High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Investor Network Convenes Over 120 Entrepreneurs and Investors in NYC

On May 5th, the Endeavor Investor Network convened growth market leaders in New York City for a day of networking and learning. The invitation-only event gathered over 120 participants including Endeavor Entrepreneurs and leading investors […]

May 13th, 2015 — by admin

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Argentina’s Satellogic Featured at Wired UK Conference; Highlights the Potential of the Space Industry

Argentina’s Emiliano Kargieman, an Endeavor Entrepreneur selected at the 54th Endeavor ISP, recently spoke at the WIRED2014 conference about transforming the space industry with his company Satellogic. Seeking to make space accessible to all, Emiliano’s […]

October 28th, 2014 — by admin

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CNBC: “Why High-Impact Entrepreneurship Matters,” by Linda Rottenberg

Reprinted from CNBC.com. Original article here.

By Linda Rottenberg
Co-founder and CEO, Endeavor

Recently, Bono admitted to some “humbling” realizations about foreign aid—claiming that when it comes to fostering sustainable economic growth, “job creators and innovators are … the key, and aid is just a bridge.”

Sometimes we need to listen to our rock stars.

It’s no secret: the world needs jobs. The UN estimates that worldwide, more than 500 million new jobs need to be created by 2020. Especially when it comes to emerging markets, there is a growing realization that entrepreneurship is the best answer to high unemployment. But not just any type of entrepreneurship: high-impact entrepreneurship.

High-impact entrepreneurs are visionaries who generate the highest returns, create the most high-value jobs, have the most significant impact on their communities, and inspire the most people to follow their lead — saying “if she or he can do it, I can do it too.”

For 15 years, my organization, Endeavor, has been finding, training, and promoting high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Now in 17 countries, we have screened 30,000 entrepreneurs and selected 726 individuals representing 455 companies to be part of our global network.

Aided by 2,500 top-flight business mentors that form Endeavor’s boards and global “VentureCorps,” these entrepreneurs have created 200,000 jobs and annually generate over $5 billion in revenue. These results affirm data released by our research arm, Endeavor Insight, that just 4 percent of the world’s entrepreneurs create 40 percent of its jobs.

As another illustration, consider this question: what would it take to grow a country’s GDP by 1 percent? In Mexico, for instance, it would take 273,000 new microfinance companies to achieve this result — but only 105 mid-sized “high-impact” companies.

Bottom line: if you want to grow an economy, you need to grow high-impact entrepreneurs.

So what’s the best way to support these promising future job creators? As Endeavor has found, in emerging and growth markets — whether it’s in Latin America or Africa, in the Middle East or Southeast Asia — entrepreneurs still face considerable barriers to growth: few role models, a lack of trust, a limited pool of quality management, an inability to access smart capital, and insufficient contacts.

For this reason, engaging the private sector in mentoring these promising yet undiscovered innovators is a key aspect to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurs don’t just need venture capitalists but “mentor capitalists.” They need access to business leaders who can serve as mentors, advisers, connectors, investors and role models.

In other words, forget the myth of entrepreneurs being self-made. Even icons like Bill Gates or Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make it alone. They thrived in an environment that fostered and promoted their success, and in a network that helped nurture their growth.

Whenever I go to Silicon Valley, people talk about the abundance of venture capital and universities as a key driver of success. But the true magic is the network of people who together form an ecosystem of innovation. An ethos thrives wherein entrepreneurs don’t just focus on their own success, but understand their own success depends on nurturing the next generation.

This multiplier effect is the true special sauce of entrepreneurship. It’s the key to fostering employment and opportunity in growth markets around the world—and increasingly, here at home.

Wamda and Endeavor partner to support entrepreneurs globally

Wamda has been busy supporting entrepreneurs on all fronts this fall. Not only has Wamda Capital announced ten investments this year, but we’ve also launched two Mix n Mentor events in Amman and Beirut, with a third one inDubai tomorrow.

At Wamda Media, we are announcing a partnership with Endeavor Global to bring you content about leading entrepreneurs in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, as well as those outside the Arab World.

Why Endeavor? Endeavor entrepreneurs are some of the most experienced entrepreneurs around the globe- many of them are now at a stage where their companies have traction in local or global markets and are scaling quickly.

We’ll be focusing on bringing you their insights, challenges, and advice in video interviews and Google Hangouts.

Here are some of the ones we’ve already covered:


Stay tuned for more!

Endeavor Insight: Who wins and who loses when it comes to financing?

Endeavor Insight releases an interactive financial dashboard here.

What makes a healthy financing landscape for entrepreneurs? What countries are best suited to support an entrepreneur’s financial needs? These questions have no simple answer, no single metric to point to as the “golden indicator” of sound financial support for entrepreneurs. While Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may be a good gauge of the well being of citizens within a country, per capita GDP or financing as a ratio of GDP, two metrics often cited as litmus tests for the financing landscape of a country, may not accurately or holistically illustrate the true support available to entrepreneurs. One shortcoming is that it does not account for the need for differentiated financing throughout an entrepreneurial venture’s life cycle. Indeed, the best “entrepreneur environment” can differ depending on the particular needs and type of financing required by an entrepreneur at a particular moment in time.

To begin to shed light on this dimension as well as the numerous other layers of financing complexity in emerging markets, the Endeavor Insight team collected ~50  financing metrics across 13 countries. If GDP is normalized across this data for countries of different size and stage of development, and used as the measure of the health of a financing ecosystem, it might be easy to proclaim that just like with individuals, the higher the GDP, the higher the “standard of living” for firms. However, this simplistic view is not bared out in more thorough analysis.

Instead, what seems to really matter is how much of the total financing pool is accessible to each individual firm. Averaging financing per firm is greatest in countries with capital intensive industries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Turkey and South Africa. Not surprisingly, many of these markets are cited as a “hot” markets for entrepreneurs. Interestingly, Brazil , often touted as just one of these exciting markets, appears to be under-financed on a per firm basis. This underperformance suggests remaining opportunity to improve and accelerate investment within Brazil.

To learn more about access to financing in emerging markets, visit Endeavor’s Financing Dashboard.

Endeavor November 2012 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s November 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.

Video: Endeavor President Fernando Fabre at TEDxOrangeCoast

5 questions to ask yourself before applying to an accelerator

Reprinted from the Startup Weekend. Original article here.

Guest post by Kira M. Newman

With over 100 startup accelerators active today, going through an accelerator can seem like a rite of passage. It’s what startups do – the logical step between Startup Weekend and a round of funding. But an accelerator is actually a substantial commitment. You give up around 7 percent equity in your startup. You might have to move to a different city. And you’re agreeing to work late hours for a few months straight. As long as you’re doing all this, you might as well pick the best program for you.

Before you take the plunge into an accelerator, here are five questions to ask yourself:

1. What’s their track record?

The best accelerators have mentors with real entrepreneurial experience, connections to VCs who might fund your company, and a large network of startups that can try your product and offer advice.

For example, Y Combinator works with the Start Fund to offer a $150,000 convertible debt note. TechStars graduates are all offered a $100,000 convertible note. And graduates of Chicago’s Excelerate Labs get a $50,000 convertible note from New World Ventures. Meanwhile, Y Combinator boasts an alumni of over 460 startups, TechStars has 126, and 500 Startups has over 90.

For more comparisons, check out Tech Cocktail’s Top 15 USA Startup Accelerators in 2012. This is an independently researched ranking that compares accelerators based on their startups’ funding and exits, their reputation with VCs, their alumni network, and their terms (equity taken and funding provided).

2. How much hands-on mentorship do you want?

Some accelerator programs have lots of scheduled programs, mentor sessions, and group activities, and others are more open. In Tech Cocktail’s survey of over 75 startups, TechStars was rated highly hands-on (9.5 on a scale of 10), while 500 Startups and Y Combinator were rated less hands-on, respectively. For example, Robert Leshner of Safe Shepherd enjoyed the more autonomous experience at 500 Startups. “They have sessions a couple times a week where they bring in an expert to speak to you, but at the end of the day they’re not telling you what or how you should be building your business. They leave that decision to the entrepreneur,” he says. Accelerators that offer office space tend to be more hands-on, as do accelerators with smaller batches of startups. TechStars caps at 12 startups per batch and typically has a 10-to-1 mentor-to-startup ratio. On the other extreme, Y Combinator can host over 60 startups at a time.

3. Can you handle the heat?

Going through an accelerator in Silicon Valley will introduce you to the eye-opening, exciting, fast-paced vibe of the world’s hottest startup community. Entrepreneurs outside the Valley often complain of small startup scenes and fewer, or more conservative, investors. But the excitement of Silicon Valley comes at a price: you’ll be competing with tons of other startups for VC attention, networking opportunities, and customers. And some entrepreneurs enjoy the smaller, tight-knit communities outside the Valley, where they can stand out better, get meetings more easily, and generally be a “big fish in a small pond.” “The myth that you have to be in Silicon Valley to be successful is idiotic,” says David Cohen, the founder and CEO of TechStars.

4. Is your startup special?

Another trend among accelerators is the creation of industry-specific programs:

-Education: Imagine K12 (Palo Alto)
-Energy/clean tech: SURGE Accelerator (Houston), Greenstart (San Francisco)
-Enterprise/B2B: Acceleprise (Washington, DC), Tech Wildcatters (Dallas), TechStars Cloud (San Antonio)
-Financial services: FinTech Innovation Lab (New York City)
-Government/civics: Code for America (San Francisco)
-Health: Blueprint Health (New York City), Healthbox (Chicago and Boston), Rock Health (San Francisco and Cambridge)
-Social Good: Impact Engine (Chicago), Fledge (Seattle)

Some accelerators don’t focus on an industry, but rather a skill: The Brandery<> focuses on branding, and Kicklabs helps later-stage startups – who may have already gone through another accelerator – get contracts with brands, agencies, and partners. Meanwhile, Women Innovate Mobile and Springboard look for startups with female founders, and the NewME Accelerator wants to help minority founders. And Y Combinator even accepts applications from entrepreneurs without ideas

5. Have you considered other options?

If you’re unsure about the full accelerator experience, you have other options. Incubators like 1871 (Chicago), Catapult Chicago, and Surf Incubator (Seattle) can provide office space, a collaborative environment, and some mentorship, but without the funding. If you want funding without giving up equity, competitions like the Chicago Lean Startup Challenge and MassChallenge might be a good fit – just remember that you could walk away with nothing. And if advice or mentorship is your main goal, consider looking into Science Inc., a technology studio run by former MySpace CEO Michael Jones, or the VegasTechFund, a community-oriented investment fund.

These five questions should help ensure that you don’t find yourself exhausted and regretful beneath the bright lights of the demo day stage.

Startup psychology: why awareness is awesome

Reprinted from OnStartups. Original article here.

Guest post from Dr. Jared Scherz.

As a well educated psychologist with a successful practice, the decision to launch a startup tech company tested the boundaries of my sense of self confidence and competence, as I was venturing into a field I knew little about. It was embarrassing to have to tell people on a somewhat regular basis that I didn’t really know what I was doing. So how do I feel about that?’ One day I’m plagued by self doubt and the next I’m feeling more confident because I figured something out. The excitement of a potentially lucrative new venture was tempered by the anxiety of self doubt and fear of the unknown. A destructive cycle of confidence and self doubt can develop as a result, and can wear out even the most resilient of people if not recognized so the pattern can change.

To help me climb out of this spin cycle is being able to identify and own my experience. Knowing what I’m feeling and how it influences my behavior or decision making is key to managing this dichotomy. This (internal) awareness helps reduce the chances of letting these unpleasant feelings translate into actions that require more energy and time to correct. If I know what I’m feeling and why, I can differentiate between what is my stuff and what is an organizational matter.

“I think I deserve more shares”: Let’s use conflict with a co-founder as an example. The idea of a partner wanting to renegotiate their terms can be a major pitfall that sinks a startup, according to Noam Wasserman (The Founder’s Dilemmas). This dilemma is common because we don’t know well enough the contributions of each partner early in the project, and roles often change throughout the process. When a partner believes they are contributing more and their worth has increased, they may naturally want more equity and recognition.

Our initial response may be rigidity. Tensing up and digging in our heels, justifying our defensiveness as our partner’s misdirected priorities. How dare they focus on greed as opposed to the company? Aren’t they a team player? Why are they willing to sabotage everything we have been working toward? Then we ask ourselves the question, why does this feel like a betrayal? What’s being evoked may be a loss of control or a feeling of fear that we are losing our grip on the company. Perhaps we lose trust in our partner, conjuring up all the times we have been let down by somebody in the past.


Seth Godin: The only purpose of ‘customer service’…

Reprinted from Seth’s Blog. Original article here.

By Seth Godin.

The only purpose of ‘customer service’ is to change feelings. Not the facts, but the way your customer feels. The facts might be the price, or a return, or how long someone had to wait for service. Sometimes changing the facts is a shortcut to changing feelings, but not always, and changing the facts alone is not always sufficient anyway.

If a customer service protocol (your call center/complaints department/returns policy) is built around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist, acquiesce, then it might save money, but it is a total failure.

The customer who seeks out your help isn’t often looking to deplete your bank account. He is usually seeking validation, support and a path to feeling the way he felt before you let him down.

The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.

Fred Wilson: How to be in business forever

Reprinted from A VC. Original article here.

By Fred Wilson

Last week we talked about long term thinking vs short term thinking. But sometimes, no matter how long term you are thinking, things happen that you didn’t plan for and they can impact your business. Actually, this always happens. And that is when you need to adapt.

You will not stay in business forever if you don’t adapt to changing market conditions. This doesn’t mean adopting the “business model of the hour” model and this doesn’t mean pivoting either. What I am talking about is the once every few years “oh shit moment” when you realize that the path you are on isn’t going to work in a year or two and that you need to make some changes.

This is a frustrating realization. I have a good friend who has been running a business for more than a decade. He told me a few weeks ago that he thinks the market he has been operating in is changing and it is starting to impact his business. And just when he had everything firing on all cylinders.

That’s how it is in business. Just as you are taking the victory lap for the kickass execution you and the team have delivered, the track takes a tilt and things start getting harder. Businesses don’t operate in a vacuum. They operate in a dynamic ever changing market that is going to make things difficult for you, especially if you want to be in business forever.

I think some examples will help. The one that comes to mind front and center is Microsoft. By the middle of the 1990s, Microsoft had it all. They had a dominant share in desktop operating systems and a dominant share in desktop apps. They were literally printing money. Then the commercial internet happened. Netscape showed up. And Microsoft’s market changed, forever.

Microsoft did adapt. They built Internet Explorer in reaction to Netscape and then used their desktop dominance to push it into the market, hurting Netscape so badly that it had to sell to AOL. That got Microsoft into trouble with the Justice Department and they were investigated as a result.

But what Microsoft didn’t see in 1995 was Google because it didn’t exist. And they didn’t see the emergence of cloud based productivity apps because they didn’t exist. In hindsight, it is pretty easy to see how fundamentally transformed Microsoft’s business has been by the Internet and it is also pretty easy to see that they have not been able to adapt sufficiently to maintain any semblance of the dominance they had in the mid 90s. This stock chart tells you everything you need to know about what the Internet did to Microsoft. They may be surviving but they are certainly not thriving.

Another great example is RIM. I don’t even need to tell this story. Everyone knows that the dismissive tone and stance that RIM’s management took toward the iPhone and what it represented was essentially the death knell of a great company. I suspect they wish their stock chart looked like Microsoft’s.

But let’s look at a more positive example. As Ron Ashkenas points out in this HBR article, IBM saw that the hardware market was changing and their competitive position in it was changing with it. They sold their PC hardware business in 2005 to Lenovo and doubled down on consulting and related services. Their stock chart tells the rest of this story.

Adapting doesn’t always mean exiting a business that you decide has issues. You can also retool, reshape, and refocus the business. A company that I’ve worked with for more than a decade saw the industry it services go through some painful transitions in the 2008/2009 downturn. They built an entirely new line of products that service the growth part of the industry while working to maintain the older products through an orderly and gradual decline. It’s been a difficult transition because it has meant that the company’s top line hasn’t grown during this transition. But the company is still in business and the new products are growing quite nicely.

Every situation is different and I don’t have some “silver bullet” to help you all think about how to figure out when to adapt and when to stay the course. But I do have some observations. The comfort of a strong balance sheet (and a nice looking stock chart) is often your enemy not your friend in these situations. The most agressive CEOs I’ve seen in these situations are often the ones with less than a year of cash in the bank and survival instinct in full on mode.

Another observation is that getting your organization to adapt is harder than you might think. Organizations have inertia. The bigger they are the more inertia they have. If you think you need to adapt your business quickly, you will need to figure who is in the boat with you and who is not and make the changes you need, particularly on your senior team, to align the team with mission and get going.

Finally, you cannot be in adaptation mode all the time. If you map out long living successful businesses, you will see they go through periods of great stability followed by periods of great change and then move back into stability mode. You have to know when to get into which mode and you need to see each one through to its logical conclusion.

Given how hard all of this is, you might wonder if you really want to stay in business forever. The answer may be no. But even if it is no, you had better plan for and act like you do. Because I am certain that if you don’t, you won’t.

7 social media mistakes that can keep your content from going viral

Reprinted from Quick Sprout. Original article here.

By Neil Patel.

Social media marketing may not be rocket science, but there is still a large science component to it. If you want your content to spread, you have to look at the numbers and stop making gut decisions.

Over the last 5 years I’ve learned how to successfully push content out on through social media so that it spreads virally. And more importantly I’ve learned what not to do.

So if you want to ensure that your content spreads, avoid the following 7 mistakes:

Mistake #1: Timing doesn’t matter

You can’t write content and publish it in the middle of the night, and expect it to spread virally. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook have peak usage times and if you can submit your content to those sites during the ideal days and times it will be more likely to spread.

48% of Twitter users are on Eastern Standard Time, they are most likely to retweet on Wednesdays, around 5pm. Links on Twitter tend to get clicked on the most within the first hour of them being posted.

So if you want to share something on Twitter, tweet it on Wednesday at 5pm EST.

And if you want to share something on Facebook and get the most amount of likes, don’t post more than once every 2 days. Also to get the most likes, post on Saturday at noon EST.

Mistake #2: All social buttons are the same

On Quick Sprout I tested the placement of social media buttons at the top and bottom of my blog posts. Surprisingly, people have a tendency to share posts before they read them as the social media buttons at the top of the post got 117% more clicks than the ones at the bottom.

In addition to that, I tried using scrolling social buttons such as the Sharebar, which got 226% more clicks than the social media buttons at the top of the post.

When I tested the combination of the scrolling social buttons with social buttons at the top, it underperformed by 29% compared to scrolling buttons in combination with buttons at the bottom.

If you want to get the most social shares, consider placing social media buttons at the bottom of your blog post in combination with scrolling social buttons like the Sharebar.

Mistake #3: Shares matter, not traffic

Most bloggers and content marketers focus on how many likes their content gets on Facebook or tweets they get on Twitter. In theory, if you have more shares, you should get more traffic, but that isn’t always the case. If no one clicks through from Facebook or Twitter to your website, you won’t get any visitors.

Instead of just focusing on the pure number of social shares, you should also be looking at traffic. A good way to boost your traffic from these social sites is to analyze your click through rate.

According to this blog post by Dan Zarrella, the optimum place to leave a link on Twitter is right at the 25% mark. So not at the beginning, end or even middle… make sure you add it right on the 25% mark if you want to boost your Twitter traffic.

Mistake #4: People read content during the same peak times they share it

There is a huge timing difference between when people prefer to read content versus sharing it. Based on mistake number 1, you know people prefer Wednesday for Twitter and Saturday for Facebook.

People prefer to read blogs on Monday at 11am EST. They prefer commenting on blogs at 9am EST on Saturday.

If you are also targeting a female audience for your blog, never post during the evening or night; women prefer to read blog posts before noon EST.

Mistake #5: Focusing on all social channels

I talked about placement of social media buttons earlier, but I didn’t talk about the number of social sites you should promote. On Quick Sprout I tested placing buttons for 3, 4 and 5 different social media sites. No matter how many social media buttons I used, less than 9% of people clicked on more than one social button.

But, there was a huge difference on how many people clicked on the social media buttons when there 3 buttons versus 5. Although there were fewer options when I just placed 3 buttons, there was an increase in click throughs by 11%. As for click through percentage difference between 4 buttons and 3, there wasn’t statistical significance between the two.

People have a tendency to only share your content on 1 social site, so ideally you shouldn’t have more than 3 social media buttons. If you have over 50,000 monthly visitors, consider placing 4 social buttons.

Mistake #6: Tweeting your content once

Even if you tweet during optimal days and times, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to see your tweet. Although 82% of Twitter users have less than 350 followers, 18% still have more than that. And just because that 18% number is small, you shouldn’t ignore it as Twitter has over 500 million users.

Out of all of your followers, the ones who also follow thousands of other people, probably won’t see most of your tweets. And if they don’t see your tweets, they won’t be able to retweet them or click through over to your website.

According to a test Mark Suster ran, you should consider tweeting your blog posts at least twice. He got an extra 56% more visitors from Twitter by just tweeting a blog post again. You can also tweet your content 3 or even 4 times, but the more you tweet the same post, the less clicks each one will receive as many of your followers would have already seen it.

Mistake #7: Slow and steady wins the race

In the social media world, it is all about speed. The more shares your content gets within a short period of time, the better off you are… especially on Facebook.

Facebook takes momentum into account, so if your content is gaining a ton of likes at a quick pace, more people are going to see it within their feeds.

I did a quick test in which I bought 50 likes within the first 30 minutes to one content piece and I bought 50 likes spread over 8 hours to the second content piece. Both of the content pieces where the same, but the one that got 50 likes within the first hour ended up with a total of 142 likes and 10 comments. The second variation ended up with 95 likes and 7 comments.

If you want your content to spread on the social web, you need to get a lot of shares within a very short period of time.


If you avoid the 7 social media mistakes above, your content is more likely to flourish and spread. Now when you decide to leverage the above tips, don’t just assume they are going to work for you, make sure you test them out with your content. Based on where most of your website visitors live and the demographics of your audience, the results maybe different for you.

What other social media mistakes should you avoid?

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