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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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Wences Casares, Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board Member, Announces New Xapo Venture

Serial entrepreneur and investor Wences Casares, whose success story has been a testament to Endeavor’s model, recently announced the launch of Xapo, an online wallet and vault application for Bitcoin currency. One of the first entrepreneurs selected […]

March 14th, 2014 — by admin

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Social media myths worth debunking

Reprinted from Small Business Trends.  See original article here.

By Lisa Barone

unicorn

Sometimes when we don’t understand the true potential of something, we tell ourselves it doesn’t matter. And then we come up with all sorts of reasons as to why it doesn’t matter to justify our in action. I’m not saying you would ever do this, but others do. Below are some myths I’ve heard about social media that I think need some debunking. Because, really, we’re all smarter than that.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one…

Myth 1: Social Media Is A Fad

Ah, yes, the old fad myth! The notion that eventually we will Facebook and tweet ourselves sick and no one will be interested in these sites anymore. And that may be true. There may come a time when Twitter and Facebook are no longer. But even if the social media sites we are using today die, the behavior is here to stay.

The 2012 Local Search Study found that the number of people using social media to look for local business information has increased 67 percent since 2012, bringing it to 15 percent of users. That represents a 3x growth from where it was in 2008.

This is not a fad. It’s a new pattern of behavior as users are using the information they find about your business online to make buying decisions offline. If they can’t find information about your business via social media, you may not even enter their buying decisions.

Myth 2: My Customers Aren’t On Social Media

As of February, 66 percent of online adults were said to be using social media sites. The numbers continue to grow.

As of August:

  • 12% of online adults say they use Pinterest
  • 12% of online adults say they use Instagram
  • 66% of online adults use Facebook
  • 20% use LinkedIn
  • 16% use Twitter

And just last week it was announced there are now one billion users are Facebook.

The numbers show that your customers probably are on social media. If you don’t know where they’re hanging out – ask them. Ask them in person, put an insert in a local mailer, use the “find a friend” feature on many social media sites to see if customer addresses pop up.

Myth 3: My Teenage Daughter Can Run My Social Media Campaign

Did you hear about the social media trouble KitchenAid recently found itself in due to an accidental tweet? These are the things that happen when you’re not careful about what your brand is doing on social media. Just because your daughter or son is constantly on Facebook or Tumblr for personal use doesn’t mean they have the maturity, the insight, or the strategic thinking for business use of social media.

Someone needs to be driving the bus to create a strategy, determine metrics, to understand how to maturely deal with critical customers, etc. If you wouldn’t let someone answer the phones in your business or speak directly to your customers, don’t give them the keys to your social media channels either. It’s the same thing.

Myth 4: Social Media Is Dangerous – People Will Say Bad Things!

I’m not going to lie to you. People might use social media to complain about your business or say things that will be difficult for you to hear. But wouldn’t you rather be on social media tohear what you’re saying than to close your ears and ignore it? I would. Studies have shown that NOT addressing customer complaints does more than hurt your reputation — it actually sends customers to competitors.

According to the Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report [PDF]:

  • 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience
  • 50% of consumers give brands a week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them.

By getting involved in social media, you have the chance to spot these types of situations before they grow out of control and begin to harm your business.

Myth 5: Nobody Cares what I Think

Here’s the thing, if you use social media to simply broadcast information about yourself or your company, you’re probably right. However, if you use it to respond to customer service complaints, to share valuable information, and to make your brand of a hub for your industry, people will care. They’ll actually care very much.

Don’t use social media to constantly talk about yourself. Use it to learn about what your customers want, to improve what you offer them, and to become part of the larger industry. These are the uses that make social media beneficial to SMBs and which attract people to the brand.

Those are some of the most common myths I heard about social media from small business owners. What are some of the things you’re fighting against?

Lesson #5 from Endeavor’s Fastest Growing Companies: The customer is always right

CLICK HERE to read the full Endeavor Insight report, “Emerging Market Entrepreneurs Have Emerged: A look at the fastest growing entrepreneurs in Endeavor’s portfolio”

Seventy-one percent of the fastest growing Endeavor Entrepreneurs believe they differentiate themselves by focusing on their customer and his/her needs. They share a highly consumer-centric vision that informs both their strategy and business model.

Clearsale is a Brazilian e-commerce fraud management company. While the online market is clearly growing rapidly, Clearsale’s founders, Pedro Chiamulera and Bernardo Lustosa, still entered an extremely crowded and competitive market in which numerous companies were going after the same potential clients. To differentiate themselves, Pedro and Bernardo identified a pressing customer need for a better solution. “We realized that customers were overwhelmed by IT programs. We used to provide a web system and fraud score for customers to self-manage it. We realized that when you give a lot of IT tools to a business you are giving them more problems than solutions.”

As a result, Clearsale went from selling the software to managing all the fraud prevention for their customers, integrating the customers’ databases and making the decisions on whether a transaction is approved or not. In part due to this better understanding of customer needs and motivations, Clearsale has increased revenues by 144% on average yearly from 2008 to 2011.

This customer centricity is, in Bernardo’s words, what led them to their success: “Solve your customer’s problem, regardless of whether you are profiting or not in the beginning. Always build solutions that make sense to the final user, and adapt your product for the customer; don’t just make products and try to sell them.”

Want to hear more about the fastest growing entrepreneur’s tips for success?  Read the full report here.

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Lesson #4 from Endeavor’s Fastest Growing Companies: Focus on the “core” of your business

CLICK HERE to read the full Endeavor Insight report, “Emerging Market Entrepreneurs Have Emerged: A look at the fastest growing entrepreneurs in Endeavor’s portfolio”

Among Endeavor’s fastest growing entrepreneurs, focus on their core business was the most important source of growth–over expanding to new customers, new products, new geographies or new channels.  For these entrepreneurs, focusing on the core by avoiding distractions and fully tapping their primary market opportunity before pursuing other growth avenues was pivotal to their success.

To be clear, focusing on one’s core business is not to be confused with not adapting one’s model to the market. Indeed, as Rafael Duton, founder of Brazilian mobile services company Movile (nTime), commented, “We have not made aggressive changes in our business model but we definitely adapted it because we are in a really dynamic market.”

Moreover, maintaining focus does not mean missing opportunities for growth in adjacent spaces. As an example, The Bakery Shop, an Egyptian company founded by Basel Mashhour and Tarek el Nazer which sells baked goods to Egypt’s upper class, launched a second-tier brand called Delicious Bakery.  This brand was aimed at a more mass market. In Basel’s words, “[we] realized our potential was capped because the target was quite niche, so we launched a second-tier brand to a more mass consumer.” Key to this launch was leveraging the knowledge gained from their core business to pursue a more scalable opportunity.

Learn more about maintaining focus while adapting to dynamic market environments, and other key lessons from Endeavor’s fastest growing entrepreneurs, by reading the full report here.

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Lesson #3 from Endeavor’s Fastest Growing Companies: Empower your team

CLICK HERE to read the full Endeavor Insight report, “Emerging Market Entrepreneurs Have Emerged: A look at the fastest growing entrepreneurs in Endeavor’s portfolio”

The 13 Endeavor Entrepreneurs who would have qualified for the Inc. 500 this year agree– having a good team is key to the growth of an organization. When asked to pinpoint the most important factor behind their success, more cited their team than market potential or even business model. Furthermore, they believe a good team, requires a flexible and empowering workplace.

There are numerous examples among our fastest growing entrepreneurs of how to foster such a culture of flexibility and empowerment. Two such examples come from Chile and Turkey.

Betazeta, a Chilean company which integrates online vertical communities, including some of the biggest-name blogs in South America, grew on average at 138% annually from 2008 to 2011.  Founder Leo Prieto credits this success to a redefined commercial strategy for which execution was contingent upon a strong team.  To create this strong team, Betazeta made a conscious decision to be “extremely flexible; for example, with schedules. You need to do so to stimulate creativity, which is key to our business.

Yunus Güvenen , the founder of Digitouch, a web platform in Turkey that connects online merchants and websites that sell ad space, further emphasizes the importance of having smart, empowered employees. As one of the first companies to target this nascent market, Digitouch needed to be a leader and establish itself as both a point of reference and an aspirational goal for its competitors. Digitouch has grown revenue by more than 100% on average from 2008 to 2011, Yunus believes that part of this success is attributable to employee empowerment: “Every employee needs to be a problem solver who is not afraid to implement their solutions.  It is not a problem if they fail, but they need to try.”

Want to hear more about fostering an effective company culture and other words of wisdom from Endeavor’s fastest growing entrepreneurs? Read the full report here.

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At Istanbul selection panel, 18 high-impact entrepreneurs from Brazil, Chile, Greece, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey join the Endeavor network

Istanbul, October 4, 2012 – Endeavor selected 18 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from seven countries at its 45th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 726 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 455 companies in 14 emerging and growth market countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a Panel held from October 1-3.

“We attracted entrepreneur candidates from four continents to Istanbul, representing the true breadth of Endeavor’s efforts to identify and support high impact entrepreneurs throughout the world,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “I’m especially thrilled to welcome our first Endeavor Entrepreneurs from new affiliates we launched this year in Indonesia and Greece.”

The International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step Search & Selection process where top local and international business leaders interview and then offer guidance to entrepreneur candidates. Endeavor’s next scheduled International Selection Panel will be held in Miami in December. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms and top U.S. business schools. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable growth models in their home countries.

Entrepreneur(s)/Companies selected:

Brazil

Entrepreneurs: Caio Bonatto, Beto Justus and Lucas Maceno
Company: Tecverde (www.tecverde.com.br)
Description: Tecverde constructs eco-friendly homes with a guarantee of short construction time and low cost.

Chile

Entrepreneur: Roberto Cifuentes
Company: G-Process (www.gprocess.cl)
Description: G-Process develops additives for use during copper refining processes that increase the metal’s value. The company’s DXG-F7 additive can add $100 to the value of each ton of copper on average by improving the purity and appearance of copper produced. DXG-F7 also vastly reduces the amount of water needed to complete the refining process.

Egypt

Entrepreneur: Yasmine Shihata
Company: Enigma (www.enigma-mag.com)
Description: Enigma is an Egyptian English-language magazine and e-commerce business focusing on fashion, culture, travel, and key personalities in business, politics and entertainment for a globally oriented reader. Enigma magazine is available both in print and online in Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, and the UK.

Entrepreneurs: Mohamed Wahid, Ahmed El Kordy
Company: Mashaweer (www.mashaweeronline.com)
Description: Mashaweer is the first personal assistance service company in Egypt, and is dedicated to saving its clients’ time and effort by acting as a full-time personal assistant at a part-time cost. Mashaweer operates in Alexandria and Cairo, and is beginning operations in Beirut this month.

Greece

Entrepreneurs: Nikos Kakavoulis & Phaedra Chrousos
Company: Daily Secret (www.dailysecret.com)
Description: Daily Secret is a digital media company that sends a daily curated email newsletter featuring city “secrets” related to categories such as dining, entertainment, and shopping. The company is in 16 cities across the world, each with its own edition, often in the native language as well as English. Daily Secret is focused on expanding to large cities in emerging markets to serve their young and increasingly affluent populations.

Indonesia

Entrepreneur: Vincent Henry Iswaratioso
Company: Indomog (www.indomog.com)
Description: Indomog is Indonesia’s first comprehensive payment service provider (PSP) for online transactions. Indomog has secured partnerships with the majority of Indonesia’s game distributors and several international tech companies including Google and Facebook.

Entrepreneur: Niki Luhur
Company: Kartuku (www.kartuku.co.id)
Description: Kartuku provides payment processing solutions through secure and reliable hardware, software, and service offerings. Kartuku manages and services everything from data servers to point-of-sale payment devices. This model provides banks, retail merchants, and payment agents with a convenient “one-stop” solution for all their payment processing needs along with built-in risk reduction mechanisms.

Entrepreneur: Aldi Haryopratomo
Company: Ruma (www.ruma.co.id)
Description: Ruma has created a platform through which Indonesia’s small, traditional shops can buy and sell prepaid minutes via SMS. Ruma is now implementing tools for market intelligence, bill payment, and mobile banking to fully leverage their large network of over 4,000 active shops.

Mexico

Entrepreneur: René W. Lankenau & Luis Garza
Company: Advenio (www.advenio.mx)
Description: Advenio is a newly launched and quickly growing company that provides professional daycare services to the employees of large corporations.

Entrepreneur: Roger Viera
Company: Pounce Consulting (www.pounceconsulting.com)
Description: Pounce Consulting is a full-service IT consulting, product design, and manufacturing option for companies with complicated technical challenges. The company operates a full service manufacturing and assembly facility, specializing in printed circuit boards.

Turkey

Entrepreneur: Atlug Acar
Company: Hediyemo
Description: Hediyemo is Turkey’s first and leading mobile and social gifting platform. Customers can login through the Hediyomo website, mobile or a Facebook app and choose from 500 unique products and 300 gift cards in varying prices ranges from 34 merchants.

Entrepreneurs: Göktuğ Oğuz, Haldun Uraz
Company: Unnado (www.unnado.com)
Description: Unnado is an e-commerce website that conducts flash sales for baby and children’s products for children up to the age of 14. Working with suppliers to offer products at a significant discount for the customer, Unnado sells clothing, supplies, toys, and other products in three day sales on its website.

Endeavor October 2012 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.

Global Social Innovators Forum 2012

Inclusive Innovation: Walk the Talk

By Hilary Saccomanno

On October 18-19 at the Grand Park City Hall in Singapore, Cindy Ko, a Vice President of International Expansion at Endeavor, will be speaking at the Global Social Innovators Forum 2012.  Miss Ko will be amongst the distinguished leaders from various fields invited by GSIForum to share their expertise.  Her insights will contribute the forum’s effort to advance the conversation on social innovation by providing a platform of exchange for change-makers from across the public, private and people sectors.

GSIForum 2012, themed Inclusive Innovation: Walk the Talk, aims to align the innovative efforts of world leaders from various sectors with the national narrative put forth by Singapore’s government for addressing complex national and international problems.  By encouraging cross-sector collaboration between diverse fields such as technology, enterprise and the arts, GSIForum seeks to harness the potential of each to create inclusive and sustainable social impact by fostering bottom-up change within society.  Topics covered by the event range from bottom-of-the-pyramid opportunities in Southeast Asia to the utilization of social media as a tool for social change.

GSIF is the foremost forum on social enterprise and innovation in Asia.  The annual forum is the brainchild of Social Innovation Park Ltd, a non-profit organization based in Singapore, whose mission is to empower innovators and enhance their impact by educating the people, public and private sector on the principles of social entrepreneurship and innovation.  In addition to GSIForum, Social Innovation Park offers the GSIFestival, which taps on innovative solutions from within the community and is bound to the forum by the i-GSIF online platform.

What are high impact entrepreneurs? Interview with Endeavor President Fernando Fabre

“What are ‘high-impact’ entrepreneurs? – Fernando Fabre, Endeavor President, interviewed by the Jobs Knowledge Platform .

(Transcription)

Fernando Fabre: We call them virtual High-Impact Entrepreneurs because we tend to believe that impact is a bigger word than high growth, high potential. That’s because impact means that entrepreneur is first of all, this particular type of high-impact entrepreneur have the capacity to generate tremendous amount of growth of an economy. They transform an industry, they transform the whole region. They have an amazing ability to create high quality jobs and I think more importantly than that, that’s a direct measurement of the impact that an entrepreneur has.

But much more important, a lot harder to measure is the role model potential that they have on others. You can call it the Bill Gates effect. I firmly believe that Bill Gates has had a bigger impact in the world not because of Microsoft and not because of his foundation, but because there are thousands of people saying, if he could do it from his garage, I can do it from my garage. That power of the role model is huge. Steve Jobs today, Mark Zuckerberg- those are amazing stories that everybody wants to follow I think, not everybody, a lot of people.

Admitting that you have no idea what you’re doing

Reprinted from This is going to be big. Original article here.

By Charlie O’Donnell

Most entrepreneurs aren’t qualified for their jobs–including about 100% of the first timers.

Many times, they get backed just because they’re smart people working in an interesting area. Sure, they had a demo or a prototype or something, but investors know the product will change.

What they’re really betting on is your ability to learn–and that starts with your willingness to admit the following:

“I don’t know what to do.”

At the Northside Festival this year, Dennis Crowley admitted in his session with Jerry Colonna that one of the toughest challenges that he has faced as an entrepreneur was having everyone looking to you, counting on you, investors betting on you–and feeling like you’re supposed to know everything. Sometimes–a lot of times–he said, you have to admit that you don’t know what to do, but that you’re going to find someone smart who knows the answer.

I was talking to an entrepreneur the other day, and I asked, “Do you feel like you have a good idea of how you should be spending your time?”

She looked at me as if I had just asked to take a ton of bricks off her shoulders and told me she didn’t–but she said it with an enormous sigh of relief in that by asking, I was making it ok.

And in fact, it is ok–particularly when you’re not a technical founder, it’s not always clear what your next step is in the early going. Even if you are on the technical side–you may never have managed before, nor been responsible for so many aspects of the product development at one time. The next move isn’t easy for anyone when it’s the first time they’ve ever done something.

The solution? Start asking a lot of questions.

Find people who seem to know what they’re doing–whose companies have acheived success. Ask them if they feel like they spend their time wisely and how they allocate tasks among the founding team. What do they do day in and day out?

One of the best ways to improve how you spend your time is coming up with a routine. Tim Ferriss recently blogged about the power of routines to help focus you on the things that matter, while not getting you bogged down on the things you don’t:

“I’ve always suspected that we start each day with a limited number of decision-making points that, once depleted, leave us cognitively impaired. This is part of the reason that automating minutiae, adopting rituals, and applying creativity only where it’s most valuable (e.g. not deciding what to eat for breakfast) is so important to me.”

Routines, however, come after you’ve defined roles–and for a CEO, that’s sometimes not obvious. Chances are, you have an incomplete team, so you’re doing multiple jobs. How do you handle Product on Tuesday, Hiring on Wednesday, and Fundraising on Thursday–especially when you don’t always have control over your own calendar and find yourself depending on others to make time for you?

The answer to how you in particular should spend your time is twofold:

1. Consult with your investors, advisors, and peers and where they thing you need to focus your energy–and get on the same page about the balance between near term and long term goals. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What am I supposed to do?”
2. Empower and support your team to achieve way more than they thought they were capable of–so that they can take a lot off your plate.

That’s pretty much it, because you really only have two options as a team to finish all the things you need to get done. To close the gap between all you want to do and all you can do, you need to focus on few things, and get better at doing more or them, because time is finite and you can’t make more of it.

How do you get better?

1. Get a mentor or a coach–someone that understands firsthand what you’re doing and ideally has done your job.
2. Be a continuous learner–take classes, and read books and your profession and best practices.
3. Set personal learning goals for yourself so you have some way to measure if you are improving or not.
4. Share your execution problems with others to get feedback on how you can improve.

Remember, it’s never too late to ask. I’ve been there–for the last six months of my startup I really had no idea how to save it. I made random calls to people I thought should buy it, with no success. I tried pitching business development ideas, coming up with marketing ploys. None of it was effective–yet I often worked late nights because I felt like I should, even though I knew what I was doing wasn’t moving the needle. I never thought to tell anyone, “I have no idea what to do right now.”

In hindsight, I feel like I might not have gotten to that point if I said that way at the beginning as well. I certainly think there are a lot of aspirational entrepreneurs that have gotten all excited about the pitch and the upcoming launch and aren’t totally clear what happens after that.

By Pilar Aguilar (Director, Endeavor Mexico): “Move over, Brazil: why Mexico’s entrepreneurs are prime for investment”

Reprinted from CNBC. Original article here.

By Pilar Aguilar, director of Endeavor Mexico

With daily news reports of drug-related violence on the U.S.-Mexico border, our neighbor to the South may not be the first place most wealth managers think of in search for returns on investment. But in recent years, Mexican businesses have grown at an impressive pace, making the country a new destination for venture capital firms in search of impactful returns.

I have seen it first-hand. For the last 15 years, the nonprofit Endeavor has worked with entrepreneurs in emerging and growth markets around the world to build their companies, with an eye toward improving the sustainable growth of local economies.

With roots in Latin America, Endeavor has built a network of 708 high-growth (or “high-impact”) entrepreneurs, including 98 in Mexico, who are mentored by a volunteer network of 2,500 local and global business executives and investors.

While Endeavor continues to see impressive entrepreneurial talent throughout global markets —from Latin America to Africa, the Middle East to Southeast Asia — many of our star performers hail from Mexico.

Mexican companies in the Endeavor network outgrew, on average, those of every other country in which the organization operates, both last year and from 2008 to 2011; in 2011, the Mexican entrepreneurs saw a 45 percent growth in average revenue. With the growth of these companies came significant impacts on the local job market; these companies grew their workforces by 23 percent in 2011, accounting for an additional 63 new jobs per company, the second largest average growth among the 13 countries in which Endeavor operates.

Investment buzz is growing louder. Now more than ever, we find ourselves fielding requests from global investors interested in Mexico, who previously were solely interested in “hot” emerging markets such as Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa. At the same time, we have also seen the rise of Mexico’s homegrown VC industry, enjoying more investment options than ever.

This enthusiasm is backed up by Endeavor’s own recent experience launching Catalyst, a passive co-investment vehicle—funded by private donations—which automatically invests in Endeavor Entrepreneurs already receiving professional rounds of $5 million or higher. Currently, Mexico has the healthiest pipeline of candidates for imminent investment; of the next 10 planned investments for Catalyst funds, many of the deals are with entrepreneurs located in Mexico.

These are not isolated results. Economists at Nomura Group recently predicted Mexico could overtake Brazil as Latin America’s largest economy in as little as 10 years. The investment firm is telling its clients to expect the country to repeat its relatively strong economic growth from last year; Mexico’s GDP grew by 3.9 percent in 2011, and Nomura expects a figure of 3.7 percent in 2012. This growth compares favorably to the recent slow patch faced by Brazil, which faces higher inflation and a moderating growth rate.

Nomura cites as reasons for Mexico’s performance: the rising cost of labor in China, which has a greater impact on Mexico’s industrial economy than the more commodity-based economy of Brazil, and the impending structural reforms of President-Elect Enrique Pena Nieto and the new Mexican Congress, to be sworn in next month. The country has seen a streak of new factory announcements from the automotive industry, and the new government is widely expected to eschew the recent populist political dominance of the region for more investor-friendly industrial policy.

As mentioned, philanthropic concerns are not the only funds that have begun to take an interest in Mexico. A growing number of venture capital firms have recognized the potential for significant profits in the country’s growing start-up market. Earlier this month, Monterrey-based Alta Ventures finalized a $70 million fund targeting the burgeoning Mexican tech sector. In addition to their own investments, the founders of Alta Ventures are convening a network of regional entrepreneurs and investors interested in Mexico.

The Mexico Venture Capital Conference (MVCC) is intended to provide a space for the sharing of ideas and closing of deals. This November, MVCC will announce the members of E|100, a peer-selected group of the 100 individuals most likely to lead a successful venture in the next few years. These entrepreneurs are building what will likely prove to be the foundation of a strong, profitable Mexican business expansion over the next decade.

More and more investment firms, including those with a purely profit-driven model and those pursuing the triple-bottom-line, are turning to Mexico for results. With one of the fastest growing economies in the region, a healthy start-up culture, and a shift towards a more business-friendly industrial policy and tax structure, the country is poised to take the lead in Latin America. If you have yet to include a Mexican strategy in your portfolio, it is time to take note.

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