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

Last week, Endeavor Global and Endeavor Colombia hosted the inaugural Latin American Venture Forum in partnership with Bancoldex. This event gathered over 30 of the most active regional funds in Colombia for a day of content, discussion […]

September 16th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Insight Report on What Entrepreneurs Want in a City Featured in Inc. Magazine and The Atlantic

A report by Endeavor Insight released in February examines the top qualities that American entrepreneurs look for when choosing a city to live and work. With research based on surveys and interviews with 150 founders of some […]

March 20th, 2014 — by admin

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Crisscrossing the globe in the name of entrepreneurship: a spotlight on Endeavor Entrepreneurs

Reprinted from Young Entrepreneur. Original here.

By Neil Parmar

Plenty of young entrepreneurs in the U.S. struggle to build enough momentum to launch into new markets. Try starting up and immediately catering to foreign consumers.

This is the predicament faced by many emerging-market entrepreneurs — that is, entrepreneurs attempting to launch startups from the developing world. Though they share similar challenges as U.S.-based startups — among others, they tend to have few, if any, influential contacts and a dearth of funding opportunities — emerging-market entrepreneurs often must also contend with an insufficient knowledge about how to adapt to cultural differences.

The good news for these emerging-market entrepreneurs is they can get help. A host of new programs — some even located in the U.S. — are offering to help groom founders and their ventures for future success.

Fadi Bargouti has taken a number of different approaches to nurture his baby, Curl Stone Studios, an animation house he co-founded in 2009. Among other things, the 34-year-old Amman, Jordan resident participated in two separate incubator and accelerator programs to aid his expansion into the Middle East and North Africa. The programs called Oasis500 and Silicon Badia helped Bargouti focus his company and even assisted him in attracting seed funding.

“We want to have our own [animation] genre,” says Bargouti. “We want to explore the Western style and Japanese style, and come up with our own.”

More recently, however, Bargouti tried out and was selected to become a member of Endeavor Jordan, a globally connected organization that launched just three years ago and supports so-called high-impact entrepreneurs. The group selects treps who demonstrate an ability to grow ventures that can employ hundreds, or even thousands, of people and generate millions of dollars in wages and revenues.

While Bargouti only joined Endeavor Jordan this summer, he is already reaping benefits through the group’s mentors and networking opportunities that it hosts. For instance, within a couple of hours of asking for connections to help push into the United Arab Emirates, someone at Endeavor Jordan had already started scheduling meetings with the top brass of popular animation TV channels. “That for me is tangible,” says Bargouti. “I’ve been trying really hard to reach out to them.”

What’s more, some treps are also taking advantage of Endeavor’s growing presence in the U.S. to learn about starting up from Silicon Valley itself. A new program, launched in partnership between Endeavor and Stanford University, gave treps the chance to travel to California for one week in August to learn about scaling fast-growth companies in global markets. The invite-only training cost a full $3,500, though participants say the price was worth paying for some professional brush-up tips

“Leadership skills is something I really have to improve,” says Daniel Wjuniski of Brazil, who attended the Stanford – Endeavor Leadership Program. He was only in his early 20s when he joined an online vehicle-trading startup. But after being diagnosed with a chronic disease and finding it hard to get the info he needed, he decided to roll the dice and start his own health-based information site in Portuguese. Known as Minha Vida, his WebMD-like portal started in 2004 but recently received serious financial injections from Intel Capital and Endeavor Catalyst, allowing it to expand from 50 to 100 employees in just six months this year.

“There are two types of skills I’ve learned,” says Wjuniski, now 34, and serves as CEO at Minha Vida, which boasts more than 14 million registered users. “One is strategic: how to grow the business by acquisitions or growing your line of products. Another thing is really psychological: how to make decisions, talk to someone, persuade someone.”

Jaime Carter, who’s from Mexico and has been an entrepreneur since the age of 19, is hoping his time at the Stanford – Endeavor program will help him gain perspective and an edge in U.S. As the founder of a healthcare software company called Health Digital Systems, Carter who’s now 49 oversees offices that are located in six different countries. Networking through Endeavor has helped him understand the U.S. market better, he says. Though, he acknowledged that the true test will occur once his team gets fully functioning here: Next year, Carter plans to launch an outpost in Silicon Valley.

The special sauce that stirs Endeavor’s unique mentorship formula

Reprinted from Nearshore Americas.  See original article here.

By Jon Tonti

Mentorship is a critical component of any business accelerator or incubator although the maturity of the mentoring process seems to vary widely.  Endeavor Global, the well known organization borne to stimulate and motivate the world’s “high impact” entrepreneurs, has carved out a special niche in the Latin America market – where mentoring continues to greatly influence the ‘die or fly’ prospects of next-generation business creators.

“Endeavor provides three essential elements in its conceptual mentorship approach: senior advice, a valuable network, and world class partners. The senior advice is intimate counsel, not only strategic but also tactical,” says Jorge Grad, a former outsourcing leader for IBM in Latin America and Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Endeavor Global was founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner with an aim to help advance social and economic development in emerging markets countries through the direct support of high-impact entrepreneurs and the wider diffusion of entrepreneurial culture.  To date the model is deployed in 14 countries around the world (the latest being Greece) supporting 604 entrepreneurs at 385 companies that enjoy the mentorship provided by Endeavor’s 1000+ person strong VentureCorps network spread around the globe.

Grad, who has spent 10 years as an Endeavor mentor and sits on a laundry list of corporate boards, says there is a unique approach that places Endeavor in a different category than many of its boot-strapping peers. “What we have is a unique group of senior executives really committed to inspiring entrepreneurs to realize large goals. The valuable network draws upon Endeavor being a global organization, we can expand interactions with leaders of local and global industry, connect entrepreneurs with investor communities and also with global peer entrepreneurs, which in our experience is a key value regarding differentiation” he said.

Noting Endeavor’s mature mentorship model, we were anxious to find out from Grad if corporations have anything to learn from the Endeavor.

Learning and Inspiring

“I am firmly convinced that corporate mentorship has a lot to learn regarding Endeavor’s approach in monitoring young internal entrepreneurs … basically the discipline in getting the teams really inspired, strongly supported and also properly measured.  The global mentorship structure is particularly key for nearshore operations,” remarked Grad.

David Wachtel, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Endeavor, elaborated on the Advisory Board dynamic that yields results for Endeavor.

“The term ‘mentoring’ gets thrown around a lot, but the devil is in the details. There are a lot of incubators that have some kind of mentoring component; the Endeavor system is already well defined. We are in the process of implementing the Advisory Board model as opposed to the one-on-one mentor as a best practice organization wide. It works better for our advisory board mentors as well as their mentee(s),” said Wachtel.

We asked Wachtel if there is some way in which the organization harvests the knowledge created by simultaneous advisory board – mentee conversations occurring continuously over the network. He said that because of privacy concerns there is no explicit knowledge capture / republishing that could compromise an entrepreneur, but there is an Endeavor managed “entrepreneur CRM.”

“Endeavor uses Salesforce to keep track of the mentors, their skill sets, etc. and the mentees and their needs. It is like a big CRM for entrepreneurs that is administered by local representatives and country representatives. The staff takes notes, follows up, and connects the dots; they make sure the second string communications and promises are made good on,” he added.

Keeping it Local

Wachtel mentioned that entrepreneurs are supported by a local reps that connect them with local advisory boards (approximately 80% of mentoring takes place at the local level) and also country reps that connect, for example, a tech firm in Argentina with an advisory board in Silicon Valley.  When there is specialty expertise that resides in a different market, Endeavor reps track down the necessary experts by communicating with their counterparts in other countries using Salesforce Chatter and a sort of shared electronic bulletin board.

“There was a meatpacking business in Uruguay that needed specialized advisory that was not available in the local market so they were put together with a restaurant chain in South Africa that had relevant experience because they ran their own food processing supply chain,” stated Wachtel.

Organizational Development

Endeavor is an organization that does a lot with a little so they are always looking to leverage the networks of each country’s board members and VentureCorps volunteers.  A global services office that serves tech companies by way of finding expertise and funding is located in San Francisco. Wachtel commented that full-time staff is dedicated to leveraging board members’ relationships.

“We have about 350 people in California that are engaged in the network, building it out is a full-time pursuit.” Bain Capital is helping Endeavor structure the process of taking the best from a branch and implementing it across other branches.

Of course the wide variety of data that Endeavor generates across its branches serves for internal research projects and subsequent publications. A current research initiative is identifying the cocktail of factors that produces the high growth entrepreneurs.

“If you really participate you can leap ahead radically, you can find people who have done exactly what you want to do. The network has all ages and backgrounds; you have companies that are Power Point startups and you have companies that have been around for 50 years,” said Mariano Gonzalez, managing director at Gentry Capital Advisors and Endeavor Mentor.

And this is a lot of what Endeavor does for entrepreneurs in emerging markets that do not have access to a highly developed funding and support ecosystem that is enjoyed in the United States.

“Here in the US there are so many resources for entrepreneurs, but in Latin America a lot of companies in the 5-10 million dollar valuation range that experience similar growing pains do not have those resources. Endeavor is very proactive in educating entrepreneurs about how to grow, finance, network, etc.,” stated Gonzalez.

The Mentors

Mentors are recruited by the local board that is also responsible for fund raising. “The local board members supply their rolodexes,” Wachtel said.

According to Wachtel the mentors get value out of lending a hand by using their expertise. Additionally, the mentors are often exposed to people and emerging market countries they would not have been exposed to otherwise and that involvement opens their eyes to new possibilities, future markets, and sometimes potential partnerships.

The head of JP Morgan Latin America acted as an Endeavor panelist and remarked afterwards that it was rejuvenating to share insight with young entrepreneurs. He ended up staying in contact with one of the companies and later put that company in touch with JP Morgan’s sourcing department as the company had developed an impressive web security product.

Video: Endeavor Entrepreneur Zafer Younis of The Online Project

Reprinted from Wamda

At our June CoE E-Commerce event, Zafer Younis, co-founder and CEO of social media agency The Online Project discusses how new brands can best connect to consumers by analyzing levels of friendship.

Younis explains the different types of friendships people have in their lives including “associate”, “fun friend,” “favor friend,” “help mate,” “comforter,” and “soul mate/best friend.” These categories reflect the trust and comfort levels between two parties and can shed a light on successful social networking strategies.

By figuring out what consumers enjoy and connecting with them on an emotional level, companies can more effectively address consumer needs and build ongoing “complex friendships.”

Insights on MENA’s e-commerce space [video]: Elie Habib of Riyada Enterprise Development

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

At our June CoE E-Commerce event, Elie Habib, Lebanon Country Manager for Riyada Enterprise Development, discusses the biggest pitfalls for startups looking for investment and what types of startup pitches he likes to see.

He explains that the MENA e-commerce space is filling up very quickly and new startups need to find a truly unique niche to be able to scale.

Some of the major startup pitfalls he has seen include not having a good team; one that is qualified, passionate, and has the capacity to innovate, create, and execute their idea. He explains that startups always underestimate how much money they will need and overestimate how well they will deliver. Habib adds that logistics and distribution are also a major hurdle which many young startups forget to consider accurately.

What he looks for in a startup presentation depends on the amount of the investment, but both an adequate product demonstration and a good handle on financials are key components of any pitch to investors.

Video: Endeavor President Fernando Fabre, on creating role models

Fernando Fabre, president of non-profit Endeavor Global, discusses how the organization creates powerful high-impact role models.

8 core beliefs of extraordinary entrepreneurs

Reprinted from Quicksprout.  See original article here.

By Neil Patel

What does it take to be an extraordinary entrepreneur? You know, an entrepreneur who has a vision for a business, rallies support to build it and then grows it into one of the most innovative companies in the world….what does it take to be an entrepreneur like that?

Well, I may be young but I have been an entrepreneur for over ten years. My first SEO consulting job was in high school where I built and ran a successful agency. And from there I co-founded a few software companies. Luckily for me, I was fortunate to grow up in a family of entrepreneurs, so I’ve heard a lot of great advice about what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

And I’ve also seen that all great entrepreneurs hold closely to a core set of beliefs. So what are those beliefs? Here are eight:

Belief #1: Make a decision and go!

This was one of the first lessons I learned when starting my first businessand it was extremely hard to get used to making a decision and then taking action on that decision.

I was so afraid I was making a mistake. Since then I’ve learned that making a mistake is not a bad thing. You actually learn from those mistakes, which helps you make better decisions down the road.

You will struggle with hiring and firing people, project budgets, office space and advertising creative. When you first start off in business you will take days and even weeks to answer these questions.

This core belief actually came back to me when I lost a million dollar client. They were happy with the service I was providing, but they wanted to know what else I was going to do to take their business to the next level. I had a few ideas, but I didn’t make a decision on which idea I was going to act on. Long story short, I took too long to make a decision and I lost a $1.2 million client.
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Financial Times features Endeavor Catalyst

Reprinted from Financial Times. Original article here.

By Vivianne Rodrigues

Donors and non-profit groups focusing on Latin America are increasingly targeting the region’s nascent class of entrepreneurs, harnessing the power of market-based mechanisms to maximise their social impact.

This approach, which brings together private sector companies, government agencies and the non-profit network, is emerging in areas as diverse as agriculture, commerce and information technology.

Washington-based TechnoServe is one of the non-profit groups that has been using charitable funding to provide technical and financial support.

It recently launched a programme, called Impulsa Tu Empresa, or Boost Your Business, aimed at helping enterprises in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and even Burkina Faso.

Supported by the Argidius Foundation, it is targeting businesses with annual sales of between $500,000 and $2m, particularly those that make products with added value, as well as service businesses located primarily in urban areas.

“We seek to help business models that stimulate long-term economic growth. But one of the difficulties is that, when it comes to Latin America, launching a business in Chile is completely different to launching one in Colombia or Guatemala,” says Bruce McNamer, TechnoServe president and CEO.

Mr McNamer says venture-capital models are being adapted in order to facilitate access to funding. Organisations such as TechnoServe, he says, are well positioned to work as a bridge between a wide range of public private-sector partners and local entrepreneurs.

In one example, the group is working with Cargill in Venezuela and Foco Sustentable, an entrepreneur development group, on a business plan competition to help entrepreneurs in the seven regions where Cargill operates. TechnoServe and its local partners work with the potential entrepreneurs to develop effective business plans and Cargill offers them opportunities to participate in its supply chain.

“There’s a legacy in certain groups in the region of distrust towards large corporations and toward the financial markets,” he says.

“But, having a mission-based institution bringing together corporations and other market-based mechanisms in order to service the poor can bring all parties together.”

The concept of impact investing – which assesses the social and environmental impact of investments – is familiar to Endeavor, the New York-based non-profit group which has perfected its own form of “high impact” entrepreneurship through mentoring and development programmes in emerging markets for more than 15 years.

But the group’s own funding models have also evolved.

Earlier this year, it launched Endeavor Catalyst, a passive co-investment vehicle, that has raised $10m in donations and invested $6m in six initiatives in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Turkey.

Catalyst considers ventures on the same terms as lead investors would, but it does not take a board seat and it abstains from shareholders’ votes.

When a liquidity event, such as an initial public offering, generates cash returns, 20 per cent is allocated to Endeavor’s growth and sustainability.

The remaining portion replenishes Catalyst, which in turn reinvests in more entrepreneurs.

“Catalyst is an instrument to help us turbocharge our resources,” says Baily Kempner, director of sustainability initiatives at Endeavor Global.

“On one side, it is a vote of confidence in the entrepreneurs, as this passive investment helps them build momentum, while at the same time our other mentoring programmes are helping their companies thrive.

“The donors can see that each dollar goes directly to the entrepreneur and, in time, their money will get back to them in compounded form.”

The system may also be attractive to other non-profit groups, Ms Kempner says, as it may help diminish their dependence on external funding sources, such as donations.

“Many non-profit organisations live hand to mouth based on donations, and that’s a rough way to live,” she says. “If more of them could achieve self-sustainability and raise capital within the very same demographic they are supporting, that would be very exciting.”

The approach is spreading. In Brazil, a survey conducted last year by the Avina Foundation, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and Potencia Ventures, with 140 social enterprises, found that more than 60 per cent of them already operated as conventional businesses and did not rely on donations.

Anamaria Schindler in the leadership team for Latin America at Ashoka, says: “We may be on the verge of a change in paradigm, moving further away from a cultural legacy in Latin America that has viewed social welfare and development chiefly as the responsibility of relief organisations rather than private individuals”.

Infographic: What are your chances of angel investment?

Reprinted from Angel Investment Network.  See original article here.

Effective culture is simply clarity amplified

Reprinted from Escape from Cubicle Nation.  See original article here.

Photo credit: Robert Fogarty

Today I am thrilled to share a guest post from my dear friend and mentor John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing. John is a marketing consultant, speaker and author.  John has been instrumental in shaping my small business education, but more importantly, he has modeled the type of clarity, integrity and leadership that I strive for in my own life.

The ideas in this post are drawn from his most recent work – The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It.  Find out more about it here: www.makingworkworthit.com

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RedInnova: Conference on Innovation, Internet, and Entrepreneurship (NYC: Nov 8-9)

Endeavor is supporting RedInnova – the leading tech conference connecting the Latin American and global startup communities – for its first US-based event in New York City on November 8 and 9. Building on the success of its market-leading events in Sao Paulo, Madrid and Punta del Este, RedInnova is bringing the most promising Latin American startups and entrepreneurs to New York City for this conference. Digital leaders, local entrepreneurs, successful directors and renowned investors will provide the necessary information and tools to understand the local market and help you expand your business.

The event is a must for anyone seeking to join RedInnova’s growing community of Internet entrepreneurs, mentors and investors focusing on the global opportunities emerging in Latin America.

Register for RedInnova New York City here. For further information please contact participa@RedInnova.com.

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