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Minha Vida Acquires TecnoNutri; Creates Dominant Player in Brazil’s Healthy Eating Market

Brazil’s Minha Vida Group, which manages a medical/health care website of the same name and a popular online diet program called Dieta e Saude, took a major step forward in its growth this week with […]

July 6th, 2015 — by admin

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Argentina’s Globant Opens New Development Center in Peru, Expands Latin American Presence

Endeavor Entrepreneur company Globant, a technology services firm focused on delivering innovative software solutions, announced that it has expanded its operations to Perú by opening a new development center in Lima. The new office allows […]

December 28th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Insight Releases a Term Sheet Calculator

How does the pie get divvied up when an entrepreneur sells his company?  Who gets the biggest slice?  And, importantly, who or what sets these terms?  The answer to all of these questions is in one eponymous document: The Term Sheet.  But, term sheets can be complicated, convoluted, and confusing especially for an entrepreneur who might be  negotiating for the first time with a financing partner.  To demystify this process, Endeavor Insight has created an educational tool designed to help entrepreneurs understand at a high level how to best raise smart capital. The Endeavor Term Sheet Calculator helps entrepreneurs who are entering their first round of funding understand how changes to critical parts of the contract can dramatically alter how entrepreneurs, investors and employees share money upon the sale of a company.

Users can input key variables, including pre-money valuation, pre-money employee options, investment value, anticipated exit value, preferred participating cap multiple and liquidation preference, to see how exit scenarios would play out under capped, full and no participation models.   Below is a glossary of these key term sheet “buzz words” and a description of what they actually mean:

Pre-Money Valuation: the value of a company before it receives any funding from external investors

Pre-Money Employee Options: the percentage of common stock allocated to employees for motivation, reward, and incentive before VC investment

Full Participation: The investor’s right to collect the cash equivalent of his equity after he collects his liquidation preference multiple upon exit. For example, if an investor gives $10 million for 50% of a company with a liquidation preference multiple of 2x, when the company is sold he would receive $10m x 2 plus an additional 50% (due to full participation) of the remaining cash.

No Participation: The investor’s right to collect either the cash equivalent of his equity or his liquidation preference multiple upon successful exit. In our example, the investor would be entitled to either 2x of his initial investment or 50% of the company and would choose the higher value.

Capped Participation: The investor has a right to collect the cash equivalent of his equity after he collects his liquidation preference multiple up to a certain amount upon successful exit.  In our example, the investor is entitled to receive 2x his initial $10 million investment plus 50% of the remaining value of the company, if it does not exceed a certain cap or ceiling (typically a multiple). If that amount does exceed the cap, then the investor would just receive the cap

Liquidation Preference: The multiple by which the investor is entitled to increase his initial investment upon successful exit.


Endeavor Entrepreneur company GoIntegro secures growth equity funding from Riverwood Capital and Kaszek Ventures to fund growth initiatives

Press Release from GoIntegro.

Funding to accelerate growth of its leading SaaS social engagement platform for HR in Latin America with a specific focus on growing its presence in Brazil

GoIntegro, the leading SaaS social engagement platform for Human Resources in Latin America, announced today that it has completed a round of growth funding from Riverwood Capital, a global technology private equity firm, and Kaszek Ventures, a leading venture capital firm in Latin America.

“This round of funding comes at a strategic moment for the company, and will enable us to focus our efforts on expanding the business in key markets such as Brazil,” said Germán Dyzenchauz, CEO and Co-Founder of GoIntegro.

GoIntegro currently has a presence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador. Going forward, GoIntegro plans to accelerate growth of its operations in Brazil under the leadership of Thiago Goncalves, the Company’s Brazil country manager. Today, GoIntegro’s customers in Brazil include PepsiCo, Mercadolibre.com, Kimberly-Clark and Monsanto.

GoIntegro offers a leading corporate social platform in the cloud, bringing together a diverse set of engagement solutions for human resources. The platform combines a corporate social network with applications designed to manage Internal Communication, Corporate Benefits, Recognition and Rewards Programs, and Incentives Programs. This combination of social capabilities and HR specific applications makes it a leading virtual platform for interaction between employees and companies and HR departments.

“Our solution is already used by the largest companies in Latin America, reaching one million employees every day. The current platform offering is the result of over 10 years of continuous improvement, reflecting insight from data collected through the system as well as changes observed in human resource organizations over the years,” said Dyzenchauz. “GoIntegro customers consider our solution to be indispensable as it has shown to deliver value by improving employee engagement and reducing turnover.”

“Today, one of the key challenges facing managers is to retain talent at all levels of the organization. Latin American companies are beginning to see human resources as a strategic function and are increasingly focused on managing the balance between performance and quality of life for employees. GoIntegro is uniquely positioned to help managers and HR departments that are committed to the sustainable growth of their organizations,” said Brazil Country Manager Thiago Goncalves.

About GoIntegro
Founded in 2002, GoIntegro is a pioneer in SaaS social engagement solutions for Human Resources.
The GoIntegro platform is used by more than 250 companies in Latin America today. Customers include Banco Itaú, Petrobras, Citibank, Banco Santander, Kimberly-Clark, Carrefour, IBM, Oracle, Accenture, BASF, Danone, GE, Hewlett Packard, Zurich, LAN Airlines, McDonalds, among others.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive help from Ernst & Young’s Americas Corporate Responsibility Fellows

Original Ernst & Young press release posted here.

CR Fellows return from seven-week skills-based volunteering program

Back row L-R: Susan Raffel, David McGibbon, Joe Sanabria, Joyce Olson,
Daniel Paquin, Linda Whalen, Rich Pashkin, Onuwa Uzor
Front row L-R: Roni Gibri; Uma Datla; Angela Gomez; Tamil Chellaiah

More than 60 Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Latin America have benefited from the volunteer efforts of Ernst & Young’s Americas Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows since 2006. The 2012 class of Fellows has just returned from their seven-week assignments where they leveraged their workplace skills to meet the specific business needs of entrepreneurs at no charge to the businesses. Since the program was formed, CR Fellows have contributed nearly 27,000 hours working with promising entrepreneurs in emerging markets in an effort to create scalable, sustainable economic value.

“Ernst & Young is recognized as a best-in-class learning organization because of the experiences that our people have both within the firm and the broader marketplace,” said Deborah Holmes, Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility for the Ernst & Young organization. “The CR Fellows program — along with our other signature programs, College MAP and Earthwatch Ambassadors — provide engaging, hands-on experiences for our employees that help them grow as inclusive leaders while using their professional skills to strengthen our communities.”

This long-running program benefited entrepreneurs in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile this year by engaging Ernst & Young’s top-performing talent in projects that addressed business issues like cash flow management, human resources strategy, financial process definition and sales and marketing. In turn, the CR Fellows gained a more global mindset through this short, sharp global mobility experience where they lived and worked in an unfamiliar culture. CR Fellows return to the workplace with stronger values of diversity and inclusion and an expanded global mindset.

Fellow Brendan Maher explained: “During my Fellows experience, the language barrier was always a challenge. When I was conducting a meeting in English, I often had to slow down to make sure everyone understood my message. I’ve tried to apply this lesson since returning to my team at Ernst & Young. Most of my current client-related work is related to over-the-counter derivatives reform stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act, which can be very difficult for new team members to grasp. When discussing a new concept, I often pause and ask them to explain the key impacts to demonstrate their understanding.”

Since 2006, Ernst & Young has collaborated with Endeavor, a not-for-profit organization that identifies and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging economies, to match the CR Fellows with their host company. And just last year, the firm announced a three-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship with Endeavor that includes support for International Selection Panels, executive-level mentors and connections, Global events sponsorship and the launch of a new financial course designed expressly for Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

“Endeavor and CR Fellows work with entrepreneurs to help these businesses become ‘high-impact’ –- expanding employment, generating wealth and inspiring others to innovate,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “In fact, Endeavor’s high-impact entrepreneurs grow jobs 5.4 times faster than comparable companies and grow revenue 2.4 times faster than comparable companies.”

The 2012 Fellows supported 12 distinct entrepreneurs with the following projects:


ClearSale, a provider of fraud risk management outsourcing solutions that focus on e-commerce and telesales environments, was assisted by an Assurance manager from Fort Worth on a financial processes project.

B2, an agency that serves as a marketing platform for brands and advertisers to access Brazil’s burgeoning youth market, received assistance from a Cleveland-based Advisory senior manager with a Human Resources leadership development project.

Pixel Labs, a developer of interactive cosmetic technology solutions for point of sale and online channels, received help with cash flow management and projection from an Atlanta-based Transaction Advisory Services manager.


Tuyo, a company that buys and re-sells secondhand consumer electronics in stores, developed a same-store strategy and key initiatives with the support of an Americas Markets associate director from Secaucus, NJ.

BlueMessaging, a business that offers organizations a user-friendly and scalable digital messaging platform based on artificial intelligence, was assisted by a Financial Services Office senior manager from New York on financial processes.

Enova, a social enterprise specializing in technology-based educational services, worked with an Advisory senior manager from McLean, VA, to identify organizational improvement opportunities spanning people, process and technology.


Integro, a company that creates Human Resources loyalty programs, received assistance with financial reporting from a Tel Aviv-based Assurance manager.
Conexia, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) information technology company, was helped with their financial planning process by a Transaction Advisory Services manager from New York.

Onapsis, a software development firm that performs automated SAP security assessments, was assisted by a Charlotte, NC-based Financial Services Office senior manager on various financial processes.

Goodpeople, an action sports community network that has a retail and online presence, was supported by an Assurance manager from Kitchener, Ontario, with their financials and forecasting.


Prey, a developer of an open-source, multi-platform software that helps people track and recover lost or stolen computers, tablets and mobile phones, prepared to raise capital and expand market share with the support of a Louisville, KY-based Advisory manager.

Buscalibre, an e-commerce bookstore, received assistance with brand and marketing strategy from a marketing associate director from Los Angeles.

Ernst & Young’s CR Fellows program is an extension of the organization’s global commitment to entrepreneurship, which includes the annual Strategic Growth Forum, an event that gathers more than 2,000 of the nation’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs, advisors, investors and other senior business leaders to share their experience on innovation, transactions, growth and what’s shaping the future of the global economy. This event also hosts the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards program, recognizing entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, courage and leadership in building and growing successful businesses.

In addition to the Americas CR Fellows, Strategic Growth Forum and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards, the firm demonstrates support for the next generation of entrepreneurs with additional programs:

– The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, launched in 2008, helps outstanding women entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their businesses by identifying and connecting them with the advisors, resources, and insights they need to scale up and become market leaders.

– The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni-Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, created in collaboration with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), provides scholarships for NFTE students while supporting NFTE in its mission of helping underserved youth pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses and succeed in life. In addition to the fund, Ernst & Young LLP professionals provide leadership on each of NFTE’s Regional Advisory Boards across the US and demonstrate extensive volunteerism in NFTE programs.

– Ernst & Young LLP awarded an in-kind donation of $1 million worth of professional services to Kiva.org, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website that has helped fund nearly 845,000 entrepreneurs in developing markets. Ernst & Young LLP professionals from the Advisory and Assurance service lines contribute their time to Kiva.org in support of projects designed to help Kiva evaluate financial data and improve its controls.

To learn more about the Americas CR Fellows program, please click here.

Endeavor December 2012 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s December 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.

2012 Impact Report

Endeavor Global has released its impact report for 2011-2012. With updated country reports, a sleek new design, and a breakdown of Endeavor’s impact, the newly released impact report is available HERE as a look into how Endeavor is continually innovating and fostering high-impact entrepreneurship around the world.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected as part of top 20 Lebanese entrepreneurs

Reprinted from Executive Magazine. Original article here.

By Maya Sioufi

Lebanese with entrepreneurial spirit and a business idea are no longer left to their own devices. Locally, they can find an incubator willing to provide a place to work from and assist them through mentorship and support. Alternatively, they might choose an accelerator eager to speed up their idea is solid enough, entrepreneurs might even win a prize or two from one of the various entrepreneurial awards being offered in Lebanon. And for financing, the main option a few years ago was to beg for dough from family and friends, whereas now entrepreneurs are increasingly likely to be granted a loan, or even equity from a number of venture capitalists that have set up shop in Lebanon.

Granted, the obstacles to reaching success are numerous – from the lack of a solid information technology infrastructure to political instability made worse by last month’s bombing in the heart of Beirut – but with talent and ambition, entrepreneurs are increasingly able to overcome obstacles like these and thrive. Executive picks the top 20 Lebanese entrepreneurs that look to have what it takes to make it, and marks its favorite five with our exclusive stamp of approval.


Entrepreneur: Brahms Chouity
Age: 34
Industry: Mobile gaming
Established in: 2011
Number of employees: 11
Revenues: Generated more than $700,000 in the first three quarters of the year and expects to generate $3 million in 2013. With no subscription fees, the company generates revenues through sponsorship of its tournaments. Its client-base is made up of high profile names: American video game developer Electronic Arts, Swiss provider of PC accessories Logitech, American semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and video console provider PlayStation ME.

The offering: At7addak.com is an Arabic gaming website allowing users to challenge each other on their favorite video games for cash and prizes. Using their existing gaming platforms (such as consoles, PCs, mobile devices etc.), gamers can compete head-to-head or in teams. The site also boasts exclusive content including news and game reviews, both in English and Arabic (see more in Executive’s September issue).

Achievements: 80,000 registered users as of August. 5 million page views on their website per month and 250,000 fans on their Facebook page, the second highest number of fans of any website in the Middle East. Winner of the the Wamda Award for Best Startup (2011). Selected by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Self-funded.

Capital raising: No intention to raise capital at least for the next year or two. Looking to sell the business at its peak.

Strategy going forward:
1) Perfect the concept through At7addak.com version 2.0 (coming in three months);
2) increase the website traffic;
3) increase the online advertising revenue.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “I would like to find a successful and rewarding exit out of At7addak.com. In five years, I will probably be doing what I’ve wanted to do all my life: running my own venture capital firm with my best friends. One non-stop party,” says Brahms.


Eastline Marketing
Entrepreneurs: Marc Dfouni & Nemr Nicolas Badine
Age: Marc 35, Nemr 35
Industry: Online marketing
Established in: 2006
Number of employees: 15
Revenues: $800,000 in 2011 and expect to reach $1.2 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013.

The offering: Eastline Marketing creates and executes online marketing strategies for their customers across the digital landscape. Their services cover social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid search marketing, online advertising and online public relations. ELM also developed its own proprietary technology to create market-leading social media campaigns on social networks for brands looking to grow and strengthen their client base.

Achievements: Developed campaigns for Kimberly-Clark, Toyota, Majid Al Futaim, DHL, FXCM as well as local banks Audi and Fransabank. Selected in 2011 by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Two Webby Awards (annual international award given by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for excellence in Internet) in 2010 for their online marketing of website “Love Letters to the Future.” Gemini Award given by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television in 2010 for “Love Letters to the Future”.

Financing so far: Received two Kafalat loans: one in 2009 for $90,000 and one this year for $240,000

Capital raising: Looking to raise $2 million to $3 million from strategic investors by 2013.

Strategy going forward:
1) Offer 360 degrees digital marketing services (social media marketing, search engine marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing)
2) Expand the social media marketing software platform.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “A leading digital marketing player in the Middle East region with the aim to become a business worth more than $20 million by 2016,” say Marc and Nemr.


ElementN Holding
Entrepreneur: Rabih Nassar
Age: 41
Industry: Technology
Established in: 2003
Number of employees: 60
Revenues: $2 million in 2011, expected to grow by 75 percent in 2012 to reach $3.5 million and $5 million in 2013

The offering: ElementN Holding is a group of companies based out of Beirut and New York that provide a number of technological products and solutions. ElementN Technologies offers mobile operators a number of solutions to enhance the customer experience using the web, mobile and call center channels. CADstrata is a software that provides a comprehensive standardization and collaboration solution for architects and building design professionals who use Autodesk, Adobe and Microsoft products. Apstrata is a leading mobile back-end-as-a-service, meaning it takes care of the back end code of an application and allows developers to focus on the front-end code. This service helps mobile developers cut their costs and accelerate the development time. (See more in Executive’s September issue).

Achievements: Selected among the top five fast growing Lebanese startups in 2010 by AllWorld Network, a non-governmental organization. Selected by Endeavor in 2012, a non-profit non-governmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Initially self-funded then raised $1.2 million in equity financing from Berytech Fund in 2010.

Capital raising: Currently in the process of raising $7 million in equity in a second round of investing.

Strategy going forward: Establish Apstrata as the leading global back-end-as-a-service used by application developers and mobile operators.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “A recognized leading global technology provider operating from Lebanon, offering continuous thought leadership and innovation for cloud-based application development,” says Rabih.


MobiNetS Off Shore S.A.L
Entrepreneur: Labib Shalak
Age: 39
Industry: Software technology
Established in: 2003
Number of employees: 94
Revenues: Refused to disclose revenues.

The offering: Mobinets’ solutions assist network operators in managing their mobile networks by providing them with operating support systems providing improved visibility and control over the networks. Mobinets’ fully automated platform eliminates the need for multiple databases and spreadsheets to manage network inventory and helps operators improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs while enabling rapid new product/service roll out.

Achievements: Solutions used by 18 clients across the EMEA region. Selected in 2011 by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Raised $2 million in equity capital from the International Financial Corporation, a division of the World Bank.

Capital raising: In advanced communication to raise $5 million from a local investment bank.

Strategy going forward:
1) Solidify position of mobile operators in the service fulfillment, the supply chain activities which provide services to subscribers, and service assurance which guarantees a predefined quality of service
2) Continue on growing within Europe and abroad.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “We see ourselves as a major player in the service fulfillment and service assurance [sector]”, says Labib.


Mosaic Marble
Entrepreneur: Taline Assi
Age: 34
Industry: Retail
Established in: 2003
Number of employees: 14
Revenues: $1.5 million in 2011
The offering: Mosaic Marble offers more than 5,000 mosaic designs as well as custom made orders sold through their website, eBay, a showroom in Lebanon and several resellers scattered worldwide. Their main market is the US, accounting for 60 percent of their orders and their main customers are retail clients.

Achievements: Custom orders from Oprah Winfrey, the municipality of Rome, Queen Elizabeth Theatre in London and a landmark project in New York. Products sold to more than 7,000 retail clients. Website available in 13 different languages. Selected by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Received a Kafalat loan for $450,000 and other credit facilities; received $100,000 equity capital injection from a new partner.

Capital raising: Looking to raise $1 million next year in a first phase of financing from a strategic investor in order to set up a showroom in California in 2014, hire a salesperson to target professional clients in the Middle East and for other expenses.

Strategy going forward:
1) Cater more to professional clients such as architects and construction companies
2) Target markets in the Middle East — such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait — but also beyond the region, more specifically Japan, Russia and Australia
3) Move production from Syria (where currently 70 percent of production takes place) to Lebanon.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “Being the worldwide leader in hand cut marble mosaics”, says Taline.


Print Works
Entrepreneur: Jad Khoury
Age: 46
Industry: Media
Established in: 1999
Number of employees: 275
Revenues: Around $15 million
The offering: With offices in Beirut and Dubai, Print Works offers printing and fabrication solutions, often incorporating a variety of mediums in addition to distribution and installation. Print Works’ services cover printing and production for traditional large-scale advertising (billboards, branding on vehicles), promotional events (product launches, sponsorship events), and longer-term brand experiences (podiums in malls, point of sale display stands).

Achievements: Sold printing and fabrication solutions to around 3,000 clients including Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Cartier, British American Tobacco, JWT and Leo Burnett. Selected in 2012 by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Selected in 2010 to be part of the Arabia 500 by AllWorld Network which provides ranking for the fastest growing private companies in different regions in the world. Selected also in 2010 to be part of AllWorld’s Lebanon 25 ranking.

Financing so far: Self-funded with facilities from local banks.

Capital raising: Not looking to raise capital.

Strategy going forward: Plan to open an office in Riyadh in the middle of 2013 followed by an office in Erbil, Iraq.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “The leading full service provider in the printing and production space in the region,” says Jad.

Endeavor and SAP launch a global partnership to support high-impact entrepreneurship

As part of its new emerging entrepreneurs initiative, enterprise software company SAP has announced a three-year commitment to Endeavor Global and Endeavor Brazil as part of a formal global partnership. The alliance builds on a longstanding relationship between the organizations. As one example of our previous collaboration, SAP created an Impact Dashboard for Endeavor that illustrates how High-Impact Entrepreneurs grow revenue and jobs 2.4 and 5.4 times faster respectively than comparable firms.

Most recently, Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg participated alongside SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott in a “Power of Small” Influencer Roundtable at the SAP SME Summit, held in New York City on November 29. The full video of the panel can be viewed below.

As part of the partnership, select employees of SAP will volunteer as mentors for Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world. SAP will also drive initiatives for technology innovation, including design thinking workshops. SAP will also participate in Endeavor’s Investor Network, which provides introductions for qualified institutional and venture investors to successful emerging market companies.

“Endeavor looks forward to expanding on our record in additional countries and with the help of partners like SAP,” said Linda Rottenberg. “This is truly a high-impact partnership.”

Meanwhile, SAP will work directly with Endeavor Brazil to provide a suite of special services. Specifically, the company will select 50 Endeavor Entrepreneurs to receive custom benefits and mentorship by March 2013. By November 2013, 20 of these entrepreneurs will also receive a growth grant and donated technology.

Additionally, SAP and Endeavor Brazil will establish an initiative to track and monitor entrepreneurship conditions in Brazil. The organizations will also launch an online entrepreneurship platform, and Endeavor will lead efforts to showcase entrepreneurial progress in designated cities in Brazil–beginning in January 2013 in Rio de Janeiro.

“There are 4 million registered companies in Brazil, of which 30,000 are high-growth and responsible for 57 percent of jobs in Brazil,” said Rodrigo Teles, managing director, Endeavor Brazil. “Today, Endeavor Brazil supports 56 companies in Brazil. The partnership with SAP will catalyze Endeavor Brazil’s network of high-impact entrepreneurs by helping more high-growth companies access capital and mentors, creating a new generation of successful entrepreneurs.”

Said Bill McDermott of SAP, “Today’s entrepreneurs are the bedrock of tomorrow’s economy. We believe in the ‘Power of Small,’ and that the private sector plays a vital role in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs drive innovation, job creation and wealth. We recognize that helping entrepreneurs and small businesses achieve their full potential is not something that can be achieved in a 90-day cycle. With this initiative, SAP is making a clear commitment to invest in their long-term future by providing talent, technology and capital.”

Die-hard Indonesian gamer and Endeavor Entrepreneur turns obsession into winning business plan

Reprinted from Jakarta Globe. Original article here.

By Antonny Saputra

There are hundreds of online games published around the world every day, with dozens of them dubbed “the most popular” during their brief time in the spotlight.

With millions of die-hard fans spending hours in front of their computers all day long, game publishers can earn millions of dollars in profit through vouchers required for the players to keep playing, or through the sale of advanced items to players to enhance their gameplay.

Amid the sea of Indonesian gamers, one man has managed to find his own fortune within the online-gaming industry.

Vincent Iswaratioso is one of the founders of Indomog, an online company that provides people with an easy payment-solution option to purchase online gaming vouchers.

The website, which he launched with three of his friends in 2007, features an elegant Web layout that is free of unrelated pop-up ads and banners.

It was his success with the business that led Vincent to be chosen as one of three entrepreneurs to represent Indonesia at Endeavor’s 45th International Selection Panel in Istanbul, Turkey last month. Endeavor is an organization that aims to mentor promising entrepreneurs.

Vincent was joined by Niki Luhur, president director of payment-solutions company Kartuku, and Aldi Haryopratomo, chief executive of social enterprise Ruma.

“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 chief executive Linda Rottenberg.

“After an outstanding ISP in Istanbul, I am thrilled to welcome our first Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Indonesia. We commend Vincent, Niki, and Aldi for their achievements thus far, and look forward to being part of their growth stories in the years to come.”

Vincent and his friends were still testing the waters of Indomog during their first three years of operation.

“It was a trial and error process for us in the beginning. We’ve even changed our management three times,” Vincent said.

Vincent, who is quite the gamer himself, was once among the hundreds of thousands of Ultima Online players when the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) was released in late 1997.

Now, 15 years later, Vincent is helping streamline the process for die-hard players by providing a one-stop solution to access every available popular online game in Indonesia.

“In a way, playing online games is also a form of education. Some adventure games teach you about history and geography and of course the online elements encourages social interaction. This is why I think it’s a mistake to see online gamers as geeks, although console players who only play single-player games may prove to be different,” Vincent said about his support for children and teenagers to play more online games.

As one of the biggest markets for online gaming in Asia, one could wonder why Indonesian publishers don’t consistently develop their own high-profile MMORPG to cover our huge market. Vincent argued that one of the biggest problems people faced here was the fact that capable experts required for the tiny details of game development were all spread out.

“It’s hard to assemble the team,” he said. Established 15 years ago, Endeavor is a non-profit organization that aims to lead the global movement toward accelerating long-term economic growth. This is achieved by monitoring, selecting, mentoring and promoting the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.

The organization’s community assists their selected entrepreneurs in overcoming developmental challenges through solid networking, access to smart capital, strategic advising and inspiration from successful world-renowned businessmen and women alike.

Endeavor chooses entrepreneurs like Vincent from around the world, with the hope that these talented people create job opportunities, become role models for others and foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem that promotes investment.

And now with its consistent growth, Endeavor has expanded to 15 different countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with its Indonesian branch launched in February this year.

Vincent was one of the thousands of entrepreneurs Endeavor screened through an intense selection process, which lasted more than 12 months.

Participants had to pass a series of local and regional interviews before presenting themselves to the panelists of its global business network at an international selection panel, which is held four to five times each year.

When people are finally selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur, they will then receive guidance from mentors who voluntarily dedicate their time.

Endeavor entrepreneurs have created more than 180,000 jobs, contributed billions of dollars into local economies and have become role models for young people in developing economies.

Silicon Valley to Beirut: Recommendations for VCs

As highlighted in a new report by Endeavor Insight, entitled “How to Improve Access to Finance in Lebanon,” Lebanon is primed to make its mark on entrepreneurship.

To make this mark, all actors in the ecosystem have specific roles to embrace in order to expand access to finance—a crucial piece of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems.  From interviews with nearly 20 influential Lebanese actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (including VCs, incubators, entrepreneurs, etc.), it is unsurprising that funders (particularly VCs) have an important, immediate role to play in the development of the Lebanese funding landscape. Below are key actions which emerged in interviews:

1)      Build a team that includes ex-entrepreneurs: VCs should make sure they have a good mix of investment professionals AND ex-entrepreneurs on their teams. “VCs need more people who have started their own business and have walked in our shoes,” comments Rabih Nassar, founder of Element^n. Currently, entrepreneurs often believe that VCs do not have enough people with the relevant personal experience to provide strategic guidance. VCs should make sure they are developing well-balanced teams that include people who have built a business and understand what it takes.

2)      Be transparent: VCs can be more transparent in simply explaining what they are looking for. By putting out sample term sheets, similar to what Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures posts on his blog, companies will get a sense of what they are signing up for. Similarly, VCs can include templates for the types of presentations and information they are looking for in pitches along with sample financial models. “They also need to talk about the investments they have made and how they are doing,” comments Samer Karam of Seeqnce, one of the few accelerators in Lebanon. By being more transparent about their requirements and their performance, both VCs and entrepreneurs can save a lot of time.

To learn more about where Lebanon is now, as well as read recommendations for how it can fully capitalize on its bright future, please read the full report here.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Diego Saez-Gil honored with “Most Innovative Travel Startup of the Year” award

By Hilary Saccomanno, Endeavor intern

Endeavor Entrepreneur Diego Saez-Gil and his partners have been honored by the travel industry with the “Most Innovative Travel Startup of the Year” Award.

Wehostels was recognized and awarded the honor by 12 travel executives, including CEOs and VPs from companies like Expedia, Priceline, Sabre, Google and Viator among others at the PhocusWright Confrence’s Travel Innovation Summit.

When Diego and his partners created Wehostels, they aimed not only to allow people to book affordable accommodation quickly and easily but also to connect them with other travelers to build a community of young global adventurers. Beginning by constructing a website that facilitated travel and accommodation, they immediately recognized a trend in people’s increasing use of mobile devices instead of the web to book their arrangements. They also noticed that travel companies were not facilitating this trend. So, they made a shift in the way they connected people through virtual space by deciding to get rid of their website and “go mobile or go home.”

With a beautifully crafted application and a simple design that facilitates booking and even makes it fun (never before has credit card payment been enjoyable), Wehostels is not only creating a new use for technology but also facilitating new friendships by creating a new social forum and network of similarly minded adventurous individuals. Moreover, and as validated by industry experts, they have proven to possess obvious entrepreneurial instincts that promise to continue guiding their business decisions.

The PhoCusWright Confrence attracts the world’s leaders in travel, who attend or tune in annually to get the latest in research, ideas and inspiration from the industry’s innovators. The Travel Innovation Summit is a feature of the conference that is used to bring innovative ideas, applications and individuals center stage. Previous winners have gone on to develop the ideas for companies like Tripit, Gogobot, EveryTrail, Hipmunk and Groundlink. No less is expected from Diego. His company just announced their ambition to become the World Largest Mobile Travel Agency for the Youth Travel Market. Be sure to connect with him and Wehostels to see how they continue innovating to connect people and facilitate their experiences. In addition, if you invite friends, both you and your friends will receive $10 to use on future bookings.

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