The Paradox of Venture Capital Success in Regional Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

“A Rainforest is a human ecosystem in which human creativity, business acumen, scientific discovery, investment capital, and other elements come together in a special recipe that nurtures budding ideas so they can grow into flourishing and sustainable enterprises.”

Venture capital investors Victor W. Hwang and Greg Horowitt use the analogy of a biology ecosystem to describe the distinctive elements of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems in their book The Rainforest – The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are, to put it really short, subject to the (diversity of) people who are in it and their ability to interact and collaborate.


An entrepreneurial ecosystem is not something you just decide – on a good day, with a drink in your left hand – to build. It is something that needs to grow organically (hence: ‘rainforest’), which you can speed up at best. Ecosystems need their momentum to attract (or retain) talent, ideas, and capital (to name just a few ingredients).

While I was studying the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Twente (the Netherlands) and success factors of other ecosystems not too long ago, it got me thinking; can the success of a company that is ‘raised’ in an ecosystem have a negative impact on the very same ecosystem?

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