Ruud Veltenaar: Trend watcher and futurist?

World leading future thinker and inspirer for conscious leadership and innovative entrepreneurship

“We would you do,
if you were not afraid?”

Awareness, desire,
connection and

I am much more of a future thinker and -creator than a trend watcher or futurologist. As a philosopher, I think about a world in transformation to the next stage of our civilization and the marker point where we now stand as humanity.

What track do we choose towards the inevitable and irreversible: the world we all long for? A better world, with a more sustainable environment and greater equality and justice. A world we all long for and can create ourselves!

If most major problems are caused by people, then surely we are the solution? But it takes more than exponential technologies, billions of new trees, thousands of windmills and other utopias of ecomodernists and singularists.

It requires a MEXIT [thanks Thomas Rau]: an exit from our way of thinking – our Mindset. It doesn’t just have to be smarter, faster and more sustainable; above all, it has to be more humane and less so. A lot less.

I encourage people and organizations to become even more aware of the enormous challenges we face as humanity. I reflect and interpret the future and show the connections. This creates clarity, insight and a strong desire for a better world. And also for vital  solutions to serious problems, which of course are at hand.

Technology does not solve everything and even creates new challenges. Sustainability is the only direction, but not a cure for all problems. We will also have to change ourselves. In our thinking, doing and not doing. What we eat and how we travel. Why we work and what we want to mean for other people. And that’s not easy, because people can change but don’t want to be changed.

Of course you can be the change you want to see in the world. But to make a real impact and difference we need to connect our desires and ambitions. And from this desire-retanglement into action. In radical interdependence. For the common good: The profound purpose.

Trend watcher or futurologist?

Our future does not fit in a nutshell

My inspirements, books and other publications are different and go a lot further than the average trend watcher or futurologist’. Of course, I also talk and write about exponential technologies and translate them into the impact on our lives and work. Who doesn’t? But I’ve also rmanaged reputable high-tech companies. And even founded and successfully sold a few to KPN, BMW and Black Rock. I don’t just talk about it, I practice it.

Furthermore, I situate trends and developments in a much broader social and societal context.  That makes sense with my background as a philosopher and scientist. Technology and ethics? Artificial intelligence and inclusiveness? Internet of Things and security? Smarter is good and faster is good. But more Human in Great!

So I am not a technology fetish with a sensor in my neck. I am, however, a humanist who believes that scientific and technological progress should serve humanity and our planet and not just make a few Silicon Valley billionaires even more billionaires than they already are.

My role and track record as

creator of real

I have a proven track record of almost 30 years as a thought leader, sustainable entrepreneur and impact investor.

As a progressor, I work day to day to create a more sustainable world and fair society.

As a philosopher and scientist, I easily separate sense from nonsense, just like goals from meaning and purpose.

As Homo Verus, I am part of both nature and society and therefore live and work within the limits of our planet and human potential.

Impact investor
Sustainable entrepreneur
Thought Leader
Impact investor


As an impact investor, I have had the opportunity to lead several large and small funds over the past 20 years. The intent was as clear as simple; doing well by doing good. To create value and progress for all stakeholders. As an investor, what could be more enjoyable and meaningful than getting a good return by creating real progress for as many people as possible on all continents?

I have had the opportunity to invest more than 8 billion USD through family funds in start-ups, scale-ups, projects and the internationalization of successful companies.  We were one of the first investors in LinkedIn (2002) and Tesla (2003). As a co-investor, we were involved in projects with UNOPS, Blackrock, Twinning, Novo Nordisk, GenMab, SunPower Corp and Celltrion.

As of 2019, I am only active as a minor investor and involved in various funds and projects, such as Speakers for Good and The Academy for Good.

My international experience as an impact investor and knowledge gained across many sectors, help me tremendously in my work as a future thinker, motivational speaker and best selling author. Most of my hilarious anecdotes are therefore from my own practice and experience.

Sustainable entrepreneur


As an impact investor, the main focus was on sustainable business and creating value for all stakeholders; socially, environmentally and economically. Not infrequently, I have been inspired by biomimicry – the science and art of copying the best biological ideas and concepts in nature. As inspiration for applications in our human world and to improve and make our economy, society and society more sustainable.

As an impact investor and sustainable entrepreneur, I was involved in projects with the Biomimicry Institute, Threshold Foundation and the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, among others.

For my own account and risk, I have been the (co-)founder and of Silvac (ICT – sold to RAET in 1992), Planet Internet (sold to KPN in 1996), Park-line and Parkmobile (sold to BMW in 2016), among others.

In 2020 I started Speakers for Good (introduction in Sept 2021) and behind the scenes we are working on Events for Good (introduction in 2022) and the Academy for Good (introduction in 2022 or 2023).

Thought Leader


As a thought leader, I always stayed true to my profound purpose and non-negotiable values for almost thirty years. Even when the majority disagreed or the scorn descended on me.

Important principles: compassion, empathic listening, walk the talk, sharing enthusiasm, self-development and gathering relevant knowledge and facts. And being open to criticism and daring to let go of your own limiting beliefs.

After my studies and volunteer work, my career took off during a collaboration and multi-year assignment at IBM HQ and McKinsey through Desisco [1983-1987].

Back in Europe I was part of the executive board of the Volmac Software Group (now Cap Gemini) [1987-1988] . After a conflict with the board, I started my first own company Silvac [1988-1992], which I sold to Raet (now Getronics) four years later, and then joined the board of directors [1992-1996].

Following the sale of Raet to Getronics, I became CEO and co-shareholder at Planet Internet and was responsible for the integration with World Access and the sale of Planet Internet to KPN [1996-1998].

During my role as CEO of Net Ventures [1999-2009], I was an investor at the birth of Park-line [2002], among others, and was responsible for the integrated acquisition and merger of Park-line and Parkmobile, the company I founded in 2002 and sold to BMW in 2016.

Very recently I founded Speakers For Good [2020], an international boutique speakers agency In Amsterdam. Unique in its kind because it is 100% ‘purpose driven’. An inspiring organization where our planet and 8 billion people get a voice that is heard.

Scientivist & Flip-thinker
Stand-up philosopher
Homo Verus
Scientivist & Flip-thinker


I consider myself a passionate and rebellious scientist who helps people and organizations daily to create the world that almost everyone desires. I call for wise reflections and movement and make a non-exempt appeal to the head and heart, without putting people or organizations in harm’s way. It’s not about what your intentions are, but about what you demonstrably do and don’t do.

I apply science pragmatically in my daily life and work. No complicated academic treatises on economics or philosophical fallacies on extinction. Just concrete facts, objective reflections, and critical considerations. In simple language and in the here and now.

On the way to tomorrow, the day after and beyond. Based on vital ideas and solutions that create real progress for all stakeholders. Leaving nobody behind.

Stand-up philosopher


My studies philosophy (in Amsterdam, Paris and New York) and business administration (Boston) help me to emancipate science, philosophy and the emerging future. Not only by showing people and organizations how accessible this is, but especially by stimulating them to do something concrete with it. For example, to create real progress, and not just financially, but also ecologically and socially.

I am not obstructively optimistic and am more of a fresh-eyed than a black-eyed observer, and like to consider the serious challenges facing humanity in the seemingly light, everyday here and now.

As a philosopher and future thinker, I understand the art of questioning by reference to the great philosophers. This leads to more awareness and reflection and is important in an era of fake news, where everyone is talking at the same time and opinions quickly take on the apparent value of facts.

The result is that I stimulate people and organizations to ask themselves and others essential and true questions that surprise and make you think. As a result, reflections and conversations lead to more depth and connection. With the other, with yourself and with the deeper intentions.

Homo Verus


Born, raised and living in Amsterdam and married to my dear Jeannette. Father to Martine, Floyd and Eva and together with Jeannette we cherish eight lovely and passionate children.

In my lectures and publications I often talk about the Homo Verus, the ‘truly wise man’. The inevitable successor of the Homo Economicus.

The ‘species’ of Homo Economicus has made people and planet subservient to economic growth and prosperity. Because of this we live in bubbles, which seem beautiful, but are in fact unrealistic and more often immoral and inhuman.

As Homo Verus, I live and work from the principle that people are also part of nature, rather than, for example, stewards or the immoral operator of it. And that we must connect differently, in radical interdependence, with each other and with nature.