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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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Argentina’s Onapsis Raises Nearly $10 Million; Endeavor Catalyst Participates in Funding Round

Onapsis Inc., founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Mariano Nuñez Di Croce and Victor Montero, recently announced that it has secured a $9.58 million Series B financing round led by Boston-based VC firm .406 Ventures and supported by […]

June 19th, 2014 — by admin

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Startup PR Tip: To Get Press, Don’t Pitch Your Product

Reprinted from the OnStartup blog. Original article written by Dharmesh Shah can be found here.

I get pitches every day from entrepreneurs, PR agencies and book authors who hope to get an article about them written on my blog, OnStartups (300,000 readers) — or on HubSpot’s marketing blog (over 1.5 million visits a month).

It’s sad that most of those pitches fall flat and are likely to be completely ignored. A waste of time and money for everyone.

For example, here’s a pitch from a PR professional. I’ve changed it slightly to avoid embarrassing anyone:

“I’m working with a wonderful new business… The owners grew up together and decided to go into business… it’s a story I’m sure your readers will care a lot about!”

Uh, no. I don’t really care about their story. No one else probably will either — except maybe their moms.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the entrepreneurs are great people, but many entrepreneurs can tell a tale of struggle and euphoria and heartbreak and someday, against all odds, turning their dreams into reality and making their business a success. While occasionally we might be inspired or motivated, for the most part we’re just not that interested in other people’s stories. Unless those stories are particularly remarkable we’re more apt to just keep living our own dreams and writing our own stories. So, the things we’re interested in is not other people’s stories, but information that helps us write our own.

So what should you do if you’re trying to spread the word about new products and services, landing new customers, bringing investors onboard… all the stuff you hire PR agencies to do for you or, more likely, try to do on your own?

If you’re looking for press, forget the formulaic, cookbook approach to crafting a winning media pitch. That approach may result in coverage in a few outlets… but not the ones you really want.

Quick rule of thumb: Any media outlet that will do a story based on a crappy pitch is a media outlet that will get you crappy exposure.

Let’s pretend you’re thinking about pitching me. (You can apply the following to any media outlet or blog, though.)

Here’s what to do and not to do:

Don’t tell me your story is unique.

No offense, but it really isn’t. There are thousands of Ramen noodle stories. There are thousands of 3 am “Eureka!” stories. There are thousands of maxed-out credit cards, relatives won’t return your calls, last-minute financing savior stories.

Your story is deservedly fascinating to you because you lived it, but to the average reader your story sounds a lot like every other entrepreneur’s story. Claiming your story is unique creates an expectation that, if not met, negatively impacts the rest of your pitch.

And if your story truly is unique, I’ll know. You won’t have to tell me.

Don’t tell me how much a little publicity will help you.

Never waste time by explaining how this could be a win-win relationship or, worse, by claiming you want to share your wisdom because you simply want to help others.

I know you want publicity, and I know why. I get it. We’re cool.

Know what I’ve done recently.

It’s easy to think, “Hey, he recently wrote about choosing a co-founder, so I should pitch a story about how I help people find co-founders”.

Um, probably not. If I just wrote about co-founders, I’m probably good for a little bit on that topic. Never assume one article indicates an abiding fascination with a particular topic.

But do feel free to pitch if you aren’t a member of the choir I just preached to. Different points of view catch my attention; same thing, different day does not.

Know my interests.

You certainly don’t need to know I enjoy late-night walks on the beach. (Hey, who doesn’t?) But skim a few posts and you’ll know I have a soft spot for company culture, startup funding, and startup marketing.

So if you really want to get my attention, don’t use the tried-but-in-no-way-true “mention you really enjoyed something recent the writer wrote” approach.

Instead put your effort into finding an angle that may appeal to my interests. If you can’t be bothered to do that you’ll never get the publicity you want.

Forget a profile piece.

Straight profile pieces that tell the story of a business are boring. (At least I think so, which is why I don’t post those)

The best articles let readers learn from your experience, your mistakes, and your knowledge. Always focus on benefiting readers: When you do, your company gets to bask in the reflected PR glow.

So, I don’t want to know what you do; I want to know what you know. If you started a company, share five things you learned about landing financing. If you developed a product, share four mistakes you made early on. If you entered a new market, share three strategies you used to steal market share from competitors.

And while you may think the “5 steps to” or “4 ways to” approach is overdone, keep in mind readers love them… and even if I decide not to frame the story that way, developing mental bullet points ahead of time is a great way to organize your information (which helps me) and ensure you have great talking points (which definitely helps you.)

Realize that the more you feel you need to say… the less you really have to say.

Some people think bloggers are lazy and look for stories that write themselves. I can’t argue with the lazy part, but I really don’t want to read a 1,000-word pitch with a comprehensive overview of the topic and a list of semi-relevant statistics. The best products can be described in a few sentences, and so can the best pitches:

So now let’s get specific. Pretend you’re crafting your pitch:

Remember: forget what you want.

Many people think, “Wow, it would be awesome if OnStartups.com ran a story about our new product—think of the exposure! So many VCs would read it! We’re looking for funding!”

Maybe so, but unless you focus on how readers can benefit from the story (learning about your new product isn’t a benefit to readers), that’s not going to happen.

Then, think about what I want.

I want to inform and occasionally – hopefully – entertain readers; the more you can help me accomplish that goal, the more interested I am in what you have to say.

Then craft your pitch with publicity as a secondary goal.

In the example above, the PR pro didn’t offer readers anything. His only focus was on getting publicity to benefit his clients.

Flip it around and focus solely on how you can benefit readers. When you do, your company will benefit by extension.

For example, if you want to spread the word about:

· New products or services: Share four lessons learned during the product development process; describe three ways you listened to customers and determined how to better meet their needs; explain the steps involved in manufacturing products overseas, especially including what you did wrong.

· Landing a major customer: Describe how you changed your sales process to allow you to compete with heavy hitters in your industry; share three stories about major sales that got away and what you learned from failing to reel them in; detail the steps you took to quickly ramp up capacity while ensuring current customers needs were still met.

· Bringing in key investors: Explain how you helped investors embrace your vision for the company; describe four key provisions that create the foundation for a solid partnership agreement; share the stories of three pitches to VCs that went horribly wrong and how those experiences helped you shape a winning pitch.

Sound like a lot of work? It is, but it’s worth it. When you offer to help people solve problems and learn from your mistakes, bloggers and writers will be a lot more interested.

More importantly, readers will be more interested in the news you want to share because first you helped them—and that gives them a great reason to be interested in your business.

 

Conexred Entrepreneurs Buy Geelbe, the First Latin American Online Private Shopping Club

With this purchase, Endeavor Entrepreneurs Andrés Albán and Mauricio Hoyos demonstrate their commitment to bringing e-commerce to the base of the pyramid in Colombia.

Andrés Albán and Mauricio Hoyos were selected to be Endeavor Entrepreneurs in 2012 for their technology-based company, Conexred, which uses PUNTORED – its electronic network of more than 40,000 points-of-sale with coverage in 760 municipalities – to provide payment, collection, and distribution services for virtual goods.

Albán and Hoyos are now expanding their activities in Colombia with the purchase of Geelbe, the first Latin American online private shopping club. Geelbe was founded in Colombia in 2010 and has succeeded in transforming the business into a model for ecommerce in the country. For Albán, the Geelbe purchase is a strategic move for both companies: “We see an interesting growth dynamic in Colombian e-commerce and believe that part of that success involves effectively reaching the country’s unbanked population, which is estimated to be more than 40% of Colombia’s population. We believe that we can reach a greater number of customers by focusing on and structuring innovative credit and promotional tools, as well as new means of payment, to enable Geelbe to expand its customer base.”

According to Geelbe Colombia’s General Manager, Juan José Cabal: “This capitalization marks a milestone in Geelbe’s history. It was clear to us from the outset that we needed investors that had an entrepreneurial background so that they could use their business experience and best practices to accelerate the growth of our company.”

Serial entrepreneurs Andrés and Mauricio have not only been responsible for the exponential growth of Conexred, but also the growth of the companies in which they have invested: Brainwinner, a software development company, and Cellvoz, a pre-paid Internet telephony service provider. Exemplifying the multiplier effect of Endeavor in Colombia, the Conexred entrepreneurs continue to search for opportunities to invest in the tech sector, in the financial sector, and in high-impact, social enterprises that provide services or products to the base of the pyramid.

 

17 High-Impact Entrepreneurs Selected at Buenos Aires Panel: Endeavor Reaches 500th Company Milestone

Endeavor selected 17 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 11 companies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Mexico, South Africa and Uruguay at its 48th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 801 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 500 companies in 15 emerging and growth market countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a panel held from May 6-8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“It’s exciting to have so many new companies join the Endeavor community,” said Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “And it’s very special to have an ISP held in the birthplace of Endeavor, where some of our greatest entrepreneurs have come from!”

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 three additional International Selection Panels this year: Johannesburg, August 2013; Palo Alto, CA, October 2013 and Dubai, UAE, December 2013.

 

Brief descriptions of the selected entrepreneurs and companies follow:

 

Argentina

Entreprenuer: Ariel Gesto

Company: InvGate (www.invgate.com)

Description: InvGate develops software for IT infrastructure management that allows medium-to-large enterprises to configure, monitor and manage all of their IT assets remotely, as well as centralize IT help requests. By incorporating the latest trends in Web 2.0, gamification and social networking, InvGate is able to deliver an innovative and user-friendly interface.

 

Entrepreneurs: Luis Robbio, Alejandro Robbio, Federico Robbio

Company: Belatrix Software SA (www.belatrixsf.com)

Description: Belatrix provides software innovation and quality assurance services to firms across multiple industries in North America and Europe. Belatrix is engaged by customers to co-innovate with them, ideate, design, and develop custom software products and to ensure that existing software products perform as expected. Belatrix hopes to lead the trend as IT outsourcing moves away from India: the company has operations in Argentina, Peru, and the US.

 

Brazil

Entrepreneur: Darci Schneid

Company: Sirtec (www.sirtec.com.br)

Description: SIRTEC builds and maintains electrical networks for power utilities in Brazil, ensuring that the electrical providers meet key performance indicators related to frequency and duration of energy disruptions. With 900 employees, SIRTEC currently services three large utilities in Rio Grande do Sul (RS), providing third party implementation, repair, and transmission services

 

Entrepreneur: Jamie de Paula

Company: Neoway (www.neoway.com.br)

Description: Neoway’s proprietary Market Intelligence Software (SIM) accesses and analyzes large, publicly available databases in Brazil, aggregating the relevant information for customers to generate business leads. Neoway’s software can isolate information across a variety of key market factors with intuitive data visualization outputs. Currently, Neoway’s core client base spans the healthcare, construction and oil and gas sectors.

 

Chile

Entrepreneur: Pablo Godoy

Company: Inzpiral (www.inzpiral.com)

Description: Inzpiral is a BI software solution company consisting of three product platforms, each compiling, consolidating and analyzing large data sets for the optimization of pricing and distribution strategies. Inzpiral’s solutions primarily apply to the Retail/CPG market, however, Pablo has also proven his platform’s value to mining and telecommunications customers. Operating solely in Chile, Inzpiral is set to expand to Peru in 2014 and has managed to maintain a 100% client retention rate with some of Chile’s largest retail and CPG companies.

 

Colombia

Entrepreneurs: Juan José Mesa, Andrés Angel

Company: Glüky Group (www.gluky.co)

Description: Glüky provides corporations with the technology, strategy, and operational capacity to design and implement incentives programs for employees, sales channel partners, and clients. Its new cloud-based platform, the Glüky Network, harnesses the power of social networking features to provide clients with a robust platform to recognize, reward, and effectively motivate their employees and partners.

 

Greece

Entrepreneur: Christos Papadimitriou

Company: Papadimitriou (www.papadim.com)

Description: Papadimitriou is a family business founded in 1939 in Kalamata to export currants from the Pelopponese region of Greece. In the late 1990’s, Papadimitriou transformed to become a producer of all-natural balsamic vinegars and mustards in unique Mediterranean flavors, all derived from currants. Today it sells these value-added products in major supermarkets in Greece, where it is the balsamic vinegar market leader, as well as in 28 export markets.

 

Mexico

Entrepreneur: Juan Carlos Guerra

Company: Eco-Klin (www.ek.com.mx)

Description: Eco-Klin offers Mexican auto shops nationwide an integrated, environmentally friendly solution for their waste management needs. This consists of auto parts washing machine service, used oil collection, and hazardous waste collection. Clients receive credits for each liter of used oil collected, which can be used to defray the cost of the other services. Eco-Klin then sells the collected oil to re-refineries at a significant profit.

 

Entrepreneurs: Alejandro Cuervo, Arturo Macip

Company: IPETH (www.ipeth.edu.mx)

Description: IPETH, a new university based in Puebla, Mexico, offers bachelors degrees in physical therapy and primarily targets low-income students who would not normally enroll in a four-year degree program. The university focuses on providing world class instruction and solid employment opportunities for alumni. IPETH is now expanding with a new campus in Mexico City and new undegraduate and post-graduate degree programs, and plans to rapidly scale its enrollments over the next few years.

 

South Africa

Entrepreneurs: Dennis Marketos, Paul Marketos

Company: Metrix Software Solutions (www.isometrix.com/index.php)

Description: In a global regulatory environment that is becoming increasingly standardized and stringent across industries, companies are at risk of irresponsible corporate practices and violating industry requirements for which they can be heavily fined. Metrix Software Solutions offers evaluation tools that review governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) status in real-time and display it for company personnel in a user-friendly, fully-customizable dashboard. Metrix first launched its proprietary GRC software product, IsoMetrix, in the mining sector in South Africa, and has since expanded across industries and geographies.

 

Uruguay

Entrepreneurs: Sergio Fogel, Andrés Bzurovski

Company: AstroPay (www.astropay.com)

Description: AstroPay enables international ecommerce websites to accept local payments from Latin America. Through its innovative platform, AstroPay addresses the three fundamental problems facing the Latin American e-commerce consumer: it provides a payment method for those without an international credit card, protects against phishing and identity theft, and prevents purchases from being rejected because of the merchant company’s regulations.

 

President Obama meets with four Endeavor Mexico Entrepreneurs

Endeavor Mexico nominated four Endeavor Mexico Entrepreneurs to participate in a roundtable conversation on entrepreneurship with President Barack Obama during his visit to Mexico City in early May.

Over two days, President Obama met with President Peña Nieto on a range of issues that affect the nations’ relationship, including security, government reform, and the importance of job growth and entrepreneurship.  “I also want to work with the Mexican government,” President Obama said in a speech at the Anthropology Museum, “because I believe that the long-term solution to the challenge of illegal immigration is a growing and prosperous Mexico that creates more jobs and opportunities for young people here.”

During the roundtable conversation, Endeavor Mexico Entrepreneurs, Enrique Gómez Junco (Optima Energia), Alfredo Suárez (AliBio), Moís Cherem (Enova) and Gabriel Manjarrez (Micel) spoke with Obama and his team about the challenges and opportunities they face as entrepreneurs. They also praised the work Endeavor is doing to build support networks for entrepreneurs in Mexico and around the world.

“This event was really unique,” Enrique Gómez said. “It is the first time in our history that our governments focus their attentions in develop entrepreneurship as the main tool to help Mexico develop faster.”

 

May 2013 Newsletter

To view Endeavor’s May newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

Reminder: To receive our monthly newsletters by email, please enter your email address in the sign-up box at the bottom of our homepage.

 

Endeavor Egypt Entrepreneur Launches Magazine

Endeavor Egypt entrepreneur Yasmine Shihata launched an Arabic version of her successful English-language lifestyle and business magazine, Enigma. The new regional magazine is called Enigma Star, and fittingly, a coterie of Arab movie stars – including TV satirist and talk show host Bassem Yousuf – gathered in Dubai for the launch party. At the party, Yasmine, who was selected by Endeavor last year, was recognized as one of the most active women in the Middle East.  

Enova CEO Wins Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Endeavor Mexico Entrepreneur Mois Cherem was one of three winners of the 2013 Schwab Foundation Latin America Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He received the honor yesterday in Lima, Peru, at the World Economic Forum on Latin America – in the presence of President Ollanta Moises Humala Tasso of Peru; President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.

Mois is one of three founders of ENOVA, which designs, builds and operates small, cost-effective digital learning centers in Mexico, known as RIA (Red de Innovacion y Aprendizaje). Because of ENOVA’s advanced technologies and well-trained facilitators, RIA is the biggest network of digital education centers in Mexico, where only 13% of students graduate from college. With 70 centers, ENOVA has approximately 235,000 registered members and 9,000 new students per month. Mois and ENOVA was also featured in our “Impact is Endeavor” video.

 

 

Endeavor Global Board Member Arif Naqvi Honored by Peace Organization

Arif Naqvi, Endeavor Global Board Member and Founder of The Abraaj Group, a leading private equity firm that invests in growth markets throughout Asia, Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Central Asia, and Latin America, was named the 2013 Oslo Business for Peace Honoree. The Oslo Business for Peace Award is the highest form of recognition given to individual business leaders for fostering peace and stability through creating shared value between business and society.

Naqvi’s work in promoting responsible business practices by looking at the stakeholder, rather than exclusively the shareholder, is pioneering in the private equity industry, and The Abraaj Group devotes the time of its employees and resources to mentoring social, cultural and economic entrepreneurs. Abraaj and its employees have developed an important partnership with Endeavor over the past three years supporting dozens of entrepreneurs as well as Endeavor’s affiliate expansion throughout MENA and Southeast Asia.

Celebrity John Leguizamo Praises Endeavor Colombia Company in WSJ

 

Bogota-born actor and comedian John Leguizamo recommended Endeavor Colombia company Mario Hernandez as a “must visit” in a full page story on Bogota in the Adventure & Travel section of The Wall Street Journal. According to the write-up, “the leather [of the products] is buttery and the linings are cool. It’s all really well constructed and made to last.”  Owner and Endeavor entrepreneur Mario Hernandez can now add this story to his collection of press featured on his website.  Mario Hernandez was selected by Endeavor in 2012 and continues to thrive.

 

 

Studies from Endeavor Partners Reveal Caution and Hope Among VCs

 

Endeavor partners Ernst & Young and MIT Sloan School of Management both conducted recent surveys on venture capital. The MIT study, which focuses solely on Brazil, highlighted some conditions in Brazil that make it an attractive place to invest, including the fact that there is a rapidly growing middle class with increased access to credit, as well as high digital engagement. After the U.S., Brazil has the highest number of Facebook and Twitter users.

Meanwhile, the Ernst & Young Annual Global VC Report describes 2012 as a challenging year for venture capital. Both the amounts raised and the number of rounds declined to their lowest point since 2009, and the market came under pressure from the ongoing tough exit environment. However, according to the report, as VCs moved toward investing in later-stage, high-growth ventures, there was a rise in involvement from angel investors and crowd-funding platforms that helped fund companies in the start-up stage.

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