This year’s Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit offered entrepreneurs the chance to learn how to fine-tune their business savvy from some of the top innovators in the world. Held in San Francisco from June 19-21, the biennial conference invited Endeavor Entrepreneurs to hear business leaders’ secrets to success, participate in one-on-one “Global Connection” mentor-ship sessions, and attend a wide array of interactive workshops and break-out sessions.
On the morning of June 19th, Endeavor Entrepreneurs had the opportunity to participate in three different pre-Summit visits: lunch with Zynga founder Mark Pincus at the company’s headquarters and tours of Dropbox and Google.
Investor Network Day
On the morning of June 19th, the Summit kicked off for many participants with an Investor Network event at GreenbergTraurig. The event featured a panel of three investors leading a discussion about raising capital to sustain and grow a business. Steve Alper (Managing Director and Head of Investment Services for Barclays), Santiago Subotovsky (Endeavor Entrepreneur and principal at Emergence Capital), and Dave McClure (Co-Founder of 500 Startups) offered their top tips to Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Funding projects, pitching an idea, and reading the market in order to strike at opportunities were among the most hard-hit topics. The panelists also stressed the importance of making the most of Endeavor’s guidance.
Separately, investors from around the world met to discuss trends and opportunities in emerging market investments. A popular speed networking session between entrepreneurs and investors followed, along with a cook-off competition over lunch at the Williams-Sonoma facility.
One of the most memorable talks was a conversation between Jack Dorsey, Twitter mastermind and chairman and founder of Square, and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Jelly, and The Obvious Corporation. Stone and Dorsey drew attention to the power of an idea as fuel for a successful business, pointing out how Twitter’s focus on communication as a marketing tool made it what it is today. Passion, said Stone, is what has driven businesses to become phenomena;it’s the most important capital an investor has.
In another keynote, John Donahoe, CEO of eBay noted how vital it is to fine-tune yourself to subtle shifts in the pulse of the market, especially in a business world growing increasingly virtual where distinctions are harder to point out.
Speaking with Eric Eldon of TechCrunch, the successful investor Ali Partovi encouraged the audience to take risks when necessary.
Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey, and Wences Casares, an Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board member whose technological prowess launched many high-impact ventures, had an engaging discussion. Goldberg offered his advice on choosing a team that works. “Work with people you like to work with, work with people smarter than you, and work to people’s strengths.”
John McIntire and Andres Moreno of Open English held their own gem-filled discussion, while Mitch Free, founder of marketing company MFG.com, delivered the much-tweeted “Every person is a genius in something.”
Master tech advisor Ben Horowitz and washingtonpost.newsweek interactive CEO Chris Schroeder, as well as Roy Gilbert, CEO of Grockit, and Gina Bianchini, who co-founded the social platform Ning, spoke in two separate conversations about the need for drive and perseverance. Bianchini affirmed the necessity of having patience when embarking on a business venture, stating that failure is often part of the path to success.
Then there was Jawbone founder Alex Asseily and Fadi Ghandour of Aramex’s take on failure, as something not just to overcome, but to learn from: “Rejection strengthens us, but it is also feedback that you need to continue to improve,” as Asseily phrased it.
Jenn Lim, co-founder and CEO of Delivering Happiness, shared her discoveries about the subject on the road to business success. By mixing “pleasure, passion, and higher purpose,” companies can find success beyond numbers by bringing a sense of fulfillment to employees’ lives.
Endeavor President Fernando Fabre and Bain partner Chris Zook concluded the summit. Fabre discussed his vision of the ideal lifecycle of the high-impact entrepreneur—from success to giving back. Zook took a similar approach, returning to the words of Aristotle as a guide for the future: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is a habit.”
Workshops and Breakout Sessions
By attending smaller workshops and “hot topics” sessions, attendees benefited from personalized coaching and advice – in a sense, small “team meetings” with some of the best entrepreneurial minds today. There were nearly twenty different workshops, side panels, and group discussions that took place, tackling all subjects from protecting IP to managing customer data. Workshops were led by experts from leading companies including Bain (customer service), Business Model Generation (strategic planning), General Electric (human resources) and SAP (design thinking).
A highlight of the Summit was a 2-hour Global Connections session that brought together close to 300 entrepreneurs and members of Endeavor’s Silicon Valley network for a round-robin series of one-on-one mentoring sessions. Participants were given access to an online community platform, provided by Summit sponsor Jive Software, so that they could remain in touch after the Summit.
Endeavor also took the opportunity to recognize some of the most accomplished and inspiring entrepreneurs of the year in the Omidyar Network – Endeavor Awards Dinner, hosted by Endeavor Global board members Nick Beim and Wences Casares.
Young Entrepreneurs of the Year included entrepreneurs all under thirty who have already made a name for themselves. Mois Cherem (from Mexico’s Enova) was recognized for his outstanding progress in Mexico’s educational system with the Social Impact Award, while the Endeavor Advocate Award was shared among excellent Endeavor Entrepreneurs from all countries. Both the job growth awards and the highest revenue awards were divided into three categories. Concerning job growth, winners were awarded for creating the most jobs, for having the highest percentage growth in jobs, and for having the highest absolute growth in jobs in their companies. The revenue awards were broken down based on highest percentage growth in revenue, highest absolute growth in revenue, and highest overall revenue.
There’s one name that stood out among the rest, being called four times to the stage to receive an award. Bento Koike of Brazil’s Tecsis, a pioneer in the field of sustainable energy and the world’s second-largest producer of wind blades, took the top prize for the highest overall growth in jobs, highest overall revenue, and highest overall growth in revenue. He also starred as the recipient of the Omidyar Network-Endeavor Entrepreneur Award, introduced in an elegant and inspiring address by Endeavor Global Board member Matt Bannick, Managing Partner at Omidyar Network.
Talk of the town
With Twitter’s co-founders serving as keynote speakers, it was only natural that the discussion overflowed beyond the conference and become an opportunity for social networking. Check out the top tweets about this summit’s discussions and workshops (#endeavorsummit).
Be sure to check out the individual daily posts on the Endeavor.org blog for more insights into this year’s remarkable Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit.