty Works’ mission is to reimagine brands’ and teams’ mindsets for diversity, equity, and inclusive language. Poor diversity training programs have resulted in millions of dollars wasted and a decline in workplace culture. Witty Works is a multi-lingual B2B SaaS browser plug-in providing bias awareness tools and fostering inclusivity. Founder Nadia Fischer is seeking $2.2 million to grow her company to the standard of DEI.

“Cohort 7 brought diverse talent, resilience, and dedication from all over the world. We are thrilled to be a part of their journey to .” — Gary Fowler, CEO of GSD Venture Studios.

Other participants in the seventh cohort include tech startups transforming the sports industry. D3 Golf is a Play2Earn sports betting app while AISpotter provides instant AI-powered sports highlights.

Investors also heard from AI-powered employee management solutions, Africa-based mobile app Tenakata focusing on financial inclusion, and climate change solutions platform ESG Explorer.

Keble, a fractional real estate investment platform; Foxy Nerds, a SaaS influencer marketing platform; and LongTermGevity, a life sciences company developing novel psychedelic treatments for chronic pain are all vying to work with investors to expand their global footprint.

It will be a busy few weeks as investors determine which of these diverse startups they’d like to team up with for the development, expansion, and growth needed to scale and .

You can watch Cohort 7 Demo Day in its entirety . Please contact Derek Distenfield of GSD Labs ( if you are interested in investing in any of these promising companies.

Originally published at on May 13, 2022.

About GSD Venture Studios:
We travel the world investing in resilient teams bold enough to #GoGlobal.
For too long, self-motivated entrepreneurs have navigated the minefield of challenges to launching a global company with very little support. The last thing you should bet on in this situation is an unproven team that you don’t trust. GSD Venture Studios travels to every corner of the globe inviting resilient teams to establish partnerships that ensure organizations grow the right way, without games or gimmicks. You can learn more about GSD Ventures Studios here:

About Derek Distenfield:
Known for both bringing revolutionary new ideas to organizations that deliver explosive growth and for displaying a high tolerance for ambiguity and complexity. For over 15 years, Derek has blazed high impact careers in startups, corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations that range from $0 to $2 billion.
He is the operational mastermind, COO and Co-founder behind the success of GSD Venture Studios. Derek brings a variety of resources together to deliver explosive growth for GSD’s portfolio companies. Additionally, he lectures on startup growth at leading universities and writes for Analytic Insight Magazine honored Derek as a 40 under 40 Innovator for his work in redefining the future of tech through cutting edge innovation. called Derek as one of 2020s most influential people.
Derek is a frequent keynote speaker, advisor, and mentor. Silicon Valley is home, and he travels the world frequently to work with GSD’s portfolio companies.
More information can be found at:



Derek Distenfield

Derek Distenfield is an investor, operational mastermind, frequent keynote speaker, advisor, and mentor based in Charlotte, GA.