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Argentina’s Technisys Raises $13 Million in Funding Round, Receives Participation From Endeavor Catalyst

Technisys, an Endeavor Argentina entrepreneur company, raised $13 million in a Series B round of funding that included participation from Intel Capital, Alta Ventures, KaSZeK Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst and existing investor Holdinvest. Technisys has brought an […]

October 17th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor to Launch a New Country Affiliate in Morocco Focused on High-Impact Entrepreneurship

To read the Business Wire press release on Endeavor’s launch in Morocco, please click here. Endeavor announced today that it will launch a new affiliate office in Morocco, expanding its efforts to select and service […]

March 26th, 2013 — by admin

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Endeavor Uruguay hosts 10th Anniversary Gala

On September 7, Endeavor Uruguay celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala dinner attended by over 700 people. Endeavor Uruguay board chairman Gabriel Rozman and Managing Director Laura Raffo hosted luminaries including former Uruguayan President Luis Alberto Lacalle and current Montevideo Mayor Ana Oliveir.

The dinner, attended by hundreds of local business leaders and most of Uruguay’s 30 Endeavor Entrepreneurs, celebrated Endeavor’s accomplishments and the growth of entrepreneurship in the country.

For more information on the gala, please visit the Endeavor Uruguay site, here.

Board Member Matt Bannick shares thoughts on funding entrepreneurs

Endeavor Global Board member Matt Bannick (Omidyar Network) has just published an insightful post on the Harvard Business Review blog about the most effective ways that philanthropists can support innovative entrepreneurs. Click here to read and comment on the post.

An excerpt:

Investments in for-profit ventures benefit society by leveraging the power of markets. When the primary motive is to generate profits, businesses will strive to deliver value in excess of costs and scale up. And, as Pierre Omidyar experienced first-hand, successful for-profit ventures can create substantial customer value, jobs, and economic activity.

Ahmed Metwally on entrepreneurship and gaming in Egypt

The following is an article reprint that appeared earlier this year in the Globalization Issue of ‘Interactive Age’, a peer journal for executives in the video game industry. Ahmed Metwally, who authored the piece, is an Endeavor Entrepreneur and CEO of Timeline Interactive – Egypt’s first video game company, based out of Nasr City.

When I tell people that I work with Timeline Interactive, a gaming company in Egypt, people usually stare. The brave ones would comment politely that they did not know of a gaming industry in Egypt or the Middle East for that matter. What I tell them is that they are both right and wrong.

The challenges are quite real for those interested in developing games in the Middle East, a region with few hardcore gamers, zero publishers, reluctant investors and no industry specific education program. However, we have certainly done it and we are seeing a strong trend that leads us to believe that we are part of a rising industry in the region.

Very few investors and entrepreneurs in the Middle East are eager to rake the initiative and become part of such a new ecosystem. Nevertheless, as Gene William Mauch once said, “You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.” And we are pleased to be on the forefront of this new regional market.

In a new market, as with all startups, getting funding is no easy task. However, we did it by taking advantage of our strong team’s history. Mostafa Hafez, our co-founder and technical director, originally co-founded Artificial Studios, a US-Egyptian video game development studio. Mostafa brought in Mohamed Samir, our co-founder and technical lead, to help him build Reality, a gaming engine that Epic games acquired in zoos. After the acquisition, Artificial Studios Egypt split and became Timeline Interactive. The team then caught the attention of the Technology Development Fund and EFG-Hermes, a leading investment firm, which invested in the company to help take it to the next stage.

Early on, we had to make a decision on whether to target the Middle East market specifically or to target the global market as a whole. So, we had to ask the obvious question: how many garners are there in Egypt or the Middle East and what are they like? The exact numbers have never been officially measured, but research shows that there are just as many gamers in Egypt as anywhere else in the world. The only difference, however, is that the majority of Egyptians and Middle Easterners tend to be casual gamers with a focus on PC games, and an unyielding preference for multiplayer soccer games. Once they’ve played a good soccer match, they may shift to their second preference, strategy games. The story is a bit different for consoles like PlayStation3 and Xbox360. Even with three hundred million people and thousands of PS3s being sold every year, the Middle East is still considered a virgin market, albeit with huge potential. And in today’s global village, the Middle Eastern consumers, like any others, are always looking for well known AAA titles. Everyone wants to play the big blockbusters that everyone else is playing.

Since our early strategy was to develop action games for consoles such as PS3 and Xbox360, it was becoming obvious that building a game that solely targets the Middle East as a region would be a very risky endeavor. Therefore, we opted to target the global market as a whole. This lead to the release of CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars in June 2009, a downloadable multi-player First-Person Shooter (FPS), on the PS3 and Xbox360 to a worldwide audience. This experience has cemented our vision to develop games that would release worldwide. This does not preclude us of course from looking for concepts that draw from our culture. We are quite confident that a video game which leverages some aspects of the Arabian culture while maintaining a worldwide appeal would have a stronger chance of success regionally and globally. The success of Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia series would certainly reinforce this.

Apart from the business challenges, we have also faced organizational ones. There are many talented resources in a country of 80 million people and tuition free universities that graduate 5,000 computer science and computer engineering students every year. Yet, hiring the right resources for Timeline has not been an easy task. One of the first issues that we encounter is the lack of professional experience. With this industry being almost non-existent in the Middle East, finding people with the required experience and skills to participate in the development of a video game title can be rather difficult. At Timeline, we have built a six month mentorship program that walks new qualified resources through the different aspects of video game development and immerses them in the experience. Three months into the program, new Timeliners begin assisting their mentors with their deliverables. Six months in, they are fully productive and are tasked as full junior resources on projects. Once the Egyptian talent is fostered, the outcome is a diversity of unique and impressive creativity and artistic talent. Working against the well established stereotype, our aim at Timeline is not to simply compete on cost, which tends to be the main competitive advantage of any overseas outfit. Instead, our goal is to continuously compete on creativity and innovation. Being very cost effective never hurts though! So we are constantly working on building the right diverse team that can grow to compete on a global scale.

Another challenge is our geographical location. It is difficult to meet in person on a regular basis with publishers. Therefore, we always make it a priority to focus on our communication and coordination with the publisher’s team to overcome that psychological barrier associated with working with remote teams. However, being located in Egypt does have 115 advantages. Egypt is centrally positioned when dealing with teams from around the world. For example, while working on CellFactor with Immersion and Ubisoft, we managed 12 teams working on the title around the world. Being located in Egypt was optimal as we could easily communicate with Ubisoft’s testing teams in India & Europe early in the day and have our regular status meetings with the producers in San Francisco by the end of the day.

In our experience we find that development of video games in Egypt has been an interesting, yet challenging endeavor. With the numerous challenges we face along the way developing a video game title in Egypt success becomes quite an exemplary achievement.

The Middle East is still considered a virgin market.

As we continue to strive for more we look forward to introduce diversity into the video game arena. Due to Egypt’s unique geographic location and varying topology, various cultures exist today: in the North, you have a Mediterranean marine centered culture, in the South, an African Nubian one, in the dessert, an Arabian Nomadic one, while a farming one exists on the banks of the Nile. This offers us a very rich palette to draw from.

Apart from the abundance of mythological tales, historic events and modem stories from Nobel Prize winning authors that we can weave into future titles, we are leveraging unique art forms inspired by Pharaonic, ancient and modern Islamic into new art concepts. Egypt has always been known for its innovation in the movie and the music industries in the Middle East. At Timeline we plan to build on that, and remain the regional pioneers in the video game industry. We will always focus on using our local resources to penetrate the international market. We believe that the Middle East market will follow suit on its own.

ENDEAVOR GALA – SAVE THE DATE! (Nov 11)

On November 11 in New York City, Endeavor will honor the Founding Team of Gilt Groupe as High-Impact Entrepreneurs of the Year at the 2010 Endeavor Gala. Hailed by Vogue as “the online shopping phenomenon,” Gilt Groupe has revolutionized e-commerce to provide access to high-fashion and luxury goods at discounted prices.

Join the greater Endeavor network of board members, entrepreneurs, mentors and supporters as we celebrate High-Impact Entrepreneurship. For individual tickets, tables and tribute program ads contact Rebecca Plofker.

Upcoming event: California selection panel (Sept 29 – Oct 1)

Sept 29 – Oct 1 * Pebble Beach, California

At this one-of-a-kind International Selection Panel (ISP), we’re excited to bring together our emerging market entrepreneurs with Silicon Valley’s top innovators. Marking the positive momentum of Endeavor’s new San Francisco office, come be part of our first-ever West Coast ISP!

To learn more or to register, please click here.

Chilean Entrepreneur Julie McPherson on a new initiative

Guest Post by Endeavor Entrepreneur Julie McPherson:

The first Pathways to Prosperity Summit had a profound effect on the Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Chile. As participants, we each have our own successes and insights to share, but grew much closer as a group within Pathways. I suppose that has to do with the strength of the Endeavor network effect!

The most important question, or challenge rather, proposed by Pathways at the end of the summit was, “What will you do locally now, given all that you have learned here in DC? How will you keep the momentum going?”

Upon returning to Chile, the five of us formed an initiative that we call Impakta. The objective is to achieve locally the goals and structure of the Pathways to Prosperity program initiated by Secretary of State Clinton, but with certain differences that are relevant to our market realities. Impakta looks to satisfy real support needed at professional levels for women entrepreneurs in a critical moment in their business cycle. This is our collective initiative. It is how we are giving back to Pathways and helping to foster other non-Endeavor local women so that they may have access to a professional network of help from mentors here.

Impakta will be holding a strategic planning session this November. We hope to get all of the important stakeholders — leaders in the academic field on female entrepreneurialism, possible mentors and mentees, and Endeavor team members — to join us in this exciting initiative.

Saludos from Chile!

Julie McPherson is an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Her company, Tiaxa, was selected in 2008 as part of the 25th Global International Selection Panel. Tiaxa is a full service provider for the telecom industry, serving Latin America’s wireless, broadband and digital content markets with pricing, rating, mediation, revenue assurance, data retention and SLA management functions, specializing in on-demand and prepaid data services.

Entrepreneur Spotlight – Shane Immelman

Shane Immelman, founder and CEO of Lapdesk, celebrated the 2010 FIFA World Cup in a special way. In partnership with the car manufacturer Hyundai, his company brought 4,500 underprivileged schoolchildren in South Africa to attend live World Cup matches. The children were picked up at their schools, provided with a backpack and blanket, and treated to an experience of a lifetime.

Lapdesk and Shane have been the subject of numerous news stories and Harvard Business School case studies. Since late 2004, the initiative has manufactured and distributed more than 800,000 Lapdesks (portable, ergonomically-designed writing desks) to schoolchildren in need. Shane’s goal is to eliminate the 4 million desk shortage in South Africa, and significantly address the estimated shortage of 400 million desks in other African countries and globally.

Most recently, in a July 21st event, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was on-hand for a giveaway of 1,000 lapdesks to Lwazi Public Primary School outside of Cape Town.

Shane remains an active member of the Endeavor community. Since being selected in September 2006 and receiving a range of services (e.g., mentorship, town hall meetings, eMBA and G-Lab programs, Immersion Tours, market-scoping trips), his revenues have grown by 2,100% and number of jobs by 617%. Shane remains a strong ambassador and pioneer for Endeavor South Africa.

Linda Rottenberg offers life lessons on Women’s Forum

CEO Linda Rottenberg was featured this month on Maria Shriver’s “Women’s Conference” website, offering a range of personal and professional life lessons. Click here to read Linda’s article.

15 Endeavor Entrepreneurs participate in Colombia Immersion Tour

From June 30th to July 2nd, Endeavor Colombia—with important logistical support from Endeavor Uruguay—hosted an Immersion Tour. Fifteen Entrepreneurs and two VentureCorps from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay visited Bogotá to identify business opportunities, participating in a range of meetings and forums with entrepreneurs, business leaders, investment funds, consultants, and investment promotion agencies.

Overall, sessions stressed Colombia’s growing attractiveness to investors, and the various investment resources available to entrepreneurs within Colombia. More broadly, participants came away with a renewed appreciation for “looking outward.” International markets, the Tour reinforced, can be a valuable source of business models, products, and services that can be replicated and imported locally; rather than seeing foreign businesses as competition, entrepreneurs can learn from and adapt them, and in many cases find opportunities for partnership and investment.

Gina Bianchini, Greg Ericksen, Jeffrey Rosen, and Seval Oz join our Global Advisory Board

We’re excited to announce the addition of four new members to Endeavor’s Global Advisory Board – Seval Oz and Gina Bianchini from our growing California Network; Jeffrey Rosen from our New York network, and Greg Ericksen from our nascent London network.

Gina Bianchini is the Co-Founder of Ning, the largest social platform for interests and passions in the world, and is currently with the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

Greg Ericksen is Ernst & Young’s Global Vice-Chair for Strategic Growth Markets and the Global Director of “Entrepreneur of the Year,” a program which recognizes and celebrates leading entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries.

Jeffrey Rosen is a deputy chairman and managing director of Lazard with over 30 years experience in international investment banking and corporate finance.

Seval Oz is Vice President Finance & Business Development at Cuil—a start-up search engine that ranks results according to a unique relevance algorithm.

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