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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

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Mexico’s Mastretta Cars Opens First Global Dealership; Plans Expansion into the U.S.

Mastretta  Cars, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Carlos Mastretta Guzmán, recently unveiled its flagship global car dealership in Toluca, Mexico on the heels  of an announcement that the company is planning a larger expansion into Mexico and the U.S. […]

February 18th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Mentor of 2011 (Global) nominees announced

Congratulations to the 12 nominees for Endeavor Mentor of 2011 (Global), to be revealed at our Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit later this month! The list of nominees reflect some of those Endeavor Network Members –- based in the United States or Europe –- who have best embodied the spirit of Endeavor and had the highest impact over the past 12 months through a combination of mentoring Endeavor Entrepreneurs, participating in the network, and supporting and guiding Endeavor’s continued growth. A big congratulations to all the nominees.

Mike Ahearn (Phoenix)
Managing Partner, True North Venture Partners
Endeavor Global Board Member

Mike Ahearn is Managing Partner at True North Venture Partners, a venture capital company that invests in early stage innovative businesses addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems in areas such as energy, water, agriculture and waste. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of First Solar, where he served as CEO from 2000 to 2009. Mike serves on Endeavor’s Global Board of Directors and as a mentor to Enrique Gómez Junco of Optima Energia (Mexico). This past year Mike spoke at Endeavor Mexico’s CEO Summit. He has served as a panelist at International Selection Panels (ISPs) in Brazil, California and Mexico.

Gina Bianchini (Silicon Valley)
Founder & CEO, Untitled
Endeavor Global Advisory Board Member

Gina Bianchini is the Co-Founder and former CEO of Ning, the largest social platform for interests and passions in the world. She led Ning from its inception in 2004 to its current position as an exponentially growing top 100 global website with over 46 million members and 90 million unique visitors per month. In March 2010, Gina left Ning to join Andreessen Horowitz as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and is now starting a new company. Gina is a member of Endeavor’s Global Advisory Board, spoke at the California Tech Retreat, and served as a panelist at ISPs in Mexico and Turkey.

Juan Pablo Cappello (Miami)
Principal Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLP, PE & VC Latin America
Endeavor Global Advisory Board Member

Juan Pablo Cappello is senior partner at Greenberg Traurig, a Miami based international law firm. His practice focuses on financing transactions in emerging markets. Previously, he was the Executive VP, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel of Patagon, an international financial institution with retail brokerage. Juan Pablo often speaks at international conferences on the structuring of international business transactions and cross-border investments. Juan Pablo was a Panelist at the ISP in Brazil, attended the Endeavor Chile Retiro and frequently meets with Endeavor Entrepreneurs visiting his hometown of Miami.

Wences Casares (Silicon Valley)
Co-CEO, Bling Nation
Endeavor Global Board Member; Endeavor Entrepreneur (Class of 1998)

Wences Casares is a true Endeavor success story, launching multiple successful ventures since being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 1998. He is currently co-CEO of Bling Nation, a mobile payments company based in Palo Alto. Wences serves on Endeavor’s Global Board of Directors, was a panelist at the California ISP, frequently mentors entrepreneurs from Latin America visiting Silicon Valley, and co-organized a trip of 50+ Silicon Valley founders, executives and investors to Brazil, Chile and Argentina in May 2011.

David Frazee (Silicon Valley)
Partner, K&L Gates LLP

David Frazee is a partner in the Palo Alto office of K&L Gates, where he represents innovative technology companies, entrepreneurs, and funds, helping them to succeed through the creation and execution of comprehensive international corporate, business, finance, and IP strategies. Using his experience as a former Silicon Valley startup entrepreneur, David has donated countless hours to mentoring Endeavor Entrepreneurs at all stages – including a self-designed week-long mentoring trip to Argentina and Uruguay in April 2011. He was a panelist at ISPs in South Africa, Mexico and London.

Matt Harris (New York)
Co-Founder & Managing General Partner, Village Ventures

Matt Harris is the co-founder and Managing General Partner of Village Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm with over $175m under management. Matt left Bain Capital in 1997 to become the founding Managing Director of The Berkshires Capital Investors, a venture capital fund associated with Williams College. Under Matt’s leadership, BCI’s first fund of $5 million invested in 12 companies, with eight successful exits to date. Matt has mentored Fatih Işbecer from Pozitron (Turkey) and was a panelist at ISPs in Egypt and London.

Shari Loessberg (Boston)
Entrepreneurship Faculty, MIT Sloan School of Management

Shari Loessberg is an experienced entrepreneur with expertise in emerging markets. Since 1999, she has taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management about venture capital and emerging market entrepreneurship, including leading MIT’s Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab), a key partner for Endeavor’s Entrepreneur Services. Outside of MIT, Shari founded and runs Big World, which focuses on startups in the financial services sector in emerging markets. Shari serves as a director of National Financial Partners and several tech start-ups. Shari is quite active with Endeavor through the G-Lab program, spoke at the inaugural Endeavor Investor Network event in Brazil, and was a panelist at ISPs in Egypt and Mexico.

John McIntire (New York)
Principal, Nexstar Capital Partners & Chairman, Open English
Endeavor Global Advisory Board Member

John McIntire is a Principal of Nexstar Capital Partners, a New York-based fund focused on Latin American credit and private equity. He retired in 2004 as a Partner at Goldman Sachs, where he spent 12 years focused on Latin America. During his last four years he led all of the Latin American activities of the firm, a portfolio of financial businesses with over $400 million in revenue. Prior to Goldman, John spent seven years at Credit Suisse/First Boston and five years at Chase Manhattan Bank. John serves as the Chairman of Open English, an online English teaching venture targeting the Spanish-speaking world. He is a member of the Council of the Americas and is active in policy initiatives and humanitarian work benefitting his native Cuba. John is a member of the Executive Committee of Endeavor’s Global Advisory Board and served as a Panelist at ISPs in Brazil and Mexico.

Roberto Muller (New York)
CEO & Founder, The Muller Sports Group

Recognized as one of the most innovative and successful leaders in sports, media, and product marketing, Roberto Muller created and was the first CEO of Pan-American Sports Network, which became Latin America’s most watched cable sports network. Previously, Roberto was the president of Reebok and was instrumental in taking the company from a women’s fitness brand to a worldwide diversified performance sports brand. Prior to Reebok, he founded PONY Sports and Leisure, developing products for professional athletes. He has been a mentor to Oscar Fuenzalida & Ricardo Duch from Doggis (Chile) and participated in the Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America (ECLA) program put on by Endeavor and Columbia Business School in New York City.

Diego Piacentini (Seattle)
Senior Vice President – International, Amazon.com
Endeavor Global Advisory Board Member

Diego Piacentini has served as Senior Vice President International since joining Amazon.com in February 2000 and is a member of the Amazon executive team; he is responsible for all international retail operations. Previously, Diego was Vice President and General Manager of Apple Computer Europe. An Italian national, he has traveled and worked extensively across Europe, Asia, and North America. A member of Endeavor’s Global Advisory Board, Diego has mentored over a dozen Endeavor Entrepreneurs, including frequent sessions with the founders of Betazeta (Chile) and Minha Vida (Brazil).
He has spoken at Endeavor events in several countries and was a panelist at ISPs in Chile, Brazil and London.

Ariel Poler (San Francisco)
Angel Investor

Ariel is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He is currently the CEO of TextMarks, and has been involved with a number of successful internet start-ups, including roles as founder and CEO of Topica, founding board member of Kana Software and founding Chairman of LinkExchange. Ariel currently serves on the board of directors of Bills.com, LOLapps and SpeedDate. He was a speaker at Endeavor’s California Tech Retreat, a mentor to the founders of Arizona (Brazil), part of the Mentor Capital Program (MCP) and a panelist at the ISP in California. Ariel frequently meets for mentoring breakfasts with Endeavor Entrepreneurs visiting San Francisco.

Joanna Rees (San Francisco)
Founder & Managing Partner, VSP Capital
Endeavor Global Board Member

Joanna Rees is a candidate for mayor of San Francisco. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of VSP Capital, where she raised and managed more than $400 million. Joanna focuses on consumer technology and marketing software & services investments. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Posit Science, Branders.com, AccountNow and QuinStreet. She has served on the board of more than 20 venture backed startup companies as well as numerous non-profits. In addition to managing investments, Joanna also serves as Chairman of the USA for Madrid-based FON, the world’s largest WiFi community. Joanna is an Adjunct Professor in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University where she teaches Leadership. She is a member of Endeavor’s Global Board of Directors, was a panelist at ISPs in Egypt and Turkey, and graciously hosted the Endeavor California team for its first 18 months of operation at her San Francisco offices.

100 rules for being an entrepreneur – by investor and entrepreneur James Altucher

James Altucher is a professional trader, investor and entrepreneur. With a degree in computer science from Cornell University, he built and founded StockPickr, which sold to TheStreet.com in 2007, in addition to starting other websites. Through his experience and insight, Altucher began to write about the industry, serving as a weekly columnist for the Financial Times and other financial publications. He has also authored four books: Trade Like a Hedge Fund, Trade Like Warren Buffet, Supercash, and The Forever Portfolio.

Altucher currently works as a hedge fund manager and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and writes a popular blog, The Altucher Confidential: Ideas for a World Out of Balance,” from which this post is reprinted with the author’s permission.

If you Google “entrepreneur” you get a lot of mindless cliches like “Think Big!” For me, being an “entrepreneur” doesn’t mean starting the next “Faceook”. Or even starting any business at all. It means finding the challenges you have in your ife, and determining creative ways to overcome those challenges. However, in this post I focus mostly on the issues that come up when you first start your company. These rules also apply if you are taking an entrepreneurial stance within a much larger company (which all employees should do).

For me, I’ve started several businesses. As I’ve described in the rest of this blog, some have succeeded, many have failed. I’m invested in about 13 private companies. I’ve advised probably another 50 private companies. Along the way I’ve compiled a list of rules that have helped me deal with every aspect of being an entrepreneur in business and some in life.

Here’s the real rules:

A) It’s not fun. I’m not going to explain why it’s not fun. These are rules. Not theories. I don’t need to prove them. But there’s a strong chance you can hate yourself throughout the process of being an entrepreneur. Keep sharp objects and pills away during your worst moments. And you will have them. If you are an entrepreneur and agree with me, please note this in the comments below.

B) Try not to hire people. You’ll have to hire people to expand your business. But it’s a good discipline to really question if you need each and every hire.

C) Get a customer. This seems obvious. But it’s not. Get a customer before you start your business, if you can.

D) If you are offering a service, call it a product. Oracle did it. They claimed they had a database. But if you “bought” their database they would send in a team of consultants to help you “install” the database to fit your needs. In other words, for the first several years of their existence, they claimed to have a product but they really were a consulting company. Don’t forget this story. Products are valued higher than services.

E) It’s OK to fail. Start over. Hopefully before you run out of money. Hopefully before you take in investor money. Or, don’t worry about it. Come up with new ideas. Start over.

F) Be profitable. Try to be profitable immediately. This seems obvious but it isn’t. Try not to raise money. That money is expensive.

G) When raising money: if it’s not easy then your idea is probably incapable of raising money. If its easy, then take as much as possible. If its TOO easy, then sell your company (unless you are Twitter, etc).

H) The same goes for selling your company. If it’s not easy, then you need to build more. Then sell. To sell your company, start getting in front of your acquirers a year in advance. Send them monthly updates describing your progress. Then, when they need a company like yours, your company is the first one that comes to mind.

I) Competition is good. It turns you into a killer. It helps you judge progress. It shows that other people value the space you are in. Your competitors are also your potential acquirors.

J) Don’t use a PR firm. Except maybe as a secretary. You are the PR for your company. You are your companys brand. You personally.

K) Communicate with everyone. Employees. Customers. Investors. All the time. Every day.

L) Do everything for your customers. This is very important. Get them girlfriends or boyfriends. Speak at their charities. Visit their parents for Thanksgiving. Help them find other firms to meet their needs. Even introduce them to your competitors if you think a competitor can help them or if you think you are about to be fired. Always think first, “What’s going to make my customer happy?”

M) Your customer is not a company. There’s a human there. What will make my human customer happy? Make him laugh. You want your customer to be happy.

N) Show up. Go to breakfast/lunch/dinner with customers. Treat.

O) History. Know the history of your customers in every way. Company history, personal history, marketing history, investing history, etc.

P) Micro-manage software development. Nobody knows your product better than you do. If you aren’t a technical person, learn how to be very specific in your product specification so that your programmers can’t say: “well you didn’t say that!”

Q) Hire local. You need to be able to see and talk to your programmers. Don’t outsource to India. I love India. But I won’t hire programmers from there while I’m living in the US.

R) Sleep. Don’t buy into the 20 hours a day entrepreneur myth. You need to sleep 8 hours a day to have a focused mind.

S) Exercise. Same as above. If you are unhealthy, your product will be unhealthy.

T) Emotionally Fit. DON’T have dating problems and software development problems at the same time. VCs will smell this all over you.

U) Pray. You need to. Be grateful where you are. And pray for success. You deserve it. Pray for the success of your customers. Heck, pray for the success of your competitors. The better they do, it means the market is getting bigger. And if one of them breaks out, they can buy you.

V) Buy your employees gifts. Massages. Tickets. Whatever. I always imagined that at the end of each day my young, lesbian employees (for some reason, most employees at my first company were lesbian) would be calling their parents and their mom and dad would ask them: “Hi honey! How was your day today?” And I wanted them to be able to say: “It was the best!” Invite customers to masseuse day.

W) Treat your employees like they are your children. They need boundaries. They need to be told “no!” sometimes. And sometimes you need to hit them in the face (ha ha, just kidding). But within boundaries, let them play.

X) Don’t be greedy pricing your product. If your product is good and you price it cheap, people will buy. Then you can price upgrades, future products, and future services more expensive. Which goes along with the next rule.

Y) Distribution is everything. Branding is everything. Get your name out there, whatever it takes. The best distribution is of course word of mouth, which is why your initial pricing doesn’t matter.

Z) Don’t kill yourself. It’s not worth it. Your employees need you. Your children or future children need you. It seems odd to include this in a post about entrepreneurship but we’re also taking about keeping it real. Most books or “rules” for entrepreneurs talk about things like “think big”, “go after your dreams”. But often dreams turn into nightmares. I’ll repeat it again. Don’t kill yourself. Call me if things get too stressful. Or more importantly, make sure you take proper medication

AA) Give employees structure. Let each employee know how his or her path to success can be achieved. All of them will either leave you or replace you eventually. That’s OK. Give them the guidelines how that might happen. Tell them how they can get rich by working for you.

BB) Fire employees immediately. If an employee gets “the disease” he needs to be fired. If they ask for more money all the time. If they bad mouth you to other employees. If you even think they are talking behind your back, fire them. The disease has no cure. And it’s very contagious. Show no mercy. Show the employee the door. There are no second chances because the disease is incurable.

CC) Make friends with your landlord. If you ever have to sell your company, believe it or not, you are going to need his signature (because there’s going to be a new lease owner)

DD) Only move offices if you are so packed in that employees are sharing desks and there’s no room for people to walk.

EE) Have killer parties. But use your personal money. Not company money. Invite employees, customers, and investors. It’s not the worst thing in the world to also invite off duty prostitutes or models.

FF) If an employee comes to you crying, close the door or take him or her out of the building. Sit with him until it stops. Listen to what he has to say. If someone is crying then there’s been a major communication breakdown somewhere in the company. Listen to what it is and fix it. Don’t get angry at the culprit’s. Just fix the problem.

GG) At Christmas, donate money to every customer’s favorite charity. But not for investors or employees.

HH) Have lunch with your competitors. Listen and try not to talk. One competitor (Bill Markel from Interactive once told me a story about how the CEO of Toys R Us returned his call. He was telling me this because I never returned Bill’s calls. Ok, Bill, lesson noted.

II) Ask advice a lot. Ask your customers advice on how you can be introduced into other parts of their company. Then they will help you. Because of the next rule…

JJ) Hire your customers. Or not. But always leave open the possibility. Let it always dangle in the air between you and them. They can get rich with you. Maybe. Possibly. If they play along. So play.

KK) On any demo or delivery, do one extra surprise thing that was not expected. Always add bells and whistles that the customer didn’t pay for.

LL) Understand the demographic changes that are changing the world. Where are marketing dollars flowing and can you be in the middle. What services do aging baby boomers need? Is the world running out of clean water? Are newspapers going to survive? Etc. Etc. Read every day to understand what is going on.

LLa) Don’t go to a lot of parties or “meetups” with other entrepreneurs. Work instead while they are partying.

MM) But, going along with the above rule, don’t listen to the doom and gloomers that are hogging the TV screen trying to tell you the world is over. They just want you to be scared so they can scoop up all the money.

NN) You have no more free time. In your free time you are thinking of new ideas for customers, new ideas for services to offer, new products.

OO) You have no more free time, part 2. In your free time, think of ideas for potential customers. Then send them emails: “I have 10 ideas for you. Would really like to show them to you. I think you will be blown away. Here’s five of them right now.”

OOa) Depressions, recessions, don’t matter. There’s $15 trillion in the economy. You’re allowed a piece of it:

PP) Talk. Tell everyone you ever knew  what your company does. Your friends will help you find clients.

QQ) Always take someone with you to a meeting. You’re bad at following up. Because you have no free time. So, if you have another employee. Let them follow up. Plus, they will like to spend time with the boss. You’re going to be a mentor.

RR) If you are consumer focused: your advertisers are your customers. But always be thinking of new services for your consumers. Each new service has to make their life better. People’s lives are better if: they become healthier, richer, or have more sex. “Health” can be broadly defined.

SS) If your customers are advertisers: find sponsorship opportunities for them that drive customers straight into their arms. These are the most lucrative ad deals (see rule above). Ad inventory is a horrible business model. Sponsorships are better. Then you are talking to your customer.

TT) No friction. The harder it is for a consumer to sign up, the less consumers you will have. No confirmation emails, sign up forms, etc. The easier the better.

TTa) No fiction, part 2. If you are making a website, have as much content as you can on the front page. You don’t want people to have to click to a second or third page if you can avoid it. Stuff that first page with content. You aren’t Google. (And, 10 Unusual Things You Didn’t Know About Google)

UU) No friction, part 3. Say “yes” to any opportunity that gets you in a room with a big decision maker. Doesn’t matter if it costs you money.

VV) Sell your company two years before you sell it. Get in the offices of the potential buyers of your company and start updating them on your progress every month.  Ask their advice on a regular basis in the guise of just an “industry catch-up”

WW) If you sell your company for stock, sell the stock as soon as you can. If you are selling your company for stock it means:

a. The market is such that lots of companies are being sold for stock.
b. AND, companies are using stock to buy other companies because they value their stock less than they value cash.
c. WHICH MEANS, that when everyone’s lockup period ends, EVERYONE will be selling stock across the country. So sell yours first.

XX) Ideas are worthless. If you have an idea worth pursuing, then just make it. You can build any website for cheap. Hire a programmer and make a demo. Get at least one person to sign up and use your service. If you want to make Facebook pages for plumbers, find one plumber who will give you $10 to make his Facebook page. Just do it.

YY) Don’t use a PR firm, part II. Set up a blog. Tell your personal stories (see “33 tips to being a better writer” ). Let the customer know you are human, approachable, and have a real vision as to why they need to use you. Become the voice for your industry, the advocate for your products. If you make skin care products, tell your customers every day how they can be even more beautiful than they currently are and have more sex than they are currently getting. Blog your way to PR success. Be honest and bloody.

ZZ) Don’t save the world. If your product sounds too good to be true, then you are a liar.

ZZa) Your company is always for sale.

AAA) Frame the first check. I’m staring at mine right now.

BBB) No free time, part 3. Pick a random customer. Find five ideas for them that have nothing to do with your business. Call them and say, “I’ve been thinking about you. Have you tried this?”

CCC) No resale deals. Nobody cares about reselling your service. Those are always bad deals.

DDD) Your lawyer or accountant is not going to introduce you to any of their other clients. Those meetings are always a waste of time.

EEE) Celebrate every success. Your employees need it. They need a massage also. Get a professional masseuse in every Friday afternoon. Nobody leaves a job where there is a masseuse.

FFF) Sell your first company. Don’t take any chances. You don’t need to be Mark Zuckerberg. Sell your first company as quick as you can. You now have money in the bank and a notch on your belt. Make a billion on your next company.

GGG) Pay your employees before you pay yourself.

HHH) Give equity to get the first customer. If you have no product yet and no money, then give equity to a good partner in exchange for them being a paying customer.  Note: don’t blindly give equity. If you develop a product that someone asked for, don’t give them equity. Sell it to them. But if you want to get a big distribution partner whose funds can keep you going forever, then give equity to nail the deal.

III) Don’t worry about anyone stealing your ideas. Ideas are worthless anyway. It’s OK to steal something that’s worthless.

Endeavor Mentor of 2011 (Emerging Markets) nominees announced

Congratulations to the nine nominees for the Endeavor Mentor of 2011 (Emerging Markets) Award, to be revealed at our Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit later this month! These nominations recognize some of the Endeavor network members –- based in the emerging markets where Endeavor operates –- who have most embodied the spirit of Endeavor and had the highest impact over the past 12 months through a combination of mentoring Endeavor Entrepreneurs, participating in the network, and supporting and guiding Endeavor’s continued growth. A big congratulations to all the nominees.

Nicolas Szekasy
MercadoLibre.com (Argentina)

Since helping take MercadoLibre.com (an Endeavor company) public as its CFO in 2009, Nicolas Szekasy has been supporting entrepreneurs in the internet startup space as an investor and board member. He is a member of the Endeavor Argentina board, an Entrepreneur Services Committee member, and a well-respected mentor, advising Endeavor Entrepreneurs on strategy definition and execution, general management, finance, M&A, and team building.

Edson Rigonatti
Astella Investimentos (Brazil)

Edson Rigonatti is one of the most engaged mentors for Endeavor Brazil, donating more than 60 hours in 2010. Not only does he have a close relationship with many of the entrepreneurs, he is also engaged in internal strategic discussions, especially in Search and Selection and Entrepreneur Services, helping to train the team, add structure to the departments and improve Endeavor Brazil’s services. Edson actively participates in Endeavor events and programs such as the Gala Dinner and CEO Summit, and has spoken at several workshops and classes in Brazil’s Outreach and Education programs. Edson is also one of the first Brazilian members of Endeavor’s recently launched Investor Network.

Eduardo Novoa
Novoa Inversiones (Chile)

Eduardo Novoa is an independent consultant and a Board Member for Soquimich & Mainstream Renewable Power. He has held positions in business development, corporate strategy, and asset management at a number of Chilean and multinational companies. Eduardo joined Endeavor Chile’s Advisory Board in 2007. He spends countless hours mentoring Endeavor Entrepreneurs and is one of the creators of the high impact “Endeavor (YPO) Forum”. In the months following the earthquake in Chile in 2010, Eduardo and a group of Endeavor Entrepreneurs and Venturecorps members raised over US$1 million to support the reconstruction of the area, by far the most important social impact achieved in the history of Endeavor Chile.

Diego Garzon
Azurian (Colombia)

Diego Garzon is a partner at Azurian, a regional IT consulting firm. In 2010, Diego donated more than 80 hours to Endeavor Colombia, assisting with Search and Selection and Entrepreneur Services. Diego has been particularly committed to supporting Endeavor Entrepreneur Felipe Vergara of Lumni, leading meetings of the company’s technology advisory committee twice a month, and even traveling to Mexico to support Lumni’s expansion and growth.

Marianne Hesni
Hesni Group (Egypt)

Marianne Hesni is CFO of the Hesni Group, one of the leading companies in Egypt’s textile industry, and a long time Endeavor mentor. She recently became the first member of the country’s VentureCorps to join the Board of Endeavor Egypt. She is an active participant in local panels, roundtables, and events and is planning on attending the upcoming International Selection Panel (ISP) in Jordan.

Julio Gutiérrez
Grupo Metiz (Mexico)

In 2010, Julio donated 128 hours to Endeavor Mexico, more than any other Endeavor Mexico mentor. In addition to being a member of Endeavor Mexico’s Advisory Board, he serves on the advisory boards of four Endeavor Entrepreneur companies: Grupo MYT; Procesa Chiapas; Maskota; and Chilim Balam. He was a panelist at the International Selection Panel (ISP) in Chile and has offered his time in 46 Second Opinion Reviews and Mentoring Sessions since 2009. He is Endeavor Mexico’s Mentor of the Year for 2010.

Tanya Petzer
Engineer Your Tomorrow (South Africa)

Engineer Your Tomorrow (EYT) is a Talent Management and Organizational Culture Consultancy that has facilitated HR Peer Mentorship Sessions for Endeavor companies in South Africa. Tanya Petzer, a partner at EYT, has played a key role in facilitating these meetings since November 2009. With her guidance, HR professionals have found ways to engage with top management at their firms to bring HR to the forefront in important decisions. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have highlighted Tanya’s leadership in these meetings, which have allowed directors to engage in a dialogue about challenges they are facing at their respective firms. They have praised Tanya for helping them link HR-related issues to the core values and objectives of their overall business.

Ziya Boyacigiller
Angel Investor (Turkey)

Ziya Boyacigiller is an entrepreneur and investor who makes early-stage investments in technology start-ups—in Silicon Valley and Istanbul—and works with founding teams to help them grow their companies. He lectures MBA students on Entrepreneurship at Sabanci University in Istanbul. Ziya is currently on the advisory boards of three Endeavor companies in Turkey. Has been coaching the Endeavor Turkey team on developing a new TV program and can be found in their office every other week, meeting with entrepreneurs or with the staff. He is a nationally recognized entrepreneur and entrepreneurship advocate.

Andrés Cerisola
Ferrere (Uruguay)

Andrés Cerisola is partner of Ferrere, one of the most important Uruguayan lawyers’ groups. He has been a member of Endeavor Uruguay’s Board of Directors since 2007 and is very committed to Endeavor’s mission. In 2010, he donated many hours as a mentor in his home country, and actively participated in the most recent International Selection Panels (ISPs) in Mexico and London, representing Endeavor Uruguay and its entrepreneurs.

Endeavor Entrepreneur of 2011 nominees announced

Congratulations to the nine entrepreneurs nominated for our Endeavor Entrepreneur of 2011 Award, to be revealed at our Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit later this month! These nominations recognize some of the Endeavor Entrepreneurs who have most embodied the spirit of Endeavor and had the highest impact over the past 12 months through a combination of growing his/her company, participating in the network, and giving back to Endeavor.

Rodolfo Montes de Oca and Patricio Miranda
Zott Producciones (Argentina)

The brainchild of childhood friends Rodolfo and Patricio, Zott Producciones exports innovative high-quality corporate promotional products to more than 40 countries. Zott has produced over 100 million products while building a reputation for efficiency, quality, and social responsibility. Zott generates $25 million in revenues and has more than 120 employees. Patricio and Rodolfo have given back to Endeavor in time and in-kind, speaking at conferences, participating in the selection process, and printing Endeavor Argentina’s annual Impact Reports free of charge.

Leila Velez
Beleza Natural (Brazil)

Leila and her co-founder opened the first Beleza Natural salon in 1993, aiming to give underserved women an affordable way to feel “naturally beautiful.” The franchise currently includes 26 salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Beleza Natural has also developed a line of hair care products, operates a cosmetic research lab and maintains partnerships with several universities. Since selection by Endeavor, Beleza Natural has increased employment by 214%. The company is in the top 5 Endeavor Brazil companies in terms of revenue and has excellent market foresight, targeting the fastest growing segment of the population in Brazil. Leila has helped Endeavor Brazil at several events, including the Endeavor Entrepreneur Annual Retreat, Gala Dinner, CEO Summit (which she attended as a speaker), and the Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America program. She is also a columnist for Endeavor Brazil’s website and was one of the first entrepreneurs to teach in their education program.

Juan Carlos de la Llera
SIRVE (Chile)

SIRVE designs, produces and implements devices that protect structures from damage caused by earthquakes. When SIRVE-equipped buildings withstood the fifth-strongest earthquake ever recorded, SIRVE’s projects tripled. Today, the company is ready to capitalize on the estimated US$300 million seismic protection devices and services market. SIRVE’s significant investment in R&D and its ability to both develop and implement superior technology at a lower cost separates it from its competition. Juan Carlos has been a role model to an entire generation of engineers and entrepreneurs, showing how excellence in creating a better and safer environment is rewarded in the business world.

Kenneth Mendiwelson
Refinancia (Colombia)

Kenneth has developed an innovative approach to Colombia’s Non-Performing Loan (NPL) market, buying NPLs from banks and implementing a unique program for loan collection to treat debtors as respected clients instead of “defaulted loans.” Kenneth has already built a client base of more than 250,000 individuals. The company continues to make a significant social impact in Colombia, a country with almost no history of debt markets and very limited individual access to credit. Kenneth has not only focused on his company’s growth, but also on being an Ambassador for Endeavor Colombia, participating in several events, donating time to the Search and Selection process, and contributing to the World Economic Forum Report “Global Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies of Early-Stage Companies.”

Amr Shady
T.A. Telecom (Egypt)

T.A. Telecom is positioned to become Middle East North Africa (MENA) region’s premier mobile platform for time- and location-specific content. It recently experienced tremendous growth thanks to an increase in the population’s interest to consume more information. Despite being only recently selected at the Mexico ISP, Amr Shady is very actively involved in Endeavor. He has attended multiple local and international events and is making good use of connections, services and mentorship. He is the first entrepreneur in Egypt to commit to the give-back program.

Mauricio Pariente and Alejandro Chaljub
Procesa Chiapas (Mexico)

Mauricio and Alejandro’s vision was to positively impact employment and wealth in Chiapas, one of the poorest regions in Mexico. In only three years, their company, which commercializes frozen foods and tuna in pouch packets, grew from 100 to 300 employees and more than doubled annual sales from US$7.3 million to US$15.6 million. Mauricio and Alejandro serve on the advisory boards of several other Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ companies and have helped Endeavor set up an office in Chiapas.

Natalie Killassy
Stitch Wise (South Africa)

Since 1997, Stitch Wise has been producing leading-edge safety equipment and protective clothing for mining and other hazardous industries, protecting mining workers from the accidents that crippled its employees in the past. With over half the workforce made up of paraplegic former miners, Natalie’s socially conscious business restores dignity to those whose lives have been forever changed by on-the-job accidents. Natalie was a 2009 Veuve Clicquot “Business Woman of the Year” and was honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” at Endeavor’s annual Gala in New York City in 2009. She championed the idea of Entrepreneur “Give Back” before a formalized program was in place. She frequently donates her time and resources to the organization and serves on local selection panels.

Bülent Celebi
AirTies (Turkey)

Bülent founded AirTies in 2004 to develop, produce and market network and wireless modems and accessories for the residential and small business market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Since being selected by Endeavor, company revenues have grown by 466%. AirTies continues to create R&D jobs in Turkey and set new standards for management practices and customer support services. An active network member, Bülent serves on the board of another Endeavor company and has participated as a speaker, panelist, search and selection interviewer and ambassador for Endeavor. He is a major supporter of the “Give Back” program and is always ready to share constructive feedback on how Endeavor Turkey can improve their service.

Gabriel Colla
Infocorp (Uruguay)

Gabriel Colla founded Infocorp at age 22 in 1994 and successfully grew his company at an average of 35% per year for the past seven years. Its products are present in more than 18 countries, and the company has offices in Puerto Rico, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay. In 2009 Gabriel hired a CEO for Infocorp, and transitioned from the role of CEO to that of President, focusing on strategic issues. Gabriel launched a second company, Lynkos, in 2010 together with Federico Cella, another Endeavor Entrepreneur. He donated more than 20 hours as mentor in 2010 and is a member of Endeavor Uruguay’s Board of Directors.

LawForChange features Endeavor Entrepreneur Felipe Vergara

LawForChange, a legal resource and forum for social innovators conducts case studies where social entrepreneurs share their experiences protecting their organizations’ intellectual property , highlighting the legal challenges they faced and overcame and the lessons they learned in the process. They recently spoke with Endeavor Entrepreneur Felipe Vergara, founder of Lumni Inc. The case study is reprinted below, or find the original here.

The Organization: Lumni Inc. is a pioneer is the field of human capital financing. The company designs and manages social-investment funds that invest in the education of diversified pools of students. In exchange, each student commits to pay a fixed percentage of income for a fixed number of months after graduation, with no debt obligations afterward. Through both for-profit and nonprofit funds, Lumni has expanded its work to Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States, financing more than 2,000 students to date, the large majority of whom come from low or very low-income backgrounds.

In the Beginning: As the creator of a unique financial model that could be replicated around the globe, Lumni founder Felipe Vergara saw intellectual property as a priority for Lumni since its inception. But, like many social sector organizations, Lumni’s lack of time and resources were formidable obstacles. As Felipe recalls, “We have always wanted to develop our IP strategy, but in the beginning we did not have the means. The key was to find the right partners to execute that strategy.”

Felipe watched other social organizations undergo time consuming name changes because of IP disputes. As Lumni expanded to other jurisdictions, he realized that the potential risks and benefits of IP protection were too great to ignore.

Lumni first set out to trademark its name and brand in the countries where it operates. Linking with organizations like the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, Lumni has now succeeded in registering in many of the surrounding countries, and is also seeking patent protection for some of its financial models and research methods. It has also taken steps to create security protocols internally.

Why Protect IP? As Felipe describes, “I think [IP strategy] is fundamental. One of the main assets of any organization, particularly social organizations, is the reputation of their brand. So if your reputation is not protected, all the good will that has been built over the years is put at risk. Making sure your core IP is protected is a fundamental step for all the stakeholders, all the investors, and all the staff and board members.”

Lessons Learned:

Pick and choose: “We learned there are different types of brand classes under which we could register, which correspond to the different uses for the brand. This can include anything from a drink to an education service.

“One of our biggest challenges was how to prioritize with limited resources, to decide in which countries we wanted to protect our IP, and which types of brand categories to use. It is important to make sure you register your name in the adequate category, considering your resources, since the more categories you choose, the more expensive it will be to register.

The open source option: In addition to protecting its IP around the world, Lumni has also decided to keep some of its IP as open source for broad dissemination. When asked about the factors that go into making that decision, Felipe noted, “There are things we think might be of interest to the public and to the sector, things that might help advance the sector, and help people understand something as innovative as human capital contracts. In those areas, Lumni is very committed to doing research and publishing.” He added, “[Lumni is] also a small organization without a large research component. Some things we are willing to share so more people are aware of what we’re doing.”

Advice to Others: For other social sector organizations considering their IP strategy, Felipe offers the following advice:

1. Keep it focused: “Some key advice is to focus on what is core. There are so many things that one organization can do, but there are probably one or two things that are most important… You also have to find and register in the countries that are most important for your organization.”

2. Prioritize: “Small organizations have many things to think about, mostly how to survive. Usually they will be primary concerned with protecting their brand and their know-how, if there is something specific about their know-how they can protect. If this is not absolutely key, then go and register the brand.”

Two Endeavor Entrepreneurs named “Women to Watch” by The Next Web

The Next Web, a top blog for tech news and business, has named two Endeavor entrepreneurs to their new list of “Latin American Start-ups: 10 Women to Watch.” The list comes on the heals of Rio de Janeiro’s recent Dell Women’s Entrepreneurs Network, which hosted several leading Latin women in the start-up scene. Profiles of the Endeavor-supported Entrepreneurs are reprinted from The Next Web below:

Julie McPherson is the co-founder and Director of New Business of Tiaxa, a company supported by Endeavor. An American, she met her Chilean husband while working at an investment bank in Chile in 1996. She then returned to the US and co-founded Tiaxa in 2000 with 5 associates. At the time, the company was based in Miami and focusing on services such as WAP portals and ringtones. It changed quite a lot since then: commercially headquartered in Santiago de Chile since 2002, it provides all kinds of data solutions to telcos, from billing infrastructure.

This shift reflects the growing importance of data in the operators’ revenues; its clients include Nextel, Vivo and America Movil. Tiaxa is mostly focusing on Latin America, where its main offices are currently located. It’s the area of expertise of its founders and an interesting one: text messaging took off earlier there than in the US. Julie is also based in Latin America; she came back to Santiago to open the local office. According to Julie, Tiaxa has been growing very fast lately and is one of Chile’s main tech exporters. Julie also supports other women entrepreneurs, thanks to the Impakta program initiated in Chile by women from the Endeavor network. Through tailored advice such as business mapping, it helps these female entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level.

Martha Debayle, a radio and TV anchor born in Nicaragua, raised in New York City and based Mexico, is the founder of media brand BBMundo (which translates as “Baby World”). Launched in 2000, it includes a web portal, a magazine, a radio program and a discount card. It targets future and current parents, particularly mothers. Its motto is “Because you can always be a better mom”. Since its selection by Endeavor in 2002, its revenues have grown as much as 1,000% thanks to partnerships with brands such as Johnson’s Baby and Nestlé SMA, according to the network’s website.

Martha Debayle is a celebrity in Mexico: to give you an idea, her recent wedding made it to the front page of popular magazine Quién. Last year, she was listed as one of the “10 most influential women in Mexico” by web portal De10, which belongs to Mexican newspaper El Universal.

Join me in recognizing high-impact female entrepreneurs – by Joanna Rees, Endeavor board member and San Francisco mayoral candidate

By Joanna Rees

I have long believed in taking risks, rising to challenges, and persevering. Whether climbing the corporate ladder, starting my own venture capital firm, or most recently entering the 2011 race for Mayor of San Francisco [Editor’s note: learn more at joinjoanna.com], I have always tried to live by these convictions. Through all of these experiences, there is nothing that excites me more than working with entrepreneurs. Their passion, vision and tenacity are inspirational. Helping them build and scale their businesses led me to join the Board of Endeavor Global. Through my work with Endeavor, I have met so many High-Impact Entrepreneurs who consistently take risks, rise to challenges, and serve as role models. Through their work, commitment and passion they inspire countless other entrepreneurs.

I want to tell you the story of my friend Francesca Romana Diana, who is a great example of a High-Impact Entrepreneur. Francesca was born in Italy, traveled to Brazil and became inspired by the beautiful stones and gems found in the region. She launched her own jewelry design and manufacturing company. After fifteen years of building a successful jewelry business with her husband, Francesca lost everything when the two split. He retained the name of the company, Francesca Romana, and held all the assets. At perhaps the most difficult time in her life, Francesca, who was also a mother with a young son, courageously built a new luxury jewelry business from scratch. Since her name was taken she used her full name Francesca Romana Diana. Her talent and determination prevailed.  

She is now an internationally acclaimed designer, creating beautiful, whimsical accessories out of semi-precious stones. She has boutiques in major cities in Brazil and Europe and sells her jewelry through retailers in the U.S. She is not only a very successful entrepreneur but she is a phenomenal role model, especially for women. Francesca’s determination, energy and gumption prompted me to send my daughter, Taylor, to spend a week with her to learn from such a strong female role model.

All entrepreneurs face barriers, especially females. It is even harder in emerging markets where there are numerous cultural challenges and few support systems. Networks, especially peer networks, can be one of the best resources to overcome these barriers. With more than 600 entrepreneurs in 11 emerging markets, Endeavor has an invaluable pool of entrepreneurial expertise. This kind of network can be a powerful and steady source of support, inspiration, and advice.

On June 28-30, Endeavor is holding its 2011 Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco, California. As part of its Summit, Endeavor along with Veuve Clicquot will host a Women Entrepreneur Breakfast on June 29 to bring together High-Impact female Endeavor Entrepreneurs and leading Bay Area business women. At the Women Entrepreneurship Breakfast, I will be presenting the Endeavor Entrepreneur nominees of the “Veuve Clicquot High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year” Award.

In addition to celebrating these incredible women, I’m excited to bring together leading business women and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area with Endeavor Entrepreneurs from around the world. I look forward to continuing the dialogue about the barriers and challenges that female entrepreneurs face and the importance of support networks.

For more information on the Women Entrepreneur Breakfast, please contact Maggie.Krummel@endeavor.org.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs share success stories at Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network event

By Julia Daniel, staffmember at Endeavor Brazil

We just wrapped up 2011’s Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event in Rio de Janeiro. Dell partnered with Endeavor Brazil, as well as ForbesWoman publisher Moira Forbes and Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women to host the conference, themed “Building the Power of Your Business.”

To learn more, you can also check out an article in USA Today which discusses the conference and highlights Endeavor Entrepreneur and event speaker Leila Velez.

With 150 entrepreneurial women in attendance (as well as a few courageous men!), participants attended panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and informal chats. DWEN was a serious place for us to talk business, “girl-talk” style. We dug deep into the challenges facing entrepreneurs today and heard from top female entrepreneurs from around the world.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Leila Velez, president of Brazilian beauty chain Beleza Natural, participated in a spotlighted interview with Moira Forbes. Leila reminisced about the early days, when she and her partners launched their unique business to handle unruly, curly hair not by straightening it (like most products on the market) but by enhancing it. Leila explained how Beleza Natural identified a real market need felt strongly by the majority of Brazilian women, especially those at the base of the pyramid. She noted how the company overcame initial skepticism to open 26 salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, which currently serve up to 1,000 customers per day. Leila also joked about earning her “McDonalds MBA” as an employee at the fast food chain, which Forbes remarked is quite common for emerging market entrepreneurs who often learn everything they know about business from previous employers.

Immediately following the interview, Endeavor Entrepreneur Ilana Braun spoke on a panel called “The Business of Beauty.” Drawing on her experience building a market-leading cosmetic brand, Dermage, she contributed insights about the growth of the ‘lipstick economy’ and how it has harnessed the buying power of women during the global recession. Additional notable speakers and panelists included:

– Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief AOL Huffington Post Media Group
– Carley Roney, founder of popular wedding planning resource, The Knot
– Judith Clegg, founder and CEO of Veturing Unlimed and The Glasshouse
– Sarah Prevette, CEO of Sprouter and recipient of Inc.com’s 30 Under 30 honor
– Neetu Bhatia, founder of India’s Ticketmaster, KyaZoonga
– Amy Millman, president and co-founder of entrepreneur incubator Springboard Enterprises
– Reina Otsuka, founder and CEO of leading Japanese eco-friendly export company Ecotwaza
– Luiza Helena Trajano, founder of the third largest retail chain in Brazil

DWEN provided fertile grounds for networking with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurial women. Though they came from many different businesses, cultures and life experiences, they were united by their desire to help one another through sharing information and being transparent in voicing their needs.

The tone was set from the beginning, when all participants sat in a semi-circle and were instructed: “Here is a card for you to write down what you need, and what you can offer.” DWEN used these cards to match our “hands” to ensure everyone walked out with a Royal Flush.

Webinar: Endeavor’s Allen Taylor weighs in on the future of entrepreneurial investing in Latin America

Endeavor’s Allen Taylor (Director, Global Network) joined Latin America Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) President Cate Ambrose and Americas Venture Capital Conference Co-Chair Irma Becerra-Fernandez in discussing fundraising trends, deal growth, and imperatives for continued investment growth in Latin America in a panel entitled “Prospects for Private Equity & Venture Capital in Latin America: The Year Ahead.” The panel was hosted by Endeavor Global Advisory Board member Juan Pablo Cappello, a senior partner in the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig. Click here to view the presentation; click here to listen to the webinar recording.

As the panelists discussed, Latin America is experiencing unprecedented interest and record-breaking investment growth. Global investment firms have a very favorable view of Latin America compared with other emerging markets, and expect to increase investment in coming years. Panelist input and data from LAVCA’s recent survey of 200+ private equity and venture capital firms in Latin America highlight the following trends, among others.

More Funds Raised, Bigger Deals

2010 was a record-breaking year for Latin America, with $8.1 billion in funds raised, and 2011 is looking to be an even bigger year. Deal size increased significantly, with the dollar amount growing by 120% compared with 2009 and the number of deals above $100 million doubling. Despite claims that Latin America could be “overheating,” panelists asserted that it is a young, developing region and investors there face a less crowded, competitive market compared to other global markets.

Investments Focused on Growth and Expansion Phases

Allen Taylor observed that investment in Latin America is more focused on private equity than on true, early-stage venture capital—which is the type of investment most Endeavor Entrepreneurs seek. LAVCA’s data confirms that more than half of 2010’s deals invested in companies in the growth or expansion phases, while only 18% of deals focused on early stage or seed investment. However, all three panelists shared optimism that this number is growing. Allen added that while Endeavor companies are technically “early stage” based on the amount of money they raise, they are already successful and growing organically in their countries.

Government Support Critical

In addition to their highly innovative entrepreneurs, many Latin American countries are popular with investors because of their favorable business environment and governmental support of entrepreneurship. Compared with other emerging markets, Latin America is an increasingly user-friendly, familiar, welcoming environment for private equity and venture capital firms. Panelists all agreed that continued governmental and regulatory support is critical for future growth.

Click here to view the presentation; click here to listen to the webinar recording.

Endeavor’s Nicolas Ramos offers advice on attracting investment the smart way

Nicolas Ramos, COO of Endeavor Argentina‘s Córdoba office, spoke with local newspaper La Voz Noticias on how entrepreneurs can intelligently approach and secure investors.

Read the original version HERE (en Espanol). An English translation appears below.

1. What factors lead an investor to “buy into” a project?

There are different stages in a venture, and each stage has a certain type of investor that would be interested in investing. The seed capital needed to start operations is usually provided by what is called the 4 Fs: Family, Friends, Fools and Founders. They buy in because they believe in the person. They don’t study the business plan; they may look at the return on investment a few years away. Professional investors such as angel investors or investment funds usually invest in companies that are already in operation to some degree. At this stage, the company should have a defined business model and a growth strategy. Angel investors or funds will be interested in the entrepreneurial team and how they problem-solve, their leadership style and their ability to perform under pressure. Investors at this stage also look for an exit strategy. They usually buy a minority stake in the company so that in the next round of financing, equity is purchased by another investor for a higher price. An investor puts money in at this stage for operations — equipment, working capital and other items that grow the business — and not for the entrepreneur to take home. It is important to clarify that investors in the early stages of a venture are usually not interested in joining the management team of the company.

2. What are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching their projects to an investor?

It’s important to keep the pitch professional; the entrepreneur is not asking for help, but asking for money. It’s especially important to define the terms of the investment. Also, entrepreneurs often concentrate on the specific product or service they are developing, rather than on the business. An investor needs to know what the company produces and what makes it competitive, as well as the business side of it — who’s the target customer, what’s the market demand, who are the competitors, etc. A great product can have a terrible business. I usually advise entrepreneurs looking for investors to ask them to contribute more than money. They must look for “smart money,” an investor who will also add a network of potential investor contacts, or knowledge and experience.

3. Is it true that it’s especially difficult to get financing in Argentina?

Both funding and investors are scarce in Argentina. For some enterprises, there are many government programs that can contribute financing for companies, such as non-repayable contributions or loans with subsidized rates, such as SEPYME (Nation) or the Ministry of Industry of Cordoba. I cannot comment on bank loans. A network of professional investors is just beginning to develop with some success, but of course, there is less of this than in countries like Chile and Brazil.

4. What’s your best advice for entrepreneurs?

One important thing is to focus on the strengths of the entrepreneurial team. Another key issue is developing a simple way to explain the potential for business growth: the more attractive the business opportunity, the more investors will be interested in participating.

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