Dubai, UAE – December 16, 2013 – Endeavor selected 28 High-Impact Entrepreneurs leading 20 companies from Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Miami, Morocco, Turkey and the UAE at its 51st International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 872 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 558 companies in 19 countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a panel held from December 10 – 12 in Dubai, which also marked the official launch of a new Endeavor affiliate in the UAE. Panelists ranged from Silicon Valley venture capital executives to business leaders from 11 countries drawn from Endeavor’s extensive global network. Two Endeavor Entrepreneurs – from Colombia and Jordan – also joined the judging panels.
The Panel was notable in highlighting Endeavor’s rapid expansion around the world in 2013. Three new Endeavor affiliates – Miami, Morocco and the UAE – brought their first candidates to an Endeavor event and all were selected by the judges.
“I’m thrilled about all the new Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected but particularly want to congratulate our first-ever entrepreneurs chosen from Miami, Morocco and the UAE,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “This panel proved once again that great high-impact entrepreneurs can be found anywhere in the world. Endeavor can provide the right mentors, networks and access to smart capital to help these businesses reach their full potential.”
The International Selection Panel (ISP) is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step selection process. At the ISP, top local and international business leaders interview candidates about their businesses and high-impact potential, and then vote on whether or not candidates become Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services, including introductions to local and international business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable growth models in their home countries.
Endeavor will host five International Selection Panels in 2014. Locations will be Jakarta, Indonesia; Florianopolis, Brazil; New York, NY; Istanbul, Turkey and Miami, FL.
Brief descriptions of the selected entrepreneurs and companies follow.
Entrepreneurs: Fernando Moya
Company: Ozono Producciones (www.ozonoproducciones.com.ar)
Description: Ozono Producciones has produced and promoted stage productions and live events for over a decade, showcasing Argentine talent both at home and in top locations worldwide. It finds creative talent, produces shows, and coordinates regional and international tours for both proprietary and licensed content. As co-owner of the Fuerza Bruta theater company, Ozono plays an integral role in the international staging of the global blockbuster Fuerza Bruta. Ozono is also responsible for the live show adaptations of Disney’s top children’s TV series Violetta, Topa, and Art Attack. Ozono recruits and trains local performers for each production, cultivating the next generation of artists and showcasing Argentine talent worldwide.
Entrepreneurs: André Massa, Felipe Salvini, and Luis Vabo, Jr.
Company: Sieve (www.sieve.com.br)
Description: Sieve’s price intelligence tool pulls critical pricing and product information from online retailers’ websites. The proprietary technology uses a “web crawler” to search thousands of websites daily for prices so that retailers, manufacturers, and distributors can track competitors’ products on Sieve’s easy-to-use website and change their own prices accordingly. The company boasts over 300 clients in Brazil, including Walmart and Samsung, and has raised two rounds of funding from Arpex Capital. Looking forward, Sieve aims to add more customizable features and expand to Mexico, Southeast Asia, and the US.
Entrepreneurs from Sieve in a panel interview
Entrepreneur: Ahmed Ragab
Company: Baraka Optics Group (www.barakaoptics.com)
Description: Baraka Optics Group (2008) provides unique and quality eyewear products with premium service to meet the design and pricing needs of Egyptian middle to upper-class consumers. Growing out of an importer and distributor of foreign goods by the same name (Baraka, 1979), Baraka Group is a trusted and well-established brand with over 30 retail locations in metropolitan and resort locations throughout Egypt. Through its C & Co. product line, Baraka Group became the first company to offer Egyptian-branded eyewear and target the underserved youth population with trendy, affordable products. The company also offers its services through an innovative pop-up retail application, C & Co. Express.
Entrepreneurs: Hazem Dalati & Fahed Dalati
Company: Crave Restaurants (www.ticoeg.com)
Description: Crave’s casual dining restaurants fill the gap between Egypt’s high-end hotel restaurants and international chains. Brothers Hazem and Fahed Dalati take month-long trips to international food exhibitions and foreign restaurants to follow dining trends. They then change the Crave menu quarterly with new fusion dishes that adapt global cuisine to Egyptian tastes through creative local ingredients. The Tico parent company includes a catering arm for corporate and private celebrations, and a hospitality management service that organizes large-scale events at two Cairo business parks. Crave plans to add five restaurants in Egypt and five throughout the MENA region within three years, as well as grow its catering business.
Entrepreneur: Panos Paleologos
Company: HotelBrain (www.hotelbrain.com)
Description: HotelBrain, a leading hotel management firm, provides bespoke management and pre-opening consulting services to luxury boutique hotels, allowing owners to retain full control over their assets while improving guest experience and increasing revenue by an average of 20%. To improve the status quo within the hospitality industry, HotelBrain has established an education center to train management staff for placement within top hotels in the hospitality industry. HotelBrain isn’t just providing consulting services; the company is building an ecosystem, from managing hotels and consulting on new developments, to creating a community of hospitality insiders, and training the next generation of hotel management talent.
Entrepreneur: Omar Tabbaa
Company: EAT Restaurant Group (www.eat-jo.com)
Description: EAT offers four distinct themed restaurant brands in eleven locations across Jordan and Bahrain. The family-focused, alcohol-free EAT restaurants offer Italian, Asian, or modern Arab cuisine in thoughtfully decorated environments – and they stand out from typical traditional Jordanian casual dining experiences. Unlike foreign restaurant chain competitors, EAT focuses on sourcing ingredients locally with its own butchery and bakery to maintain quality and consistency and recently launched a customer loyalty card program, Group-wide food delivery service, and new shisha café brand. EAT plans to add 26 restaurants in eight countries over the next three years using its franchise model.
Entrepreneurs during Candidate’s Day
Entrepreneur: Hendy Setiono
Company: Kebab Turki Baba Rafi (www.babarafi.com)
Description: Kebab Turki Baba Rafi is the pioneer and leading consumer brand for Middle Eastern-inspired fast food in Indonesia. Baba Rafi manages 1,145 carts, stands and small store-fronts throughout Indonesia. Hendy Setiono, the entrepreneur behind Baba Rafi recently introduced the “Baba Rafi Academy,’’ an educational platform to develop the next generation of socially and environmentally responsible micro-entrepreneurs, many of whom gain professional experience as managers for his stores.
Entrepreneur: Elang Gumilang
Company: Elang Group (www.elanggroup.co.id)
Description: Elang Property makes the dream of homeownership a reality for thousands of lower-income Indonesians. A property developer based in Bogor, Elang Property focuses on developing subsidized houses. These houses are built with high-quality steel and concrete and are 36 square meters large and complete with two rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. For every project, Elang Property also builds kiosks, which residents can purchase to establish small stores, and provides property management services, such as security and waste management. Beginning next year, Elang Property will transition to building affordable but non-subsidized houses and focus on expanding beyond Bogor.
Entrepreneurs: Mohamad Arayssi, Maha Arayssi Rifai
Company: Beesline (www.beesline.com)
Description: Founded in 1993, Beesline is a brand of natural personal care products developed and produced in Lebanon. Based on the science of apitherapy (the medicinal use of bee by-products), Beesline products are rich in natural active ingredients that are free of additives like artificial coloring, fragrances and harsh preservatives. With over 150 SKUs, the products offer specialized treatments for a wide range of skin care problems, such as acne and eczema, as well as cosmetic needs like make-up and skin-whitening items. These products are sold in thousands of pharmacies and supermarkets throughout the region in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE, as well as through Beesline’s retail store in Beirut.
Entrepreneur: José Luis Correa Artasánchez
Company: Leonali (www.leonali.com)
Description: Leonali offers ready-to-eat, pre-cut and washed vegetables that preserve their freshness and nutritional integrity 10-25% longer than the industry standard. Leonali sells kid-friendly healthy snacks such as carrots and dipping sauce, ready-made salads, loose-leaf lettuce, prepared vegetables for soup, and side dishes like ready-to-cook broccoli. Consumers can purchase these products nationwide at supermarkets, wholesalers, and in entrees at restaurants. Leonali is one of the first movers within Mexico’s emerging pre-cut vegetable market, which is only expected to grow as Mexican consumers’ awareness of healthy foods increases and more steps are taken to confront the country’s obesity epidemic.
Entrepreneur: Hugo Moreno
Company: Ver de Verdad (www.verdeverdad.mx)
Description: Ver de Verdad’s 13 retail stores sell quality, stylish eyeglasses and accessories to low-income Mexican consumers at affordable prices. The company aims to bridge the gap between high-priced designer eyewear and the inadequate eyeglass options supplied to the nation’s poor by public health groups. Ver de Verdad provides a full vision diagnostic service, first offering customers a free eye exam and then helping them choose attractive frames. The customer’s unique specifications are then sent to one of three Ver de Verdad beveling and distribution centers to cut, assemble, and deliver the final eyeglasses within one hour. Ver de Verdad stores are strategically located in working class urban neighborhoods and the company plans to expand to cities across central and northwestern Mexico over the next few years.
Entrepreneur: José Antonio Chaurand
Company: Periscopio Media (www.pmedia.mx)
Description: Periscopio Media is writing a new chapter for the Mexican publishing world with its four distinct magazine titles, available in both online and print formats. With magazines that specialize in contemporary art, Mexican millennial culture, professional design, and urban challenges, PMedia digs into vogue issues that attract a niche audience of “influencers” in Mexican culture and politics. A veteran in the publishing world, Periscopio Media also licenses out its services through Documenta, a consulting branch that executes for corporate clients on any publishing need, from writing to final distribution.
Taking a break between panel interviews
Entrepreneur: Jesus Rodriguez
Company: KidoZen (www.kidozen.com)
Description: KidoZen is an enterprise mobile platform that provides a simple, secure and scalable middleware to integrate back-end and line of business capabilities into a companies’ mobile apps. Despite a crowded competitive landscape, KidoZen has been successful in quickly securing customers from a range of industries and geographies. Customers include: the United States Army, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto and Huawei.
Entrepreneurs: Roger Duarte and Sam Gorenstein
Company: My Ceviche (www.myceviche.com)
Description: Entrepreneurs Roger Duarte and Sam Gorenstein are securing customers throughout the Miami area with a fresh take on fast-casual dining: seafood in the form of ceviche. Ceviche, a dish popular in the coastal regions of Central and South America, is made from raw fish or shellfish marinated in citrus juices, spiced with chili peppers and accompanied by sweet potatoes, corn or avocados. Founded in 2012, My Ceviche currently delivers a tasty, fresh and affordable range of ceviches, salads, tacos, burritos and stone crabs in a fast casual environment. The company currently operates in two locations with three more set to open in 2014 – including one at the Miami International Airport.
Entrepreneur: Mourad Mekouar
Company: M2T (www.m2t.ma)
Description: In the absence of a centralized bill payment system in Morocco, Mourad Mekouar founded M2T, a multi-channel platform that enables un-banked customers at the base of the pyramid to pay bills, transfer money, and purchase mobile minutes and transportation tickets all in the same location – saving them time, money and energy. M2T processes over 40 million transactions each year, serving on average two million users per month through its 1,700 payment points across Morocco, Senegal and France. Having already captured 80% of the Moroccan bill payment market, M2T is poised to extend its service across MENA and Western Africa.
Entrepreneur: Youssef Chaqor
Company: Kilimanjaro Environment (www.ekogeste.com)
Description: Kilimanjaro Environment is at the forefront of the green energy movement in Morocco. The company collects used cooking oil from restaurants and hotels, which it filters, treats, and resells to biodiesel manufacturers. It also resells fatty acid products to both biodiesel and feedstock production plants. Having recently launched a pilot biodiesel production plant, Kilimanjaro now also produces biodiesel in house. The company’s process not only eliminates and treats waste, but also helps reduce CO2 emissions and find new ways to create clean energy.
Entrepreneur: Emek Kırbıyık
Company: Düğün.com (www.dugun.com)
Description: Düğün.com (Turkish for “wedding”) is the biggest wedding planning platform in Turkey, connecting over 1,500 wedding vendors in 21 cities to engaged couples. Wedding vendors can create a profile on the website, showcasing their products and services to the thousands of engaged couples that use the website. These users, in turn, can explore vendor options in 30 wedding-related categories, from venues to photographers to gowns, in a convenient and easy-to-use portal. They can also contact the selected vendor directly for further information.
Entrepreneur: Bülent Tekmen and Çelik Ören
Company: İninal (www.ininal.com)
Description: As the fastest-growing reloadable prepaid debit card provider in Turkey, İninal provides Turkey’s unbanked population with access to plastic. Ininal aims to become the bank for the unbanked, by offering İninal cards with online/offline transaction capabilities. The company plans to introduce new products with additional services like bill pay and money transfer. Founded in 2012, İninal has quickly created an extensive distribution network including top retailers and government offices, making its products accessible to 90% of Turkey’s population. The company has also shored up a strong loyalty program with a network of leading retailers, such as Samsung and Joygame, who provide İninal users discounts and special offers.
Entrepreneurs: Ravi Bhusari, Derv Rao, Brian Sigafoos
Company: Duplays (www.duplays.com)
Description: Based in Dubai, Duplays uses sport to engage communities, satisfying social and physical activity needs by removing the logistics and organizational hurdles that might otherwise deter participation. As a sports-network enabler, the company coordinates tournaments and leagues for individuals in over 20 sports, and has developed employee wellness programs for 65 corporations. Additionally, Duplays has hosted over 20 sports events sponsored by big-name brands looking to carry out initiatives to reach customers. Duplays recently launched two new initiatives: PlayPass, a technology platform to help sports/activities organizers plan and coordinate events, as well as franchising (already in Qatar, Jordan and India) to scale growth internationally.
Entrepreneur: Michael Lahyani
Company: Propertyfinder (www.propertyfinder.ae)
Description: Propertyfinder is an online real estate catalog that allows visitors to browse for free over 80,000 residential and commercial properties, posted by over 500 real estate agents in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt. Users can filter their searches for price, location and size. Propertyfinder also publishes its own real estate tips and quarterly industry reports, as well as ‘Prestige,’ its luxury real estate magazine. Real estate agencies benefit from Propertyfinder’s one million monthly views, which generate over 120,000 monthly leads. In the coming years, Propertyfinder intends to expand throughout the Middle East.
A panel deliberation moderated by Endeavor VP Allen Taylor