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Fifth Annual Endeavor Colombia Conference Brings Together Top Latin American Network Members in Bogotá

The 5th annual Endeavor Colombia Conference took place in Bogotá this month with the theme “A Day to Think Big”, aiming to inspire entrepreneurs and audiences with the high-impact stories of Endeavor’s network and provide a top forum for networking. The […]

October 21st, 2014 — by admin

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Linda Rottenberg Appears in Top Media Outlets to Discuss “Crazy Is A Compliment” and Share Stories of Endeavor Entrepreneurs

Endeavor CEO and co-founder Linda Rottenberg’s first book “Crazy Is A Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags” was released in October, bottling 17 years of insights and anecdotes from her work with nearly a thousand […]

October 16th, 2014 — by admin

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Mexico’s Kubo.Financiero, A Microfinance Platform, Receives $1.7 Million Investment

kuboMexico’s kubo.financiero recently raised nearly $1.7 million in an investment round led by venture firms Alta Ventures Mexico and  Capital Emprendedor, bringing the company’s total funding to $3.7 million. With this investment, kubo.financiero hopes to continue disrupting the financial sector in Mexico by significantly reducing interest rates to borrowers and creating a new asset class for investors across the region.

kubo.financiero is a pioneer in Mexico’s microfinance sector, offering online financial communities that link creditworthy borrowers with savvy investors through a peer to peer lending (P2P) business model. With a branch-less model that cuts overhead costs, kubo leverages technology and credit information systems that streamline the process of borrowing capital for everyone. kubo’s innovative model and strategic approach aims to encourage a “multiplier effect” for finance that can generate both economic and social impact.

Since its founding in 2012 by Endeavor Entrepreneur Vicente Fenoll Algorta, the company has met with nearly 5,200 credit requests leading to over 1,200 disbursements. Ninety percent of these loans support needs ranging from housing to education. The loans have terms that range from 16 weeks to 18 months, and nearly 95% of customers are paying 50% lower rates versus the ones they previously paid. The new venture firms in this recent round will join an existing group of angels and investors, including previous investors Vander Capital and Wayra.

Vicente joined Endeavor as an entrepreneur in 2004 as the founder of Fincomun before he went on to start kubo.financiero. With kubo, Vicente and his team have been active members of the network, participating in Endeavor Investor Network events, working with expert mentors, receiving support from the EY Vantage and eMBA programs, and giving back to Endeavor Mexico through donations.

Read more about the news by clicking here.

Endeavor Co-Hosts Silicon Valley Day in Mexico with Top Members of the Local Network

Silicon-Valley-Day-MexicoOn September 9th, the Endeavor Global and Endeavor Mexico teams co-hosted a a Silicon Valley Day event with Prezi, ZenDesk, Posible, 99 Designs and other top brands at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. The event aimed to bring Silicon Valley-level innovation and dialogue to Mexico by gathering leading investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs – including many key members of the Endeavor network. Over 1,500 participants turned up for the day of panel discussions and networking.

The event featured speakers representing Latin American interests from premiere tech comapniess and venture capital firms interested in promoting entrepreneurship and investment in Mexico. Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, delivered the day’s opening remarks by pointing out the strength and importance of Mexico’s relationship with Silicon Valley, where Mexican investors contribute nearly $2 billion a year to the region’s economy.

During the event, Endeavor Mexico moderated a panel on venture capital that  included entrepreneur Arturo Galvan, founder of mobile content developer Naranya, and Investor Network partners Pepe Villaltoro of CrowdFund, Hernán Hernandez of Angel Ventures Mexico and Luis Cervantes of General Atlantic. A networking event that closed the night also brought out a number of Endeavor Entrepreneurs and representatives from their companies.

Learn more about Silicon Valley Day by clicking here.

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A panel discussion on Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship during SVD

South Africa’s wiGroup Wins 2014 PwC Vision to Reality Award

wiGroup_Logo-MediumSouth Africa’s wiGroup was recently honored with the 2014 PwC Vision to Reality Award, which celebrates dynamic companies in the technology sector that have demonstrated growth and innovation. wiGroup’s mobile transactions application is leading the region’s point-of-sale sector by leveraging advancements in mobile technology to better serve consumers, merchants and retailers.

Multinational professional services firm PwC formed the Vision to Reality Awards program to acknowledge businesses that have best commercialized an innovative technology solution. The innovation must be designated as new, unique and a ‘game changer’, with demonstrated customer approval. The Awards program ultimately looks to encourage the best companies to step forward as role models, and to inspire future generations of technology startups. The winners are determined by an independent panel of judges recognized as experts in corporate technology and innovation.

Launched in 2011 by Endeavor Entrepreneur Bevan Ducasse, wiGroup’s in-store transaction platform, simply called WiPlatform, has been integrated with over 50,000 retail checkouts across South Africa and processed over three million transactions worth over $200 million. Bevan was selected into the Endeavor network in 2014 and has worked with a local team of expert Endeavor advisors to begin crafting expansion and business development strategies. Through Endeavor, Bevan has also been introduced to high-impact entrepreneurs in South Africa’s network.

Learn more about this year’s Vision to Reality Awards program by clicking here.

Argentina’s Socialmetrix Expands Presence to the U.S. with Miami Office

SocialmetrixSocialmetrix, founded by Argentine entrepreneurs Gustavo Arjones and Martin Enriquez, recently announced that the company will expand its operations to the U.S. with a team in Miami, FL. With this expansion, the growing social media analytics and monitoring company is surpassing competitors as it looks towards establishing a global presence.

With a roster of Fortune 100 clients across 10 countries, including brands like Yahoo, Starbucks, Microsoft and PepsiCo, Socialmetrix offers efficient and in-depth social media analytic services via its two product platforms, Eventia and Echo. The company provides technology that harnesses the power of social conversations, monitoring digital chatter and analyzing it for clients so that they can better understand their brands and customer base. Socialmetrix’s mission is to combine the best in product technology, local expertise, and professional services to serve an ever-expanding social marketplace.

The company’s new Miami office is focused on business development efforts that will help the entrepreneurs access more opportunities for growth in the U.S. It will be the their third office outside of Argentina, with teams already based in Mexico and Brazil. Martin Enriquez, the comapny’s CEO, will be responsible for managing the new venture.

“We have chosen Miami to start this new expansion effort because for many years Miami has been a crucial business hub for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market,” said Martin in a statement. “Many of our current clients have their pan-regional headquarters in Miami, thus, being there is the best way to continue assisting them and grow together.”

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2010, the entrepreneurs have received critical mentoring support from expert advisers along with introductions to high profile investors. In addition, the team has participated in Endeavor talent programs that seek to provide professionals with on-the-ground entrepreneurial experience, such as the EY Vantage Program.

Read more about the company’s announcement by clicking here

Greece’s Hellas Direct Named a National Champion by the European Business Awards

Hellas DirectThe European Business Awards, an annual honor that recognizes innovation and ethics in the regional business community, recently named Greece’s Hellas Direct to its rankings. Along with a selection of businesses representing more than 30 European countries, Hellas Direct joins a list of champions whose success and economic impact have helped foster a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and founders.

Founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Alexis Pantazis and Emilios Markou in 2011, Hellas Direct is Greece’s first direct-to-consumer online car insurance company. The entrepreneurs saw an opportunity and a need for an innovative, affordable model in the billion-dollar Greek car insurance market. By leveraging the latest technology, Hellas Direct offers premium customer service with more affordable rates than its competitors. The growing company now employs more than dozen people and continues to expand its customer base by offering an alternative to traditional insurers.

This honor brings Hellas Direct into the ranks alongside hundreds of other thriving business ventures recognized every year by the European Business Awards. Since 2007, the Awards have engaged with over 17,000 organisations across the continent, touching on industries ranging from fashion and technology to engineering and manufacturing. Participating businesses have represented a combined turnover of over €1 trillion (or over 8% of the EU’s GDP) and employ nearly 2.7 million people.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2012, Alexis and Emilios have been provided a board of local advisors with expertise in the industry, helping the team develop their business model and expansion strategies. The entrepreneurs have also met with top mentors in the network as well as potential international investors.

See the full list of this year’s honorees by clicking here.

Colombia’s Ecoflora Achieves Milestone with First Colombian Biopesticide Approved for U.S. Market

Colombia’s Ecoflora, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur LogoEcoflora2Nicolás Cock Duque, recently achieved an industry milestone with its CapsiAlil agropesticide, the first Colombian product of its kind to be approved for sale by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This news illustrates the potential for high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets to innovate industries and create products that can have global appeal.

One of several agro-product offerings developed by Ecoflora, CapsiAlil is a repellent and natural insecticide produced mainly from active ingredients found in several varieties of plant families. The product is unique in its management of insects in a wide variety of crops, from coffee to corn, with organic, non-toxic and plant-based ingredients. Ecoflora has been a pioneer in its sector in Latin America dedicated to the development of innovative solutions for the effective and sustainable protection of crops based on active substances obtained from botanical biodiversity.

“This is a very significant achievement for our company, our researchers and for the country in general, because it demonstrates that Colombia has the ability to deliver high added value and world-class technological innovations,” stated Nicolas in a statement.

Originally a family-owned flower business established in 1998, Ecoflora presented Nicolás – a civil engineer by trade – with the opportunity to develop commercial and sustainable products for the horticultural industry. By 2012, the company had over 15 major products in its portfolio, ranging from EdiBlue, a food and beverage colorant, to Myrica Waxm, a berry extract that can be used as a base in cosmetics and soaps. Having struck partnerships with universities, government institutions and laboratories to develop its products and promote agricultural research, Ecoflora is uniquely positioned to bridge barriers to scale in the region and take its niche market to a global stage.

Since being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in  2007, Nicolás has been an active network member, receiving  local publicity support and mentorship while also participating in the eMBA and G-Lab programs, the 2013 Endeavor Summit, and more.

Read more about the news by clicking here.

In Memory of Endeavor Mexico Board Member Bernardo Minkow

Bernardo_MinkowBernardo Minkow, Endeavor Mexico Board Member and active contributor to the network, passed away earlier this month. Below, Endeavor Mexico’s Managing Director Pilar Aguilar shares her thoughts and memories of Bernardo’s support of Endeavor through the years.

In 2010, when Fernando Fabre first approached me about the possibility of serving as Endeavor Mexico’s MD, the first thing I did was find out who was sitting on the Board of Directors. I figured I had to decide whether I would take the job even before it was offered, since I knew that during the interview process I was going to be talking to some of the most important business people in the country.

I was not surprised to find Bernardo serving on the board; I knew him from my days at McKinsey & Company  as the “rain maker” – he was the partner that managed the firm in Mexico. I first met Bernardo in 1991, when I graduated from college and was a fresh new Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company in Mexico City. At the time, I saw him as a pretty intense, intelligent, and somewhat scary partner.

At Endeavor, Bernardo became my friend and a trusted advisor. As an organization, we were very lucky to have him as a board member. I was even luckier to have our paths cross again. Bernardo has served as a board member for Endeavor Mexico since 2009. His contributions kept us focused on building the best network of the high-value and high-impact entrepreneurs. He was very focused on establishing and measuring key performance indicators to assert the effectiveness of Endeavor Mexico. Also, he pushed us towards building the best group of mentors and advisors. Thanks to his guidance, we established a process for portfolio evaluation and tailored specific Endeavor services for many of our entrepreneurs. In addition, Bernardo served on the board of HDS, an Endeavor company, from 2011 to 2013.

Thank you Bernardo, you will be greatly missed.

About Bernardo Minkow

After graduating from the Mexican National Autonomous University (UNAM) with a degree in Electrical Mechanical Engineering, Bernardo went on to earn a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a MBA from Harvard Business School. After earning his MBA, he entered McKinsey & Company where he worked for nearly 25 years, eventually becoming a Senior Partner  and Director of its Mexican operations. Bernardo specialized in energy (oil and electricity), telecommunications, airports, banking, water, and tourism. He was also involved in the privatizations of Telmex, Telebrás, Mexican banks, and Mexican airports.

Subsequently, Bernardo was a partner at the real estate developer Del Parque S.A. and the investment bank Promecap S.C., where he focused on aviation and real estate development. He joined the Endeavor Mexico board in 2009.

Lebanon’s Mosaic Marble Honored by the Preservation League of New York for Restoration Efforts

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Lebanon’s Mosaic Marble, founded by Taline Assi, was recently honored by the Preservation League of New York for the company’s work in restoring the landmark Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn, NY. In 2010, Mosaic Marble was selected as the official mosaic design company to support the building’s preservation efforts and, after two and a half years of restoration work worth nearly $18.5 million, the building was transformed into a grand event space. This honor stands as a testament to Endeavor Entrepreneurs whose unique businesses are making an impact around the world.

As New York’s statewide preservation organization, the Preservation League of New York State works to protect the city’s cultural heritage by promoting historic preservation to revitalize communities, celebrate heritage and enrich lives. In order to recognize projects that are demonstrating best practices in preservation, the League’s “Excellence in Historic Preservation” award was given to Mosaic for its efforts in restoring the building’s intricate flooring alongside  a team of internationally renowned architects and designers.

Completed in 1875 and recognized by New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank had fallen to neglect until it was purchased in 2010 to be converted into a premiere banquet and event space. Through the vision of the new owners and the efforts of the team of skilled artisans, the building is once again an icon of the city’s architecture and history.

Learn more about the news by clicking here.

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Inside the bank building during the renovation process

Endeavor Investor Network’s Latin American Venture Forum Gathers 160+ Entrepreneurs and Investors in Bogotá

LatAm Venture ForumEndeavor Global and Endeavor Colombia hosted the inaugural Latin American Venture Forum in partnership with Bancoldex. This event gathered over 30 of the most active regional funds in Colombia for a day of content, discussion and networking. The event showcased top members of the network, including many Endeavor Entrepreneurs and candidate companies active in Latin American  countries including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. In total, over 160 participants attended the day-long forum.

The day started with an “Entrepreneur Session” moderated by Endeavor mentor and attorney Dan Green of Greenberg Traurig, who provided attendees with insights on the fundraising process. The first session featured Endeavor Entrepreneurs Andrés Angulo (CampoAlto), Nicolás Cock (Ecoflora), Kenneth Mendiwelson (Refinancia) and Endeavor candidate Sebastián Obregón (Enmedio), all of whom discussed their different paths to growth capital. The second session focused on venture capital firms, with Esteban Mancuso (Velum Ventures), Diego Serebrisky (Alta Ventures Colombia), and Eduardo Amadeo (Nazca Ventures) highlighting areas of focus when considering a potential investment.

In conjunction with the session, two panels were held for investor attendees that focused on opportunities for cross-border partnerships and innovations in payment and credit systems. The latter panel featured a range of entrepreneurs working in the digital payments space, including Kenneth  Mendiwelson (Refinancia), Jose Velez (PayU),  Claudio del Conde (Kichink), Adolfo Babatz (Clip) and Andres Ramirez (Banlinea). They discussed innovations in the sector and also provided their views on the industry’s outlook over the next few years.

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A panel discussion during the forum

A subsequent panel featured representatives from Click Delivery, an online food delivery service, and Axon, a venture capital firm that invested in the business. With more than 3,000 restaurant affiliates and more than 2.7 million visitors per month, Click Delivery positioned itself as an industry leader in Latin America. Delivery Hero, an international food delivery company based in Berlin, acquired the majority of Click Delivery in 2014. The panel focused on the formation of the deal and Click Delivery’s exit, which ultimately gave Axon a return of four times on its investment.  Jose Calderon, CEO of Click Delivery, shared his experience negotiating with Axon and leveraging LinkedIn to find strategic investors.

During the afternoon, over 520 formal speed-networking connections were made during two hours of one-on-one conversations between Endeavor Companies and participating investors. In addition, Leandro Simao, Endeavor Entrepreneur and CEO of Brazil’s Bebê Store, gave a keynote address to the attendees following the company’s recent investment from Endeavor Catalyst.

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Entrepreneurs and investors networking session

World Economic Forum Report on High-Impact Entrepreneurs Highlights Endeavor’s Role and Research

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The World Economic Forum recently released a new report titled “The Bold Ones – High-Impact Entrepreneurs Who Transform Industries” that takes an in-depth look at the power of high-impact entrepreneurs and their role in transforming economies. Drawing from surveys of over 600 entrepreneurs in EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year program as well as research from Endeavor Insight, the report seeks to better understand how successful companies accelerate access to new markets and become scalable businesses that create high-value jobs.

In particular, the report found that the over 600 companies in the sample (1/10,000th of the total number of U.S. companies) have created over 160,000 jobs in just the last two years (nearly 1/20th of the total U.S. economy). These ventures have outperformed comparable financial indices by a substantial margin and have created significant wealth for owners, employees, and customers. In addition, the report features insights from Endeavor CEO and co-founder Linda Rottenberg, who is recognized as an early pioneer of the high-impact entrepreneurship movement.

Read and download the full report by clicking here.

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