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31 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 15 Countries Join the Endeavor Network at the 54th Selection Panel in New York City

New York, NY – August 14th – Endeavor selected 31 high-impact entrepreneurs leading 21 companies in 15 countries at its 54th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 948 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 606 companies across 20 […]

August 14th, 2014 — by admin

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Colombia’s Ecoflora Featured in WIPO Case Study Highlighting Advancements in R&D

Colombia-based Ecoflora, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Nicolás Cock Duque, was recently profiled in a case study by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a global forum for IP services, policy and cooperation, created as part of the United Nations and including more than […]

April 4th, 2014 — by admin

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Calling All eMBA Alumni: Reunion Cocktail Party on Feb. 13 in NYC!

eMBA Alumni: join us for a free cocktail party from 6 PM – 8:30 PM on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 in New York City!

Why should you attend?

• It will be a fabulous night to reconnect with Endeavor and hear (briefly) about what’s taken us to 14 countries (soon more) where we support over 475 companies.

• Mix’n’mingle with former MBAs who had great experiences with awesome innovators from all corners of the world.

• Help us understand what opportunities (partnerships, etc.) are out there in the world that can help take Endeavor to the next level.

• Share with us your eMBA experience and help Endeavor continuously improve the eMBA program  for both Endeavor Entrepreneurs and MBA students in the future.

Spouses are welcome to attend; however, space is limited. For more details and to RSVP, please email us.

Not in New York City? We hope to hold a similar event near you soon! Please provide us with your updated contact information, and we’ll keep you informed about future Endeavor events and opportunities in your region.

You can also stay in touch with Endeavor and with fellow eMBA alumni via the eMBA Program Group on LinkedIn – join today!

 

Greek Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Hellas Direct give insight on the wonderful world of fundraising

Hellas Direct

Reprinted from the Hellas Direct blog. Original article here.

Raising capital is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do as an entrepreneur. Whether you are seeking your first few thousand euros or looking for tens of millions, pitching to an investor is a test of both character and tenacity.

In setting up Hellas Direct we raised EUR 8.5m in angel financing. We approached more than 2,500 investors and we met up with 300 of them. This was a long rollercoaster ride, which spread over 14 different countries and lasted approximately 18 months. It was a humbling experience, but one that we would not change for the world. It was a journey, which taught us a number of lessons and gifted us tons of entertaining stories to share with friends in gin-and-tonic sessions to come. How else could one have met a Russian oligarch, drink afternoon tea at the House of Lords and find himself bodysearched in a Tel Aviv restaurant, all within two weeks?!

We were lucky enough to have a pretty unique proposition to share with the investment community. At the time that we began our fundraising there were few people looking to set up a new business in Greece, let alone in a sector as highly specialised (and blatantly boring) as car insurance. This helped us differentiate our message and it enabled us to suss out quickly whether a particular investor would be of relevance. Hellas Direct – or ‘Project Dias’ as it was then mystically called – was coined as  «the ultimate contrarian play», and we were often referred to as «those Goldman guys» or «the Greek chaps», alongside different adjectives that in one way or another questioned our sanity. This, in its own right, was helpful. In the goldfish-memory world of international investing we became relevant, we marked our own territory and we made a lasting impression.

If there is one piece of advice that we would like to pass on to all entrepreneurs venturing out to find investors is to make themselves memorable. Find a niche, own it and make sure that everyone appreciates that this is your domain. Become the go-to person in your industry, a knowledge hub. In order to do that, you will need to be 100% consistent in your messaging. One of the greatest mistakes we made at the beginning of our journey was to try and change our tune according to what we thought investors wanted to hear. This is a dangerous game to find yourself playing and it can do much more harm in the long-run than losing out on some immediate investor leads. The investment community is a surprisingly small place, with a lot of interconnected communication channels. In order to build long-term credibility, it is important to be yourself, to stick to your story and to share the same information across the board. Few investors would back a venture without calling some people first to check you out – any ambiguity or mixed feedback there could jeopardise your chances of getting funded.

“In the goldfish-memory world of international investing we became relevant, we marked our own territory and we made a lasting impression.”

So, how does one get started? Is there a magic formula, a plan, a recommended course of action? What we have discovered along the way is that different things work for different people. Most of our successes came from cold-calling. A number of our current shareholders we had never come across before pitching them our idea. Other entrepreneurs have done fantastically well by just relying on their own network and adopting a much more clinical approach. There is no right answer as such.

We thought we’d share with you five quick pointers to help get you motivated and set you off on your fundraising. The below definitely helped us keep sight of our end goal. We hope you find them useful!

 

A.    Get in the ring

• It is not a shame to be asking for money. Most investors have been there before and they respect you for doing so. Whatever your educational or corporate background may be, let your fears subside and start emailing!

• Plan well. It is easy to fall into the trap where you think you are making progress but you end up spinning wheels. Remember the 80-20 rule and seek results not perfection. We put together dozens of target investor lists which proved themselves useless, despite their impeccable formatting and colours.

• Break down the run into smaller, easier to complete, sprints. The aim of an email is to get you a face-to-face meeting. The target of that meeting is to get you a second meeting. The goal of that second meeting is … you get the drill! We had to meet some of our investors close to twenty times before they actually committed. Be patient and keep track of everything.

 

B.    Know your audience

• Reaching out to someone you do not know is never easy. Try to educate yourself about them as much as you can. Ask common friends, google them, flick through newspaper archives. You can never research someone too much.

• Stalk people! By following people’s tweets, checking them out on facebook and tracking them on linkedin can help you get a much better idea as to what these people are like, what drives them and how they express themselves. Think of this as the social media checks you’d do on someone before going on a date.

• Don’t assume that a social media contact is a credible introducer. From our experience, it is often better to approach someone ‘cold’ than getting a ‘lukewarm’ introduction.

 

“It is important to understand that investors do not need you – the only reason they would respond to you is because you managed to attract their attention somehow.”

 

C.    Personalise your approach

• The investors you are reaching out to have been approached by hundreds if not thousands of different entrepreneurs through time. They have probably seen your exact same plan a couple of times before too. It is important to understand that investors do not need you – the only reason they would respond to you is because you managed to attract their attention somehow. We were told by an internet billionaire’s family office that the only reason why they decided to see us out of 700 business plans submitted on that day was because of the title of our email!

• Find a hook. Each investor has a soft-spot. It could be their alma matter, a charity they are involved in, a cause that they believe in. Try to figure the best approach via their social media interactions and use such a ‘hook’ as a means to engage in a more meaningful communication. In all likelihood, the investor will know exactly what you are doing, but they will respect you for the effort and for sticking to the protocol.

• Keep your emails long enough to cover the bare essentials but short enough to keep things interesting. Don’t try to overload people with information. Remember that the goal here is to get any sort of response – even negative – on which you can work on.

 

D.    Follow up

• It shocks us seeing entrepreneurs who don’t follow up on meetings they had requested in the first place. You would be surprised how many people get this wrong. Sending a polite thank-you note via email is the very least one should do – preferably straight after finishing the meeting.

• Following up on topics specifically discussed during a meeting is always a winner with investors. Books generally come across as a thoughtful approach. We were probably the largest Amazon buyers of Brett King’s «Bank 2.0» when it came out in 2009.

• Following up is particularly important in the case of a negative answer too. Remember that these people may serve as points of reference to future investors you may need. The last thing you would want is for them to express a negative opinion on your manners and etiquette!

 

«if you are going through hell, keep going»…

 

E.    Keep calm and carry on

• You will need to kiss a lot of frogs before you get to your prince.

• You will often think of quitting but don’t let that get you down.

• As Churchill said: «if you are going through hell, keep going»…

 

Endeavor to bring high-impact entrepreneurship model to the U.S.; Focuses on creating new Miami affiliate

To read the Miami Herald’s article about Endeavor’s launch in Miami, please click here.

Miami, Jan. 15, 2012 – Endeavor, a global leader in building communities of high-impact entrepreneurs and innovators, will open its first U.S. affiliate in Miami with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Beginning in late 2013, Miami’s best doers and innovators will be eligible to apply to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs, connecting them to a global network of volunteer mentors and advisors who can help scale their ventures.

Knight Foundation is providing Endeavor with $2 million as part of its efforts to connect and support the local startup community.

“There is great momentum in Miami’s startup community, but it is still harder than it should be for entrepreneurs to build their ideas here,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation. “Endeavor will address this challenge, bringing an unprecedented level of support, learning opportunities and connections for Miami’s diverse group of entrepreneurs. This is a cornerstone of our effort to make Miami more of a place where ideas are built.”

Endeavor, a non-profit, currently supports more than 750 entrepreneurs from over 400 companies in 14 countries, including six in Latin America. These “high impact” entrepreneurs are selected for their ability to drive innovation, produce role models and maximize wealth and job creation. The selection process is rigorous, as they must obtain a global panel’s unanimous vote.

Following selection, Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive access to mentors and a volunteer advisory board of local business leaders; access to international networks from Silicon Valley to affiliate offices on five continents; interns from top business schools and professional service firms including Ernst & Young; and invitations to exclusive educational programs including a specialized course at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.  The success of the Endeavor model has been recognized by numerous global organizations and been documented in two Harvard Business School case studies.

“We initially started Endeavor with the goal of bringing the idea of American-style mentorship and networking to entrepreneurs in emerging market countries,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg.  “Over the past few years it has become apparent that not all parts of the U.S. have the built-in advantages of Silicon Valley, Austin or New York’s Flatiron district.  There are plenty of areas of the U.S. with promising entrepreneurs that need help building an eco-system conducive to helping local entrepreneurs scale and prosper.”

While Endeavor has not set a date for a launch, the management team will begin by building a local board of directors who can champion the Endeavor model and build a base of volunteer mentors on the ground.  The organization already has a number of key relationships in the area thanks to Endeavor’s 14-year history working with Latin America as well as Knight Foundation’s support.

“From our work in the region, we know there are Miami entrepreneurs with business ideas that can scale beyond the start-up phase and contribute toward building a healthy economy in the region,” said Endeavor president Fernando Fabre.

For further information contact:

David Wachtel, SVP Marketing and Communications, Endeavor.  david.wachtel@endeavor.org  Tel: 646-783-6139

Andrew Sherry, VP for Communications, Knight Foundation, media@knightfoundation.org, Tel: 305-908-2677

About Endeavor:

Hailed by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as “the best anti-poverty program of all,” Endeavor is leading the global movement for high impact entrepreneurship. To date, Endeavor has screened more than 30,000 entrepreneurs and selected 766 individuals leading 476 high-impact companies.

With support from Endeavor’s worldwide mentor network, these high-impact entrepreneurs

-Have created over 200,000 jobs
-Generated over $5 billion in revenues in 2011
-Inspire future generations to innovate and take risks

Headquartered in New York City, Endeavor currently operates in 16 countries throughout Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. As the high-impact movement expands globally, Endeavor will continue to prove that anyone with a big idea can succeed, from Silicon Valley to Latin America, the Middle East, and beyond.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:  

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

Endeavor’s CEO and Insight Director published by Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review published an article today by Endeavor’s CEO Linda Rottenberg and the director of Endeavor Insight, Rhett Morris, entitled “If You Want to Scale Impact, Put Financial Results First”. This piece is the inaugural article for the HBR-Bridgespan Insight Center on Scaling Social Impact — a partnership between the Harvard Business Review and The Bridgespan Group, supported by the Omidyar Network — that will share stories, insights, and lessons from the most innovative voices in the field.

The text of the article is reprinted below. The original article is available on HBR.org here.

If You Want to Scale Impact, Put Financial Results First

Entrepreneurs who lead for-profit, social enterprises face a unique challenge: they must simultaneously create financial value for their investors and social value for those they seek to serve. Having two missions, however, sometimes creates conflicts that can slow companies’ growth.

Endeavor Insight, the research arm of our organization Endeavor, has found that the way that entrepreneurs who lead social enterprises make tradeoffs between social and financial goals is a critical factor in determining the degree to which their companies will grow. Indeed, in our experience, and in a targeted study of close to 20 entrepreneurs, we found that those who prioritized financial goals over social ones were more likely to grow their social enterprises and achieve greater impact. We also discovered ways to build business models that reduced friction between commercial and social goals, thereby smoothing the path to growth.

What is our vantage point? Over the last 15 years, Endeavor has selected, mentored and accelerated more than 750 high-impact entrepreneurs across 14 countries. Their fast-growing companies work in almost every industry, from online retail to manufacturing to professional services, and together they have created more than 200,000 jobs and generated revenues of more than $5B in 2011. While Endeavor does not specifically target social entrepreneurs, more than 50 individuals in the Endeavor network lead companies with direct social impact – education and healthcare improvements, environmental preservation, financial inclusion, assistance to disadvantaged populations, and other areas.

A Tale of Two Entrepreneurs

Let’s look at two examples from our study (some of their names and details have been changed). Roberta leads a business that seeks to improve the healthcare system in her Latin American country by providing better IT infrastructure and processes in order to reduce medical costs and improve the quality of patient care. Most of the population in Roberta’s country has traditionally lacked access to quality healthcare, and government experts have forecasted that chronic diseases will bankrupt the healthcare sector in the next few decades. Roberta wants to make change at both a macro and micro level.

“It is really motivating to walk into a hospital and see that things are better. You hear patients telling you that last year they had to wait for three hours and now they only have to wait 20 minutes or you see hospitals providing access to people in rural areas who have not had it ever before,” she told interviewers.

Roberta’s company has aligned its social and financial goals. As the business reaches more hospitals, revenues grow and the impact on the healthcare system increases. This strategy has led to strong results. Over the last three years, the company has expanded to serve more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics that provide care to over 15 million patients each year. Revenues have also grown by more than 600% during the same period. The firm is looking to raise funding from venture capital firms so that it can further grow.

Thousands of miles away in Asia, another Endeavor Entrepreneur, Adam, also runs a social enterprise. His company seeks to transform the lives of people within a severely disadvantaged population by employing them at a manufacturing firm. The jobs at Adam’s company offer potential employees full-time employment and training that they cannot find elsewhere. Unemployment rates for the general population in Adam’s country consistently run in the double-digits and are even higher among his company’s target group. Adam decided to launch a for-profit enterprise because non-profit solutions took too long to create jobs.

“In a business you have an amazing ability to be flexible,” he said. “It’s far easier to create the change you want because in a day or two you can implement it.”

Adam’s business has not been as successful as Roberta’s. Revenues have stagnated over the last few years, in part because Adam has no ambition to expand into other countries despite the relatively small size of his current market. The social impact of the business has also suffered. The company has never employed more than 100 people and recently reduced its headcount. He is now pursuing grant funding, which he believes will address these issues and will enable his business to expand its product lines.

Why Has Roberta’s Company Scaled While Adam’s Hasn’t?

Roberta and Adam went through the same selection process to join Endeavor. Both of their companies were judged to be among the top 2% of applicants, yet one has significantly outperformed the other in achieving its social and financial goals. This example represents what’s happening across the sector: While some socially-focused firms have achieved rapid success and scale, many others have had promising starts, but never build on that success to expand their impact. Why?

We spoke to Michael Chu, a Senior Lecturer in the Initiative on Social Enterprise at Harvard Business School and the managing director of the investment fund IGNIA, who said that this trend may be due to the unique challenges faced by social enterprises. “In many cases when people are addressing a social issue through commercial platforms, they are looking to be even more disruptive than a purely commercial enterprise. You actually need even more rigor in your thinking. Just because you are trying to do something good doesn’t mean that the world will change the rules for you.”

In Chu’s experience, motivations are also critically important. “We tend to see lots of people who fall in love with the social impact and hide the weaknesses in the business model and the weaknesses in execution,” he said.

Our team set out to further explore this question by looking at the 50+ social enterprise companies in our network. We analyzed more than 100 different characteristics, none of which accounted for the discrepancies we saw in growth. So we conducted in-depth interviews with close to 20 entrepreneurs who lead these companies. We asked the entrepreneurs to rank how frequently they favored one type of goal over the other when making inevitable tradeoffs.

For example, Roberta has to decide whether to discount services to hospitals too poor to buy them at a profitable price. Should she influence the quality of care of more patients? Or keep margins healthy? And what about Adam? Should he plow cash into increasing the pay of the disadvantaged people he employs, or build his working capital?

What We Learned

Our research showed that the entrepreneurs’ approach to tradeoffs plays a critical role in their ability to scale. Those who prioritized financial goals over social goals were much more likely to experience high rates of growth and have greater social impact. Though the sample was relatively small, the trend was quite strong. The more likely entrepreneurs were to favor financial goals, the faster their companies grew.

Here is what one entrepreneur said about this balance: “The first thing I have to do is make sure that I stay in business because social businesses are more challenging than other types of companies. For long-term sustainability, you need to value business first and make sure that all of your actions have business case to support them.”

Unfortunately, this is not always easy. Entrepreneurs with dual missions regularly face tradeoffs. We’ve found with the social entrepreneurs in our network that one of the best ways to avoid sacrificing financial sustainability for social impact is to reduce the total number of tradeoffs that entrepreneurs must make. The design of a company’s business model is among the most important factors that influence its ability to scale.

“Social entrepreneurs need to understand if their social mission is complementary to their financial goals or if there are going to be lots of friction points due to conflict between them,” said Cathy Clark from the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. “The ventures that grow fastest are likely to be the ones that have the most frictionless business models. Just because you have a misalignment, it doesn’t mean you won’t scale. It just means you have to be even smarter. You have to manage around more of these sorts of issues.”

Below is a matrix that shows how we believe an entrepreneur’s approach to tradeoffs and business model design affect a social enterprise’s ability to scale. Entrepreneurs can use this tool to evaluate their current position, and can use this information to adjust their business model or approach to tradeoffs. The hope is that by shifting their strategy, it will be easier for their enterprise to increase its social and financial impacts.

Anecdotally, we have seen that entrepreneurs and businesses tend to gravitate to the top right and bottom left sections of this chart. Entrepreneurs who deal with tradeoffs by prioritizing social goals over financial ones tend to design business models that require more tradeoffs to be made. Entrepreneurs who fall in the upper right hand corner tend to report that they did not obsess over the conflicts between the social and financial objectives of their companies. Instead, they focused their attention on growth, believing that any step they took to help their companies scale allowed them to accomplish more.

So What Does This Mean?

Of course, there are limits to this research. For example, the entrepreneurs included were drawn from a single organization with a distinct selection process. And their enterprises ranged from those in which the consumer and beneficiary were one and the same, like Roberta’s, to ones in which one set of customers created benefits for another, as in Adam’s case. However, these findings can inform any entrepreneur leading a social enterprise or investors funding it.

Entrepreneurs leading social enterprises should consider the following:

- Design business models that align financial and social goals as closely as possible to minimize tradeoffs and reduce friction.

- When tradeoffs must be made, prioritize financial goals over social ones to maximize the long-term sustainability of the business.

The organizations that support them also need to:

- Work to identify founders who can develop business models that prioritize financial sustainability and ability to scale. In our experience, entrepreneurs with strong business backgrounds who develop passion for social issues tend to do this very effectively.

- Encourage entrepreneurs at social enterprises to prioritize long-term sustainability when dealing with trade-offs.

Additional background on Endeavor’s methodology

In order to understand the factors that lead to success and failure for social enterprises, Endeavor’s Insight team analyzed more than 100 different characteristics of the social enterprises within Endeavor’s network. Over the last 15 years, Endeavor has supported more than 750 high-impact entrepreneurs leading fast-growing companies in almost every industry. Though Endeavor does not specifically target social enterprises, more than 50 of the entrepreneurs supported by Endeavor lead social enterprises.

These companies have experienced a wide variety of growth rates during the last three years. Approximately one-fifth of these firms have grown their revenues at 40% or more on average each year. Unfortunately, the majority of these firms have experienced negative, low or moderate growth revenue rates, which makes it quite difficult to achieve their financial and social goals.

After using existing data to analyze characteristics that influence the likelihood an enterprise will scale for each of these firms, the Insight team conducted one-hour, in-depth interviews with close to 20 entrepreneurs who lead these companies. These analyses and interviews informed the results published in the article.

 

WPP acquires stake in Endeavor Entrepreneur company Globant

For the original press release, click here.

WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services group, has agreed to acquire a 20% stake in Globant S.A. (“Globant”). Globant is an emerging worldwide leader in providing both technical expertise and design and creative capabilities in the development of software products that can be applied to digital marketing campaigns on a global scale.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Globant is a rapidly growing business employing 2,700 engineers, marketing specialists and designers in 21 offices across 14 cities in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, the United States and the United Kingdom. The company’s approach is unique in that it provides clients with both the infrastructure and technical support that drive digital marketing campaigns, combined with the creative and design skills usually found alone in digital agencies.

Globant’s net revenues for the year ended 31 December 2011 were US$90 million and net revenues for the six months to 30 June 2012 were US$56.9 million with total assets of US$69 million as of 30 June 2012. WPP will invest approximately $70 million in acquiring the Globant stake.

“Increasingly, clients want better coordination between their IT departments and their marketing departments, between their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs),” said WPP Chief Executive Sir Martin Sorrell. “There are many consulting companies or digital agencies that are expert in one function or the other. Few, if any, do both and even fewer can integrate deep technical and creative capabilities on a global scale as Globant does. Partnering with Globant will allow our companies to increasingly provide our clients with insights and skills that will make their digital marketing efforts even more effective and simpler to manage at both the front and back ends.”

Globant has deep experience in working in state of the art digital marketing spaces including, but not limited to, mobile, gamification, social networks, cloud computing, big data and e-commerce. Globant’s clients include American Express, JP Morgan Chase & Co., LinkedIn, Electronic Arts, Google, Coca-Cola, National Geographic, Zynga and Sabre Holdings, as well as a number of WPP companies, such as JWT, Young & Rubicam, Grey, GroupM and Kantar.

“Our core competencies in gamification, cloud computing, big data, social networks and mobile enable us to deliver innovation to our customers and add value to their efforts to reach end users through software products. We are focused on staying ahead of the technology curve, which makes us the right partner for companies looking to build and engage consumers in a global way,” said Globant´s CEO and co-founder Martin Migoya. “We are extremely proud to welcome WPP into our family; their support will help us to achieve our goal of becoming one of the most innovative software development companies in the world.”

This investment continues WPP’s strategy of targeting fast-growing markets and sectors and the application of technology to the communications services industry. In 2012 WPP completed 25 transactions with companies that are in either faster growing markets (e.g. BRICs, Next 11, CIVETS, MIST) or faster growing sectors such as digital, data or application of technology, or both. WPP’s digital revenues (including associates) are budgeted to total well over US$6 billion in 2013, representing over 33% of the Group’s total revenues, which in 2011 totalled US $16 billion. WPP has set a target of 35%-40% of revenues to be derived from digital over the next five years.

In addition, this transaction also continues WPP’s strategy of investing in fast growing geographic markets, which also currently represent one-third of revenues, with a similar objective to reach 35-40% over the next five years and reflects its commitment to developing its strategic networks throughout Latin America. WPP regards this decade as very much the decade of Latin America, particularly with the FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016. The Group collectively, including associates, will have revenues of over US $1.6 billion and will employ over 18,000 people in the LATAM region alone.

Endeavor January 2013 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s January 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 Entrepreneur company Enox On>life Media and Google offer free Wi-Fi internet connection in 150 Brazilian bars for 90 days

Reprinted from The Next Web. Original article here.

By Anna Heim

Google has partnered with Brazilian advertising firm Enox On>life Media to bring free wi-fi to 150 Brazilian bars, the company announced today. Enox specializes in connecting brands with consumers in real-life locations, from fitness centers to beauty salons and restaurants.

The operation is timed for Brazilian summer, and will last 90 days. Locations are distributed in seven cities of the Southern and Southeastern regions of Brazil: São Paulo (SP), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Curitiba (PR), Porto Alegre (RS), Florianópolis (SC), Belo Horizonte (MG) and Campinas (SP). The list of venues is available at brasilfreewifi.withgoogle.com.

The operation is also a way for Google to acknowledge the growth of Brazil’s mobile market and its recent changes, Google Brazil’s marketing manager Maia Mau explains:

“We know that Brazilians are using their phones and tablets each time more. Just to have an idea, the number of people with smartphones in Brazil is greater than in Germany, France and Australia, and most of them use their devices every day, to read news, watch video clips and connect with their friends. By means of this project, we’re sure that the Brazilians will be able to enjoy better their friends when they are at the pub, besides creating and registering memories of their moments.”

It will now be interesting to see whether Google will expand this campaign to other venues, such as airports, and possibly make it more perennial.

Economist spotlights Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Turkey

Reprinted from The Economist. Original article here.

Muslim farmers do not keep pigs. This is as true of those who play at virtual agriculture as of those who fill physical food-troughs. So there are no pigs in the Arabic version of “Happy Farm”, published by Peak Games, a young firm based in Istanbul. For the same reason “Happy Farm” has no vineyards, and female farmhands wear the hijab. Local tastes matter.

Peak Games has found rich soil. It already employs 200 people and has developers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Istanbul and Ankara. More than 35m people play its games at least once a month, many of them on Facebook. Half of the players are in Turkey; the rest are in the Middle East and north Africa. Rina Onur, one of its founders, says that she and her colleagues saw a gap in the online-games market that companies catering to Western tastes could not fill. So Peak Games offers people in Turkey and nearby countries games with a regional twist, like “Happy Farm”, as well as online versions of traditional amusements. Okey, a Turkish game played with tiles, is most popular.

Turkey is bursting with internet companies, many of them selling things to the young. It is not hard to see why. The country is big, youthful and embracing the internet eagerly. Half of its 75m people are under 30. Around 44% of Turks use the internet, up from just 14% in 2006 and 3% in 2000. They comprise Facebook’s seventh-largest national audience. Turks are also happy to use credit cards, which are handy for buying things online: the country has three of them for every five people, says GP Bullhound, an investment bank, more than the European average. And the market still has a lot of room to grow. Penetration rates are well below those in western Europe (see chart).

Several companies have attracted foreign money. Peak Games has raised $20m. In September General Atlantic, an American investment firm, and others put $44m into Yemeksepeti, through which Turks order meals for delivery from local restaurants. In 2011 Naspers, a South African media company, paid $86m for 68% of Markafoni, an online fashion club; eBay raised its stake in GittiGidiyor, an auction site, to 93%, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Tiger Global Management, both based in America, invested $26m in Trendyol, another fashion site.

Typically, Turkish internet companies have borrowed business models from abroad and given them Turkish tweaks. Mustafa Say, whose iLab Ventures owns the other 7% of GittiGidiyor, says that buyers pay into an escrow account, from which money is sent to sellers only when goods turn up. That, he says, has helped to build trust. Yemeksepeti’s customers pay nothing extra for delivery and can pay in cash on the doorstep. This still accounts for 37% of sales, says Nevzat Aydin, a founder and its chief executive. Not only money and ideas have come from abroad. So have people: returning Turks, most of them equipped (like Mr Say and Mr Aydin) with American education and experience.

The size of the Turkish market is a “double-edged sword”, says Numan Numan, a former Goldman Sachs banker now at 212, a venture-capital firm which takes its name from the telephone code for the European side of Istanbul. Scale at home is a boon, but start-ups in smaller countries, such as Israel or Estonia, have more incentive to look beyond their borders from the outset. Of the six Turkish firms in which 212 has invested, Mr Numan expects “a minimum of four to go regional at least”.

Turkish internet firms think they have a good base from which to expand, especially into the Middle East and north Africa. Peak Games is perhaps the best example, but others also have ambitions. Because Turkish television and culture are popular in the region, endorsements by Turkish celebrities can help to sell clothes and shoes. General Atlantic’s money will partly finance Yemeksepeti’s move abroad.

Lots of others are hoping to follow the successes. In November, in a hall at Bilgi University in Istanbul, 20 young Turkish companies coached by Bootcamp Ventures, the event’s organiser, presented their plans to prospective investors.

Events like this, Bootcamp’s fifth in Turkey, have become common. “When we started here six years ago,” says Didem Altop of Endeavor, a non-profit organisation which seeks to encourage entrepreneurs in countries from Brazil to Jordan, “there used to be three events a year. Now there are three a day.”

Turkey has so far been short of “angel” investors who will sprinkle money on a seedling company without demanding most of its equity. That is changing, as the first generation of founders become investors and mentors for the next. In Galata Business Angels, Istanbul has a network of such people including Mr Numan and Sina Afra, co-founder of Markafoni. Incubators are being set up: at Enkuba, in Istanbul, Piraye Antika, a former local head of HSBC, a big bank, and her colleagues have taken on Bu Kac Para Eder, which values antiques online, and torpilli, which helps students preparing for university-entrance exams.

The government’s policies have been a bit disjointed, says Ms Altop, but are becoming more concerted. Young companies can already get grants for research and marketing; those in “technoparks” are excused some taxes. More encouraging is the prospect of tax breaks to accredited angels, which are due to come into effect soon. Most start-ups will fail, as they do everywhere: fashion and daily deals, in particular, look horribly crowded. But more of them may get the chance to emulate those already on the road to success.

Linda Rottenberg: Entrepreneur “Women to Watch” 2013

Linda Rottenberg
Photo © Anna Wolf

Reprinted from Entrepreneur.com. Original article here.

By Jenna Schnuer

Entrepreneur magazine: 2013′s Entrepreneurial Women to Watch

When Linda Rottenberg graduated from Yale Law School in 1993, she knew one thing: She didn’t want to practice law. So off to Argentina she went–to work for Ashoka, an organization that supports social entrepreneurs. Tech entrepreneurship was booming in the U.S. But in Argentina? Rottenberg learned that there wasn’t even a word for entrepreneur there. “Everybody I was meeting who had big talent aspired to a government job,” she says.

There was no venture capital. No role models. No support. That sparked the idea for Endeavor, the New York-based organization Rottenberg launched in 1997 with Peter Kellner, an investor who had witnessed the same lack of advocacy for entrepreneurs during a Harvard Business School trip to China. Endeavor finds what Rottenberg calls “high-impact” entrepreneurs around the world and supports them through intense mentoring–each participant gets his or her own board of advisors–and access to a network of local investors. Rottenberg, who serves as CEO, defines high-impact entrepreneurs as those with “the greatest ability to create jobs, generate revenues and become role models for the next generation.”

The basic idea hasn’t strayed much from Rottenberg’s initial plan. “We had sketched out search, select, support, give back–that the entrepreneurs would start giving back to Endeavor,” she says. “On the big-picture level, it is almost exactly what we had envisioned.”

But the program’s influence is even greater than Rottenberg could have imagined. Since its founding, Endeavor–which has 17 offices around the world and is aiming for 25 by 2015–has worked with 726 entrepreneurs. In 2011 program participants earned $5 billion in revenue and created 200,000 jobs. And they are starting to step up to the give-back portion of the program as well: In 2012 two Endeavor entrepreneurs each gave $1 million to their local offices. “They’re now mentors and angel investors themselves,” Rottenberg says.

That reciprocation is at the heart of Rottenberg’s mission. “The No. 1 factor for catalyzing the [entrepreneurial] ecosystem is successful entrepreneurs investing and mentoring the next generation,” she says. “[It's] even more important than institutional venture capitalists.”

Brad Feld on Term Sheets

Entrepreneurs entering their first round of venture capital financing face many unknowns and hurdles. In fact, the Chief Counsel of one of Endeavor’s first entrepreneurs said, “not understanding this stuff – liquidation preferences, participation, etc – cost our team about $100M when we sold the company.”

To help entrepreneurs entering their first round of venture capital negations, Endeavor Insight has developed a Term Sheet Calculator. The interactive tool shows entrepreneurs how changes to critical parts of contracts can dramatically alter how entrepreneurs, investors and employees split shares of the company.

To further help entrepreneurs, Endeavor has featured a blog post by Brad Feld, a Venture Capitalist and Managing Director of Foundry Group, about liquidation preference.

 

Reprinted from “Term Sheet Series. Original article  available here.

 

I’ve written about liquidation preferences (and participating preferred) before, as have most of the other VC bloggers (and several entrepreneur bloggers.) However, for completeness, and since liquidation preferences are the second most important “economic term” (after price), Jason and I decided to write a post on it. Plus – if you read carefully – you might find some new and exciting super-secret VC tricks.

The liquidation preference determines how the pie is shared on a liquidity event. There are two components that make up what most people call the liquidation preference: the actual preference and participation. To be accurate, the term liquidation preference should only pertain to money returned to a particular series of the company’s stock ahead of other series of stock. Consider for instance the following language:

Liquidation Preference: In the event of any liquidation or winding up of the Company, the holders of the Series A Preferred shall be entitled to receive in preference to the holders of the Common Stock a per share amount equal to [x] the Original Purchase Price plus any declared but unpaid dividends (the Liquidation Preference).

This is the actual preference. In the language above, a certain multiple of the original investment per share is returned to the investor before the common stock receives any consideration. For many years, a “1x” liquidation preference was the standard. Starting in 2001, investors often increased this multiple, sometimes as high as 10x! (Note, that it is mostly back to 1x today.)

The next thing to consider is whether or not the investor shares are participating. Again, note that many people consider the term “liquidation preference” to refer to both the preference and the participation, if any. There are three varieties of participation: full participation, capped participation and non-participating.

Fully participating stock will share in the liquidation proceeds on a pro rata basis with common after payment of the liquidation preference. The provision normally looks like this:

Participation: After the payment of the Liquidation Preference to the holders of the Series A Preferred, the remaining assets shall be distributed ratably to the holders of the Common Stock and the Series A Preferred on a common equivalent basis.

Capped participation indicates that the stock will share in the liquidation proceeds on a pro rata basis until a certain multiple return is reached. Sample language is below.

Participation: After the payment of the Liquidation Preference to the holders of the Series A Preferred, the remaining assets shall be distributed ratably to the holders of the Common Stock and the Series A Preferred on a common equivalent basis; provided that the holders of Series A Preferred will stop participating once they have received a total liquidation amount per share equal to [X] times the Original Purchase Price, plus any declared but unpaid dividends. Thereafter, the remaining assets shall be distributed ratably to the holders of the Common Stock.

One interesting thing to note in the section is the actually meaning of the multiple of the Original Purchase Price (the [X]). If the participation multiple is 3 (three times the Original Purchase Price), it would mean that the preferred would stop participation (on a per share basis) once 300% of its original purchase price was returned including any amounts paid out on the liquidation preference. This is not an additional 3x return, rather an addition 2x, assuming the liquidation preference were a 1 times money back return. Perhaps because of this correlation with the actual preference, the term liquidation preference has come to include both the preference and participation terms. If the series is not participating, it will not have a paragraph that looks like the ones above.

Liquidation preferences are usually easy to understand and assess when dealing with a series A term sheet. It gets much more complicated to understand what is going on as a company matures and sells additional series of equity as understanding how liquidation preferences work between the series is often mathematically (and structurally) challenging. As with many VC-related issues, the approach to liquidation preferences among multiple series of stock varies (and is often overly complex for no apparent reason.) There are two primary approaches: (1) The follow-on investors will stack their preferences on top of each other: series B gets its preference first, then series A or (2) The series are equivalent in status (called pari passu – one of the few latin terms lawyers understand) so that series A and B share pro-ratably until the preferences are returned. Determining which approach to use is a black art which is influenced by the relative negotiating power of the investors involved, ability of the company to go elsewhere for additional financing, economic dynamics of the existing capital structure, and the phase of the moon.

Most professional, reasonable investors will not want to gouge a company with excessive liquidation preferences. The greater the liquidation preference ahead of management and employees, the lower the potential value of the management / employee equity. There’s a fine balance here and each case is situation specific, but a rational investor will want a combination of “the best price” while insuring “maximum motivation” of management and employees. Obviously what happens in the end is a negotiation and depends on the stage of the company, bargaining strength, and existing capital structure, but in general most companies and their investors will reach a reasonable compromise regarding these provisions. Note that investors get either the liquidation preference and participation amounts (if any) or what they would get on a fully converted common holding, at their election; they do not get both (although in the fully participating case, the participation amount is equal to the fully converted common holding amount.)

Since we’ve been talking about liquidation preferences, it’s important to define what a “liquidation” event is. Often, entrepreneurs think of a liquidation as simply a “bad” event – such as a bankruptcy or a wind down. In VC-speak, a liquidation is actually tied to a “liquidity event” where the shareholders receive proceeds for their equity in a company, including mergers, acquisitions, or a change of control of the company. As a result, the liquidation preference section determines allocation of proceeds in both good times and bad. Standard language looks like this:

A merger, acquisition, sale of voting control or sale of substantially all of the assets of the Company in which the shareholders of the Company do not own a majority of the outstanding shares of the surviving corporation shall be deemed to be a liquidation.

Ironically, lawyers don’t necessary agree on a standard definition of the phrase “liquidity event.” Jason once had an entertaining (and unenjoyable) debate during a guest lecture he gave at his alma mater law school with a partner from a major Chicago law firm (who was teaching a venture class that semester) that claimed an initial public offering should be considered a liquidation event. His theory was that an IPO was the same as a merger, that the company was going away, and thus the investors should get their proceeds. Even if such a theory would be accepted by an investment banker who would be willing to take the company public (no chance in our opinion), it makes no sense as an IPO is simply another funding event for the company, not a liquidation of the company. However, in most IPO scenarios, the VCs “preferred stock” is converted to common stock as part of the IPO, eliminating the issue around a liquidity event in the first place.

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