High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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.


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