High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Join the global conversation


Endeavor Investor Network Convenes Over 120 Entrepreneurs and Investors in NYC

On May 5th, the Endeavor Investor Network convened growth market leaders in New York City for a day of networking and learning. The invitation-only event gathered over 120 participants including Endeavor Entrepreneurs and leading investors […]

May 13th, 2015 — by admin

Read more

In the news

Argentina’s Belatrix Software Partners with Silicon Valley-Based kernel; Highlights Endeavor’s Multiplier Effect

Endeavor Entrepreneur company Belatrix Software, founded by entrepreneurs Alex, Luis and Federico Robbio, was recently named a Co-Innovation Partner for kernel, a Silicon Valley-based software venture co-founded by Endeavor Mentor Avikk Ghose. This unique partnership is […]

February 26th, 2014 — by admin

Read more
Get RSS Feed

eMBA Field Reports: 2 voices from Jordan

In Jordan with Al Masar
Andrea Zuluaga, MBA at London Business School

My first 3 weeks in Jordan have been absolutely amazing–from a high impact consulting project to discovering Jordan behind the family doors to visiting the country’s many tourist attractions…

Widad, the Endeavor Entrepreneur I’m working with, is an inspiring and passionate professional. Al-Masar, her business, serves children with special needs through a full-time school and therapy services. I was very lucky to be here a week ago for the five-year celebration. Widad and her partners are expert therapists and highly respected in their profession. With Al-Masar she decided to take another challenge for which she had no formal training: Becoming a manager. With every conversation, I can see that she has very good instincts about the economics of her business and knows directionally where she needs to adjust to grow. My contribution is therefore not revolutionary business ideas, but rather providing additional tools, metrics and financial capabilities so she can effectively execute on her ideas and vision.

I could not have arrived at a friendlier place than Al-Masar–from the first day, when they picked me up at the airport sometime after midnight, to the invitations to connect with their families. I have now been to an all-female graduation party, a family lunch and a house party. I’ve also had the opportunity to talk to many inspiring Jordanian women, who have opened to me their thoughts, dreams and concerns–and have had many incredibly revealing conversations about their culture and reality.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention: Jordan is a beautiful country! Snorkeling in the Red Sea has been one of the most memorable experiences, and I found Wadi Rum, a desert of changing colors absolutely beautiful (although a whole day in the scorching sun might be too much). I could go on, mentioning the Wadi Mujib, Dead Sea, Citadel and Amman in Pink with the sunset (plus, I am saving Petra for last…); it’s truly a privilege to be here.

Figuring our monetization in Amman
Shobhit Datta, MBA at Columbia Business School

I have been in Amman for a month now. It is a fascinating and very laid-back city. I am working with the Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Jeeran.com, and my project is to help them figure out possible monetization strategies. Online advertising is not a great option anywhere, but with much lower advertising rates in emerging markets it is even less lucrative here. This, coupled with reluctance for businesses and consumers to spend online, makes monetization very challenging for Internet businesses. After brainstorming for a couple of weeks, we have decided on a couple of options to implement as mini-experiments. Since one is mostly in uncharted territory here, the experimental mindset is important as it is very likely that we would have to revamp our strategy a lot as we meet potential customers. We are trying to borrow from the Customer Development Methodology to see if our hypothesis is validated before we invest resources in building our new offering. (As an MBA student, I felt this update would be incomplete without mentioning some framework or methodology — I’m curious, did any other eMBAs apply 4 P’s for their project?) Wish us luck!

As for non-work things, here are few highlights:

– Every morning, getting to admire the view of sand-colored houses on the hills of east Amman with the sun rising behind them
– Going to a colleague’s home for lunch and being ordered by this colleague’s mom to come to lunch everyday so she can practice her English!
– The fascinating (and often bizarre) conversations with cab drivers in a mixture of English, Arabic, and hand gestures
– Weekend road trip to Wadi Rum and getting confused what to wish for after watching several shooting stars (I dipped into my beauty pageant experience and chose “world peace”)
– Planned trips to Cairo and Lebanon!

eMBA Field Report: Halfway into my Brazil endeavor

By Anna Bae

Anna is an MBA student at Harvard Business School and is spending her summer as an eMBA with Minha Vida in Brazil.

I can’t believe it’s already been five weeks. And I wish I had more time left here in Sao Paulo. Roberto Lifschitz, one of the two founders of Minha Vida, and the team couldn’t make my life any easier, safer, and more delightful since the day I arrived. They sent an English-speaking driver to pick me up at the airport, put me in a hotel that’s in 3-minute walking distance to the office (and a bit too nice for a lowly intern), showed me around the city in the weekends, let me try some authentic Brazilian restaurants (there’s so much more than barbeque in Brazilian cuisine!), translated Portuguese conversations into English for me during lunches, drove miles to have a weekend brunch with me in my neighborhood, invited me over to their homes and even offered me a chance to travel with them. Encouraged by their hospitality, I’m trying my best to contribute to Minha Vida’s business as much as possible.

Minha Vida is an online health/wellness company that aspires to protect and improve Brazilians’ health by making medical and wellness information easily accessible, especially to mid/low-income population. Its revenue comes from the ads on the site and fees from its signature weight-loss program, “Deita e Saude” (D.S..) Because the online ad market is still fairly immature in Brazil, DS’s program fee is responsible for almost 70% of the revenue. For my Endeavor eMBA project, my own focus is making this cash cow more successful by improving DS user engagement.

DS has been growing very strong, meeting its aggressive revenue goals. But it recently started seeing a slight drop in the active user number and a rise in program cancellation.

Because I worked on several projects to improve online user engagement before business school, this task was not completely new but still challenging. I started by setting milestones for myself –- e.g. first week to understand the product, user, and the market; second week to diagnose the problem and benchmark against the industry leaders in the U.S.; and so on, to finish with the plans of actions. However, with the cooperation of Roberto and the DS crew, we managed to come up with some action items already, got them approved by the management, and are now in the execution mode. Beauty of a start-up.

Last week, we started an internal program that aims to spur user activity in the DS community space. DS has a blog space where its users can motivate each other, and data has proven that once a user participates in the community, s/he becomes much more engaged to DS overall and likely to extend her/his membership. This week, we are working with a designer, web architect, and a nutritionist to improve the “onboarding” experience of the new users — to wow the new users within 3-5 minutes after their registration. And more to come in the coming weeks…

I also had the pleasure to visit the Endeavor Brazil office by the invitation of staffmember Leticia Queiroz, and attend the welcoming event for newly selected Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Most of the new entrepreneurs’ businesses were related to security in the tech space (mobile, online), which is very important for a country where Internet usage is growing by over 10 million users a year. Located in a university building, Endeavor’s Sao Paulo office was still very busy and active even around 8pm. In the midst of the busyness, everyone was kind enough to get up from the chair to greet me with a customary cheek kiss. Many of them have just returned from the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.

All in all, my stay in Brazil has been incredible. Can’t thank Endeavor and Minha Vida enough for this opportunity.

This picture is from my very first “happy hour” with my friends at Minha Vida.

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.

Fast Company looks at Endeavor Entrepreneurs David Assael and David Basulto’s new blueprint for the architecture industry

Catching up with Endeavor Entrepreneurs David Assael and David Basulto, founders of Plataforma Networks, at last week’s Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco, Fast Company’s Rob Salkowitz blogged about how their simple idea changed the landscape of the architecture industry.

In his post, “Chilean Entrepreneurs Redesign The Architecture Industry,” Salkowitz describes how the two Chilean architects were looking for more exposure, which meant having their designs published by one of the respected industry publications (there are fewer than a dozen). Frustrated by their South American vantage and lack of connections, the two Davids decided to shape their own futures by launching Plataforma Urbana in 2005, followed by Plataforma Arquitectura in 2006 and then the English language version ArchDaily in 2008.

“Almost overnight, the site exploded into a vibrant, well-trafficked, and increasingly influential forum. The obvious advantages of the Internet — instant global distribution and no arbitrary space limitations on content — conferred an immediate edge over traditional media, but what really launched the site was the quality of the professional community.”

Salkowitz notes that Plataforma Networks’ success had a lot to do with their timing–they were first, and they “maximized first-mover advantage by getting the site right from a design, editorial and marketing perspective.” The trio of websites have led to a new kind of fame for the entrepreneurs in the industry and beyond. They have been guests of royalty, governments and architecture schools around the world, and have brought a more cutting-edge company culture to Santiago (picture the house in the early days of Facebook, the article notes), where they have “a lot of crazy developers, not very much space.”

Perhaps most importantly, the entrepreneurs have globalized at least the Spanish- and English-speaking architecture worlds, where young talent is more exposed and architects have access to greater opportunities. Good designs and innovative ideas can now be spread in an instant, relieving frustration and creating a vibrant network of architectural talent.

#eSummitSF: Top tweets at 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit

Last week, #eSummitSF became a popular hashtag in the Twitter world of entrepreneurship, with over 1,200 tweets in all. The trending tag was designated for all tweets related to the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit, which took place June 28th – June 30th in San Francisco. The bi-annual event featured over 400 founders, CEO’s, executives, and investors from around the globe, as well as leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation from over 15 countries. Between keynote speakers, intimate breakout session and informal networking, participants were constantly connecting and communicating, voicing their thoughts both online and off.

A special thanks to the Brazilian interactive studio TwitRadar.com for donating a customized (and quite snazzy!) front-end interface that aggregated all #eSummitSF tweets, which Endeavor displayed on big screens throughout the Summit event.

Here are some of the most notable quotes and reflections tweeted at #eSummitSF and @endeavor_global!

Keynote by Scott McNealy, Co-founder and former CEO, Sun Microsystems

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

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

“You should not do a hard copy of your business plan. Things are gonna change.“

“Steve Jobs understood the power of the secret.”

“Weak boards almost always are the cause of failures. Choose your board wisely.”

Keynote by Marc Benioff, Founder and CEO, Salesforce.com

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

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

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

“Building one successful company is more exciting than serial entrepreneurship. Stay focused.”

“The give back rule: Donate 1% of your profits, 1% of your equity & 1% of your time.”

Keynote by Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman and Cofounder, LinkedIn

“Entrepreneurship is jumping off a cliff and assembling an airplane on your way down.”

“If you don’t start aiming big, you’ll likely never get there.”

“Entrepreneurs are the modern pioneers, you can teach skills but can’t teach how to navigate the unknown.”

Other notable speaker quotes:

“Winning entrepreneurs in high risk markets are the ones who go global from day one.” – Dan Senor, Senior Advisor, Elliot Management and Co-author Startup Nation

“I’ll be surprised if 50% of online commerce is not done through mobile by 2016.” – Diego Piacentini, SVP, International Retail, Amazon

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

“Hire ahead of your needs” – Gina Bianchini, Former CEO, Ning

“To be top ranked…your goal is to become the authority on your issue.” Matt Ackley, VP, Consumer Marketing, Google

“Focus on the current phase, but always plan the next two.” – Gina Bianchini, Former CEO, Ning

“Entrepreneurs are/should be free of echochambers. They can ask the greatest question of all: why?” – Chris Schroeder, CEO, HealthCentral and former CEO, Washington Post & Newsweek Interactive


On leadership & talent:

“The new CEO’s role is to coach not to dictate.”

“Focus on your top 25% of your team and expand from there. These people can bring similar people into game, makes you succeed.”

“Quality of the people reflects the quality of successful, fast growth. Be diligent about your team quality.”

On failure:

“Fail cheap, fail at low prototyping. This way you can try again and again very fast and easily.”

On growth:

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

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

Final Takeaways:

“Having an idea is not the point. Creating a network around that idea is the point.”

“Control is an illusion. What you can do is influence people.”

“It’s not about the ceiling wall but the sticky floor.”

“Lessons learned: On HR – It comes down to making sure the right people are ALLOWED to do a great job!”

“Take away after 3 intense days at Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit: it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

Press release: Ernst & Young Announces Three-Year Sponsorship with Endeavor

The following press release is reprinted from BusinessWire · Jul. 5, 2011 | Last Updated: Jul. 5, 2011 10:45 AM ET

Ernst & Young is delighted to announce a landmark three-year sponsorship with Endeavor, a not-for-profit organization that works with high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets to improve and grow their businesses with the goal of transforming emerging economies and establishing entrepreneurship as a leading force for sustainable economic development.

Endeavor is already present in eleven emerging economies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and Uruguay) and has created over 100,000 jobs; contributed billions of dollars back into local economies and assisted in the creation of hundreds of role models for people to pursue the path of entrepreneurship.

The sponsorship is part of Ernst & Young’s ongoing commitment to entrepreneurial companies in emerging economies around the world.

Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair Strategic Growth Markets for Ernst & Young explains, “In emerging markets, entrepreneurship plays an important role in fueling growth, adding jobs and building communities. Endeavor has proven itself to be highly effective at unleashing the power of the entrepreneurial spirit in these markets.”

Ernst & Young will be making available a bespoke course entitled “finance for exceptional enterprises” to all Endeavor entrepreneurs. This will provide them with access to Ernst & Young resources and give them knowledge and technical insight to help drive and accelerate their growth.

Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg says: “We’re thrilled to be working with Ernst & Young. There’s an incredibly strong alignment between our two organizations’ commitments to promoting high-impact entrepreneurs throughout the world.”

Ernst & Young will continue to actively support Endeavor’s International Selection Panels, held throughout the year, where the organization screens and selects a group of extraordinary emerging market entrepreneurs who have the potential to transform industries, communities, and even countries.

Linda adds, “Endeavor is excited to become a designated supporter of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) program in emerging markets. The linkages are so powerful: earlier this year the Jordan EOY winner was an Endeavor entrepreneur.”

Last week Ernst & Young was pleased to be a sponsor of the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco, California. With over 300 attendees the Summit included three days of inspirational keynote speakers, interactive workshops, networking opportunities and breakout discussions that addressed high-impact entrepreneurs’ most pressing needs and challenges.

Ernst & Young is also the key sponsor of the Endeavor Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report to be released on 15 July 2011.

Press release: New LatAm online platform co-founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur announced at Endeavor Summit

Press release reprinted from Business Wire

SAN FRANCISCO–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–During the biennial 2011 Endeavor EntrepreneurSummit, the landmark event hosted by the global nonprofit organization that transforms emerging countries by support high-impact entrepreneurs, the official launch of IDEAME.com was announced as well as the successful completion of its first round of financing.

“There is an extraordinary pool of creative and innovative talent in Latin America which faces obstacles to find funding. IDEAME.com will fill that void by providing the necessary resources for those artists to turn their dreams into reality, and we think it’s a great initiative.”

The fundamental goal of IDEAME.com is to provide financial support for creative and artistic Latin American talent in all their expressions turning their ideas into reality on a global stage. Through innovative social networking and value-added technological services, IDEAME.com will allow creatives and artists to share their ideas with an online community, providing those members with the opportunity to take an active role in the development and execution of various projects and initiatives all on one platform.

IDEAME.com will serve as the conduit for projects by local talent, which often fail to come to fruition due to lack of financing, to be shared and allow the public to participate in creative endeavors of interest and worthy of development, thus capitalizing on the spirit of community and stimulating local economies.

According to Sebastian Uchitel, general manager of IDEAME.com, “The collective financing model, also known as ‘crowdfunding,’ has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to social networking.” Uchitel highlights that: “our platform seeks to secure financing for creative projects in Latin America in a variety of areas, including music, cinema, visual arts, design, fashion, innovation and technology. In the United States, sites like www.kickstarter.com and www.quirky.com, and international sites like www.verkami.com and www.pozible.com.au are already helping creative talent by raising millions of dollars in financing in exchange for gifts and other rewards. We are adapting those successful models on a global level to meet the needs of artists and creative talent in Latin America.”

Mariano Suarez

Wences Casares

The company has secured the support of a group of investors of notable prestige with a solid track record in online and creative throughout the region. “Among the investors are Eduardo Costantini Jr. (who served as executive director of the MALBA Museum for five years, cofounder of MUBI and president of Costa Films), Boris Hirmas Said (vice chairman of Yellow Pepper and a member of the Latin American Committee of the Tate Museum in London) and [Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board Member] Wenceslao Casares (founder of Patagon and Bling Nation), just to name a few of the most prominent investors,” added [Endeavor Entrepreneur] Mariano Suarez Battan, the renowned entrepreneur who sold his company Three Melons to Playdom/Disney in 2010 and one of the cofounders of IDEAME.com.

“There is an extraordinary pool of creative and innovative talent in Latin America which faces obstacles to find funding. IDEAME.com will fill that void by providing the necessary resources for those artists to turn their dreams into reality, and we think it’s a great initiative,” said Eduardo Costantini Jr., who will serve as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

The company plans to launch the platform in August 2011. The market rollout will initiate in Argentina and Chile and later on expand to other Latin American markets, including Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

Notes from Colombia: Where does entrepreneurial motivation come from?

Oriana Torres has been working at Endeavor Colombia since March 2007 in Entrepreneur Services. She posts regularly on her blog, Entrepreneurial Discovery, about all things having to do with entrepreneurship. She is a Business Administrator, has a diverse professional background and has worked in five countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. She used to own a restaurant in the north of Bogota, called Sizzlers. Oriana speaks Spanish, her native language, English, German and a bit of Portuguese. This fall, Oriana will begin pursuing an MBA degree at Babson’s Olin School of Business.

The following are excerpts from a recent post called:

When No One is Watching…

I have been following Seth Godin’s blog for some time and I especially like his concise, powerful messages. He is the author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, influencing the way people think about marketing, change and work.

I was drawn to a recent post of his called “Self-directed effort is the best kind.” It made me think about how many things we do because we have to, versus how many things we do because they genuinely matter and mean something to us. I quickly did the exercise Godin describes and discovered that the balance for me was pretty good: there were a bunch of things that I do because I care and technically enjoy doing, while there are others I do because I have those metaphorical policemen watching over me.

I don’t think that it is necessarily bad to count on such policemen to provide incentive to behave a certain way. It’s not ideal, but it’s not really an issue as long as your self-directed actions exceed the quantity of the stuff you need extra incentive to do.

I’m not an expert, I’m just drawing from Godin. This is a blog about entrepreneurship and therefore, I couldn’t help thinking about this in the entrepreneurial context. I immediately thought about Endeavor.

The first thing is that Endeavor, in the context of Seth’s post, is an army of policemen that force our Entrepreneurs to excel beyond what they would do on their own. I am aware that the word “force” is very strong, but after having worked as an Entrepreneur Services Manager for more than four years at Endeavor Colombia, seeing first hand how Entrepreneurs respond to our services, I feel confident that that Endeavor makes a difference not only through sharing knowledge. The real difference is in our capacity to act as “accountability agents” for Entrepreneurs. We are always there to remind them of their commitments: they need to create a business plan to move to the next level, or hire a manager, put together a board of directors, or even more simple things like analyze their financial statements to look for possible red flags. I am 100% sure that 90% of our Entrepreneurs want to and can do all of these things themselves, but for some reason they need the extra motivation. It’s not just a matter of knowledge, it’s about self-directed drive. The question for me, is where does the self-direction come from.

I had a debate recently with some colleagues about Endeavor’s role in Entrepreneurs’ project implementation. We disagreed about how involved the ESM — Entrepreneur Services Manager (also called Key Account Manager in our jargon) — should be in the Entrepreneur’s day-to-day activities in order to keep them on track and make sure things got done. Ultimately, our model only works if the Entrepreneurs execute the things the mentors advise in a timely way. Some people were adamant that “self-directed effort” had to drive the process and set the pace. Other people (like me) thought that we are actually there to provide any oversight that helps them go beyond what “self-directed effort” allows, even if this implies an important investment of time and energy. In the end, it’s the same time and energy that the personal trainer puts in to make you burn 700 calories instead of 500, as Seth’s analogy suggests.

So I ask my readers: what do you do when no one is looking? What do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job? How many push ups do you do, just because you can?

Fast Company: Endeavor Summit means “serious business”

Unlike typical conferences that “generate more heat than light,” the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco last week had real business impact, says Fast Company blogger Rob Salkowitz. The hundreds of Endeavor Entrepreneurs in attendance learned as much from each other as they did from the scores of successful global business executives and top-notch VCs who presented at the conference. Click here to read the entire post from Fast Company.

As the post highlights, Summit speakers shared the importance of having a controversial (but correct!) strategy and of thinking globally from the beginning to attract foreign investment. Workshop discussions tackled critical design, leadership, talent management, and innovation issues, among other topics.

Attendees also heard from some of Endeavor’s most successful Entrepreneurs, including Mercado Libre cofounders Hernan Kazah and Nicolas Szekasy and SySDSoft founder and CEO Khaled Ismail. According to Salkowitz, this not only validates Endeavor’s program and entrepreneur selection process, but it fulfills “the organization’s core mission of nurturing and promoting world-changing businesses in the parts of the world where change means the most.”

Steve Welch of IBM talks about the development of Watson at Endeavor Summit

In mid-February of this year, NBC broke its ratings record as millions of American viewers tuned in to a see a game of Jeopardy! The impressive turnout wasn’t due to a collective bout of nostalgia, but interest in a particular unique contestant. Watson, a super-computer engineered by a team of 24 researchers at IBM, made history as the first non-human contestant to compete on the game show and beat the defending champion, effectively earning a one million dollar prize and awakening the world to a new brand of artificial intelligence.

Steve Welch, a Distinguished Engineer and Manager of Health Informatics for IBM and a member of the team that worked on Watson, spoke at the Endeavor Summit this summer about the engineering behind Watson’s development and the implications of this innovative technology for the world.

The biggest hurdle in developing Watson, Welch said, was getting a computer to understand natural human language. Unlike computer code, equations, or the key search terms we usually use to ‘talk’ with our computers, human language is nuanced, ambiguous and contextual. Years of experience and cognitive processes go into any form of verbal human communication, making it virtually impossible for a computer to decode. The breakthrough came in the form of a new paradigm that was created by an IBM summer student. His system reconfigured the way computers process language and provided IBM with the framework that would eventually define the super-computer’s consciousness.

Watson’s ‘brain’ is composed of seven banks of processors and 2,800 cores. The team of engineers and researchers behind his development spent years inputting thousands of pages of data into Watson’s knowledge base that could be called upon when answering questions on Jeopardy (Watson was not connected to the Internet during the game.) Unlike traditional search engines, Watson weighs supporting evidence for a number of different answers before producing a response. When it reports an answer, it can also provide the evidence that led to it and a level of confidence in the findings. Just like a real human, Watson learns to trust different sources of information based on past experience.

Watson’s development marks not only an innovative leap for technology, but also for art. IBM went to great lengths to develop Watson’s humanity, bringing in a voice actor to record thousands of lines and sounds as the basis of Watson’s ‘voice,’ and hiring a generative artist to design Watson’s face. The image created is a swarming globe that has 27 different states to illustrate Watson’s various moods – when he is very confident in is answer, the globe will swarm towards the top of the screen and glow green.

A member of the audience asked Welch where Watson was now: has it retired on its earnings to a life of leisure? Of course not. For now, Watson is an IBM employee working in healthcare and finance, two industries where there is an influx of information to be processed and analyzed. In the future, IBM hopes to develop practical applications for the Watson technology that will create benefits in many different facets of society.

Contact us

Press center


Newsletter Sign Up