High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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eMBA 2014 Field Report: Making A Transition With Colombia’s Refinancia

Each summer Endeavor sends a number of incoming and second-year MBA students, recruited from top schools, to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs on projects ranging from strategic planning to market expansion. The program is supported by a generous grant from Barclays. Following is a post from Keisuke Arimoto, a member of ESADE’s MBA Class of 2015, who spent the summer working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Colombia’s Refinancia

Before meeting Refinancia, I have always been interested in cultures of Latin America as I have been travelling frequently there and learning Spanish almost every time I had vacation. One day, I have come to think “what if I could connect my hobby with professional experience?” with hopes that being a Japanese speaking English, Spanish, and Japanese with international business experiences would be provide a niche! This question as well as a motivation to become an entrepreneur in the future took me to an MBA in Barcelona after 7 years in the financial industry, and found an answer at Refinancia realizing my sueño (dream.)

Why Colombia?

When I had my “garden leave,” after resigning from my previous work, before the MBA, I went to Colombia to spend 40 days, travelling around the country after following recommendations of backpackers I had met in previous years. It was easy for me to make a decision to come back for a different reason, a work experience, given the warmness and sincerity of people as well as amazing touristic attractions including a beautiful city of Cartagena in the Caribbean coast.

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What kind company is Refinancia?

It is a solution provider in the area of consumer finance with two main businesses, NPL and merchant payment guarantee services. The company was establish in 2005 by an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School, Kenneth Mendiwelson, and has been enjoying a tremendous growth to have over 900 employees in Colombia and Peru. Given its success to capture the growing niche market, Refinancia has been recently acquired by NASDAQ listed US based specialty financing company, Encore Capital Group, mirroring an entrepreneurial success story we would learn in our MBA classroom. Hence, Refinancia is in an extremely interesting stage where it is transitioning from an entrepreneurial company to a corporate entity to incorporate established know-hows and structure from the parent company.

The traditional and original business is an NPL (non-performing loan) business in which Refinancia becomes an investor of a consumer NPL portfolio by purchasing it from banks. In this transaction, banks benefit from removing bad assets from its balance sheet for an income from the sales while the borrowers benefit from gaining opportunity to improve their credit score by having the second chance of repayment, instead of being recorded as an insolvent borrower. As the consumption and loan growth have been growing rapidly along with the economic growth, Refinancia has been the leader in providing such financial solutions in Colombia and Peru.

The merchant guarantee business is a relatively new business yet fully leveraging Refinancia´s core capabilities nurtured in its NPL operation, providing point-of-sales solutions to consumers while Refinancia guaranteeing payment by the consumers.

As Refinancia has been rapidly establishing its foot print in financial industry, it has been attracting many talents from other large banks and financial service companies. Hearing the opinions of those who recently joined Refinancia from other banks, it is quite interesting that Refinancia has size meaningful enough to attract large businesses and talents yet maintains an innovative and entrepreneurial environment where countless new projects have been in discussion and being launched to fuel further growth.

In terms of people, they are very friendly and approachable from young people to senior management including the founder as I had expected from my previous travel experiences. I also go out to share personal time with colleagues of Refinancia outside of work including playing football. The quality of people working here are very high with high disciplines and inspirations to work in an entrepreneurial and challenging environment.

What is my project?

The company has many projects in discussion before hitting the market. My project is to create a model by which the company prioritizes initiatives, and prioritize the current initiatives. Having a means to prioritize initiatives has been becoming ever more critical as there have been needs to select initiatives with large market potential with sustainable profitable growth out of many initiatives on the table. This is especially a case as Refinancia, after the acquisition by Encore, has been in a turning point from an entrepreneurial stage to a corporate stage so that the use of its capital needs to be logically explained to the parent company.

The project has been requiring many skills learned in the MBA and the previous work experiences. First, financial analysis including accounting and valuation analysis are a must as all the projects need to be put in economic figures for comparisons. Second, communication skills and sales (which include Spanish!) are essential as my job cannot be done without any help of commercial team and financial team of Refinancia. Also, it is important to logically explain the top managements about the model so I would say a presentation skill is also a key to apply.

Overall impression

In many aspects including the entrepreneurial environment (despite of the recent acquisition), the stage where the company is in, the business, the people, the project, and the Latin American business experience, I have been very satisfied with the internship. Supported by the many, I am committed to complete and deliver the presentation in a few weeks and keep on enjoying the charm Colombia!

 

2014 PiLA Field Report: A Summer Immersion with Endeavor Chile

Every summer, top undergraduate students in the engineering and computer science departments spend a summer working with an Endeavor and Endeavor Entrepreneurs to assist in technical work assignments. These students are driven by interests in bridging technology and society through innovation, design, and entrepreneurship. Following is a post from Matt Doup, a PiLA participant who spent the summer working with the Endeavor Chile office. 

There’s a common expression in Spanish: “tírate a la piscina”, roughly translating to “throw yourself in the deep end”. In many ways, that phrase perfectly sums up my experience at Endeavor Chile. Working in a second language is challenging. Working in a second language with the country’s top entrepreneurs and leading business professionals while analyzing hundreds of business models is something entirely different. That prospect is doubly intimidating when, on day one, one can barely understand a word spoken at the weekly office breakfast, only to discover that Chileans don’t, in fact, speak Spanish (I don’t know how I had overlooked that minor detail). They speak Chilean: a hyper-fast , sing-song-y dialect punctuated by pseudo-English words like “cachai” (you catch?), or “po” (no meaning whatsoever, yet added onto the end of most sentences).

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Matt with the Endeavor Chile network members

I nonetheless thought the task of identifying what Endeavor calls “High-Impact Entrepreneurs” would be somewhat straightforward.  Chile, on paper, is an entrepreneurial mega-hub. Not only have open markets and business-friendly tax policies* resulted in a flowering of disruptive home-grown start-ups, but innovative government initiatives like Start-Up Chile, a program that provides entrepreneurs from around the world with US$40K to bootstrap their companies in Santiago, have begun to attract gloabl talent, resulting in an environment that many are referring to (perhaps optimistically) as Chilecon Valley. The reality that I found, however, is that “culture” tends to lag behind policy in Chile: the country is characterized by pervasive social conservatism, fear of risk-taking (entrepreneurs often operate 5-6 businesses simultaneously to hedge their bets should one fail), and, like much of Latin America, rampant classism. Couple these social norms with two major structural factors— the lack of quality public education, and vulture, rather than venture, capitalists, and the future of entrepreneurship in Chile looks far less rosy.

Enter Endeavor.  Endeavor holds a critical place in the Chilean ecosystem— one that is helping to break down psychological barriers through storytelling: the brother-sister duo who turned a healthy home-made cookie recipe into the country’s leading on-the-go snacks brand; the three friends who saw an opportunity to beat out McDonald’s at the local level, developing a franchise spanning five brands and with operations in Chile and Brazil; two brothers who identified inefficiencies in shipping and maritime logistics in the Patagonia, becoming the first company in the region to provide these services;two sisters who were able to take their father’s  clothing store and turn it into the premier children’s clothing brand in Chile.  I witnessed first-hand how these narratives collectively served to inspire Chilean entrepreneurs to action: both in taking more risks and dreaming bigger.

Some of the highlights from my year as a PiLA at Endeavor Chile included: attempting (and failing) to institute a Monday-morning breakfast burrito tradition; working with aspiring high school-aged entrepreneurs at a three-day youth camp in Chilean wine country; hiking the infamous “W” in Torres del Paine National Park in the Chilean Patagonia; serving as the “office elf”, dancing while handing out presents at the office holiday party (I will never quite get used to 90-degree Decembers); gorging on “empanadas de pino” at our office party to celebrate Sept. 18 (Chilean Independence Day); losing and subsequently having to replace my passport; bicycle wine tours and Puerta Cerradas in Mendoza; being known permanently as “Max” at Starbucks Chile; developing an unhealthy obsession for “palta” (creamy Chilean avocados); being made fun of to no end by coworkers for my love of said palta.

When not voraciously consuming palta, traveling, or perfecting my elf-dancing routine, I focused on carrying out the Endeavor mission, working with almost every type of company under the sun: stevia production, baby E-commerce, mining technology, cell phone cases, a sushi restaurant, even wastewater management using earthworms! Because of the small size of the office, I was fortunate be given the opportunity to take the reigns on a number of aspects of the Search & Selection process, the culmination of which was opportunity to lead the preparation of two companies for the International Selection Panel in Florianopolis, Brazil. Overall, it was tremendously rewarding to have played a significant role in Endeavor’s selection of nine entrepreneurs across five companies during my year in Chile! I’ve gotten very close with a lot of the Endeavor Chile staff, as well as a number of the entrepreneurs that I worked with. And I’m proud to say that I only let one “cachai” slip during my entire year there.

eMBA 2014 Field Report: Exploring A New Landscape with Greece’s Daily Secret

Each summer Endeavor sends a number of incoming and second-year MBA students, recruited from top schools, to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs on projects ranging from strategic planning to market expansion. The program is supported by a generous grant from Barclays. Following is a post from Chafic Mourad, a member of Harvard Business School’s MBA Class of 2015, who spent the summer working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Greece’s Daily Secret

eMBA_webWorking as a strategy consultant before joining Business school, I wanted to undergo a different experience during my summer internship. I was searching for a business role in a start-up where I can learn from the daily challenges entrepreneurs face. I also wanted the start-up to be small enough so I can effectively contribute to the growth of the company.

Daily Secret is a subscription newsletter service delivering curated secrets and gems in cities around the globe to its subscribers. The secrets cover food, art, travel, entertainment and fashion industries. I was interested in joining Daily Secret for two main reasons: First, it’s a small firm with an international span and huge growth potential. Second, I found the company’s product very appealing given that I have always enjoyed discovering and shortlisting restaurants, bars and venues whether in my hometown Beirut or in other international cities.

The company has two offices, one in New York and the other in Athens. It was undergoing important changes in its organizational structure.  Most members in the US office, which I joined, were new to the company and the new CEO had taken the lead few weeks before my arrival. The energy level was high and there was a definite momentum to reach the new short and long term goals set by the CEO.

I was mainly involved in business development. During the internship, I developed a plan to define the different products which can be offered to partners or ad buyers, structure the selection process of these partners and generate a target list of potential clients. Witnessing the closing of some deals with partners suggested in the plan was the most rewarding part of the internship. I was also able to contribute on the product front as Daily Secret was expanding into new markets.

Looking back, my internship at Daily Secret was definitely a great learning experience. I was fully responsible of my deliverables, set my own milestones and led the work and development of the plan with limited resources and in a very dynamic environment. I had the opportunity to learn from the other members of the team, most of them having previously worked in other start-ups. Helping them in their daily tasks was truly beneficial. Going forward, I will be returning to campus in less than a month, bringing back my entrepreneurial experience to share with my classmates and build on during the next recruiting cycle.

Endeavor Convenes Managing Directors from 20 Countries for Leadership Retreat

During the  54th Endeavor International Selection Panel in New York, Endeavor convened managing directors from all 20 of its affiliate offices for an annual MD Retreat. The aim of the program was to foster collaboration among Endeavor’s growing global network of offices and to provide essential leadership and communications training that will keep Endeavor at the cutting edge of high-impact entrepreneurship.

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Collaborating in a workshop at the Bain offices

The week-long retreat consisted of a series of workshops and teamwork exercises focused on promoting innovative and creative processes among Endeavor staff around the world. In particular, representatives from the Drucker Institute led a series of sessions on leadership and management techniques. Representatives from Bain & Company, an Endeavor sponsor, held workshops focused on talent retention and development while also offering to host most of the week’s events at their New York City offices. Ultimately, as Endeavor works to expand to 25 countries by 2015, the retreat allowed MDs from every region to better align on the organization’s core goals, operations and brand.  

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Participating in team building exercises

31 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 15 Countries Join the Endeavor Network at the 54th Selection Panel in New York City

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New York, NY – August 14th – Endeavor selected 31 high-impact entrepreneurs leading 21 companies in 15 countries at its 54th International Selection Panel.

Endeavor now supports 948 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 606 companies across 20 countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen from among 29 candidate companies at a panel held from August 11-13th for the first time in New York City.

A number of pioneering entrepreneurs and groundbreaking companies are part of this new class, including Saudi Arabia’s Lateefa Alwaalan, the first female candidate from the country and founder of Arabic coffee producer Yatooq, and Argentina’s Emiliano Kargieman, founder of nano-satellite developer Satellogic.  Endeavor Spain also welcomed its first entrepreneur, Ignasi Vilajosana of Worldsensing, into the network.

The International Selection Panel (ISP) is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step selection process. At the ISP, top local and international business leaders interview candidate companies about their businesses and high-impact potential, and then vote on whether or not the candidates should become Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

“This was our largest panel ever and resulted in one of the most diverse classes of high-impact entrepreneurs selected by Endeavor,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “Not only are they innovating economies from Chile to Greece and Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, they are showing the world that excellent talent and big ideas can thrive anywhere with the right mix of support and mentorship.”

After their selection into the network, Endeavor provides the entrepreneurs with customized services, including introductions to local and international business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had an impressive track record of creating jobs, building sustainable growth models, and inspiring future generations of leaders in their home countries.

This ISP was supported by Barclays and EY, both global sponsors of Endeavor. Barclays welcomed the entire panel to their New York offices for orientations and for interview day on August 12th.

Endeavor will be hosting two more ISPs in 2014. Locations will be Istanbul, Turkey and Miami, FL. Brief descriptions of the newly selected entrepreneurs and companies follow.

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ISP Attendees at Barclays’ offices

ARGENTINA

Entrepreneur: Emiliano Kargieman

Company: Satellogic (www.satellogic.com)

With a product that is out of this world, Satellogic is bringing space down to earth. Before Satellogic, the earth observation market relied on multi-million dollar, monolothic hardware incapable of real-time data streaming. Satellogic is building a constellation of inexpensive, mass-produced nano-satellites that disrupts this paradigm. With a fully deployed constellation, Satellogic will be able to provide commercial-grade resolution images in real-time data streams, at the fraction of the current cost, thus reducing barriers to obtain real-time satellite data and democratizing access to space-based services. The result is an endless universe of possible applications, from estimating revenue by tracking cars in a supermarket parking-lot, to detecting developing forest fires. Satellogic will transform Big Data from Space into a fundamental part of daily decision making for all branches of government, organizations, industries, and individuals.

CHILE

Entrepreneurs: Matias Sjogren, Rafael Concha

Company: BioFiltro (www.biofiltro.cl)

BioFiltro has harnessed the power of mother nature to create an energy-efficient, chemical-free, low-cost, and odorless wastewater treatment technology. Known as BIDA (BioFiltro Dynamic Aerobic), BioFiltro’s patented bioreactors use earthworms and bacteria to treat industrial wastewater without the use of chemicals and at 80% less energy than conventional systems. BIDA transforms wastewater into clean water for agricultural use in one-eighth the time, 30% the CapEx, and 70% the OpEx of traditional technologies. BioFiltro’s expansion into some of the most regulated markets has impacted the way wastewater is filtered and influenced public perception to thinking of wastewater as a resource.

Entrepreneur: Gonzalo Muñoz   

Company: TriCiclos (www.triciclos.cl)

Reduce, recycle AND recurring revenue is TriCiclos’ mantra. With developed countries increasingly implementing extended producer regulations (EPR), the responsibility for waste management has shifted from municipalities to the very corporations that generate the waste – not that most Latin American governments offer recycling collection services to begin with. By providing Clean Points (CPs) – recycling stations where individuals can deposit recyclable consumer materials – and managing waste management logistics efficiently, TriCiclos is not only the most reputable post-consumer recycling company in Chile, but also the only one capable of tracking and monetizing EPR compliance. The CPs – 40-foot metal containers capable of receiving, processing and compacting up to 25 different types of materials – are placed in companies’ parking lots or municipal areas. They are forty times cheaper and 20% more efficient than other recycling platforms in Chile because of the sophisticated pre-processor unit. Notably, TriCiclos is the only company in Latin America that is a “B Corp” and can certify that over 90% of materials put into its social clean points will actually be recycled.

EGYPT

Entrepreneur: Chris Khalifa

Company: Zooba (www.zoobaeats.com)

If you think food trucks are the hottest new craze, it’s time for a history lesson: Egyptians have been rolling their wooden food carts around the dusty streets of Cairo for decades. Unlike their Lebanese and Turkish counterparts, Egyptians have struggled to make traditional foods relevant and trendy, resulting in a national cuisine that is underserved locally and nonexistent globally. Zooba is the first restaurant chain to give classic Egyptian street foods a gourmet twist, a concept delivered through a social dining atmosphere designed to appeal to Egyptians’ shared sense of community. With three thriving locations throughout Cairo, founder Chris Khalifa is ready to expose the world to his local cuisine.

Entrepreneurs: Rawiah Abdallah, Mostafa Saeed

Company: Qabila (www.qabila.tv)

Qabila is an Egyptian alternative media studio founded to provide value-based and entertaining content that explores society’s most pressing issues in a fun and accessible way. The company began in the throes of the Egypt’s 2010 Revolution, when 15 friends banded together to create videos that explained democratic principles in entertaining Youtube videos. These videos quickly amassed a following, and earned the attention of some of the region’s most prestigious institutions, such as multiple UN agencies, the Arab League, and the Ford Foundation, who hired Qabila to produce public service announcement videos (PSAs) about issues like youth empowerment, environmental health, and sexual health. With its PSAs, short documentaries and feature-length documentaries, Qabila’s productions is on its way to consolidating its position as the leader for value-based content in the region.

GREECE

Entrepreneur: Thomas Douzis

Company: Ergon (www.ergonfoods.com)

Leveraging a network of over 150 independent, local, artisanal producers that create 600 products under the unified Ergon brand, Thomas Douzis, is reintroducing Greeks and foreigners alike to delicious Greek gastronomy. Since Greek cuisine is as much about people coming together over food as the food itself, Ergon created a line of affordable-luxury restaurants that are combined with functional grocery stores. The menu, created by executive chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos, previously a judge on the show Greek Master Chef, has been meticulously crafted with Ergon products to offer diners authentic recipes with a modern twist.

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CEO Linda Rottenberg moderating deliberations

INDONESIA

Entrepreneur: Antonius Taufan

Company: GiftCard Indonesia (www.giftcard.co.id)

In the game of cards, Gift Card Indonesia (GCI) is holding a royal flush. In Indonesia, corporate gift-giving is customary but unimaginative; companies seeking to reward their stakeholders struggle to do so in a way that is personalized and professional. GCI is redefining the gift-giving experience by creating end-to-end solutions for the burgeoning gift card ecosystem in Indonesia. In two short years, founder Antonius Taufanhas acquired some of Indonesia’s most prominent corporate clients who are seeking to distribute gift cards to reward their employees and stakeholders. While Taufan is leading a new way to incentivize corporate stakeholders in Indonesia, he has always set his sights on building an ecosystem for gift cards and alternative payments, primarily targeting the unbanked population.

JORDAN

Entrepreneur: Khalil Shadid

Company: ReserveOut (www.reserveout.com)

Before Khalil Shahid’s ReserveOut system revolutionized the way restaurants in the Middle East took reservations, customers had to call and request a time or risk showing up and  waiting for a table.ReserveOut’s electronic reservation booking and customer management system offers restaurants software to help them efficiently manage and record customer reservations, touchpoints, and preferences. The ReserveOut web and mobile applications enable online and mobile users to easily search and immediately reserve with venues that are part of the ReserveOut network.

LEBANON

Entrepreneur: Omar Christidis

Company: ArabNet (www.arabnet.me)

Want to catch the latest digital trends in the Middle East? Try ArabNet. In a region that boasts the highest growth rate of Internet usage in the world (16.7% according to the European Travel Commission), the digital economy presents a tremendous opportunity. To realize this potential, entrepreneurs, investors and digital professionals need to connect with and learn from each other. ArabNet serves as the platform to connect these stakeholders through its annual conferences, regional competitions, and online portal. With over 7,000 unique attendees of its events, ArabNet has established itself as the premier platform for everything digital in the Middle East.

Entrepreneur: Hind Hobeika

Company: Instabeat (www.instabeat.me)

Instabeat is the first and only display monitor that mounts on the straps of any swimming goggles, allowing swimmers to monitor their heart rate in real time through a color coded display on the interior of the goggles. The device is small, creates minimal friction with water, and provides key information without having the swimmer lose focus. Hind sees the technology as applicable to athletes beyond swimmers and plans to launch a Triathlon version (which would attach to sunglasses) in 2015. Having filled a gap in the global wearable technology industry, estimated to reach US$50B by 2018, Instabeat is in a position to scale rapidly.

MALAYSIA

Entrepreneurs: See Wai Hun, John Lim, Naaman Lee   

Company: Juris Technologies (juristech.net)

There are few businesses more recession-proof than the business of debt. Born from the debt recovery challenges facing banks during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Juris Technologies developed an end-to-end software solution for the credit management process. In a market in which credit has been rising sharply for five consecutive years, Juris eases the burden on financial institutions by offering a complete suite of solutions that allows them to evaluate customers, approve loans, and recover debt. Because credit management requires active, ongoing collaboration between multiple players, Juris has created software platforms that encourage and facilitate external collaboration among all parties while layering onto existing systems and infrastructure.

MEXICO

Entrepreneurs: Tanya Moss, Eduardo Stolkin

Company: Tanya Moss (www.tanyamoss.com)

Tanya Moss puts the joy is joyas. Symbolized by its iconic butterfly motif, Tanya Moss jewelry lines are sophisticated accessory options for the modern woman, combining timeless taste with a modern edge. Tanya Moss products are made with premium quality materials, including precious metals and semi-precious stones. The brand is widely recognized by its iconic butterfly motif, which symbolizes the fun yet elegant designs that ensure the modern-day woman exudes confidence and style.

Entrepreneur: Carlos Frigolet

Company: Purafiltracion (www.purafiltracion.com)

Poor air in a New York subway station on a summer’s day is disgusting. Poor air in a control room of an offshore drilling rig is a multimillion dollar disaster waiting to happen. Many plants, particularly those in the Oil & Gas and Power Generation industries, release corrosive chemicals. If these chemicals enter the control room, they can damage and rust electronics leading to short circuits, the potential shutdown of the entire plant and possibly even deadly explosions. Purafiltracion sells systems that eliminates 99.5% of gas pollutants, ensuring clean air and extending the lifetime of the control rooms from six months in a harsh environment to 10 years. It also sells systems that maintain ideal temperature and humidity conditions in control rooms preventing equipment failures. With these systems, plant workers can finally breathe easy (and cleanly) at night.

Entrepreneur: Adolfo Babatz

Company: Clip (payclip.com)

With Clip, you’ll never have to tell a customer you don’t take their credit card again! Clip allows Mexican businesses to replace outdated POS systems with a sleek and easy-to-use piece of hardware that accepts any credit and debit card. The device seamlessly connects with an operator’s smart phone or tablet by fitting into the headphone jack of an iOS or Android device. The operator opens the free Clip app, enters the amount to be charged, and Clip charges a 3.6% transaction fee or 4.6% on installation payments. The reader is the first version in Mexico that includes a patented fraud protection program and chip reader, which is critical to the Mexican market, and Clip is only one of two companies in the world to have its own proprietary design for the reader (the other is Square).

MIAMI

Entrepreneurs: Michael McCord, Michael Laas

Company: LearnerNation (www.learnernation.com)

Michael Laas and Michael McCord are disrupting the corporate training market by making learning awesome in six languages with LearnerNation, a cutting-edge, cloud-based, adaptive learning platform with patent-pending technology. The e-learning platform is intuitive and offers progressive teaching tools, which increases information retention and performance. Counting MasterCard, LG, and Cartier as clients, LearnerNation is poised to be a breakout success story for the burgeoning tech ecosystem in Miami. With the global market spending an estimated US$62B on corporate training, LearnerNation has the opportunity to quickly gain market share and be a globally accessible platform.

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Candidates’ Day at GLG Group

SAUDI ARABIA

Entrepreneur: Lateefa Alwalaan  

Company: Yatooq (yatooq.com)

Yatooq, a Saudi Arabian company founded by Lateefa Alwalaan in 2011, makes it easier and faster to brew Arabic coffee, a spicy coffee central to all social gatherings in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE. When made traditionally, Arabic coffee takes 20-30 minutes to prepare and requires over ten steps, and numerous ingredients to complete. Yatooq’s coffee brewer and Arabic coffee blend reduce brew time (75%) and effort required while consistently producing delicious Arabic coffee. With Lateefa’s selection, Endeavor Saudi Arabia would welcome its first female entrepreneur to its portfolio, an exciting addition who could serve as an inspiring role model for the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Entrepreneurs: Kaswara Al Khatib, Soraka Al Khatib

Company: UTURN (uturn.me)

From satire to soaps, Uturn provides the entertainment Saudis really want. Uturn is a multi-channel network that produces and features local Saudi content, creating an online viewership community spread across several social media channels. Its original and aggregated content fills a void in the many a country where the traditional, government-controlled state broadcasters have failed to engage a young audience. Its award-winning content includes two of the longest running online shows in Saudi, engendering a devoted viewership of 2 million subscribers and followers – the largest in the region.

SOUTH AFRICA

Entrepreneurs: Dave Evans, Grant Rushmere

Company: BOS Brands (www.bosicetea.com)

All too often consumers are forced to choose between a healthy beverage and a delicious exciting brand. BOS Brands, a beverage business based in South Africa, offers consumers stylish, premium beverages that taste great without compromising on health. Harnessing locally produced rooibos as the main ingredient in its two beverage lines, BOS Ice Tea and BOS Sport, all products are high in health benefits, low in sugar, and contain no caffeine, colorants, or preservatives.

SPAIN

Entrepreneur: Ignasi Vilajosana

Company:  Worldsensing (www.worldsensing.com)

Worldsensing is pioneering the Internet of Things. With smart sensors that improve traffic management and infrastructure maintenance, Worldsensing has brought to the industrial and public sectors an efficient, easy method of data capture and analysis. Its traffic solutions help city administrators manage traffic and pedestrian movement, while industrial solutions support both safe infrastructure maintenance and seismic pipeline monitoring. It has integrated sensors in iconic cities and infrastructures around the world, including the streets of Moscow, Barcelona’s olympic stadium, and Stockholm’s main commuter train.  Named by the BBC and the Wall Street Journal as one of the companies to watch in the Internet of Things space, and highlighted in the European Commission’s Business Innovation Observatory report on Smart Living, Worldsensing’s groundbreaking technology will transform cities around the world.

TURKEY

Entrepreneurs: Başak Taşpınar Değim, Erol Değim

Company: Armut.com

Armut.com is Turkey’s first online market place connecting users and service providers. It features trustworthy, reviewed professionals who offer reliable price quotes. Armut is a pioneer for Turkey, and has innovated the global model by developing a proprietary algorithm that automates the service provider vetting system and user-provider matching process.

UAE

Entrepreneurs: Shahriar Khodjasteh, Shahin Khodjasteh

Company: Dubai Desert Extreme (DDE) (www.dde-me.com)

Dubai Desert Extreme (DDE) is a distributor and retailer of sporting goods in MENA. The company has exclusive distribution rights with major sports brands, including Giant, Topeak, New Era, and Volcom. DDE also sells this merchandise in its own retail stores in the UAE. In 13 years, the company has not only brought the biggest names in athletic apparel and equipment to MENA but also generated interest and involvement in sports in the region.

August 2014 Newsletter

August News InstagramTo view Endeavor’s August newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

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Endeavor Indonesia Hosts Entrepreneur Networking Event With 500 Startups’ “Geeks On A Plane” Tour

Indonesia logoEndeavor Indonesia hosted a local networking gathering for Endeavor entrepreneurs, mentors and network members featuring Geeks On A Plane (GOAP), an invite-only startup and investor tour organized by 500 Startups. The event brought together over 80 attendees to discuss the entrepreneurship landscape in Southeast Asia and connect with local stakeholders, positioning Endeavor as a leader in the space.

Organized by 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley-based  seed fund and startup accelerator, the GOAP tour convenes entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders to learn about high-growth technology markets worldwide and explore cross-border opportunities. Taking the form of large networking events, the tour has reached across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and North America.

Five Endeavor Indonesia Entrepreneurs and 15 entrepreneur candidates were in attendance, along with 16 mentors, 4 partners and over 40 representatives from GOAP. The Geeks on a Plane guest list consisted of top tech entrepreneurs and venture capital investors from around the world.  The entrepreneurs expressed the importance of Endeavor’s resources in allowing them exposure to a global network, while the VC attendees had the opportunity to meet with companies at a mature stage of scaleup growth.

During the course of the dinner, attendees had the chance to meet and network casually for four hours. Sati Rasuanto, managing director of Endeavor Indonesia, addressed the crowd with a short speech and welcomed all of the network members. 500 Startups founder and Endeavor mentor Dave McClure was also in attendance, and introduced GOAP as a medium for connecting ecosystems of entrepreneurship around the world.

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Attendees of the event networking over dinner

South Africa’s Vinny Lingham Announces Acquisition of Gyft, His Third Venture, By First Data

gyft_0Mobile gift card provider Gyft, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, recently announced its acquisition by First Data, a payment technology solutions provider. Based in San Francisco, Gyft has been boosted by recent funding and new merchant onboarding, with the expectation that First Data’s network will help it scale far beyond the 200 merchants it currently serves. As Vinny’s third company, this announcement demonstrates the success of Endeavor Entrepreneurs who launch multiple ventures and inspire future generations.

Founded in 2012, Gyft offers consumers a platform to purchase, gift, and redeem gift cards via their mobile devices. Traditional plastic prepaid cards lacked efficiency and face the risk of getting lost. Gyft makes redeeming these cards easier with reminder alerts and a mobile gift card “wallet,” making it cost-efficient for small and medium-sized enterprises to break into the prepaid card market. Widespread adoption of digital wallets has made Gyft an attractive option for many e-commerce giants, including Amazon.

This acquisition reportedly grew out of a partnership between Gyft and Clover, the mobile payments and point-of-sale startup that First Data acquired in 2012 for an estimated $54 million. Considered one the world’s largest card processors, First Data handles over $1 trillion annually across more than 6 million merchants. After a leveraged buyout in 2007 and reported losses following the recent recession, First Data has actively sought to modernize its payment services by acquiring technology companies. The recent Gyft news is part of a broader strategic plan for First Data, which has included acquiring Clover and cardless customer loyalty startup Perka.

Coming off a $6 million round of Series A funding, Gyft’s decision to join the First Data family stems from the company’s mission to become a leader in the digital payments industry. First Data’s backing will allow Gyft the necessary network to onboard more strategic merchants while providing First Data with access to key technologies and brand recognition.

“We started the company with a mission to digitize and transform the plastic gift card space,” said Vinny in a statement. “We don’t see this as an exit. We see this as a continuation of what we’re already doing but with a lot more resources.”

Vinny has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 2006 and Gyft is the third venture he has founded. Endeavor has connected him with expert mentors and introduced him to investors through the Endeavor Investor Network, allowing him to become an active role model for entrepreneurs in South Africa, Silicon Valley, and beyond.

Read more about the acquisition in Vinny’s exclusive interview with PandoDaily.

Vinny Lingham

Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham

Egypt’s TA Telecom Makes Connection With Endeavor South Africa, Plans Regional Expansion

TATelecomSATo support his expansion in Africa, Endeavor Entrepreneur Amr Shady, co-founder of Egypt’s TA Telecom, recently made an Endeavor connection with the team at Endeavor South Africa. Demonstrating the impact of the organization’s global network, Amr was able to leverage Endeavor’s resources to help him connect with local business leaders and industry experts. In addition, Amr has shown his support for the South Africa office through give-back, fulfilling Endeavor’s  mission to foster an ecosystem of high-impact entrepreneurs.

Selected by Endeavor in 2011, Amr is the co-founder and CEO of TA Telecom, a value-added services (VAS) mobile solutions provider that delivers time- and location-specific content to subscribers. With operations across the Middle East and Africa, TA’s services range from demographically-targeted SMS advertising to custom content delivery platforms. Servicing over 10 million subscribers, TA is working towards international growth with its expansion into South Africa, where the mobile phone market has an estimated 59 million users. 

In June, Amr traveled to Johannesburg to attend the VAS Africa conference, an event dedicated to the development needs of African operators. While there, he was connected to South Africa’s Everlytic, founded by entrepreneurs Sam Hutchinson and Josh Adler, as well as a candidate entrepreneur that provided support for his market entry analysis. In addition, the  Endeavor team connected Amr to a local public relations firm to discuss communications strategies while also helping him arrange opportunities with digital agencies and media. In addition to offering financial support, Amr’s give-back efforts include advising potential candidate entrepreneurs in the telecommunications space in South Africa. With plans to become more engaged in the region, he will also look towards Endeavor to help him source potential members for TA Telecom’s South Africa Advisory Board.

Since joining the Endeavor network, Amr has been an active promoter of the organization’s work, serving as a mentor and board member for Endeavor Egypt. As a panelist at International Selection Panels, he has played a key role in selecting new generations of entrepreneurs in the pipeline. Endeavor continues to help Amr connect with top entrepreneurs and investors around the world, and recently featured him as a keynote at the 2014 GigaOm Structure Data event in New York.

AmrShady

Amr Shady speaking at the VAS Africa event

New Endeavor Insight Report Analyzes the Source of Silicon Valley’s Development

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Endeavor Insight, supported by Omidyar Network, has released a new report that analyzes the development of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurship hub. The report, entitled “How Did Silicon Valley Become Silicon Valley,” includes new data that is being shared publicly for the first time. Endeavor has conducted similar research on entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world, including in Argentina, Colombia, Turkey, and Chile.

The story of the Valley’s early years can provide lessons to leaders in cities and regions across the world. It illustrates the impact that successful entrepreneurs can generate in their communities if they foster spinout firms, mentor other founders, and act as early-stage investors. More information on the lessons that other cities can use, and on the region’s growth and impact, can be found in the full report.

To download a PDF version of the report click here and read coverage of its release in TechCrunch here. The report can also be viewed online using ISSUU below.

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