High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Entrepreneurs Spotlight Youth Employment at EY Strategic Growth Forum in Rome

At EY‘s first pan-Mediterranean Strategic Growth Forum in Rome, nearly 600 business executives, government leaders and entrepreneurs from across the globe came together to discuss the region’s business and investment potential. The two-day event included panel discussions with Endeavor Entrepreneurs Mostafa […]

April 24th, 2015 — by admin

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Turkey’s Pozitron Acquired by Monitise Group in $100 Million Deal

Endeavor Entrepreneur company Pozitron, founded by Fatih Işbecer and Fırat İşbecer, recently announced its acquisition by mobile commerce giant Monitise Group in an all-share deal worth $100 million. A Turkey-based mobile software development company, Pozitron was founded in […]

February 3rd, 2014 — by admin

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Linda Rottenberg discusses emerging market entrepreneurship in interview with The Street

In an interview with The Street at last week’s New York Forum of business leaders and thinkers, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg highlights the role of entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets. Read more about the panel entitled America, The Ordinary?, on which Rottenberg spoke.

Please click HERE to view the interview.

Interview transcription of Linda’s comments:

Endeavor operates in emerging markets around the world, so we have operations in Latin America, the Middle East, South Africa. We’re about to launch in Indonesia, looking at Poland. So we’re looking broadly at the Emerging Markets, and I think we’re seeing a few different types of innovations emerging.

One is what I call emerging markets parallels – or some people call them the Emerging Market Copycats. We have a company in Argentina that created the e-bay of Latin America, MercadoLibre and was able to take it public on the NASDAQ. We have, a friend of mine Fadi Ghandour, who created the FedEx of the Middle East created Aramex—took he that public on the NASDAQ.

What’s interesting is those companies—those entrepreneurs—are becoming the angel investors and the mentors for the next generation. So for example, in actually both Latin America and the Middle East, we’re seeing a lot of gamers and we’re seeing actually a company called Globant that’s doing all of the back end content provision for Disney, Electronic Arts. So you’re seeing content and gaming started from these countries but actually supplying U.S. companies.

The other thing is we’re seeing about 50 percent of the high-impact entrepreneurs that Endeavor supports coming not in high tech sectors, not in consumer internet. They’re looking at retail and consumer goods and making stuff. They’re starting in retail and consumer goods or supply chain companies, but they’re the engines of growth, and not only that: they’re looking not only nationally but internationally—a new phenomenon that I was talking about on stage in the New York Forum was the idea of E to E: Emerging Market to Emerging Market.

So I think that when we look at the next wave of innovations, I think of course Americans will still have LinkedIn and Facebook and Zinga, and we are not going anywhere. But I think we’ve got to be global from the start looking at these companies. It’s no longer this statement I heard in Silicon Valley: “It’s Florence in the Age of the Renaissance. Why would we look anywhere else?!” We have to look internationally from the beginning, and I think we are going to find some Emerging Market innovations that we then adapt back here.

Endeavor Entrepreneur David Assael on building the largest architectural community online

Endeavor Entrepreneur David Assael, founder of Plataforma Networks, started and continues to expand what has become the most popular architecture site on the web. With fresh content and relevance, an innovative and profitable business model and thousands of daily readers, the site has put Assael on the map – and literally has helped put new architecture on the map of cities around the world. The following article from the Chilean news source La Tercera (translated from Spanish) details the history and growth of the Plataforma Networks.

In five years, Platforma Arquitectura has become an online phenomenon with 50 thousand daily visitors.

An anecdote speaks to this success: One year ago, David Assael was invited to a conference in Israel. “One of the architects asked me if by any chance I knew of Archdaily.com. Clearly, I told him, I am one of the creators and I’m also a founder of Plataforma Arquitectura. He looked at me amazed. He couldn’t believe that these sites came from Chile and not Silicon Valley,” the founder of the two most visited architecture sites in the world recalled.

It all started in 2005 with Católica University grads David Assael and David Basulto’s first web project, Platforma Urbana, a site that brings together information on urban building and style and that after a year expanded to Platforma Architectura.

In a matter of months, the website that tried to put Chilean and Latin American architecture on the map became one of the most visited sites: from 14 daily visits to 50 thousand. Soon they decided to replicate their model, but in English, under the name of ArchDaily. The phenomenon continued, growing today to 200 thousands daily visits mostly among U.S. users. The company also expanded and now employs about 40 people in three offices in Providence.

“Since the beginning we had to be clear that the principle actors were neither the people who built the site nor the state that regulates it, but rather the people with the purchasing power who decide where they want to live. The idea is to inform and generate discussion about the problems of a city and the existing architecture,” said Assael. “Suddenly, we realized that we had become the source for architecture publications, students, professors and the general public.”

The site isn’t just about Assael’s taste and perceptions. After being published on the site, foreign and local architects and firms like Polidura, Talhouk and Drn Architects, have become known in the industry. David Barragan, an Ecuadorian, spoke to this: “There is a before and after Casa Pentimento on Plataforma Architectura. It was overwhelming. Publications started calling us, we were invited to conferences and workshops and we were even invited to participate in an architectural showcase in Abu Dahbi.”

The Role of Heritage
With the success of Plataforma Urbana, the site space Plataforma Patrimonio emerged as a place for people to discuss news and themes about how to rehab traditional neighborhoods and classic architecture. “Heritage is one area in which we don’t do very well in Chile. European countries didn’t give due weight to for a long time but then they realized that it’s vital to preserve their own culture and roots,” says the architect.
“The major problem today is that we don’t have the institutional framework required to regulate historic property. You can’t freeze the houses, so the idea is to identify, protect, invest in and improve heritage properties. Today, a person who has a home declared a heritage site must maintain it. He can’t sell it or improve it. The state should become more responsible,” said Assael.

So, as its first initiative, the site provided extensive coverage of Heritage Day, in addition to publishing articles related to preserving architectural heritage. The idea is to continue this conversation in a familiar language. For Assael, this has been the great contribution of his online projects and it will continue to be so: “We are not interested in passing the role on to someone else. We don’t want to become a fetish but rather a source of utility. We like to be an everyday tool.”

The architectural world appreciates this mentality. “We check it often, above all to be up on major themes and controversies. I like the definition they give: ‘The best architecture in the world, as soon as possible’,” says the architect Sebastian Gray. Meanwhile, Albert Tidy, Director of the Architecture School of San Sebastian University, highlights above all the “magnitude and freedom” of the medium: “It has become an essential reference for architects.”

To make the company sustainable, Assael and Basulto invented a profitable business model in which some 20 companies in the construction field pay to advertise their products on the web. “The architects need to know what the appropriate brick or cement for their work is. Now we are the intermediary between suppliers and architects,” Assael said.

For now, the goal of the architectural techs is to continue positioning their websites across diverse landscapes. So far, they haven’t done bad. In the last three years they’ve met with the king if Spain, Saudi Arabia and the president of Israel. In March, they gave a lecture at Harvard, and two weeks ago they were invited to the annual of the American Institute of Architects in New York. “More than creativity, the key to everything has been perseverance. There are many projects that start, last six months, and fall apart. We were focused for five years on starting and building this and now we will persist,” concludes Assael.

Stolen quotes from the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco

This week over 400 entrepreneurs, investors and innovative thinkers are gathering in San Francisco for Endeavor’s Entrepreneur Summit. Here are some “stolen quotes” and Twitter postings from the first day of the event. Thanks to Oriana Torres for compiling them on her blog and continue following the summit on Twitter at #eSummitSF.

“Talented people can from strange places.” – Guibert Englebienne, cofounder Globant

“The dynamic of VC industry has changed in the last two years. Build trust with people has become key for entrepreneurs.”

“Winning entrepreneurs in high risk markets are the ones who go global from day one.” – Dan Senor

“The entrepreneur summit is the perfect therapy for people called crazy”

“Use someone else money to start up companies. When you get good at it use your own. Nothing bad in that.” – Scott McNealy

“If everyone thinks you’re doing the right thing – then everyone would be doing it. Have a controversial strategy.” -Scott McNealy

“Forget about privacy! Most of the startups here in the Valley are about invading your privacy.” – Scott McNealy

“Be controversial. But the thing about being controversial, is you better be correct!” – Scott McNealy

“Invitation for all VCs thinking about going global, please think about settling in & building an ecosystem – not all money is green.”

“The top 15 IT firms in the US have $250 billion in excess cash. That is almost 1% of the worlds GDP. Hope they use it wisely!”

”Four trends in technology: cloud computing, mobile, social platforms, massive adoption of IT products.” – Marc Benioff

“NOT concerned about web ownership by a few. Dominant players constantly shift.” – Marc Benioff

“My personal opinion: while facebook is eating the web, twitter is saving it.”

“Innovation is a baton being tossed between intemporal entrepreneurial paradigms.” – Marc Benioff

“USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Aus&Benelux make 95% of enterprise software. Benioff mentions not location rather than where you sell!”

“Marc Benioff says Salesforce could not get VCs interested in early days, despite performance and connections.”

“Building one successful company is more exciting than serial entrepreneurship. Must stay focused.” – Marc Benioff

”If you are an entrepreneur you have to overcommunicate” – Marc Benioff

“Most things [Marc Benioff] learned in b-school are not applicable today. On the job learnings are key.”

“Start ups by definition are the exceptions to the rule, if they are successful” – Matt Cohler

“The give back rule: Donate 1% of your profits, 1% of your equity and 1% of your time.” – Marc Benioff

“Education for kids is a good market opportunity”

“A decisão mais estratégica que um empreendedor toma na sua trajetória é a escolha da mulher com quem terá seus filhos.” – Scott McNealy

“Raise $ when you can, not when you need, do due diligence on investors, make your startup connected to community with global mindset”

Veuve Clicquot to present the first High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit

Press release

Premium champagne house Veuve Clicquot today announced its inaugural “High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year” award, to be bestowed to one female Endeavor Entrepreneur. VSP Capital Founder and San Francisco Mayoral Candidate Joanna Rees will present the award during Endeavor Global’s 2011 Summit on Entrepreneurship. The winning nominee will be recognized for serving as a female role model in her country, as well as for her positive impact on the economy through job and revenue creation.

A leading supporter of female entrepreneurship worldwide, through 39 years of Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards in over 25 countries, the champagne powerhouse was originally founded by Philippe Clicquot. But it was his daughter-in-law, upon her widowhood (Veuve, in French), who, during the first half of the nineteenth century, brought renown to the brand by distributing it throughout the European royal courts while dramatically modernizing the production process, a true example of an early – the first – female entrepreneur.

Award presenter Joanna Rees is a Board Member of Endeavor Global, the leader of High-Impact Entrepreneurship worldwide. To date, Endeavor supports 603 entrepreneurs, 63 of whom are female. Joanna said that due to its iconic origins, Veuve Clicquot is an ideal partner for Endeavor. “As a female entrepreneur who loves working with female entrepreneurs, it gives me great pleasure to work with a company that shares a similar history and value system.”

The award nominees will come together with leading businesswomen and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area during the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit to celebrate female entrepreneurship. This networking breakfast will take place on Wednesday, June 29th, 8:00am – 9:00am at the Westin St. Francis. The breakfast will bring together leading women visionaries and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley & Endeavor including Vanessa Kay, President of Veuve Clicquot US; and Linda Rottenberg, Co-founder & CEO, Endeavor.

The nominees for the “High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year” award are:
Aytül Erçil- Founder of automated systems company Vistek, Turkey
Maristela Mafei: Founder of public relations agency Máquina de Notícia, Brazil
Cheryl Nesbitt: Founder of culinary education company Capsicum, South Africa
Ximena Patiño: Co-founder of geographic information systems (GIS) applications provider Servinformación, Colombia
Leila Velez: Co-founder of hair salon chain Beleza Natural, Brazil
Hind & Nadia Wassef: Co-founders of Egyptian bookstore chain Diwan, Egypt

For more information on the High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award, please contact:
Maggie Krummel
Email: Maggie.Krummel@endeavor.org

About Veuve Clicquot

“One quality only, the finest.” Times change, but the motto remains. Upon inheriting the small family wine business at the death of her husband in 1805, Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, Veuve Clicquot, then only 27, had the vision of a wine symbol of excellence and enjoyed by the political and financial leaders of the world. She invested to procure the best raw material possible, invented a new production process and conquered one country after the next. She single-handedly created the business model of Champagne, still true to this day, some two centuries later. In 1972, for the bicentennial of the House, Veuve Clicquot created its Business Women Awards, now celebrated in over 25 countries and counting on its solid network of 300 former winners. At the dawn of their 40th anniversary, the Veuve Clicquot awards, which now also include the Veuve Clicquot Initiatives for Economic Development in emerging markets, are reinforced with the first edition of the Veuve Clicquot High Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year, in partnership with Endeavor and the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit.

eMBA Field Report: Off to the movies in Mexico

By Jacob Ritvo

Jacob is an MBA student at the Yale School of Management and is spending his summer as an eMBA with Cinemagic in Mexico.

Working in another language is hard. Basic skills that are second nature in English become taxing in Spanish—reading takes longer, listening demands greater concentration, and writing and speaking require considerable thought just to form a cogent sentence. Plus, there is the challenge of learning colloquialisms (por favor becomes porfa) and growing my business vocabulary (it turns out EBITDA is also EBITDA in Spanish). And yet, my first two weeks as an eMBA with Cinemagic in Puebla, Mexico, have been nothing short of wonderful.

With Don Lorenzo Servitje, founder of Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest bakery, at a CSR conference.

My first assignment was to prepare a series of presentations on Cinemagic’s business model and CSR programs—two for a pair of case discussions on Cinemagic with international students at IPADE Business School, plus one for a session on disruptive technologies and products that Roberto Quintero, the founder, will participate in at the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. Researching and assembling the presentations proved to be a great vehicle for better understanding our business model, customers, and industry. Although I still don’t know

Cinemagic entrepreneurs, IPADE students, and Kung Fu Panda at our Atlixco, Puebla, theater.

Cinemagic inside and out, I know it well enough to now set my sights on tackling some of the challenges we face with regard to competitive, financial, and customer strategies.

Roberto and his co-founder Pepe Irigoyen have been gracious about including me in top-level meetings, seeking my opinions as a consultant and introducing me to the way business is done in Mexico. I’ve joined them at a pitch to investors, negotiations between Cinemagic, a real estate developer, and the mayor of a city where we want to build a cinema, a conference on social responsibility with business leaders from across Mexico, and the aforementioned sessions with IPADE students.

Roberto, Pepe, and my other coworkers have also been extremely welcoming and hospitable, taking me on tours of Puebla and neighboring Cholula, inviting me to break bread with their families, and introducing me to local culture. Tonight, we’re off to las luchas (Mexican wrestling) as an office, and there is much more interesting work and fun activities in store.

Forbes.com anticipates the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit

In a recent article article on Forbes.com, “Where Silicon Valley Meets Emerging Market Entrepreneurs,” Elmira Bayrasli discusses the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit taking place this week in Silicon Valley. Including thoughts from Endeavor Entrepreneurs Fatih İşbecer, Marc Dfouni, Nemr Nicholas Badine, Hind and Nadia Wassef, Wences Casares, and Endeavor CEO and Co-Founder Linda Rottenberg, the article highlights the role of Endeavor in supporting emerging market entrepreneurs and catalyzing investment communities.

The article quotes Egyptian entrepreneur Nadia Wassef, who in the midst of the country’s revolution and unrest, “likens the Endeavor Summit to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. ‘It is a place where you can play around with ideas, experiment, and renew your drive.'”

As Elmira points out, “It is also a place they’re looking forward to connecting with the world’s greatest business and entrepreneurial minds. With keynotes from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and LinkedIn founder (and Endeavor board member) Reid Hoffman, along with insights from top names from Google, Dell, Kleiner Perkins, Ning, and IBM – including Watson himself, Endeavor’s summit is a gathering of entrepreneurship and venture capital’s best.”

As more than 400 participants are currently gathering in San Francisco for the Summit which will begin tomorrow, there is much excitement and anticipation for the exchange of ideas. While the entrepreneurs look forward to guidance from seasoned start-up gurus, Fatih İşbecer adds, “I’m also looking forward for them to hear about what’s going on in Turkey.” He notes that it used to be that Turkish entrepreneurs, like those throughout emerging markets, could only learn from American talent. “Now they want to learn from us.”

Rottenberg optimistic about American entrepreneurship on panel at New York Forum

The second day of the New York Forum — an annual event dedicated to forging collaborations and finding solutions to today’s most pressing issues — began with a panel discussion on the topic“America, The Ordinary?” The video of the complete session (in two parts) can be accessed below or by clicking these links: Part 1 / Part 2.

Participating on the panel were Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg, in addition to Esther Dyson (Chairman, EDventure Holdings), Thomas Friedman (Columnist, The New York Times), Jeffrey Kindler (former Chairman and CEO, Pfizer), Jonathan Miller (CEO, NewsCorp Digital), and Edmund Phelps (Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University; Nobel Prize in Economics, 2006). CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo moderated the panel.

Bartiromo kicked off the panel bluntly: “Has the U.S. lost its edge?”

Answers to the question varied from frustrated to optimistic. Rottenberg emphasized that the United States is still extraordinary, but can learn much from emerging markets such as the ones Endeavor supports. The confidence and rapid growth in these markets have the potential to benefit the U.S., which panelists agreed is in need of an entrepreneurial jolt.

With the explosion of tech businesses and buzz, innovation and entrepreneurship have become nearly synonymous with new technology. “Optimism about innovation in America is inspired by headline innovations in Silicon Valley,” asserted Edmund Phelps, “but if you look across the breadth of the economy, you come away feeling that the typical company is less innovative than it was before.”

Rottenberg underscored the point that innovation is not limited to tech companies, drawing on the example of successful Endeavor Entrepreneurs operating in traditional bricks-and-mortar industries. She asserted that family and consumer-driven businesses in these industries could become engines of growth and job creation in the U.S. as they have in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, panelists recognized that high technology continues to play a major role in domestic innovation. “Cloud computing, social web, YouTube…they all came out of the US literally in this last decade,” acknowledged Jonathan Miller. “We have a system in which people can get money from angels, VC and that system is really good.”

The point was also raised that while America is still a world leader with transformative influence, entrepreneurs have much to gain by learning from emerging markets — embracing them and the spirit they embody. Said Rottenberg: “You can be both global and make your country great.”

Endeavor Entrepreneur Pamela Chávez-Crooker on attracting investment and scaling her Chilean biotech firm

Pamela Chávez-Crooker, founder of Aguamarina, recently spoke with the Latin America Venture Capital Association about how she took her biotech company from garage start-up to a go-to company for some of the world’s largest copper mines.

Find the full LACVA interview here.

LAVCA: When talking to investors, how do you describe Aguamarina?

Chávez-Crooker: Aguamarina SA is a biotechnology services company that combines industry expertise and innovative biotechnology to improve operational efficiency in mining.

LAVCA: Media attention surrounding recent mine collapses, including in Chile, has brought a lot of attention to the outdated extraction methods in mines that are potentially harmful to miners’ lives and the environment. How does Aguamarina address this problem?

Chávez-Crooker: We are currently focusing on the world’s main copper mines as clients and work with them to customize services that will address their main challenges in productivity and/or operations through biotechnology.

Biotechnology reduces the environmental impact of the operations by reducing contamination. Water is used in a more efficient way and we’ve developed processes so mines can reuse materials and water. In other words, we help produce a cleaner copper. We work in the areas of biocorrosion, bioleaching, bioremediation and water treatment.

We are able to do this by leveraging our expertise in microbiology and industry relationships to provide targeted research, diagnose problems and provide the technical services the client needs.

We believe there is a lot of work to be done over the next few years in order to build a more sustainable industry, and biotechnology provides a viable option to help the industry achieve this.

LAVCA: How did you come up with your business idea?

Chávez-Crooker: My scientific background allowed me to understand the main challenges to improving recovery and productivity for the copper mining industry. By identifying these challenges and understanding how biotechnology could help resolve obstacles, I knew we’d have an opportunity to scale up our own technologies more quickly than traditional methods. Aguamarina’s main investor, Juan Manuel Aguirre, brought practical business experience, which allowed the company to develop more quickly than if I had been trying to do it alone.

We started Aguamarina in my garage in 2007 and within a year moved to a bigger facility where we built a scientific lab. After another year, we built new offices and expanded the lab. Now we are fully operational and accelerating growth. Through Endeavor, I was able to present Aguamarina to a team from the Ross Business School, Michigan (MAP program), and they helped us to refine and build our business plan. Now, we are focusing on implementing the updated model with two technologies that we will be launching soon.

LAVCA: What sort of financing have you received thus far?

Chávez-Crooker: We attracted capital from a Chilean VC firm that has a new program focused on clean technology. We just signed a new partnership with them for 25% of the company for US$1.2M. We are very proud and excited about this.

LAVCA: How are you putting your latest round of funding to use?

Chávez-Crooker: Most of the money is being use as working capital. We are hiring a new CEO at the moment in order to improve our organizational structure, connectivity and oversee the overall business plan.

However, the investment will also continue to help us grow in other ways. We have started exporting to Peru, and I am looking to move to the United States in the next couple of years.

LAVCA: Why the US? Will you continue operations in Chile?

Chávez-Crooker: Yes, we would definitely like to keep our operations in Antofagasta. However, we’ve realized that Aguamarina is one of the top biotech companies in Chile, and having reached this level, there is a real opportunity to scale up very fast. To do so, we need to be connected to the main research centers in the world. Opening an office in US would help position us strategically to build these additional relationships.

LAVCA: What feedback have you received from investors about where to make improvements in your business model?

Chávez-Crooker: The input from investors has been very helpful. The first thing they recommended was to incorporate a CEO into the company, so I can focus on my responsibilities as Chief Technology Officer. This is really our main priority right now, in addition to finalizing the other two technologies we’re currently working on. We need someone who understands how to bring these technologies to market.

LAVCA: Can you tell us about some of the clients you are working with now? What do you see as your competitive advantage?

Chávez-Crooker: Aguamarina’s current clients in Chile represent some of the world’s largest mining companies, including CODELCO, Mineria Escondida, Compania Minera de Collahuasi, Minera El Abra, among others. We are located next to mines, which allows us to work closely with them on technological solutions. With our trained staff of experienced scientists, we are creating solutions that produce the cleanest and safest copper in the world.

LAVCA: As a scientist by training, what do you find most challenging about running a business? Do you have advice for other scientists with a business idea?

Chávez-Crooker: The day to day operations of running a company are new to me. Through Endeavor I have been able to connect and work with great professionals to help in the aspects of running a business where I have no experience. In addition, I am studying at the School of Business at the eCLass program of Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Chile so I can prepare myself for the changes and challenges we will face as the company grows.

LAVCA: Where do you hope to see Aguamarina five years from now?

Chávez-Crooker: We see Aguamarina as a biotechnology developer for the world’s copper mining industry. We will have plants scaled up and a clear understanding of how much value we add to the operations, production, environment, health, safety and community.

Thinking globally: tips by Endeavor Entrepreneur Guibert Englebienne

This article is translated from Spanish and reprinted with permission from the Endeavor Rosario office in Argentina, which originally published the interview with Endeavor Entrepreneur Guibert Englebienne. All four Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Globant, including Guibert, will be participating in next week’s Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.

Guibert is the co-founder of Globant, an Argentinean company that outsources information technology. Their principle objective is to create innovative software products that are attractive to a global audience.

In an exclusive interview, the CTO of the company explains why it’s important to think from day one about exporting, in addition to understanding the possibility for business reinvention and adaptation.

Globant has become an expert on some of the most relevant popular technologies, including social networking, videogames and mobile devices. It has also become one of the premiere companies developing specific practices around Google’s popular technologies like OpenSocial, Google Checkout and Google App Engine. Additionally, it has actively contributed to the Open Source community with different applications. These are not small achievements, given that they arose from a country in the middle of economic crisis in 2001.

The leaders of the company, all Endeavor Entrepreneurs, (Martín Migoya, CEO; Martín Umaran, COO; Guibert Englebienne, CTO; and Néstor Nocetti, VP Innovation Labs) have in common an entrepreneurial talent, knowing how to position themselves in the world and why it’s important to think about potential ventures as global ventures from day one. Guibert, the “creative brain” of the company, talks about these aspects and ends with three key pieces of advice that he believes make for a high-impact global business.

Did Globant start as a global business?

Normally, the feeling when starting a business is that you have to go to local markets and work with those you have a strong cultural tie to. We, for several reasons, had little luck in this manner because our market was in very bad shape after the devaluation of 2001 that forced us to look outside. We could have tried to go to traditional markets for Argentine entrepreneurs such as Spain, Brazil and neighboring countries. As it happens, we first studied the market for our services very well and found that 90 percent of the demand for these services came from the U.S., UK and Japan. That’s how we chose to go in the direction we did.

Can all entrepreneurship be thought of in a global manner?

There are some products out there that cannot be thought of in a limitless way because there are markets for different things. That is to say, to build a parking lot in the center of Buenos Aires or Rosario surely would create a good business but it is impossible to export. However, I think our location in Argentina wouldn’t traditionally have made us look outward. Now, we have the example of Brazil, which is a country that is focusing on its own development, and on the other hand, countries like Uruguay that are necessarily forced to look outside for market opportunity. Though the individual cases are different, they operate on a common principle. That which was traditional 15 years ago, focusing on your own pot, today is not. That’s a very important change that has to do with moving to a knowledge economy, allowing us to cross borders without problems.

What happens to those companies that were born looking at a limited market and grow up today in a totally different global landscape? Can you change your platform and go out into the world?

I think you can, but to be sure, it is much easier if you think about it from day one, because somehow this gives you a global focus and it will imprint in your corporate culture. This is not to say that companies cannot reinvent themselves. What’s more, if today you are not constantly reinventing yourself, it is more complicated to create and go to other markets because all the time your business is being challenged by competitors that you want to stay ahead of.

Can you learn to think in a global manner?

I think there are certain things one has to learn. Through Endeavor, I met and learned about a lot of business people and their experiences, and what I realized is that there are certain patterns that a company typically follows to be successful that largely has to do with the level of globalization in the company. In our case, the selection of markets had implications much bigger than one traditionally sees. For example, the level of competition that the company has, especially because we are not competing with other local businesses that people know, is really important given the global competition that you do not know. As an advantage, I think that the aristocracy that the countries in which we work are accustomed to, simplifies things, and tend not to put unnecessary blocks in the development of a new deal. I know many companies that are stuck in very slow decision-making processes, and are not always transparent, to win a contract.

What advice would you give to business people that are starting out with their company?

In principle I would say that the only thing that has not changed is that we live in a time of change. What’s important is to have the capacity to be curious about many things and have a high tolerance, above all the frustration, because they are tools to be competitive in the times to come. Perhaps in the midst of the boom it is not easy.

For our company to bring in talent and grow in the context of inflation is difficult, so we focus more on sales, so that inflation doesn’t pose a big problem. We evaluate the scenario and make the best of it. So a big piece of advice is not to fall asleep during seemingly bad times because opportunities can emerge in times of turmoil. In fact, we began to think about Globant during the crisis. When the dollar was 4 to 1 we saw an opportunity to export. Another fundamental element in starting a business is innovation, for example to think about how to sell the services the company could offer and how to attract talent. Other possibilities are to add other equipment, buying other companies that run the risk of losing sustainability.

Right now, we as entrepreneurs recognize that we are not aware of everything, so it’s essential that we add the equipment and attach it to opportunities and attract customers that help solidify the company. To form a team, it’s important to have a strong leader—someone who provides direction during tough times. Finally, it is important to think long term, set a target you want to reach and to know the variables that impact a company’s sustainability, because the companies that adapt to change are those that immediately detect what they’re doing wrong.

Guibert’s 3 Keys:

1. Generate a culture of innovation to adapt to different situations.
2. Strengthen the culture of forming teams.
3. Always maintain a culture of clear goals for the short and long term.

Washington, DC sixth-grade class interviews an Endeavor Entrepreneur

As part of their global studies curriculum during the 2010-2011 school year, students in Kimberly Clarkson’s 6th Grade class at Sidwell Friends Middle School in Washington, D.C. explored ideas related to entrepreneurship. Students participated in and reflected on online simulation activities, researched and discussed mission statements of established businesses, and learned about and experimented with developing basic business concepts, including options for funding and marketing. They learned about real entrepreneurs, ranging from students their own age to adults.

Part of the experience involved coming up with business concepts that interested them. According to Kimberly, some of the business ideas students proposed included: a cattle ranch where the manure is converted into a source of fuel; an internationally funded organization to buy back weapons from African militants and then melt them for other uses; a microcredit that used profits to fund charity organizations; an organization solely focused on providing comfort items (toys, books and games) to homeless children; a play zone where animals in shelters could be brought to have time away from their enclosures; and a charity which provided financial support to families who have lost wage-earning loved ones in the drug-related violence in Mexico. [Editor’s note: what an advanced sixth-grade class!] As a part of their year-end project, students proposed a social or environmental outreach business related to the country on which they had focused their research. As an example, this website was created by one student for her end-of-year proposal.

During the school year, Kimberly contacted Endeavor with a request to put her students in contact with an entrepreneur. The students composed a list of questions and were put in touch with Adolfo Rouillon, an Endeavor Entrepreneur (selected in 2000) and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Argentina for 2011. The students’ questions and Adolfo’s answers are below. The class was thrilled to receive a response from an experienced and internationally recognized entrepreneur, and was inspired to sustain their entrepreneurial spirit in the future.

1. How did you get the idea for the type of business you started? What experience (something that happened or work background) did you have that motivated you to choose it?

My first company was a technology consulting firm. By 2001, we sold it to a big Mexican company called Neoris. We worked with Neoris for five years and by 2006 my business partner and I decided it was time to start a new company again, but we wanted to explore a different industry. We were interested in the food industry, so we started to research what was going on — the trends, challenges and opportunities. In 2007 we started Congelados del Sur was born, as a business which makes frozen food (from pizza to chicken nuggets) in Latin America.

2. Why did you choose this business over another business idea?

We thought there would be good opportunities for growth, as the food business faces serious challenges in the years to come. The combination of global population growth (9 billion people by 2025), a growing middle class (more than 900 million people by 2015), and limited natural resources calls for innovative solutions. Additionally, Latin America has great weather and growing conditions—all of the necessary factors to become a leading supplier of high-quality food products.

3. What or who were your inspirations?

We look to other successful businessmen who build huge companies from scratch, overcoming obstacles and difficulties. One of them is Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of the consumer electronics company Panasonic.

4. How did you choose a way to finance your business? With a bank loan, your own money or another alternative?

We started with our own money. After a year we had a business plan and were able to raise venture capital money and funds from private investors. In the beginning, it’s difficult to get bank loans.

5. How would you raise money to start your business if you were to start over?

I would start the business with my savings, and once I had a clear idea how much money I would need and for what, I would write a business plan.

6. How do you know when a business is a good investment and won’t end up bankrupt?

It’s impossible to know. An investor will look at three things: 1) a good management team, with a credible story and track record; 2) a clear business model in a big market; and 3) a billion dollar industry.

7. What are the disadvantages about being an entrepreneur verses having a “regular” job? Obviously there are advantages, but is there another side to the story?

For one thing, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and everything depends on you which is a big responsibility. Also, you give up the certainty of getting paid every week, since there’s no guarantee of a fixed salary at the beginning. And of course there’s other disadvantages, like a temptation to lose focus and needing to work on limited resources.

8. What age were you when you started your first business? How about your first successful business?

I was 17 years old when I started my first venture as a honey producer (harvesting my own honey) and at 19, I stated a clothing business producing t-shirts. At 23, after finishing my university studies in Business Administration, I started Amtec.net, a technology consulting firm that was very successful.

9. Do you make enemies or rivals in your business?

Of course you have competitors — it’s part of the game. But as a final thought, I love being an entrepreneur. It’s not for everyone, but if you have a big idea, there’s nothing more satisfying that making it happen.

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