High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Jordan Hosts Second Annual “Catalyzing Conversations” Event with Top Members of the Global Network

jordanEndeavor Jordan hosted the second annual ‘Catalyzing Conversations’ event in collaboration with the 59th Endeavor International Selection Panel in Amman. ‘Catalyzing Conversations’ is a multi-tiered event featuring a series of interactive and motivational discussions with business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors from Endeavor’s regional and global network.

The day-long event featured panel discussions conducted by entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts from across the U.S., Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Notable topics and speakers included:

– ‘Getting the Most from the Creative Economy’ hosted by Endeavor Global Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr., Endeavor Jordan Chairman Ali Al-Husry and Endeavor Greece Vice Chairman Mareva Grabowski;

– ‘Mind the Talent Gap’ hosted by Endeavor mentor Sal Giambanco of Omidyar Network;

– ‘Why Culture Matters’ with Endeavor Jordan Entrepreneur Amjad Aryan;

– ‘Multiplying Impact: From Entrepreneur to Investor’ with Endeavor Global Board Member Fadi Ghandour, Endeavor Lebanon Entrepreneur Herve Cuviliez, and Endeavor Global Board Member Michael Ahearn.

“At Endeavor Jordan, we are committed to supporting and advancing high-impact entrepreneurship across Jordan. As such, we continuously strive to organize value-added events that provide our ecosystem with the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with some of the world’s most prominent industry innovators and game-changers, and we believe that insightful events such as ‘Catalyzing Conversations’ are a great way to do so,” said Rasha Manna, Managing Director of Endeavor Jordan. “I would also like to express our gratitude towards Bank al Etihad, Capital Bank, KAFD, Umniah and USAID-JCP for their invaluable support, which has been instrumental to the event’s success.”

The event was supported by Bank al Etihad, Capital Bank, King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD), Umniah and USAID’s Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP).

Learn more about the event by clicking here, read press coverage by clicking here and see more event photos here.

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Endeavor Argentina’s 2015 Experiencia Brings Together 2,000+ Participants to Celebrate High-Impact Entrepreneurship

endvr_argentinaEndeavor Argentina hosted its 2015 Endeavor Experiencia this June. The event, which took place in Buenos Aires, was designed to promote networking between entrepreneurs and potential investors as well as celebrate the work of Endeavor in the region. It brought together over 2,000 participants from eight provinces with the goal of inspiring and encouraging Argentina’s entrepreneurship movement.

Throughout the day-long event, participants attended a series of workshops, lectures, and roundtable discussions led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs, business leaders and top members of the regional network. More than 2,000 external participants also connected to the event through digital streaming. In total, more than 200 reported connections were made between entrepreneurs and potential investors in attendance.

Notable Endeavor Entrepreneurs who spoke include Marcos Galperin (Co-Founder of MercadoLibre), Guibert Englebienne and Martin Migoya (Co-Founders of Globant), Sally Buberman (Co-Founder of Wormhole IT), and Luciano Nicora (Founder of VN BPO).

The event garnered significant press and social media attention. It was featured in six national newspapers and garnered more than 2,500 tweets. According to an exit survey, 96% of the attendees would go to another event and 98% considered it an extremely positive experience.

Watch the recap video below and learn more about the event by clicking here.

Endeavor Colombia Brings High-Impact Entrepreneurship to Barranquilla and Medellín with Regional Expansion

endeavor colombiaEndeavor Colombia is announcing the launch of its first two regional operations in Colombia. The offices will be located in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city and the host of a 2016 Endeavor International Selection Panel, and in Barranquilla, the country’s main Caribbean city. Spearheaded by Endeavor Colombia’s Board of Directors and national and local institutions, this expansion will help the Bogotá office continue to support and serve the best high-impact entrepreneurs in the region.

The Medellín operation will act as a further extension of the Entrepreneur Selection and Growth (ESG) team, with the goal of promoting scale-up entrepreneurship by increasing the selection of candidates from the region. The office is working in conjunction with RutaN, the foremost entrepreneurship and innovation-focused organization in Medellín. RutaN is supporting the offices’s operations under the management of María Isabel Uribe.

In Barranquilla, the operation is going forward in alliance with the local chamber of commerce and iNNpulsa, a government program that supports high-impact entrepreneurship in Colombia. The first step of the operation will involve selecting a group of entrepreneurs who are in an earlier stage of development than typical Endeavor Entrepreneur candidates. The purpose of this selection is to prepare potential candidates and nominees at a smaller regional level for the national selection process. This accelerated program will be offered to eight businesses that show high potential and will see them through a year of mentoring, interviews and workshops during which they will strengthen their pitches for regional panels. They will also be exposed to several important networking opportunities. Juan Carlos Peña will be heading the efforts in Barranquilla.

The Barranquilla operation was launched on June 11th, 2015 and the Medellín operation will launch on July 29th, 2015.

Learn more about Endeavor Colombia by clicking here.

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Medellín, Colombia


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Barranquilla, Colombia

UAE’S Fetchr Raises $11 Million Series A Round With Participation From Endeavor Catalyst

fetchrlogoThe Dubai-based Fetchr, co-founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Idriss Al Rifai, raised $11 million in a Series A round of funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). The app helps local merchants and global brands build, launch and grow profitable e-commerce businesses with an easy-to-use proprietary shipping and logistics solution. This investment marks the largest U.S. Series A investment in a Middle Eastern venture to date.

Fetchr was founded with the aim of taking the hassle and inconvenience out of package delivery. In emerging regions of the world where addresses are inconsistent and often unreliable, there is a major challenge for deliveries. This challenge prevents consumers from ordering items online, businesses from growing their revenue via e-commerce, and people from sending packages to each other. Organizing pickups and deliveries still requires multiple phone calls and shipping businesses are still relying on paper and pen.

Fetchr uses proprietary technology to schedule package pick-up and delivery using mobile phone GPS coordinates as the address. While e-commerce is growing at explosive rates around the world, it will never reach its full potential until the “no street address” problem is cracked. Fetchr overcomes these logistical hurdles by delivering packages using mobile phones as points of contact.  This groundbreaking shipping and logistics solution helps local merchants and global brands build, launch, and grow profitable e-commerce businesses. Fetchr is significantly faster than competitors, with 97 percent of packages delivered same day or overnight, and a return process that picks up within 30 minutes. Fetchr’s system connects the dots between customer, package, driver, and sender to create an overall seamless experience.

This Series A investment will enable Fetchr to launch the mobile application of its service in the Appstore and Google Play, as well as fuel ongoing product development.

“Consumers use their phones to shop for just about everything,” said Idriss Al Rifai. “With our app, you can now use your phone to ship anything, anywhere. We aim to change the behavior in which people send and receive packages. We are thrilled that NEA shares our vision for overcoming the major logistical challenges that exist for deliveries in emerging markets, as well as ushering in a new era for shipping and ecommerce. This investment is a big step forward for the Arab startup community.”

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2015, Fetchr’s founding team have been active members of the network, receiving custom advisory services from a board of Endeavor mentors. In addition, Endeavor has connected the team with other entrepreneurs and a number of investors who will help them continue to grow their business model in this next phase.

Read more about the investment news in the Wall Street Journal.

About Endeavor Catalyst

Endeavor-Catalyst-LogoEndeavor 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.

Endeavor Brazil’s Entrepreneurial City Index Ranks Quality of Entrepreneurship Across the Country

endeavorbrasilEndeavor Brazil, with support from Bain & Company, published an Entrepreneurial City Index of Brazilian capitals in an attempt to understand the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as draft local policies to encourage high-impact entrepreneurship.  The results will serve as an assessment tool for public managers and support organizations interested in economic impact in the cities, and for entrepreneurs to make more informed decisions when choosing where to start their businesses.

The creation of a positive environment for entrepreneurial activity is a concern for countries with a range of economic development; entrepreneurs play a significant role in such productivity and are agents of generating wealth. Policies aimed at generating entrepreneurship, thus, are important to a country’s economic well being.

Starting a new business in Brazil requires a huge amount of effort. Entrepreneurs face daunting obstacles daily, be it finding new customers, managing budgets, or simply building a qualified team. Endeavor developed a unique framework for assessing the business environment in Brazil’s regions. To build this framework a set of economic, institutional and social indicators from all 14 cities were organized and collected.

The study’s framework focuses on seven determinants that form the ranking themes. These include: Regulatory Environment, Infrastructure, Market Conditions, Access to Capital, Innovation, Human Capital, and Culture.

Regulatory environment deals with permits, inspections, and labor laws, particularly on the length of proceedings and the cost of taxes measured by the effective taxation of small and medium ventures.
Infrastructure focuses on two main groups: long distance transportation and urban conditions. Sao Paolo took first place in Market Conditions, the next determinant.
Market Conditions concern economic development and potential clients.
Access to Capital is another very important determinant for an entrepreneurial city. The two main categories for determining access to capital are available capital via debt and access to venture capital. For a new company, it is often difficult to think about investing in the future when the present is uncertain, so access to investors and venture capitalists can make or break a start-up.
Innovation focuses on investment intensity and generating innovation potential.
Human Capital  deals with the availability of skilled and basic labor.
Culture plays a large role in the success of entrepreneurial ventures in Brazil. A society’s vision of and attitude towards entrepreneurship is a noteworthy factor in whether or not entrepreneurs will be successful in a determined city.

After a thorough analysis of the results, Florianópolis, an island region in the South East of the country, came in first place. Thirty years ago the city could not have imagined its current success, but hard work and the alignment between economy, government and society, made this island a hub for entrepreneurial growth. This data will allow regional governments to better understand their position in the entrepreneurial spectrum, and allow them to grow and develop into their own successful entrepreneurial sites.

Read the report below and download it by clicking here.

Greece’s Green Cola Receives a Twenty-Five Percent Equity Stake Investment

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Yiannis Chitos, Chairman of Chitos S.A., a leading Greek beverage manufacturer, has acquired a 25% equity stake in Green Cola, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Periklis Venieris. Green Cola has become one of the fastest growing consumer goods brands in Greece. The company has already successfully positioned itself in the Greek market and has grown its presence to Israel, Cyprus, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium and Australia.

Green Cola introduced a cola-type product in 2012 that offers natural ingredients and fewer calories without sacrificing the taste of traditional soft drinks. The company now operates in the beverage industry through its subsidiary EPAP, maintaining a legacy that spans over half a century in the production and bottling of soft drinks. In 2013, the company launched a larger array of low-calorie and high-quality products. EPAP currently owns exclusive production and use rights of Green Cola products for Greece and 12 other international markets.

Chitos S.A. and Green Cola signed and drafted a five-year business plan which will allow them to expand Green Cola’s presence and activities into national and international markets. Green Cola will form a new board with Yiannis Hitos serving as executive chairman. Hitos’ company Chitos S.A. is one of the most successful Greek companies in the field of bottled water. They have a registered office in the Ioannina region and has steadily evolved into a dynamic brand which significantly contributes to the Gre
ek economy.

Since his selection by Endeavor in 2014, Periklis has received introductions to investors and strategic mentors. Read more about the news by clicking here.

Endeavor Marks Third Expansion in Europe with Launch in Bulgaria

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Endeavor Bulgaria Logo no tag (color) hi-resSofia, Bulgaria – June 1, 2015 – With the launch of an office in Bulgaria, Endeavor now has a presence in three European countries. With the support of some of Bulgaria’s top businesses leaders, Endeavor will focus on fostering the entrepreneurs with the most potential to create jobs and transform the regional economy. Endeavor first expanded in Europe in 2012 with Endeavor Greece followed by the launch of Endeavor Spain in 2014.

Bulgaria has come a long way from its turbulent political and economic transition in the 1990s to becoming a member of the European Union in 2007. With average annual economic growth reaching 4% over the past decade, Bulgaria needs to build on the its achievements and continue to stimulate employment, business and investment growth. According to conclusions from the Global Entrepreneurship Index, Bulgaria is in need of institutional progress in the ecosystem that will result in more high-quality and innovative ventures that can continue to propel its development. Slowing recovery from the 2008 economic crisis demonstrates that there are still many challenges to the quality of entrepreneurship in the country, but the general population has a better than average attitude towards entrepreneurial activity when compared to the rest of the EU.

High-impact entrepreneurs have the potential to transform Bulgaria into a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, which will create role models and inspirational stories for future generations to follow. Given access to the right mix of mentors, business networks, capital and strategic advice, Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world have successfully attracted top talent and investment to the regions that need it the most.  With a favorable environment for entrepreneurial growth, Bulgaria has the necessary infrastructure to build a support network for businesses that can move the needle of the economy.

“We are thrilled to continue our growth in Europe with this expansion in Bulgaria, which will continue the amazing work that Endeavor has already done in Greece and Spain,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “Great talent and ideas exist in every region of the world and Endeavor will help showcase Bulgaria’s top entrepreneurs on a global stage.”

Founded in 1997, Endeavor selects and supports high-impact entrepreneurs who have the potential to scale from promising SMEs into companies that create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs and generate significant revenues. Once selected, Endeavor Entrepreneurs are given world-class strategic mentoring advice, access to key networks and other tools and talent programs that can catapult them to success. In the past 17 years Endeavor has selected over a thousand entrepreneurs from 22 countries around the world in North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In 2013, these entrepreneurs generated $6.8BN in revenue and created 400,000 jobs.

All of Endeavor’s global affiliates are spearheaded by a local board of business leaders and entrepreneurs. The Endeavor Bulgaria founding board include: Nedelcho Spasov, Co-Founder of Easy Asset Management; Christo Iliev, Founder & Executive Chairman of AG Capital; Lyubomir Minchev, Founder & CEO of Telelink; Atanas Simeonov, CEO of S Group; Vassil Terziev, Chief Innovation Officer of Progress Software; and Ivo Evgeniev, Co-Founder of Rosslyn Capital Partners.

“The Board of Endeavor Bulgaria looks forward to mentoring and supporting the best entrepreneurs across the country,” said Board Chairman Ivo Evgeniev. “We are at the start of making a significant and lasting impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria.”

Angel Kelchev will serve as Managing Director to oversee the successful launch of Endeavor Bulgaria. Angel has over eight years of M&A experience both in the U.S. and in Bulgaria. He has previously advised U.S. companies from a variety of sectors in the technology space, as well as various Bulgarian companies across sectors (e.g., telecom, FMCG, retail, agriculture, etc.). As MD, he will lead the day-to-day operations of the office in Sofia and will be involved in screening local entrepreneurs for selection into the network.

South Africa’s DJ Kumbula, Co-founder of InnoVent, Profiled By National Newspaper Business Day

innoventDJ Kumbula, founder of InnoVent, was profiled in  national South African newspaper Business Day Live for his work in promoting sustainability and recycling in the tech industry. Kumbula co-founded InnoVent in 2003 with fellow Endeavor Entrepreneur Zakhe Khuzwayo with the aim of creating a technology rental agency that promotes efficiency and sustainability.

InnoVent, with over two billion Rand in assets under its management, uses the model of a traditional rental system but focuses on technology, with assets such as laptops, desktops and servers. The renting period for these products averages about three years, after which they are returned to InnoVent. Kumbula’s second venture, Qrent, was born from these returns. Qrent refurbishes the returned computers and rents them for short amounts of time to large regional clients like the Independent Electoral Commission and Statistics SA.

The profile discusses Qrent’s recent partnership with Discovery, a company they had approached four years earlier with a set of three-year-old Dell computers. According to Qrent’s analysis, Discovery saved nearly 50% on technology over four years, serving as just one example of how the company’s model can help similar clients achieve both sustainability and cost savings. Kumbula has begun expanding into the African continent, focusing on Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania, with over 100 InnoVent and Qrent employees currently located across the four countries. With a recent seed investment from a regional bank, Kumbula and his team plan to diversify their rental portfolio and eye international expansion opportunities as they take the company to scale.

Selected into  Endeavor in 2009, the entrepreneurs have received mentorship from a local advisory board of business leaders as well as support from Endeavor’s international mentors. Endeavor has also connected the team to potential entrepreneurs and consultants from global Fortune 500 companies.

Read all of the BDLive coverage by clicking here.

Argentina’s Susana Balbo, Founder of Dominio del Plata, Recognized as “Woman of the Year” by The Drinks Business

Endeavor Entrepreneur Susana Balbo, founder of Argentina winery Dominio Del Plata, was recently name “Woman of the Year” by The Drinks Business, a leading drinks-focused trade publication. In its 12th annual Awards ceremony, Balbo – Argentina’s first female winemaker – was recognized as a top performer in the international drinks industry by a panel of business professionals from across the sector.

The Awards are given across four categories that honor everything from marketing to supply chains. Balbo was recognized for defying the societal norms of her time and becoming a high-impact entrepreneur who has gone on to influence the Argentine ecosystem. After earning her license in 1981, and graduating at the top of her class, Susana became the first woman to achieve this feat in Argentina. Her dream, which she soon achieved, was to open her own bodega and manage her own wine label. Over three decades, Susana has become a valuable consultant for national and international bodegas. She was elected as President of Wines of Argentina (WOFA) on three occasions. Dominio del Plata, which is located in the Mendoza wine region, is an innovator in its industry. Through a unique environmentally-friendly model, the winery uses water recycling and reduced packaging weight to decrease its environmental impact.

“This recognition has been for me the culmination of hard work and creativity used to fulfill my passion… making wines,” said Susana in reference to the honor.

Since her selection by Endeavor in 2003, Susana and her team have been active members of the network. She has attended a number of industry tours and Entrepreneur Summits both on a global and local level. Dominio has also benefited from consultants provided through Endeavor’s talent and education programs.

Read more about the news by clicking here.

Turkey’s Iyzico Raises Series B Round of Funding with Participation from Endeavor Catalyst

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The Istanbul-based Iyzico, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Barbaros Özbugutu and Tahsin Isınraised a  $6.2 million Series B round of funding led by IFC, 212 and Speedinvest, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst.  The payments company provides a platform to let e-commerce sites and other apps easily and efficiently accept online payments.

Iyzico offers its clients over 22 different payment options and features like recurring payments, bin control, one click payments, installment payments, bank transfers and marketplace solutions. Since it was founded in 2012, the company has raised $9.4 million in funding. Iyzico will use the new capital to expand its research and development team and scale its payment technology around the world. Specifically, the company is planning to expand beyond Turkey and target the Middle East, aiming to become the leading payments platform of its kind in the region. Without major competitors in Turkey, Iyzico is poised to dominate the local sector.

“Our goal is to become the Stripe of the region,” said CEO Barbaros Ozbugutu in a statement. “It is particularly exciting to work with the IFC – a body with tremendous knowledge and experience in financial tech sector worldwide. Having become the leading payment solution for online businesses and enterprises in Turkey, Iyzico is enthusiastic to take its technology global.”

Since their selection in 2014, Iyzico’s team has already proven their high-impact potential, acquiring analytics firm MyPat.co and receiving tailored mentorship from local and global business leaders as well as other Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Read more about the news in TechCrunch and Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

About Endeavor Catalyst

Endeavor-Catalyst-LogoEndeavor 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.

iyzico

Barbaros Özbugutu and Tahsin Isın with Endeavor Turkey staff

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