High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Turkey’s Iyzico Raises Series B Round of Funding with Participation from Endeavor Catalyst

The Istanbul-based Iyzico, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Barbaros Özbugutu and Tahsin Isın, raised a  $6.2 million Series B round of funding led by IFC, 212 and Speedinvest, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst.  The payments company provides a platform to […]

May 28th, 2015 — by admin

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Harvard Business Review Features Endeavor Research on Tech Founders

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) featured research from Endeavor Insight that dispels some popular myths about tech entrepreneurs. Tech founders are often associated with prominent colleges, technical training and youth. Data from Endeavor, however, reveals […]

January 26th, 2015 — by admin

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eMBA 2013 Field Report: Still questioning why the local David wins so often against the international Goliath? Here’s one reason why.

Each summer Endeavor sends a number of incoming and second-year MBA students, recruited from top schools, to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs on projects ranging from strategic planning to market expansion. The program is supported by a generous grant from Barclays. Following is a post from Jessica Chen, a member of the Harvard Business School Class of 2013, who spent the summer working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Brazil’s Acesso Digital:

Acesso Digital is a São Paulo-based startup focused on moving Brazil’s paper culture into the cloud. They count some of Brazil’s premiere institutions, such as Itaú, among their clients. This summer, fresh after graduating from HBS, I jumped on a plane to Brazil, excited to work with the company and see their product.

Upon landing though – I have to be honest – I wasn’t particularly impressed. Acesso Digital’s product combines a basic document management/workflow tool with Kodak scanners that they send to clients’ branch offices across Brazil. In my experience working in the US, I had seen document management products that were leagues ahead in technological sophistication, but I also knew that those companies had tried to enter Brazil and failed. What on earth was going on?

To answer that question, I need to rewind to the company’s founding. In addition to their document management solution, Acesso Digital has an even more ambitious second mission – to become the best place to work in the world, bar none. With this dream in mind, the company leaders encouraged each of their employees to pursue their own dreams, whether it is to travel, to get in shape, or to develop professionally. Today, Acesso Digital is less a company and more a team, comprised of every employee at the company, from CEO to housekeeper, who continuously support, push, and celebrate each other, both inside and outside the workplace. That’s pretty impressive for a company that’s now well over a hundred employees, not to mention pretty impossible for other companies to replicate.

This concept of fulfilling dreams translates further into a deep understanding of customer pain points, which results in a product that is designed to make clients’ lives fundamentally better. That is one of the key reasons for the company’s success in the Brazilian market.

Let me explain.  My project involved recommending new product opportunities. In pursuit of this goal, I worked with another eMBA intern to think of solutions for unsolved customer pain points that optimized the company’s existing strengths. We met with clients across a slew of industries and were given the license to ask any question. They spoke with surprising candor and I began to understand Brazilians – how they live, work, play, and struggle on a daily basis. I began to speak Portuguese and understand the nuances of the language, how common Portuguese words that have no English translation define Brazilian culture. I began to understand the impact of the government in all industries and why Brazilians protest to make the government more accountable to the people.

I began to understand Acesso Digital’s clients as they do. Customers don’t need bells and whistles (and the associated price tag) to solve the fundamental pain of dealing with paper, of waiting forever for the postal system and losing critical information, of losing money to fraudulent identification documents. Unlike US multinationals exporting a product, Acesso Digital created a solution for their clients that simply made their lives better.

It was only after taking the time to observe and to listen that I could make an impact myself. I realized the areas where my US work experiences overlapped with the Brazilian business environment and started sharing best practices and making observations on how the company might improve. On their part, Acesso Digital was eager to learn and gave us incredible flexibility in doing our work; it was pretty amazing. For example, I came up with an idea in the shower one morning to host an ideation session utilizing the diverse talent across the company, and by the following morning, we had over a hundred new product ideas on yellow sticky notes.

Acesso Digital opened my eyes this summer and in so doing, enabled my dream as well. I originally thought it was by happenstance, but now I realize it’s the company’s secret – they are an insidious dream-fulfilling machine. My dream, both personally and professionally, has always been to experience amazing adventures. I’ve found no better way to accomplish this than to work around the world – adapting to new cultures, meeting new people, thinking innovatively about new challenges. And for me, the best measure of how worthwhile an adventure is how much is learned by the end of the experience. Never in my life had I experienced a learning curve so steep. I’m incredibly thankful to Acesso Digital in helping me grow as a professional and as a person, and so much saudade for the friends made and the lessons along the way.


Endeavor Hosts 50th ISP: 26 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Lebanon, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Turkey Join the Endeavor Network

Palo Alto, CA – October 11, 2013 – Endeavor selected 26 High-Impact Entrepreneurs at 16 companies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Lebanon, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Turkey at its 50th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 844 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 538 companies in 16 emerging and growth market countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a panel held from October 7 – 9 on the campus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto. Panelists ranged from Silicon Valley venture capital executives to business leaders from 10 countries drawn from Endeavor’s extensive global network.

“We originally started Endeavor to bring some of the Silicon Valley magic to the far corners of the world,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “It’s gratifying to bring some of the entrepreneurial magic we have discovered in those regions back to the Valley for a special sort of mash up.”

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 its final 2013 Selection Panel in Dubai, UAE, December 10 – 12, 2013.

Brief descriptions of the selected entrepreneurs and companies follow.



Entrepreneur: Vanesa Duran
Company: Vanesa Duran Joyas (www.vanesaduran.com)
Description: Over the past ten years, Vanesa Duran has built a multi-million dollar jewelry company that takes advantage of a powerful, direct selling model to empower women and provide middle and lower income consumers throughout Argentina with access to quality jewelry. The company offers two product lines: The hallmark brand, Vanesa Duran Joyas, and a more affordable alternative for daily use, Oversize Markets.


Entrepreneur: Joaquim Caracas
Company: Impacto Protensao (www.impactoprotensao.com.br)
Description: Impacto is laying the groundwork for a greener Brazil by developing reusable, sustainable, and easily-assembled construction products. Using an innovative technique called “post-tensioning,” Impacto fuses recycled plastic concrete slabs into flooring and uses 85% less wood than traditional methods in the process. Since its founding in 1996, Impacto has signed industry-leading Odebrecht and ArcelorMittal as clients and has registered 17 patents. Looking ahead, Joaquim plans to expand the company’s use of recycled plastic to new construction challenges.

Entrepreneur: Leonardo Simão
Company: Bebê Store (www.bebestore.com.br)
Description: The largest baby e-commerce retailer in Brazil, Bebê Store offers parents a unique online shopping experience by guaranteeing a wide selection of high quality products, terrific customer service, affordable shipping, and a flexible return policy. With industry leading revenues, customer service, and product selection, Bebê Store is on track to become the largest and most efficient online retailer of baby products in South America.


Entrepreneur: Eduardo Cretier
Company: International Quality Systems
Description: International Quality System (IQS) saves industrial companies time and money by diagnosing and eliminating static equipment failures in large-scale production processes predominantly in the pulp and paper industry. This not only allows for improved operational reliability, but also minimizes industrial plant “down time” through nontoxic diagnostic x-ray machines that can run while plant workers are present. Their proprietary software reduces overall maintenance costs by identifying future maintenance needs to avoid emergency plant shutdowns, factors which greatly improve client production and profitability. IQS counts some of Chile’s largest cellulose companies as clients.

Entrepreneurs: Javier Sainz, John Alarcon
Company: Prodalysa (www.prodalysa.cl)
Description: Prodalysa’s groundbreaking technology extracts a 100% natural sugar alternative from stevia plants. The company sells two core stevia products: a pure stevia extract that can be adapted for industrial use and a pre-mixed blend stevia extract for commercial products. Prodalysa has already captured 80% of Chile’s stevia market and has pioneered the extract’s usage in new industries, like dairy. Javier and John are in the process of developing a private label option in sachet, tablet, and bottle form.


Entrepreneurs: Alex Torrenegra, Tania Zapata
Company: Bunny Inc. (www.voicebunny.com; www.voice123.com)
Description: Bunny Inc. is making a lot of noise in the voice casting market, disrupting the way voice actors and buyers connect. Before, the process of finding voice actors for a project took weeks and could cost thousands of dollars. Today, thanks to Bunny Inc’s VoiceBunny and Voice123 online platforms, buyers anywhere in the world can find professional voices in less than ten minutes. By dramatically lowering the cost and time to acquire a voice, Bunny Inc. is opening the market to many new applications for professional voices.

Entrepreneurs: Ricardo Ortiz, David Ortiz
Company: SIIGO (www.siigo.com)
Description: No business is too small for SIIGO, an Endeavor Colombia company looking out for the little guys. SIIGO’s financial, accounting and management software enables small businesses to better manage their financial information and increase efficiencies while minimizing costs. The company offers competitive pricing while promising agile product innovation capabilities through iSiigo, its integrated cloud based business management solution.


Entrepreneurs: Javier Lozano, Fernanda Zorrilla
Company: Clínicas del Azúcar (www.clinicasdelazucar.com)
Description: Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in Mexico, with 70,000 deaths attributable to the disease each year. Clínicas del Azúcar (Sugar Clinics) seeks to turn these alarming statistics around, offering specialized, affordable diabetes care to low to middle income patients who otherwise would go under- or untreated. With its one-stop shop model, Clínicas has reduced patients’ annual costs by 75%, lowered their diabetes complication rates by 60%, and increased adherence to treatment by 1300%.

Entrepreneurs: José Akle, Sebastían Barrios
Company: Yaxi (www.yaxi.mx)
Description: Yaxi is a taxi hailing app for iPhone and Android that instantly connects passengers in Mexico City with taxis that are screened for quality, tracked for safety, and technically equipped for optimal route and payment efficiency. By working with ordinary taxis and charging passengers a low $1 commission fee, Yaxi brings quality, safety, and convenience to the masses at less than half the cost of black car hailing services, while significantly increasing driver earnings. Yaxi is already the #1 taxi hailing app in Mexico City, and is positioned to extend its lead across the region.

Entrepreneur: Carlos M. Anaya Rodríguez
Company: Parquimóvil (www.Parquimovil.com)
Description: The traditional parking meter- an outdated 73-year old machine- is calling for a new solution. Parquimóvil is rejuvenating this outdated infrastructure by providing a virtual parking registration system distributed through mobile phones and authorized retailers. Parquimóvil enables municipalities to avoid the installation and operational costs of parking meter infrastructure while simultaneously collecting data to improve public safety and urban planning. With Mexico ranking top on the “commuter pain” index, Parquimóvil removes commuter frustration associated with locating and paying for a parking spot.

Entrepreneur: José de Jesús González Macín
Company: Barared (www.barared.mx)
Description: Founded in 2006, Barared caters to the underserved market and in doing so is reinventing micro-commerce in Mexico. Barared offers the base of the pyramid population in Mexico access to essential services ranging from mobile phone top-ups to bank transactions in a convenient and affordable manner. The company has installed over 1,000 kiosks in “mom and pop” shops across Mexico City where customers can perform transactions without visiting banks and other government offices which are often located at a great distance from the customer.

Entrepreneur: Jose (Pepe) Islas, Jose Bezaury, and Antonio Vilches
Company: Grupo Archipielago (http://www.archipielagocorp.com/)
Description: Before 2009, entertainment options for hip young professionals in Mexico City were limited to large, crowded, and expensive clubs that delivered a single, formulaic experience. Today, trendsetters can be found scattered across a series of cutting-edge “islands” – venues distinct in concept but united by the creative vision of Grupo Archipielago. Grupo Archipielago offers unique, alternative experiences across a portfolio of restaurants and bars.



Entrepreneur: Amr El Tayeb
Company: Smart Care Medical Services (http://smart-medicalservices.com/services.html)
Description: Smart Care offers corporate clients customized and discounted health care plans with access to over 400 health care providers (hospitals, clinics etc.). Smart Care educates clients’ employees about the plan, manages the revision process, and provides extensive customer service to beneficiaries, clients, and providers alike. For those not on a corporate healthcare plan, Smart Care provides discount medical cards.


Entrepreneurs: Eddy Maroun & Elie Habib
Company: Anghami (www.anghami.com)
Description: Anghami is a music streaming mobile application that offers music enthusiasts the opportunity to listen to a wide variety of Arabic and English tracks from the convenience of a mobile phone. Anghami’s music library features licensed content from leading Arabic labels such as Rotana and Mazzika, as well as from major international labels including Sony, Warner, and Universal. With the music streaming market valued at US$1 billion and growing, Anghami is well poised to capitalize on the trend in the underserved MENA market.


Entrepreneurs: Amr S. Al Madani, Saeed Atef Saeed
Company: TalentS (www.talents.edu.sa)
Description: TalentS is working to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education throughout Saudi Arabia. TalentS has developed creative, hands-on, and engaging methods for teaching STEM at robotics competitions and science fairs. The entrepreneurs are now applying their expertise to additional STEM-related learning opportunities, including managing STEM museums, designing exhibits, organizing corporate social responsibility events, and training teachers and students.


Entrepreneurs: Ömer Paksoy, Onur Tekinturhan
Company: Konut Kredisi (www.konutkredisi.com.tr)
Description: Konutkredisi.com.tr (Turkish for “home loan”) is the country’s first online loan brokerage platform, offering both mortgage and unsecured personal loan products from 16 of Turkey’s 21 major banks. Konutkredisi has become an important partner for borrowers and lenders alike. As Turkey’s home loan market is still emerging, Konutkredisi’s platform seeks to educate consumers in addition to allowing them to transparently compare products. At the same time, Konutkredisi has helped banks improve conversion rates and find new customers.

October 2013 Newsletter

To view Endeavor’s October 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.


2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Video: Jenn Lim on Delivering Happiness the Zappos.com Way

Jenn Lim is the CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos.com) co-founded to inspire science based happiness, passion and purpose at work, home and everyday life. In 2010, Jenn led the launch and management of Tony’s first book (Delivering Happiness) which has sold over 460,000 copies worldwide. Today, she’s dedicated to growing the Delivering Happiness movement so we can all pay happiness forward — knowing if we create happier companies/communities/cities, we can make this a happier world.


0:04 On What Creates Happiness for our Lives

5:22 What Would You Do Without the Fear of Failure?

7:21 Priorities at Zappos: Company Culture and Customer Service

10:55 Lessons from Zappos: Commitment, Core Values, Transparency, Vision, Relationships, Building the Right Team

18:07 Employing the Science of Happiness at Zappos

22:37 Delivering Happiness in Action


Endeavor and Arvento Win People’s Choice Stevie® Awards

On the heels of its Bronze Stevie® Award, Endeavor was named the People’s Choice Award winner for Favorite Company- Non-Profit or Government Organizations Category- in the 10th Annual International Business Awards.

Endeavor Turkey Company Arvento Mobile Systems also received a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Company- Computer Hardware & Electronics Category. Founded by entrepreneur Özer Hıncal, Arvento has sold its vehicle tracking and fleet management software to over 23,000 customers.

More than 15,000 votes were cast in this year’s People’s Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Companies, a feature of The International Business Awards, the world’s premier business awards competition.  The International Business Awards are one of five awards programs organized by the Stevies.   All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. 

Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at a gala awards banquet at the W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain on 14 October.

Veramiko named “Entrepreneurs of 2013″ by CNN Expansión

Vidal Cantu and Guillermo Farias, the founders of Veramiko, were named “Entrepreneurs of 2013″ by leading Mexican business magazine CNN Expansión. As part of this honor, Vidal and Guillermo were featured on the cover of Expansión’s May 2013 edition. To see more information on the magazine’s website, click here.

Founded in 2006, Veramiko’s signature product is InTeam.com, an integrated intranet solution designed to foster workplace collaboration. InTeam.com has all of the features of social networks, such as profiles, “walls”, and news feeds, plus specialized business applications including project management tools, file sharing, wikis, and groups.

Vidal and Guillermo were selected by Endeavor at its December 2012 International Selection Panel in Miami.


Endeavor Entrepreneurs Featured in Drucker Institute’s Monthly Radio Program

The Drucker Institute, a think tank based at Claremont Graduate University, traveled to the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco to speak with nine Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Latin America, Africa, and Europe. The interviews highlight the shared vision of Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, and Endeavor, which realizes that vision throughout the world through its network of mentors and high-impact entrepreneurs.

In wide ranging discussions, Phalana Tiller, the host of the Institute’s monthly radio program, spoke with Endeavor’s entrepreneurs about the importance of mentoring, the challenges of finding market focus, and potential sources of future growth. Asked about the role of mentoring in helping him and his business to achieve high impact, Carlo Gonzaga, an Endeavor Entrepreneur from South Africa’s Taste Holdings responded “we treat our franchisees in a kind of mentoring relationship. There’s no substitute for good old fashioned wisdom.”

Visit the Drucker Institute’s website to hear more from Carlo Gonzaga of Taste Holdings, Phaedra Chrousos of Daily Secret, Sally Buberman of Wormhole IT, Raúl Maldonado and Mois Cherem Arana of Enova, Melih Ödemis of Yemek Sepeti, Hervé Cuviliez of Diwanee,  Raúl Polakof of Scanntech, and Bernardo Lustosa of ClearSale.

Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board Member Wences Casares highlighted in Marketplace segment titled “Latinos making inroads in Silicon Valley”

In a segment entitled, “Latinos making inroads in Silicon Valley,” American Public Media’s Marketplace discusses how the Latin American population has been making inroads in Silicon Valley. “Latinos have long been the largest immigrant group in the U.S. But they weren’t much of a presence in the tech sector,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School. But Vivek believes that’s changing. “I’ve seen significant growth in the Latin American population in Silicon Valley.”

Endeavor Entrepreneur Wences Casares was featured as a leading Latin American entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. Raised on a sheep farm in Patagonia, Argentina, Wences was selected by Endeavor in 1998 for Patagon.com, an electronic brokerage. In January 1999, Wences raised US$4M through the Endeavor network. The following year, he sold a 75% stake in the business to Banco Santander for US$750M, instantly transforming him into a role model for budding entrepreneurs.

In the segment, Wences discussed inspiring fellow Latin Americans. “In a way what they are thinking is, ‘He’s just like me. He’s no better.’ Or, ‘He has no particular advantage. I can do this.'”

Today, Wences lives with his family in Palo Alto, where is still an active entrepreneur. His current business, Lemon.com, produces an iPhone app that essentially allows you to digitize your wallet. Wences is a frequent speaker, mentor, and panelist for Endeavor and serves on the organization’s Global Board of Directors.

Listen to the segment below or click here.

Act Two for Endeavor Entrepreneur Hakan Baş: Successful Online Fashion Site is a Hit in Turkey and Attracts a Major Global Investment

It is not unusual for Endeavor Entrepreneurs to start second and third companies but few have had such rapid success as Turkey’s Hakan Baş. Hakan had an early start with Endeavor, serving first as an intern with Endeavor Turkey  before returning as an Entrepreneur candidate with electronic gaming leader Peak Games in 2011 at the Amman ISP. Hakan left Peak later that year to found Lidyana, an online shopping site that was named Turkey’s “hottest start-up” of 2012 by Wired magazine (UK edition). The site quickly became a successful player in Turkish e-commerce. Hakan recently attracted a significant investment round led by Germany’s Burda group, one of that region’s most important media conglomerates. Endeavor Catalyst also participated in the round, making Lidyana the donor fund’s ninth investment overall and fourth in Turkey.

“I take great pride and joy in being a part of the Endeavor community, and actively make an effort to bring in the Endeavor culture to all of my ventures,” said Hakan. “Having joined this family as an intern and being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur twice, I have more recently had an opportunity to serve as an Advisory Board member in Endeavor Turkey. The investment from the Catalyst Fund is yet another great milestone. I look forward to adding value to the ecosystem in line with Endeavor’s mission.”


Timed for G20, EY Issues a New Entrepreneurship Barometer Report

As part of its continuing thought-leader efforts surrounding the G20 meetings, Endeavor Partner EY released a new version of its Entrepreneurship Barometer report this week.  The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013 is designed to help leading countries benchmark their progress and performance on this vital issue. It enables each G20 nation to identify current strengths in its entrepreneurial environment, as well as the main opportunities for further development.  As a result, the Barometer provides a powerful framework to help countries understand and improve the ecosystems that are vital to the success of the entrepreneurs of the future.

Although there have been a number of international studies on entrepreneurial ecosystems, there is still a need for better tools and data to help countries measure their performance on this issue. This report makes an important contribution to this endeavor by capturing insights from key research initiatives.  A key conclusion of the report:  Mature markets continue to provide the best ecosystems for entrepreneurship development but rapid-growth markets — such as Endeavor countries Brazil, Argentina and Turkey — are closing the gap.

EY hopes the report will grab the attention of government leaders attending the G20.  “The need to act is clear. Entrepreneurs have the power to create jobs and drive growth – but first we need to give them the tools and the environment that will enable them to succeed,” said Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair, Strategic Growth Markets at EY.

For a complete copy of the report, click here.


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