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Endeavor Catalyst Participates in Recent Funding Round for Uruguay’s Scanntech

Endeavor Catalyst recently joined the funding round for Uruguay’s Scanntech, a leading technology platform that connects retailers in emerging markets to consumer products companies, financial institutions and more. Marking Endeavor Catalyst’s sixteenth investment, the Scanntech news demonstrates how innovative […]

September 30th, 2014 — by admin

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Mexico’s Kubo.Financiero, A Microfinance Platform, Receives $1.7 Million Investment

Mexico’s kubo.financiero recently raised nearly $1.7 million in an investment round led by venture firms Alta Ventures Mexico and  Capital Emprendedor, bringing the company’s total funding to $3.7 million. With this investment, kubo.financiero hopes to continue disrupting the […]

September 25th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Catalyst Participates in Recent Funding Round for Uruguay’s Scanntech

Endeavor-Catalyst-LogoEndeavor Catalyst recently joined the funding round for Uruguay’s Scanntech, a leading technology platform that connects retailers in emerging markets to consumer products companies, financial institutions and more. Marking Endeavor Catalyst’s sixteenth investment, the Scanntech news demonstrates how innovative entrepreneurial ventures are continuing to attract global interest to some in the world’s most unexpected markets.

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Scanntech currently operates in seven countries in Latin America and represents the first Uruguay-based company in the Endeavor Catalyst portfolio.  The firm’s latest investment round included the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, Sequoia Capital, an earlier Scanntech investor, and other firms. Entrepreneur Founder and Endeavor Entrepreneur Raul Polakof is revolutionizing the way independent and traditional grocery stores in emerging markets integrate with Consumer Goods Companies. The company’s technology platform connects traditional stores with global consumer products companies, financial institutions and telecommunications firms, and government services.

 “We’d like to thank everyone at Endeavor for making this investment happen,” said Polakof, who has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 2001.  “One of our goals has always been to show that entrepreneurs can make an enormous difference in emerging market countries.”  The new investment round will fund further expansion across the region, including Brazil, Peru and Colombia as well as into other emerging markets.

Since joining Endeavor in 2001, Polakof has been an active network member, serving as both a mentor and, formerly, as a board member for Endeavor Uruguay. Raul has received local mentorship from Endeavor’s expert advisors with a particular focus on areas of expansion, litigation, and publicity. As an entrepreneur, he has also participated in numerous global workshops, Immersion Tours and Endeavor Summits. As a company, Scanntech has benefited from a range of Endeavor talent programs including the G-Lab program, EY Vantage program and the eMBA program

About Endeavor Catalyst

Endeavor Catalyst is a passive co-investment vehicle that allows Endeavor Global to invest in Endeavor Entrepreneurs in a neutral, unbiased way. The main goal of this program is to use the returns of the investment to support Endeavor’s operations. The fund also contributes to Endeavor’s mission as it promotes professional third-party angel and venture capital investors to take a stronger interest in emerging market investment opportunities. Learn more about Endeavor Catalyst by clicking here.

Endeavor eMERGE Dubai Convenes 40+ Entrepreneurs and Network Members to Highlight Human Capital

emergeDubaiEndeavor hosted an Endeavor eMERGE event in Dubai this month, bringing together top members of the network from the MENA region for two days of networking, workshops and discussion. With a particular focus on the development of human capital, the event featured participation from 20+ Endeavor Entrepreneurs and candidates from the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Spain and Saudi Arabia, as well as a number of industry and business leaders.

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The first night’s networking dinner

The event kicked off with a networking dinner that gathered nearly 40 attendees, including the entrepreneurs, Endeavor staff and board members, for an informal introductory meeting. Notable members of Endeavor UAE‘s board, including Fadi Ghandour, Noor Sweid, Souheil Hajjar and Board Chairman Patrick Chalhoub, were also in attendance. A number of cross-border connections were made during the night of networking, most notably between Endeavor Spain Entrepreneur Ignasi Vilajosana, founder of Worldsensing, and members of Endeavor’s MENA network.

Selected into the network in 2014 as the first entrepreneur from Endeavor SpainIgnasi was also invited to keynote the Smart Living City conference in Dubai the same week. As the founder of Worldsensing, a traffic management and infrastructure solutions firm, Ignasi  aims to leverage the concept of the “Internet of Things” by integrating sensor monitoring technology in cities to make them smarter, safer and more efficient.  The Smart Living City event brought together high-level representatives from startups, foundations, corporations and more to highlight the future of urban living and the opportunities for technology and development to intersect. At the eMERGE dinner, Ignasi was able to meet a number of Endeavor Entrepreneurs leading companies that are also leveraging technology in unique and innovative ways. 

During the following day of workshops, Sal Giambanco, partner at the Omidyar Network, led an interactive and engaging workshop on human capital for both Endeavor staff and participating entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs conducted an organizational  review to identify key talent opportunities based on their business priorities in order to better understand their needs. Sal equipped the entrepreneurs with “tools” to help them assess their human capital and elicit better performance from their employees. In addition, he had them take a look at practical processes they could put in place as leaders to improve feedback and ensure employee satisfaction. He also placed an emphasis on work-life balance, the delegation of responsibilities, and an overall focus on personal health that could easily translate into the professional space. A subsequent Q&A session from the entrepreneurs raised critical questions about real-world business issues with talent management and employee retention.

The day culminated with positive feedback in praise of the event’s networking and learning opportunities, as well as requests for future eMERGE events. Learn more about the Endeavor eMERGE California event that took place in June by clicking here

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A human capital workshop led by Omidyar Network’s Sal Giambanco

 

Mexico’s Kubo.Financiero, A Microfinance Platform, Receives $1.7 Million Investment

kuboMexico’s kubo.financiero recently raised nearly $1.7 million in an investment round led by venture firms Alta Ventures Mexico and  Capital Emprendedor, bringing the company’s total funding to $3.7 million. With this investment, kubo.financiero hopes to continue disrupting the financial sector in Mexico by significantly reducing interest rates to borrowers and creating a new asset class for investors across the region.

kubo.financiero is a pioneer in Mexico’s microfinance sector, offering online financial communities that link creditworthy borrowers with savvy investors through a peer to peer lending (P2P) business model. With a branch-less model that cuts overhead costs, kubo leverages technology and credit information systems that streamline the process of borrowing capital for everyone. kubo’s innovative model and strategic approach aims to encourage a “multiplier effect” for finance that can generate both economic and social impact.

Since its founding in 2012 by Endeavor Entrepreneur Vicente Fenoll Algorta, the company has met with nearly 5,200 credit requests leading to over 1,200 disbursements. Ninety percent of these loans support needs ranging from housing to education. The loans have terms that range from 16 weeks to 18 months, and nearly 95% of customers are paying 50% lower rates versus the ones they previously paid. The new venture firms in this recent round will join an existing group of angels and investors, including previous investors Vander Capital and Wayra.

Vicente joined Endeavor as an entrepreneur in 2004 as the founder of Fincomun before he went on to start kubo.financiero. With kubo, Vicente and his team have been active members of the network, participating in Endeavor Investor Network events, working with expert mentors, receiving support from the EY Vantage and eMBA programs, and giving back to Endeavor Mexico through donations.

Read more about the news by clicking here.

Endeavor Co-Hosts Silicon Valley Day in Mexico with Top Members of the Local Network

Silicon-Valley-Day-MexicoOn September 9th, the Endeavor Global and Endeavor Mexico teams co-hosted a a Silicon Valley Day event with Prezi, ZenDesk, Posible, 99 Designs and other top brands at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. The event aimed to bring Silicon Valley-level innovation and dialogue to Mexico by gathering leading investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs – including many key members of the Endeavor network. Over 1,500 participants turned up for the day of panel discussions and networking.

The event featured speakers representing Latin American interests from premiere tech comapniess and venture capital firms interested in promoting entrepreneurship and investment in Mexico. Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, delivered the day’s opening remarks by pointing out the strength and importance of Mexico’s relationship with Silicon Valley, where Mexican investors contribute nearly $2 billion a year to the region’s economy.

During the event, Endeavor Mexico moderated a panel on venture capital that  included entrepreneur Arturo Galvan, founder of mobile content developer Naranya, and Investor Network partners Pepe Villaltoro of CrowdFund, Hernán Hernandez of Angel Ventures Mexico and Luis Cervantes of General Atlantic. A networking event that closed the night also brought out a number of Endeavor Entrepreneurs and representatives from their companies.

Learn more about Silicon Valley Day by clicking here.

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A panel discussion on Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship during SVD

South Africa’s wiGroup Wins 2014 PwC Vision to Reality Award

wiGroup_Logo-MediumSouth Africa’s wiGroup was recently honored with the 2014 PwC Vision to Reality Award, which celebrates dynamic companies in the technology sector that have demonstrated growth and innovation. wiGroup’s mobile transactions application is leading the region’s point-of-sale sector by leveraging advancements in mobile technology to better serve consumers, merchants and retailers.

Multinational professional services firm PwC formed the Vision to Reality Awards program to acknowledge businesses that have best commercialized an innovative technology solution. The innovation must be designated as new, unique and a ‘game changer’, with demonstrated customer approval. The Awards program ultimately looks to encourage the best companies to step forward as role models, and to inspire future generations of technology startups. The winners are determined by an independent panel of judges recognized as experts in corporate technology and innovation.

Launched in 2011 by Endeavor Entrepreneur Bevan Ducasse, wiGroup’s in-store transaction platform, simply called WiPlatform, has been integrated with over 50,000 retail checkouts across South Africa and processed over three million transactions worth over $200 million. Bevan was selected into the Endeavor network in 2014 and has worked with a local team of expert Endeavor advisors to begin crafting expansion and business development strategies. Through Endeavor, Bevan has also been introduced to high-impact entrepreneurs in South Africa’s network.

Learn more about this year’s Vision to Reality Awards program by clicking here.

Argentina’s Socialmetrix Expands Presence to the U.S. with Miami Office

SocialmetrixSocialmetrix, founded by Argentine entrepreneurs Juan Manuel Damia, Gustavo Arjones and Martin Enriquez, recently announced that the company will expand its operations to the U.S. with a team in Miami, FL. With this expansion, the growing social media analytics and monitoring company is surpassing competitors as it looks towards establishing a global presence.

With a roster of Fortune 100 clients across 10 countries, including brands like Yahoo, Starbucks, Microsoft and PepsiCo, Socialmetrix offers efficient and in-depth social media analytic services via its two product platforms, Eventia and Echo. The company provides technology that harnesses the power of social conversations, monitoring digital chatter and analyzing it for clients so that they can better understand their brands and customer base. Socialmetrix’s mission is to combine the best in product technology, local expertise, and professional services to serve an ever-expanding social marketplace.

The company’s new Miami office is focused on business development efforts that will help the entrepreneurs access more opportunities for growth in the U.S. It will be the their third office outside of Argentina, with teams already based in Mexico and Brazil. Martin Enriquez, the comapny’s CEO, will be responsible for managing the new venture.

“We have chosen Miami to start this new expansion effort because for many years Miami has been a crucial business hub for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market,” said Martin in a statement. “Many of our current clients have their pan-regional headquarters in Miami, thus, being there is the best way to continue assisting them and grow together.”

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2010, the entrepreneurs have received critical mentoring support from expert advisers along with introductions to high profile investors. In addition, the team has participated in Endeavor talent programs that seek to provide professionals with on-the-ground entrepreneurial experience, such as the EY Vantage Program.

Read more about the company’s announcement by clicking here

Greece’s Hellas Direct Named a National Champion by the European Business Awards

Hellas DirectThe European Business Awards, an annual honor that recognizes innovation and ethics in the regional business community, recently named Greece’s Hellas Direct to its rankings. Along with a selection of businesses representing more than 30 European countries, Hellas Direct joins a list of champions whose success and economic impact have helped foster a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and founders.

Founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Alexis Pantazis and Emilios Markou in 2011, Hellas Direct is Greece’s first direct-to-consumer online car insurance company. The entrepreneurs saw an opportunity and a need for an innovative, affordable model in the billion-dollar Greek car insurance market. By leveraging the latest technology, Hellas Direct offers premium customer service with more affordable rates than its competitors. The growing company now employs more than dozen people and continues to expand its customer base by offering an alternative to traditional insurers.

This honor brings Hellas Direct into the ranks alongside hundreds of other thriving business ventures recognized every year by the European Business Awards. Since 2007, the Awards have engaged with over 17,000 organisations across the continent, touching on industries ranging from fashion and technology to engineering and manufacturing. Participating businesses have represented a combined turnover of over €1 trillion (or over 8% of the EU’s GDP) and employ nearly 2.7 million people.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2012, Alexis and Emilios have been provided a board of local advisors with expertise in the industry, helping the team develop their business model and expansion strategies. The entrepreneurs have also met with top mentors in the network as well as potential international investors.

See the full list of this year’s honorees by clicking here.

Colombia’s Ecoflora Achieves Milestone with First Colombian Biopesticide Approved for U.S. Market

Colombia’s Ecoflora, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur LogoEcoflora2Nicolás Cock Duque, recently achieved an industry milestone with its CapsiAlil agropesticide, the first Colombian product of its kind to be approved for sale by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This news illustrates the potential for high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets to innovate industries and create products that can have global appeal.

One of several agro-product offerings developed by Ecoflora, CapsiAlil is a repellent and natural insecticide produced mainly from active ingredients found in several varieties of plant families. The product is unique in its management of insects in a wide variety of crops, from coffee to corn, with organic, non-toxic and plant-based ingredients. Ecoflora has been a pioneer in its sector in Latin America dedicated to the development of innovative solutions for the effective and sustainable protection of crops based on active substances obtained from botanical biodiversity.

“This is a very significant achievement for our company, our researchers and for the country in general, because it demonstrates that Colombia has the ability to deliver high added value and world-class technological innovations,” stated Nicolas in a statement.

Originally a family-owned flower business established in 1998, Ecoflora presented Nicolás – a civil engineer by trade – with the opportunity to develop commercial and sustainable products for the horticultural industry. By 2012, the company had over 15 major products in its portfolio, ranging from EdiBlue, a food and beverage colorant, to Myrica Waxm, a berry extract that can be used as a base in cosmetics and soaps. Having struck partnerships with universities, government institutions and laboratories to develop its products and promote agricultural research, Ecoflora is uniquely positioned to bridge barriers to scale in the region and take its niche market to a global stage.

Since being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in  2007, Nicolás has been an active network member, receiving  local publicity support and mentorship while also participating in the eMBA and G-Lab programs, the 2013 Endeavor Summit, and more.

Read more about the news by clicking here.

In Memory of Endeavor Mexico Board Member Bernardo Minkow

Bernardo_MinkowBernardo Minkow, Endeavor Mexico Board Member and active contributor to the network, passed away earlier this month. Below, Endeavor Mexico’s Managing Director Pilar Aguilar shares her thoughts and memories of Bernardo’s support of Endeavor through the years.

In 2010, when Fernando Fabre first approached me about the possibility of serving as Endeavor Mexico’s MD, the first thing I did was find out who was sitting on the Board of Directors. I figured I had to decide whether I would take the job even before it was offered, since I knew that during the interview process I was going to be talking to some of the most important business people in the country.

I was not surprised to find Bernardo serving on the board; I knew him from my days at McKinsey & Company  as the “rain maker” – he was the partner that managed the firm in Mexico. I first met Bernardo in 1991, when I graduated from college and was a fresh new Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company in Mexico City. At the time, I saw him as a pretty intense, intelligent, and somewhat scary partner.

At Endeavor, Bernardo became my friend and a trusted advisor. As an organization, we were very lucky to have him as a board member. I was even luckier to have our paths cross again. Bernardo has served as a board member for Endeavor Mexico since 2009. His contributions kept us focused on building the best network of the high-value and high-impact entrepreneurs. He was very focused on establishing and measuring key performance indicators to assert the effectiveness of Endeavor Mexico. Also, he pushed us towards building the best group of mentors and advisors. Thanks to his guidance, we established a process for portfolio evaluation and tailored specific Endeavor services for many of our entrepreneurs. In addition, Bernardo served on the board of HDS, an Endeavor company, from 2011 to 2013.

Thank you Bernardo, you will be greatly missed.

About Bernardo Minkow

After graduating from the Mexican National Autonomous University (UNAM) with a degree in Electrical Mechanical Engineering, Bernardo went on to earn a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a MBA from Harvard Business School. After earning his MBA, he entered McKinsey & Company where he worked for nearly 25 years, eventually becoming a Senior Partner  and Director of its Mexican operations. Bernardo specialized in energy (oil and electricity), telecommunications, airports, banking, water, and tourism. He was also involved in the privatizations of Telmex, Telebrás, Mexican banks, and Mexican airports.

Subsequently, Bernardo was a partner at the real estate developer Del Parque S.A. and the investment bank Promecap S.C., where he focused on aviation and real estate development. He joined the Endeavor Mexico board in 2009.

Lebanon’s Mosaic Marble Honored by the Preservation League of New York for Restoration Efforts

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Lebanon’s Mosaic Marble, founded by Taline Assi, was recently honored by the Preservation League of New York for the company’s work in restoring the landmark Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn, NY. In 2010, Mosaic Marble was selected as the official mosaic design company to support the building’s preservation efforts and, after two and a half years of restoration work worth nearly $18.5 million, the building was transformed into a grand event space. This honor stands as a testament to Endeavor Entrepreneurs whose unique businesses are making an impact around the world.

As New York’s statewide preservation organization, the Preservation League of New York State works to protect the city’s cultural heritage by promoting historic preservation to revitalize communities, celebrate heritage and enrich lives. In order to recognize projects that are demonstrating best practices in preservation, the League’s “Excellence in Historic Preservation” award was given to Mosaic for its efforts in restoring the building’s intricate flooring alongside  a team of internationally renowned architects and designers.

Completed in 1875 and recognized by New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank had fallen to neglect until it was purchased in 2010 to be converted into a premiere banquet and event space. Through the vision of the new owners and the efforts of the team of skilled artisans, the building is once again an icon of the city’s architecture and history.

Learn more about the news by clicking here.

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Inside the Bank, with the newly restored hand-cut flooring from Mosaic Marble

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