High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor and Abraaj work together to foster High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Headquartered in Dubai, Abraaj Capital is a leading private equity manager investing in high growth markets. Since November 2010, when Endeavor announced a strategic partnership with Abraaj during the landmark Celebration of Entrepreneurship event, the firm has been one of Endeavor’s primary partners.

Largely as a result of Abraaj’s active support and involvement, Endeavor continues to expand operations throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, Endeavor launched in Lebanon and Indonesia. In coming months, Endeavor is set to launch in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Endeavor expansion teams are actively scoping prospects in additional countries in MENA (e.g., Morocco, United Arab Emirates) and South East Asia (e.g., Malaysia, Singapore). To facilitate this expansion, Endeavor Global also maintains local support offices in these regions, working out of Abraaj facilities in Dubai and Singapore.

In addition to facilitating expansion efforts, Abraaj support has enabled Endeavor Global to scale its core operations of selecting and supporting High-Impact Entrepreneurs. Abraaj’s involvement is particularly on display this week at Endeavor’s International Selection Panel in Dubai (March 27-29). Abraaj Founder and Group CEO Arif Naqvi is serving as one of the judges on the Panel and will personally host the delegates at an opening night reception. “I can’t thank Arif and his team enough for the warm welcome they are providing our global organization in Dubai,” says Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “Abraaj continues to be an indispensable partner for Endeavor in the MENASA region.”

The International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step Search & Selection process where top local and international business leaders interview and offer guidance to entrepreneur candidates. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local and international business leaders who volunteer as mentors.

In addition to providing support for these operations, Abraaj has helped strengthen Endeavor’s network of mentors in the region. Since the second half of 2011, various Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Turkey, Egypt, and Lebanon have also been directly mentored by Senior Partners and Principals at Abraaj, receiving guidance in areas ranging from fundraising to regional growth strategies. “Abraaj mentors have been particularly valuable to our business,” says Endeavor Entrepreneur Marc Dfouni from Eastline Marketing, a Lebanon-based digital marketing agency. “For instance, they have helped us strategize when and how to seek outside investment, and even how to structure our fundraising pitch.”

Plans are underway to expand the program, connecting even more Abraaj mentors with Endeavor Entrepreneurs. As a result of Abraaj’s recent acquisition of Aureos Capital, which operates in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Abraaj executives plan to provide mentorship and support to Endeavor Entrepreneurs in those markets.

Among other programs, Abraaj has also been a leading sponsor of events such as the June 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit, where 450 people (including 170 Endeavor Entrepreneurs) gathered in San Francisco to network and learn from 90 expert speakers, and the 2011 Endeavor Gala in New York City, where Mr. Naqvi spoke about the entrepreneurial landscape of the Middle East and introduced Gala honoree and Abraaj board member Fadi Ghandour. A board member of Endeavor Global, Mr. Naqvi is a founding supporter of Endeavor Catalyst, a program that co-invests in Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ professional fundraising rounds.

The time is now for High-Impact Entrepreneurship in the region. Endeavor and Abraaj are proud to be working together to make it happen.

Seth Godin visits Endeavor Turkey (with video)

Prominent entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin was in Istanbul last week, and graciously visited the Endeavor Turkey office on February 23 to meet with numerous Endeavor Entrepreneurs and other members of the local Endeavor network. Check out video clips below.

In a speech, Godin had this to say about Endeavor’s model:

What’s exciting to me about Endeavor’s mission is Endeavor surrounds entrepreneurs with people who are probably thinking about the opportunity differently. When you add this perspective to the entrepreneurs’ ideas, then you have a chance to create a new norm. But since the entrepreneur is leading an initiative that’s never been done before, the road map of where he wants to go and how he’s going to get there becomes imperative; yet, nobody can tell him exactly how to embark on this unknown adventure step-by-step. Local knowledge is essential but more essential than that is Endeavor’s role as a compass providing a sense of direction to help entrepreneurs figure out where they are and where they want to go.

More generally, Godin discussed the common mindset of pursuing careers that are safe, valuing complacency over risk. This, he says, is where entrepreneurs come in. “Any time you find yourself doing a routine ‘job,'” he says, “you need to fire yourself. An entrepreneur’s job is to think.”

He also offered specific tips for running a business — for instance, the importance of “think[ing] of solutions where you would reduce the risk of the person to whom you are selling your product.”

Referring to Endeavor’s goal of helping entrepreneurs scale their business, Godin also discussed limiting forces that keep entrepreneurs from growing infinitely big, and answered common questions from Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Overall, the Entrepreneurs found Godin’s advice to be extremely valuable, and appreciated the chance to participate in this special event.

Thank you to Büke Çuhadar from Endeavor Turkey for contributing to this article.

The road to ‘High-Impact’ entrepreneurship in the Middle East

Reprinted from The Middle East magazine. See the original article here (p. 41).

By Justin Belmont (Director of Communications, Endeavor)

By 2020, an estimated 100 million young people, many of them college-educated, will enter the job market. What kind of opportunities can they expect? How can the region guarantee there will be enough high-quality jobs to go around? What is the best long-term solution to ensure sustainable economic development? These are some of the same questions our global non-profit organisation, Endeavor, encountered 14 years ago in Latin America. And we found the answer has a lot to do with three words: High-Impact Entrepreneurship.

High-Impact Entrepreneurs are visionaries whose businesses have the potential to scale significantly, both in terms of job creation and revenue growth. Historically, in most economies, it is only a small number of high-impact, high-growth entrepreneurs that create the vast maprity of new jobs. This reality has been supported by the World Economic Forum in their recent report on worldwide entrepreneurship, authored by Stanford University Professor George Foster. The report found that the top 1% of companies from among 380,000 companies reviewed across 10 countries contribute 44% of total revenue and 40% of total jobs, while the top 5% contribute 72% of total revenue and 67% of total jobs.

When it comes to developing an entrepreneurial eco-system in the Middle East, much attention has been placed on the role of investment. Indeed, the availability of ‘smart capital’ for entrepreneurs is an important facet. Further, it is encouraging that many new regional funds are being established to provide much-needed capital to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

At the same time, Endeavor has learned over 14 years that capital alone is not the answer, When we started Endeavor in Latin America in the late 1990s, we noticed that entrepreneurs lacked three key components: access to mentors; access to networks; and access to role models.

Access to schools of entrepreneurship such as the celebrated Carnagie Mellon contribute to the development of rounded individuals.

Endeavor takes center stage at Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Istanbul

Note: be sure to follow the Summit on Twitter: #ESummit2. Special thanks to Ludmilla Figueiredo and Büke Çuhadar for contributing reporting.

CLICK HERE to read Endeavor’s official press release.

This week, over 120 Endeavor network members gathered in Istanbul to participate in the 2nd Global Entrepreneurship Summit (December 3-6), hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Along with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg delivered a keynote address.

In addition to speaking on two panels, Didem Altop, Managing Director of Endeavor Turkey, participated in an exclusive meeting with the Vice President during which he complimented the work of Endeavor.

The Summit, which has brought together 2,000 top entrepreneurs from Turkey and around the world, is a follow up to the U.S. President Barack Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship held in Washington in April 2010.

Joe Biden spotlights Endeavor Entrepreneurs

In his opening speech, Joe Biden emphasized the importance of fostering global entrepreneurship, moving beyond policies to create ecosystems for entrepreneurs to succeed. Describing the new class of visionaries leading the entrepreneurial revolution, he shared the stories of two Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Turkey–Alemşah Öztürk (41?29!) and Bedriye Hülya (b-fit).

Linda Rottenberg’s keynote

Following an introduction by Lorraine Hariton (Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State), Linda Rottenberg delivered a 30-minute address in which she highlighted the rise of global high-impact entrepreneurship. “Innovators from around the world can imitate, emulate, or leapfrog their Silicon Valley counterparts,” she said. She proceeded to break down 10 common myths about entrepreneurship, including the belief that all entrepreneurs are equally effective drivers of economic growth and that the same companies that create lots of wealth also create lots of jobs.

Linda ended by relating a recent conversation she heard in the Middle East when Steve Jobs died, in which young people said: “Who knew that he was just like us? His father was Syrian! But good thing he didn’t live in the Middle East or Apple wouldn’t exist.” “That’s when I knew that our work is not done,” Linda continued. “Let’s ease the heavy lifting. Together, we can make the Middle East, the cradle of civilization, the new cradle of entrepreneurship.”

Endeavor network members attending and speaking at the Summit

Numerous Endeavor board members around the world are attending the Summit, including Arif Naqvi (Abraaj Capital), Fadi Ghandour (Aramex), Vuslat Doğan Sabancı (Hürriyet), Ferit Şahenk (Doğuş Grubu), Işık Keçeci Aşur (Aragon Capital), Murat Özyeğin (FINA Holding), and Fawaz Zu’bi (Accelerator Technology Holdings).

In addition to Linda Rottenberg, Arif Naqvi, and Didem Altop, network members with prominent speaking roles include Erhan Erkut (Endeavor Advisory Board member / Ozyegin University), Ferit Sahenk (Endeavor Turkey Board member / Dogus Holding), Christopher Schroeder (Endeavor global network member / HealthCentral), and Ken Morse (Endeavor global network member / Entrepreneurship Ventures).

Numerous network members also had speaking roles in parallel events organized by Endeavor Turkey, including Endeavor Entrepreneurs Ahmet Ozgun (Speedcity), Alemsah Ozturk (41?29!), Ali Ozgun (Speedcity), Basar Akpinar (PIWorks), Bedriye Hulya (bFit), Bulent Celebi (AirTies), Emre Mermer (Dukkan), Firat Isbecer (Pozitron), Fatih Isbecer (Pozitron), and Nevzat Aydin (yemeksepeti.com). Other speakers included Buke Cuhadar (Staff member, Endeavor Turkey), Isik Kececi Asur (Board member, Endeavor Turkey), Kaan Gur (Akbank), and Jonathan Ortmans (Kauffman Foundation – Global Entrepreneurship Week).

Special session on entrepreneurship

The close of the first day featured a session with Arif Naqvi (Board member, Endeavor Global), Ferit Sahenk (Board member, Endeavor Turkey), and Leonard Schlesinger (President, Babson College), moderated by Guven Sak (Director, TEPAV). Calling Endeavor a “very smart NGO,” Arif discussed Endeavor’s model of searching for an supporting high-impact entrepreneurs.

Arif went on to identify entrepreneurs as tenacious, passionate risk-takers who were at the same time risk-minimizers with obsessive attention to detail, irrational optimism and the ability to improvise. He entreated the MENA region to: 1) better protect intellectual property and thus encourage innovation, 2) create more institutions of higher education (fewer universities in MENA than in Japan!); and 3) minimize the stigma of failure (e.g., create bankruptcy law, as Turkey has).

Ferit, meanwhile, discussed his experience attending Endeavor’s recent International Selection Panel in Jordan (Oct 2011). He told the story of a Turkish Endeavor Entrepreneur who traveled to Silicon Valley and stalked investors in a coffee shop until he convinced them to invest, using the anecdote to illustrate that the best entrepreneurs will always raise money–i.e., a lack of capital is not the biggest barrier to entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

After further group discussion about Endeavor, Arif emphasized the importance of mentorship, and of creating a culture where success is celebrated but so is learning from failure.

The Endeavor Lounge

The event venue featured an “Endeavor Lounge,” an area that showcases Endeavor Entrepreneurs (some of whom are delivering presentations) and recognizes Endeavor country offices and board members.

Investor Network Trek

In addition to attending the Summit, Endeavor Entrepreneurs, board members, and mentors participated in seven related events organized by Endeavor Turkey–including an Investor Trek, Gala, two panels, two roundtables, and one “speed networking” session.

Endeavor’s two-day “Investor Network Trek” (December 1-2) assembled many top international and local investors, culminating in a massive “speed networking” session with over 200 investor-entrepreneur introductions in one two-hour window.

During special pitch sessions, Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Arvento, Digitouch, Jeeran, Pozitron, Tiaxa, and Yemeksepeti had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to local, regional, and international investors.

A panel, “Why Turkey? Why Now?” featured some of Turkey’s top web gurus (Ali Karabey, Managing Partner – 212 Venture Capital; Alp Saul, CEO – Pronet Security Systems; Emre Kurttepeli, Founder – Mynet Group; Melih Ödemiş, CIO & Co-founder – Yemeksepeti), many of whom left the country to study but returned to build high-impact enterprises. The consensus was that Turkey is experiencing an entrepreneurial boom, with significantly opportunity especially in the tech space.

A discussion, “Beyond Turkey: Investors’ Perspectives on MENA and other Emerging Markets,” spotlighted the current investment climate.

Endeavor Turkey Gala

Endeavor Turkey celebrated its 5th anniversary with a Grand Gala on December 2nd at Four Seasons the Bosphorus Hotel. More than 300 people, including many top Turkish business leaders and investors that are part of Endeavor’s network, attended the annual event. This year’s Gala honored Ferit Sahenk, Doğus Group Chairman and Endeavor Turkey’s newest Board member, who was introduced by last year’s honoree, Hüsnü Özyeğin (Chairman, Fiba Holding), who was a close friend of Ferit’s late father.

During his speech, Ferit threw aside his cue cards and with a quivering voice, shared that he had often wished to hear more words of praise or encouragement from his late father–making the evening’s recognition by his peers more meaningful than expected. He admitted that he had avoided Endeavor for several years due to a challenging period restructuring the organization, and said that following an epiphany at the recent Jordan selection panel in October, he recognizes the inspirational power of the organization–not only for entrepreneurs but for mentors.

Acknowledging the progress of Endeavor Turkey, the board’s Chairman, Özcan Tahincioğlu, mentioned that Endeavor Turkey now supports 37 Entrepreneurs representing 28 companies, who together have created 1,550 high-value jobs and grew by 51% in 2011, generating US$183 million.

Abraaj Capital was one of the main sponsors of the Gala and many of its top managers and partners including the Founder and Group CEO Arif Naqvi were present.

Another highlight of the event was the screening of a special video, “Adventures of Mini Entrepreneur,” produced by Jordan-based Endeavor company Kharabeesh (Think Arabia).

Note: scroll to the bottom to check out Gala photos.

Linda Rottenberg featured in Summit newsletter

Rottenberg was featured on the cover of the official Summit newspaper, in which she is quoted as follows:

I am extremely honored to participate in this landmark Entrepreneurship Summit, generously hosted by Prime Minister Erdoğan. As I look forward to discussing in my keynote address, Turkey has become an extraordinary hub of innovation and a catalyst for entrepreneurship in growth markets around the globe. Increasingly, the world is looking to Turkey as an example of a successful ecosystem of entrepreneurship—with a growing network of mentors, investors, and role models.

The timing is right for this Summit. From the debt crisis in Europe to the wave of revolutions in the Middle East, the world is clamoring for new solutions. What we at Endeavor call “high-impact” entrepreneurs remain an important driver of growth: they generate wealth and opportunity, create high-value jobs, and serve as inspirational role models for the next generation. Together, they foster a culture of “thinking big,” where young people grow up learning to take risks and innovate.

At the Summit, I’m especially proud to be joined by the Endeavor Turkey network and board members, as well as by many other outstanding support organizations and entrepreneurs from around the world. Supporting and spotlighting High-Impact Entrepreneurs is crucial, and major events like this are important for promoting collaboration among key stakeholders—from CEOs and investors to entrepreneur support organizations, universities, media organizations, and the government. Together, let’s make it happen.

The next Summit

It was announced that in 2012, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be hosted in the 2012 during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, with the partnership of the Kauffman Foundation.

2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship

The Entrepreneurship Summit was a follow-up to U.S. President Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C. in April 2010, aimed at “deepen[ing] ties between business leaders, foundations, and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.” Endeavor played a prominent role in this inaugural summit; Linda Rottenberg and Endeavor Jordan founding board member Fadi Ghandour spoke on a panel about fostering an entrepreneurial culture (watch the YouTube recording), and four Endeavor Entrepreneurs were selected to attend as delegates. Endeavor also released a survey of 66 Middle East entrepreneurs which underscored the relevance of the Summit for highlighting the promise of entrepreneurial solutions to addressing common challenges.

Congratulations to the entire staff of Endeavor Turkey for playing a major role in this landmark Summit.

Endeavor Turkey Gala: Ferit Sahenk (left) and Özcan Tahincioglu (right)

Endeavor Turkey Gala: Vuslat Dogan Sabanci

Endeavor Turkey Gala: Husnu Ozyegin

Endeavor Lounge (Global Entrepreneurship Summit)

27 Endeavor Entrepreneurs participate in Endeavor Digital Media Tour in NYC

A global organization in 15 countries, Endeavor supports 632 High-Impact Entrepreneurs (selected from 29,000 candidates), connecting them to a network of 2,400 top local and international business leaders who volunteer their time to provide pro-bono mentorship, advice, connections, and supports. In 2010, these executives spent over 25,000 hours mentoring entrepreneurs.

One of the popular services that Endeavor Global provides to Endeavor Entrepreneurs is access to special “Immersion Tours.” On November 9-10, 27 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from emerging markets in Latin America and the Middle East gathered in New York City for a Digital Media Tour, meeting with numerous senior executives in the digital media and advertising space from companies like Facebook, News Corporation, Huffington Post / AOL, IAC, R/GA, Edelman, Gilt Groupe, and Barclays Capital. These executives delivered presentations and offered pro-bono mentoring and support. A list of participating Endeavor companies can be found at the bottom; many of these firms are generating between $2M and $10M+ and are working with multinational clients such as Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Citi, Nike, IBM, and Sony.

The tour kicked off on Wednesday morning at Barclays Capital, a sponsor of the Tour, with a fireside chat with Endeavor Global Board member Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock. Reid shared his personal entrepreneurial story and offered his assessment of the current technology landscape, including new areas for innovation.

At Barclays, Entrepreneurs also attended a panel “Investing in Online Media and Advertising Start-Ups,” which shed light on recent IPOs, future trends, and tips for entrepreneurs interested in fundraising. The panel, introduced by Paul Parker (Global Head of M&A, Barclays Capital), was moderated by David Shrier (Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ernst & Young), and featured Endeavor Entrepreneur Mariano Suárez Battán (Co-founder, Three Melons), Greg Dalvito (Co-Head, Technology M&A, Barclays Capital), Howard Morgan (Managing Partner, First Round Capital), and Dave Morgan (Founder & CEO, Simulmedia [backed by Union Square Ventures] and angel investor). At one point, Mariano summarized many Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ view on the economic downtown: “We were ‘born’ in a crisis: Argentina in 2001. So, in 2008, when my friends in the US said that there was a crisis, I said ‘whaaaat?’ For us, a crisis is a feature, not a bug.”

Later, at Endeavor Global’s offices in Union Square, Sunny Bates (CEO, Sunny Bates Associates) moderated a panel on building a fast-growth media company, which addressed challenges surrounding building an effective team and scaling successfully. Panelists were Kirsten Nevill-Manning (International HR and Staffing, Facebook; formerly at Google) and Melanie Hughes, COO, Gilt Groupe.

Then PR expert Brian Reich (SVP and Global Editor, Edelman), drawing on lessons from his new book Shift & Reset, discussed macro issues for cultivating engagement beyond traditional strategies.

Continuing their busy day in New York, Entrepreneurs then visited R/GA, a full service advertising agency that was named Adweek‘s “Digital Agency of the Decade” as well as Adweek’s “Digital/Interactive Agency of the Year.” William Charnock (Chief Strategy Officer, R/GA) discussed some of R/GA’s most successful campaigns, and offered advice for taking advantage of various areas of advertising — from mobile and social media to visual design and digital productions — to create compelling campaigns.

On Wednesday evening, Entrepreneurs convened at the iconic Frank Gehry building that is home to IAC (InterActiveCorp), an Internet company with over 50 brands across 40 countries led by Chairman and Senior Executive Barry Diller, previously head of Paramount Pictures, Fox Broadcasting, and USA Broadcasting. A “Founders’ Panel” highlighted the experiences of founders from some of IAC’s most popular sites, in addition to David Kidder, Co-founder and CEO of Clickable. Then, at a cocktail reception at IAC, Entrepreneurs had the chance to network with IAC executives and employees, as well as various Endeavor network and board members.

The second day of the media tour (November 10) kicked off with 1:1 mentoring sessions between Endeavor Entrepreneurs and industry and subject matter experts, customized to the Entrepreneurs’ industries and specific business needs. “The mentoring sessions, like the Tour itself, were relevant, well-organized, and highly valuable,” said Endeavor Entrepreneur Ramzi Halaby (The Online Project). “We have already started implementing a number of the tips and recommendations.”

“They were amazing connections,” said Endeavor Entrepreneur David Basulto of Plataforma Networks. “Even if [some of the mentors] were from companies in different industries, they’ve gone through some of the same issues so the experience was very valuable. They were very open to collaborate with us, tell us about their insights, and connect us with people, so it’s a huge benefit for us. They’re already connecting us with the right people we’re looking for (for instance, people in advertising sales in New York).”

Jesse Dwyer (Senior Sales Development Lead, Facebook) then delivered a lively presentation on social media marketing, discussing how best to utilize Facebook as a platform and medium for building businesses and marketing to key audiences.

Entrepreneurs then divided into groups and visited companies relevant to their businesses:

– At Gilt Groupe, one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the U.S., Alexis Maybank (Founder & President, Premium Products and Services) and Susan Lyne (Chairman) offered advice on driving user adoption through game mechanics, leveraging online marketing and social media to build brands, and differentiating products from the competition.

– At News Corporation, a global and vertically integrated company with brands including 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins, and Sky, Entrepreneurs gained advice from Jorge Espinel (EVP, Strategy and Corporate Development – News Digital Media) and Gil Fuchsberg (SVP – News Digital Media).

– At The Huffington Post, a top news website and content aggregating blog launched in 2005 and acquired by AOL in 2011, Entrepreneurs gained advice from Jimmy Soni (Chief of Staff), Tim O’Brien (Executive Editor), and Nico Pitney (Managing Editor), among other senior staff members.

MediaVest is a division of Starcom MediaVest Group and one of the leading, full-service media specialist companies offering brand-building results and business solutions for marketing partners. Entrepreneurs spoke with Guillermo Abud, VP & Digital Director at Forty-Two Degrees at MediaVest (MV42), a leading multicultural media agency with clients such as Kraft, P&G, The Coca-Cola Company and Wal-Mart.

– At Kickstarter, the largest online funding platform for creative projects, Entrepreneurs gained valuable insights from Perry Chen, Co-founder and CEO. Specifically, Chen recounted his unique road to becoming an entrepreneur and discussed the value of finding and focusing on a niche market.

Entrepreneurs then reconvened for a visit to Google‘s New York office, before joining 600 New York and global CEOs and business leaders at Endeavor’s annual Gala, which has raised $2m and will honor Reid Hoffman and Fadi Ghandour—an event hosted by Endeavor Board chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (Chairman, Warner Music Group).

Endeavor’s previous Immersion Tours have taken Endeavor Entrepreneurs to such places as Silicon Valley, Boston, India, and Israel. At the October 2010 Silicon Valley Tour, entrepreneurs met with executives at Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and eBay. December 2010’s Fashion and Design Spotlight in New York featured presentations, conversations, and panels with top fashion executives, as well as several “Behind the Seams” tours. In 2012, Endeavor plans to offer a tour in Austin and another tour in the San Francisco area.


Endeavor Entrepreneur companies that participated in the Digital Media Tour


Social Metrix (Argentina) – a leading social media analytics company in LatAm; just received investment from A&N Media
Modern Media (The Online Project) (Jordan) – launched Jordan’s #1 hit music station; now the leading Arabic social media management firm; untraditional marketing/events
SocialWire (Turkey) – online social recommendation engine (for int’l retailers who want “recommended items” on homepage à la Amazon)


Pozitron (Turkey) – a leading mobile software developer for large companies in MENA; clients include 30 Turkey Fortune 500 companies
T.A. Telecom (Egypt) – a top mobile platform in Egypt; early pioneer in mobile value-added services (VAS) industry

WEB 2.0

Akhtaboot (Jordan) – “Monster.com of the Middle East” (region that needs to create 100 million jobs by 2020)
Jeeran (Jordan) – “Yelp of the Arab world”; user-generated reviews for 8+ cities across MENA
Clandescuento (Chile) – daily discount site acquired by Groupon in June 2010 to build out Groupon Latin America
Yemeksepeti.com (Turkey) – the “Seamless/GrubHub of Turkey” (top online food delivery site); expanding internationally
Plataforma Networks (Chile) – publisher of the world’s most visited architecture website, ArchDaily (over 2M monthly visits / 18M monthly impressions; 400k Facebook fans)
Hindawi (Egypt) – Publishes 300+ open access, peer-reviewed academic journals; innovation in traditional industry; 20k editors; 400+ employees


Globant (Argentina) – top LatAm IT outsourcer; poised for U.S. public launch in 2012; Google’s first outsourcing partner; 2k employees
Three Melons (Argentina) – pioneered Argentine video game industry; acquired by Playdom in March 2010 (July 2010: Playdom acquired by Disney)
Think Arabia (Jordan) – creative production / tech firm for new media platforms; includes Kharabeesh, offbeat animation studio
Ollin Studio (Mexico) – a leading LatAm movie studio (post-production / visual effects); 2009 Oscar for visual effects in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dynamo (Colombia) – only PE fund for film financing in LatAm; also a leading production studio
Oruga (Colombia) – “Pixar of Colombia”; digital animation studio
Subway Link (Brazil) – pioneered closed-circuit “business TV” in Brazil (55M viewers each month)

25 tweetable entrepreneur tips from Steve Jobs

Reprinted from Wamda.com. Original post here. Twitter: @endeavor_global.

Remembering Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

1. Create a product with soul. Jobs proved that to create a product that customers would not just use, but love, you have to marry science with art.

2. Start small but think big. “I want to put a ding in the universe,” Jobs famously said.

3. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t build the life that someone else wants you to- Jobs’s life is a lesson in making original decisions.

4. Stick to your guns. Interviewers often said that Jobs was a tough interview- he didn’t answer their questions, but rather always said exactly what he wanted to say.

5. Find real solutions to real problems. Jobs made the claim early on that 99-cent mp3s would save the music industry. Indeed- since April 2008, the Apple iTunes Store has been the number one music vendor in the U.S., and by October 4, 2011, the iTunes store sold its 16 billionth song.

6. Become a market leader. Own and control the technology that you create and use, to reduce the ability for others to successfully imitate to your standards.

7. Make a product that can sell itself. Apple’s advertisements were famous for simply showcasing their products. They didn’t work overtime to convince you- their elegant user interface did, all on its own, by being head and shoulders above the competition.

8. Don’t listen to your customers too much. Jobs was famous for his assertion that listening to customers too much is a waste of time. You have to think on their behalf but ignore their skepticism if you’re going to create something that no one has ever seen before.

9. Live every day as though you have nothing to lose. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose,” said Jobs. “There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

10. Look at the silver lining in failure. When Jobs was fired from Apple, he said, “I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me.” But, he realized, it was the best thing that ever happened to him, because it freed him to enter one of the most creative periods of his life, he said in his Stanford commencement speech.

11. If you love what you do, you will find a way. Jobs said that when he was fired from Apple, he thought about running away from the valley. But then he realized that he loved what he did, and the events at Apple couldn’t change that.

12. Have faith in your journey. Jobs described you can’t connect all of the dots when you look forward in time, but you can, in retrospect, see the way that pieces fall into place to bring you lessons.

13. Trust your inner voice. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice,” he said- following his inner voice allowed Jobs to both pivot into different projects and to innovate.

14. Be a perfectionist. We’ve all heard the stories of Jobs being an unapologetic taskmaster, to the point that he alienated some co-workers. And yet, his passion created products that speak for themselves.

15. Keep your eye on the endgame. “I don’t really care about being right, you know, I just care about success,” Jobs famously said, after he was fired by Apple. Borrow ideas if you have to, but focus on the implementation, and on improving rather than the politics of business.

16. Surround yourself with talent. Although Steve stands out as the leader who made Apple what it is today, it’s a myth that he alone is responsible for Apple’s success. A team of talented leaders- Phil Schiller, Jony Ive, Peter Oppenheimer, Tim Cook, and Ron Johnson- work overtime at Apple to build Apple.

17. Let simplicity reign. Jobs was famous for talking about the power of saying “no” when it came to adding bells and whistles to his products. It’s been said that choosing what not to do was more important to him than choosing what to do.

18. Create a unified team. Under Jobs, the executive team at Apple held weekly meetings to review every single product under development, and handed responsibility for all expenses to its Chief Financial Officer alone. Jobs thought that Sony, for example, had too many divisions to create a viable iPod, iPad or iPhone competitor. “It’s not synergy that makes [Apple] work,” he said, “it’s that we’re a unified team.”

19. Teach your company your vision. Apple hired an academic from Yale Management School to create an “Apple University” inside the company, so that his knowledge could be passed on and the structure and vision of Apple could be taught to future employees.

20. Create buzz. Apple creates a lot of hype by keeping its new products a secret until the very last minute. Although the policies of its tight ship are occasionally controversial, it seems to have incidents in which employees leave prototypes in bars fueling even more speculation on the web about the next iPhone.

21. Keep a Beginner’s Mind. “There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind,” Jobs once said. Keep a sense of exploration and wonder in the world.

22. Be a yardstick of quality. “Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected,” said Jobs.

23. Think differently. Although the Apple stores were considered a huge risk, Jobs pushed ahead with the idea, pointing out that “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Apple now has over 357 stores worldwide, and in 2010 the stores earned over $3.2 billion, about 13% of total Apple sales.

24. Defy expectations- visually. At his 2008 Keynote speech, Jobs showed how the MacBook air fit into a standard office envelope, creating an image that no on could forget.

25. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. This was a phrase that Jobs saw on an issue of The Whole Earth Catalogue, a magazine he loved when he was growing up. They printed it on the back cover of their final issue, he described in his in his 2005 speech at Stanford. “I have always wished that for myself,” he said.

2011 Impact Report

Endeavor has released its 2010-2011 Impact Report! DOWNLOAD THE REPORT [PDF] for insight into how Endeavor is transforming the world through High-Impact Entrepreneurship. From Entrepreneur spotlights to country snapshots to colorful photos of events and network members, it’s all here!

For a quick glance at our most recent impact metrics, click here.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit: an event roundup

The biannual Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit, hosted at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco on June 28-30, was the largest-ever gathering of Endeavor Entrepreneurs and network members in history. Over 450 people participated in the event, including 170 Endeavor Entrepreneurs and 90 expert speakers. The theme: “Innovation has no borders. Ideas have no boundaries.” Over the course of three days, attendees heard from some of the most successful entrepreneurs, executives, and VCs on a broad variety of critical issues for entrepreneurs and investors in emerging markets.

Please stay tuned on the Endeavor.org blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter, for photos, videos, and transcripts of the various presentations and sessions.

Intro video and official guide

For a lighthearted introduction to the event, check out this welcome video — “Adventures of the Mini Entrepreneur” — which was produced by Endeavor Jordan company Kharabeesh. Click here to view the official guide from the event, including the agenda and biographies of speakers and entrepreneurs.

Keynotes and plenaries

The Summit featured a variety of well-attended plenary talks on the main stage. In his keynote speech, Sun Microsystems Co-founder and former CEO Scott McNealy emphasized the importance of having a controversial (but correct!) strategy. Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg interviewed Salesforce.com Founder and CEO Marc Benioff about his experiences as an entrepreneur, the future of technology, and his revolutionary approaches at Salesforce.com. Bing Gordon, Partner, Kleiner Perkins and former Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts addressed how to be an effective CEO in high-growth companies. Meanwhile Reid Hoffman, Endeavor Global Board Member and LinkedIn Executive Chairman / Co-founder, concluded the conference with a keynote address elaborating on his keys to successful entrepreneurship.

Leading executives and entrepreneurs shared further insight with attendees through the following panels and talks on the main stage: “State of Venture Capital in the United States and Abroad,” “CEO Best Practices for Scaling Fast Growth Companies,” “Are Machines Smarter Than Humans?,” “10 Things to Think About When Starting a Cleantech Company,” “Evolution of Digital Photography,” and “International Expansion.”

Workshops and other events

In addition to these plenary sessions, attendees selected one from three workshops to attend on either design thinking, entrepreneurial leadership, and talent management. Finally, attendees chose three “Hot Topic” breakout sessions to attend from more than 30 options, on topics including marketing/branding, strategy/expansion, talent/HR, corporate culture, technology, and financing. Talks ranged from “Designing an e-Commerce Strategy for Your Company” and “How to Maintain Your Entrepreneurial Spirit” to “Guerilla Tactics for Acquisition” and “Tools for Unlocking Creativity.”

The Summit also featured regional panel discussions, entrepreneur showcases, and two back-to-back 45-minute Global Connections mentoring sessions, in which hundreds of entrepreneurs and mentors were individually paired up for live mentoring. Endeavor also organized “office hours” to give entrepreneurs access to some of the most prominent and requested network members and industry experts. Throughout the Summit, a special mobile app customized by QuickMobile allowed attendees to navigate the sessions, access personalized schedules, view speaker and attendee info, and email one another.

Endeavor also hosted numerous informal networking opportunities, including a kickoff dinner at the Legion of Honor fine arts museum.

Investor Day

During Day One of the Summit, Endeavor also held a parallel Silicon Valley Trek (Emerging Markets Investor Day) event, which brought together 20 investors represented 12 firms (from the U.S. and emerging markets) together with 30 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 24 companies. Organized as a six-hour “pre-conference” before the main Summit event, the Trek included market snapshots of Latin America and the Middle East, a “Global Venture in Emerging Markets” panel discussion, 126 entrepreneur pitch sessions between Endeavor companies and investors, and numerous networking opportunities.

The event boasted over 70% participation from Endeavor’s Investor Network members; eight out of 12 global member firms participated, along with four out of five emerging market member firms.

Announcements made during the Summit

During the Summit, Ernst & Young announced a three year partnership with Endeavor. Also during the Summit, an Endeavor Entrepreneur-backed venture IDEAME.com announced its launch and first round of funding.

2011 Endeavor Awards

At a special recognition dinner, Endeavor also announced the winners of its 2011 Endeavor Awards, voted on by network members and Summit attendees. Top honors went to Wences Casares & Diego Piacentini (tie; Global Mentor of the Year), Nicolas Szekasy, Argentina (Emerging Market Mentor of the Year), and Juan Carlos de la Llera, Sirve, Chile (Endeavor Entrepreneur of 2011). Endeavor meanwhile congratulates all excellent nominees for these awards (Global Mentor / Emerging Market Mentor / Endeavor Entrepreneur) for their contributions over the past year.

Veuve Clicquot High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year

During a Women Entrepreneur Breakfast, Veuve Clicquot also presented the first High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year award — to Leila Velez, Beleza Natural, Brazil. Joanna Rees, Endeavor Global board member and San Francisco mayoral candidate, hosted the event. Click here to read Joanna’s impressions of why high-impact female entrepreneurship matters.


As evidence of the Summit’s impact, the Twitter tag used by attendees, #eSummitSF, was abuzz with speaker quotes, reactions, lessons learned, and inspiration shared. Thanks to the generosity of Brazilian interactive studio TwitRadar.com which donated a customized (and quite snazzy!) front-end interface that aggregated all #eSummitSF tweets — read the top ones here — Endeavor displayed the tweets on big screens throughout the Summit event, enabling attendees to share in each others’ excitement.

Media coverage

Fast Company blogger Rob Salkowitz posted a writeup of the event commending the impact and business outcomes, as well as a feature on five Endeavor-supported firms that stood out from the crowd. Salkowitz also wrote a feature on Endeavor Entrepreneurs David Assael and David Basulto, founders of Plataforma Networks, whom he met at the event. Also check out Elmira Bayrasli’s post on Forbes.com which anticipates the Summit and includes quotes from leading network members.


Endeavor would like to extend a special thank you to the following sponsors who made the Summit possible.

Presenting sponsors: Abraaj Capital, Ernst & Young, Omidyar Network
Gold Sponsors: Dell, GigaOm, SAP, Veuve Clicquot
Silver Sponsors: Barclays Capital, Greenberg Traurig, IBM, Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), Turnstone Furniture, University of San Francisco, Yola
In-Kind Sponsors: KIND, See’s Candies, TCHO, QuickMobile
Other Sponsors: The Opportunity Project powered by the eBay Foundation, Salesforce Foundation
Endeavor Entrepreneur Sponsors: Ezequiel Farca, Globant, Tequila Milagro, Kharabeesh

Endeavor would also like to thank Catalina Garcia, Caspian Productions & Jungle Print for their Summit support.

Behind the event

The Summit was organized by Rebecca Plofker, Karen Martell, Allen Taylor, and Marissa Carberry, with help with numerous members of the Endeavor staff and network. The event was a particular milestone for Endeavor California; since launching in 2009, the office has paired Endeavor Entrepreneurs with hundreds of U.S.-based experts and added 100+ members to the Endeavor Global Network. Endeavor wishes to thank Joanna Rees and John Hamm of VSP Capital for hosting the Endeavor California office for two years, and to Wences Casares, Jason Green, Brian Swette, Bill McGlashan, and Matt Bannick for their assistance in launching the San Francisco office and in cultivating an Endeavor network in California.

Endeavor and FNB release report on entrepreneurship in South Africa

Endeavor South Africa and First National Bank of South Africa have released the second edition of “Entrepreneurial Dialogues: The State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa [PDF].”

Entrepreneurial activity in South Africa still lags significantly behind many comparable countries. South Africa’s Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) has dropped to just 5% which is less than half of India, Brazil and Mexico. The newly-released whitepaper, which follows up on the first edition published in May 2010, stemmed from an FNB-Endeavor conference held in November 2010, which was attended by a variety of policy makers, entrepreneurs, academics, and funders. There, the participants discussed key issues facing entrepreneurship in six key sectors of the economy: mining, manufacturing & energy; fashion and clothing; professional services (e.g., finance, insurance); IT & biotech; tourism & hospitality; and agri-business.

Among other insights, the paper highlights a difference in outlooks among VC communities in South Africa and in other markets — for instance, in the U.S., VCs tend to search for companies with the potential for explosive growth, whereas VCs in South Africa tend to search for companies that already show explosive growth. As Endeavor VentureCorps member and Silicon Valley veteran David Frazee points out, in the U.S. the attitude is “the bigger the risk, the bigger the upside.”

The paper also states that if we accept the reality that about 70% of new businesses fail, it is understandable that banks may be wary to lend to these businesses — and thus, funding solutions must be sought outside the traditional banking sector.

Issues such as access to skills and technology are also highlighted. For instance, in the Agri-Business sector, the ‘brain drain’ of experienced farmers is cited as a major challenge: “Farmers with accumulated knowledge are moving to other African countries…and even Eastern European countries.”

South African entrepreneurs in the Mining industry, meanwhile, are urged to focus on increasing and transforming their output. Further, it is asserted that while the country’s large untapped resources are controlled by a few large players, opportunities exist for smaller entrepreneurs to compete at the upstream stages of the value chain.

South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for soccer is mentioned for its contribution to raising the country’s tourism profile. The paper suggests there is an opportunity for South Africa to further define an authentic national “brand.”

According to Kirsty Davis, CEO of FNB Business Banking, the whitepaper is intended to “not only understand the challenges facing South African entrepreneurs, but also to develop real solutions and support in the various sectors.”

Says Malik Fal, Managing Director of Endeavor South Africa: “Together with FNB, it is our hope that the second edition of this paper will achieve its objectives of creating a useful collaborative platform for South Africans who are interested in enhancing the level of entrepreneurial activity in the country.”

LAVCA releases 2011 Scorecard ranking business environments for investment in Latin America

The announcement below is reprinted from the LAVCA (Latin American Venture Capital Association) web site. Click here to read the original announcement.

The annual LAVCA Scorecard ranks business environments for private equity and venture capital activity of 12 countries in Latin America on a scale of 1-100 (with 100 being the most investment friendly) based on indicators including taxation, minority shareholder rights, restrictions on institutional investors, entrepreneurship and capital markets development.

Chile, Brazil and Mexico lead the annual ranking in the 2011 LAVCA Scorecard.

However, both Chile and Brazil saw small decreases in their overall scores based on a decline in the indicators on laws on fund formation and restrictions on local institutional investors, respectively.

Rounding out the top five countries in this year’s ranking were Colombia and Uruguay, with no change in overall scores.

The sixth edition of the Annual LAVCA Scorecard was produced in collaboration with the Economic Intelligence Unit, the Multilateral Investment Fund and the Andean Development Corporation.

The 2011 LAVCA Scorecard is available for download here [PDF].

Click here to read the 2011 LAVCA Scorecard press release.

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