High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Colombian Entrepreneur Alex Torrenegra Highlights Endeavor and Bogotá’s Tech Sector in The Wall Street Journal

wall-street-journal-logo1Bunny Inc. co-founder and Endeavor Entrepreneur Alex Torrenegra recently authored an article for The Wall Street Journal’s Accelerators, a blog that features expert advice from successful entrepreneurs on business strategy and development. In his piece, Alex spotlights the emerging tech sector in Bogotá and offers takeaways from his experiences as one of the country’s top serial entrepreneurs.

In the post, Alex discusses the desire of many startups in emerging markets to imitate the Silicon Valley model, focusing too much on raising capital and making big exits. That desire, however, doesn’t translate to ecosystems like Bogotá that are still trying to navigate regional challenges. Alex points to research from Endeavor on the city’s tech sector that shows that, while there are hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors and tech VCs in the region, there lacks an active ecosystem of companies that are making acquisitions. Emerging market entrepreneurs are often told to think too global to quickly, focusing more on gaining investors than improving their actual offerings and customer base. The key, he argues, is to stop trying to copy Silicon Valley’s established model that only works in a leading ecosystem like the U.S., and instead focus on crafting programs and policies that are tailored to the local market.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2013 at the 50th ISP in Palo Alto, Alex and his Bunny Inc. co-founder Tania Zapata have demonstrated their potential for high-impact growth, accelerating the expansion of their voice casting software offering with the guidance of Endeavor’s expert network of mentors and advisors. The entrepreneurs have also been active in a number of Endeavor events, including the 2013 Entrepreneur Summit and networking tours.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

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Alex and Tania at the 50th ISP in Palo Alto

Mexico’s Intellego Named a World Economic Forum Global Growth Company in Latin America

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Founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Felipe Labbé and Vicente Perez, Mexico-based Intellego was recently named by the World Economic Forum as a Global Growth Company (GGC) of 2014, which highlights 16 of the region’s most innovative  and high-impact companies. GGCs are fast-growing ventures with the potential to become economic leaders based on factors such as their business models, growth record, leadership and the markets they serve, having experienced  growth rates above their industry averages over the past three years. The Forum’s GGC community has now grown to over 360 companies representing more than 65 countries.

After realizing that Mexican businesses needed a better way of storing large amounts of information without relying on external databases, Felipe and Vicente founded Intellego to offer solutions for information, processes, and IT management for medium and large clients. The company’s model delivers affordable solutions that utilize clients’ existing technology infrastructure, now expanding its service offerings across a range of sectors including advanced analytics, management consulting, supply chain management, IT outsourcing and more. With over a thousand professionals in its network, Intellego operates in six countries in Latin America and has also expanded operations into the U.S.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2010, the entrepreneurs have sought strategic advice from Endeavor’s network of mentors on the company’s international expansion strategy and talent recruitment goals. Felipe and Vicente have also become active panelists, attended the 2013 Endeavor Gala and Summit, and are active in sourcing future entrepreneurs into the Endeavor pipeline.

Read more about this year’s GGCs of Latin America by clicking here.

Saudi Arabia’s Shawarmer Makes Endeavor Connection With South Africa’s Taste Holdings

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Demonstrating the impact of Endeavor’s global network, two Endeavor Entrepreneurs recently made a cross-regional connection, leveraging each other’s expertise in the food and beverage industry to share best practices and gain new insights on business development. Abdulmohsin Al-Rabiah, founder of Saudi Arabia’s Shawarmermade a visit last month to South Africa to the headquarters of Taste Holdings, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Carlo Gonzaga, with the goal of examining Taste’s growth and operations strategies for its portfolio of franchised brands.

A management group that invests in a number of franchised food and consumer retailers, Taste Holdings has grown to over 600 outlets across South Africa, bringing names like Scooters Pizza, Maxi’s Grill, Domino’s, NWJ Jewelry and more to the region. Having created thousands of new jobs and crafted a successful investment model, Carlo and Taste have seen year-over-year revenue growth and attracted the attention of a  number of international retailers. With Shawarmer, a chain of nearly 30 fast food restaurants across Saudia Arabia, Abdulmohsin was looking to gain insight from Taste’s success that would relate to his own franchise model and help him accelerate his brand’s growth while streamlining operations.

Over the two-day visit, Abdulmohsin met with Carlo and also visited outposts of Taste’s most popular franchises, meeting with branding and operations executives while getting an in-depth look at production and distribution centers. The main objectives were to explore Taste’s efforts across its marketing, legal and revenue structures and learn about the advantages and challenges of its vertical integration processes. Ultimately, Abdulmohsin was able to gain a better understanding of how to balance corporate ownership with franchisees, maintain operations standards, improve employee culture, and make technical improvements to his supply chain.

Since joining Endeavor in 2007, Carlo has become an entrepreneur success story, serving as a mentor, ISP panelist and South Africa Board Member and helping to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs in his region. While only selected in 2013, Abdulmohsin is demonstrating his high-impact potential with connections like this, continuing to work closely with Endeavor’s network of mentors and experts to accelerate his brand’s expansion.

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Abdulmohsin meeting with a team at Taste Holdings

Colombia’s Ecoflora Featured in WIPO Case Study Highlighting Advancements in R&D

LogoEcoflora2Colombia-based Ecoflora, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Nicolás Cock Duque, was recently profiled in a case study by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a global forum for IP services, policy and cooperation, created as part of the United Nations and including more than 180 member states. The group’s mission is to lead the development of an international intellectual property system that enables and protects innovation and creativity rights. Ecoflora’s patent and trademark progress in the biotechnology space caught WIPO’s attention, leading to an in-depth study on how the company leverages its assets, fosters private-public sector collaboration, and pioneered an industry in an unexpected market.

A biotech and natural products company that provides a range of alternative ingredients for use in agriculture, food and personal care products, Ecoflora has transformed the region’s industry and demonstrated potential for high-impact, global growth. With over 15 products and 30 applications developed over the past decade, Ecoflora is a testament to the potential of emerging markets to drive innovation despite challenging economic factors, having already filed for nearly a dozen patents on an international scale.

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

Now with over 40 employees in his Medellin headquarters alone and over 20 R&D laboratories in his network, Nicolás has demonstrated how access to mentorship, capital and talent can enable emerging market entrepreneurs to become high-impact leaders. Since being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in  2007, Nicolás has been an active network member, receiving  local publicity support and mentorship while also participating in the eMBA and G-Lab programs, the 2013 Endeavor Summit, and more.

“Endeavor helped us refine our global strategy and business model as well as understand our opportunities for scale,” Nicolás said in an interview. “With our intellectual property in particular, Endeavor mentors offered invaluable advice that will help guide our international expansion strategy and show that Colombia is a cradle of sustainable innovation and talent.”

Read the entire WIPO case study by clicking here.

Endeavor and the SAP Social Sabbatical Program Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

SSIR_Logo_2013The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently profiled the Social Sabbatical program at SAP, an Endeavor sponsor, and the software giant’s efforts to transform emerging market economies by leveraging the expertise of its employees. Developed in partnership with  PYXERA Global, the program offers high-performing employees the chance to work with emerging market organizations and entrepreneurs in order to gain critical leadership and cross-industry skills.

Co-authored by Alexandra van der Ploeg, interim head of global CSR at SAP, and Deirdre White, CEO of PYXERA, the article emphasizes the need for corporations to better equip their talent base with knowledge of emerging markets, while also giving employees the opportunity to pursue socially-conscious causes. Launched in 2012, the Social Sabbatical program is SAP’s initiative to address these understandings, allowing employees to participate in short-term pro-bono assignments with growing organizations around the world.

In particular, a global group of 12 SAP employees, including marketing managers, software engineers, quality controllers and more, traveled to Johannesburg in October 2013 to spend a month advising four organizations, including the team at Endeavor South Africa. In order to address the challenges of growing a network of mentors and potential investors, three SAP employees worked with the local office to design an implementation strategy for an Investor Network event, research prospective markets and investors, and craft an internal and external marketing strategy. Learn more about Endeavor South Africa’s work with the program by clicking here.

Earlier in 2013, the Review also highlighted Endeavor’s partnership with EY on the Americas Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows Program (now the EY Vantage Program), which also places high-performing employees on short-term assignments with emerging market companies. In the piece, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and Deborah K. Holmes, EY Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility, presented essential tips for designing successful CSR programs. Since 2006, EY Fellows have donated nearly 30,000 hours to working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the Americas.

View the full SSIR piece by clicking here.

Endeavor Catalyst Invests in Argentina’s GoIntegro and Brazil’s ToLife Following New Rounds of Funding

Endeavor-Catalyst-LogoEndeavor Catalyst recently announced co-investments in Argentina’s GoIntegro and Brazil’s ToLife following new rounds of financing raised by both companies. Led by Riverwood Capital and Kaszek Ventures, GoIntegro’s $5 million Series B round will help the growing software firm continue its expansion efforts in Latin America. Similarly, ToLife’s Series B round led by Vox Capital will support the healthcare technology firm’s plans to serve more health centers and patients throughout Brazil.

gointegroFounded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Germán Dyzenchauz and Gaston Lejtman in 2002, GoIntegro is a leading SaaS social engagement platform for companies in Latin America, offering a suite of software applications to manage internal communications, corporate benefits, recognition programs and incentives. With presences in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador, the company boasts more than 300 corporate clients and reaches upwards of one million daily users with revenue growth of 30% in 2013. As a result of this latest investment, GoIntegro aims to further its expansion efforts in Latin America, specifically in the Mexican and Brazilian markets. Riverwood and Kaszek also led the company’s Series A round in 2012, and this latest announcement reaffirms investor faith in the entrepreneurs’ high-impact business model.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2011, Germán and Gaston have received custom mentoring and strategic advising from Endeavor’s network along with connections through Endeavor Investor Network events, culminating in Endeavor Catalyst’s participation in this latest round.

“Being selected by Endeavor as high-impact entrepreneurs was incredibly helpful in allowing us to achieve our growing goals, close investment rounds and share experiences with an extensive network of mentors and entrepreneurs,” said Germán in a statement. “We feel part of a community around the world with common problems and challenges, and Endeavor is the epicenter of it all.”

TolifeBased in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, ToLife was founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Leonardo Lima de Carvalho in 2009 with the goal of innovating Brazil’s healthcare system, which has been plagued by inefficiencies and lagging patient wait times. ToLife is a system that automates the patient screening process based on individual risk ratings, leveraging internationally recognized health protocols. The system manages the flow of patient care in emergency units and monitors the capacity of other care centers in the surrounding area with its three-part software, hardware and service bundle. Since its founding, the company has worked to cut both the risk of mortality caused by cardiovascular complications and the average patient wait time in half, having implemented more than 5,000 healthcare units across 850 Brazilian cities.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2012, Leonardo has received local advisory services from Endeavor mentors and participated in global events like the Endeavor Summit and Endeavor Investor Network sessions. It was at a June 2012 Investor Network event in London that Leonardo made a connection with Kelly Michel, the UK-based co-founder of Potencia Ventures and Vox Capital. This introduction ultimately led to Vox Capital’s Brazil team becoming the lead investor on this recent round and Endeavor Catalyst’s ability to participate.

About Endeavor Catalyst

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

Two Mexico Entrepreneurs Named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2014

schwab foundationThe  Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is an annual list of the top innovators driving global, regional and industry agendas to improve the state of the world. The 2014 list of 30 entrepreneurs includes two Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Mexico - Javier Lozano, co-founder of Clinicas del Azucar, and Patrick Struebi, founder of Fairtrasa. This honor demonstrates the impact of Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the social sector and the increasing global recognition of entrepreneurs working to transform under-served communities.

Javier co-founded Clinicas del Azucar (“Sugar Clinics”) with fellow entrepreneur Fernanda Zorrilla in order to serve diabetes patients in Mexico, where the disease claims the lives of tens of thousands each year. The chain of low-cost diabetes management clinics aims to address issues of prevention, treatment and awareness in low-income communities where proper care is often lacking. The Clinicas have reduced patients’ annual costs by 70% and lowered diabetes complication rates by 60%, addressing a critical socioeconomic issue with an innovative healthcare model. Since joining the Endeavor network at the 50th ISP in 2013, the entrepreneurs have been active in sessions with Endeavor mentors, developing a strategy to improve and expand upon their business model.

Patrick left the corporate sector after almost a decade in order to start Fairtrasa, a fair trade and organic produce company based in Michoacan, Mexico. Fairtrasa works with hundreds of small farmers in Mexico and other emerging economies in Latin America to produce and distribute high-quality organic and fair trade fruits, wine, and spices in international markets at reasonable prices. The social enterprise aims to help small farmers out of poverty while opening the global market to local goods, equipping its network with financial capital, training programs and technical support. Since his selection at the 39th ISP in 2011, Patrick has received custom advisory from Endeavor’s Venture Corps network while also regularly participating in leadership and fundraising events.

Other Endeavor Entrepreneurs who have been honored by the Foundation in past years include Mois Cherem of Mexico’s ENOVA, Felipe Vergara of Colombia’s Lumni, and Bedriye Hülya of Turkey’s B-Fit. View the full list of 2014 Awardees by clicking here.

Watch the Awards ceremony at the World Economic Forum on Latin America (April 1st – 3rd) in Panama City:

Colombia’s Bodytech Plans Expansion in Latin America, Profiled in El Espectador

bodytechColombia-based Bodytech, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Nicolas Loaiza Galeano and Gigliola Aycardi Batista, recently announced plans for expansion in five Latin American countries as the business prepares to become a publicly listed company. Bodytech’s steady success led to a recent profile in El Espectador, a leading national Colombian newspaper, which highlighted the brand’s recent growth and acquisitions.

Now with 58 Colombian locations spanning major metropolitan areas including Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, Bodytech also maintains 39 locations in Chile and 10 in Peru and is looking to enter Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama by 2015. Projecting to grow to over 200,000 members and 150 fitness centers in the next few years, the company has also set its sights on revenue goals of $150 million as it builds upon its membership and expands the 3,500 jobs it has created since 1997.

With access to the right resources, Nicolas and Gigliola are a testament to the high-impact potential of emerging market entrepreneurs and have been active members of the Endeavor network since their selection in 2007. The team has received expert advice and support from Endeavor’s eMBA, G-Lab and ECLA programs, with specific guidance given on the strategic planning and execution of the brand’s fitness training institutions. In addition, the entrepreneurs have attended Endeavor Summits and received local-level access to mentoring and networking opportunities. In fulfillment of Endeavor’s model, Nicolas and Gigliola have also become mentors, panelists and active recommenders for future generations of potential Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Read more about Bodytech’s news in El Espectador and El Colombiano.

Endeavor Greece Research Spotlights Local Entrepreneurship Scene; Featured in The New York Times and BloombergTV

endeavor-greece-logo-454280Endeavor Greece recently released findings in an infographic highlighting  the nation’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene, the rise in local startups, and the influx of both domestic and foreign investment capital. With ventures in the ICT sector dominating, Greece is steadily making waves in the tech and innovation space as entrepreneurs lead the way for the region’s economic recovery. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of startups in the country more than doubled according to Endeavor Greece’s research, which was also mentioned in a recent New York Times article profiling the nation’s expanding ecosystem. In addition, Managing Director of Endeavor Greece Haris Makryniotis talked with BloombergTV about the nation’s “startup movement” and the potential for local entrepreneurs to become high-impact job creators, citing  the research and his own experiences with Endeavor’s Entrepreneurs.  View the full interview below or by clicking here.

When it was announced in  late 2012, the launch of Endeavor Greece made headlines in the midst of the country’s political and economic turmoil. Endeavor, however, saw a prime opportunity to bring its model to a struggling region and support high-impact, high-growth entrepreneurs that could create jobs and transform industries. Watch Linda Rottenberg discuss the the decision to enter Greece in this 2012 CNBC interview.


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Lebanon’s Diwanee Media Announces Majority Acquisition by French Publishing Company Webedia

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Diwanee, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Herve Cuviliez and Delphine Edde, recently announced a majority acquisition by the Paris-based digital media publishing company Webedia, which also injected $5 million in expansion capital into the company. Cited as one of the region’s largest digital media investments to date, the news not only demonstrates the impact that Endeavor’s entrepreneurs are having on their local economies, but also a rising interest in the Middle East’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

With a predominantly female readership, Diwanee creates and distributes content through its unique offering of Arabic-language websites focused on beauty, fashion, health, entertainment, retail and social media. Founded in 2008 with employees across three countries, the company’s five current web properties – each focused on a different vertical – garners over five million unique visitors per month. With its sights set on the increasingly global landscape of lifestyle products, fashion and internet retail, Diwanee has carved out a niche but growing market in the Middle East, working with a number of its brands and sponsors to create custom content and craft engaging digital and web strategies. Diwanee’s new owner Webedia, which carries similar lifestyle-focused properties in its portfolio, has 40 million unique global users and  established presences in France, Brazil, Turkey, Germany and Spain. The  investment signifies a move for the French company to enter the Middle East while also helping Diwanee’s team develop their current offerings and explore new verticals. 

“Diwanee was at a point where we could do more on the technology side and data side, but it didn’t make financial sense to do it on our own,” said Herve in a statement. “We were very interested in doing this as part of a much larger group. It was a great synergy [with Webedia], and it’s very exciting.”

Since their selection as Endeavor Entrepreneurs at the 46th ISP in Miami in 2012, Herve and Delphine have been active members of the Endeavor network, including participation in the 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit and Endeavor Investor Network events. Read  the press release of the announcement by clicking here, and see coverage of the news in Wamda and Campaign Magazine.

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