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

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

September 16th, 2014 — by admin

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Greece’s Daily Secret Raises New Round of Venture Funding; Plans Expansion into Africa

Daily Secret, founded by Endeavor Greece Entrepreneurs Nikos Kakavoulis and Phaedra Chrousos, recently announced that it has raised $1.25 million in a Series B round of venture funding to support the company’s global expansion efforts. Founded in […]

January 29th, 2014 — by admin

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Can Facebook spice up place reviews? Endeavor Entrepreneur company Jeeran launches social update

neat stuffReprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Nina Curley, Editor-in-Chief at Wamda.

Today, Endeavor Entrepreneur company Jeeran is making location reviews in the Arab World a more social experience, by launching an updated iPhone app and website that are completely integrated with Facebook.

The new app forces users to sign in to the Jordan-based review site using only their Facebook account, in a bid to enhance customer accountability while providing new features. The app can now automatically detect a user’s city, allows users to add new offline places to the community, and integrates Facebook’s open graph to display actions taken on Jeeran on Facebook Timeline.

It’s clear that the Jeeran team felt that the move was essential for gaining traction with consumers and ensuring content quality as the platform scales. The platform integrated with Facebook for two main reasons, says co-founder and CEO Omar Koudsi. Firstly, “our site depends on the authenticity of the users who are writing the content. One way to make sure we have high quality content is to make sure the people wring the reviews are real.”

Secondly, he says, “We value the opinion of our friends more than that of strangers. Jeeran makes use of that fact by highlighting the reviews of your friends.” On the new app and website, users can then browse either their friends’ or elite users’ activity.

The move makes sense for the Jordan-based platform, which could face a slowdown in customer uptake if content is seen as a static resource or users in the region don’t maintain an appetite for reviews. It can also be difficult for review sites like Yelp to find a clear path to profitability, thanks to the difficulties of selling online advertising to companies newly coming online (to which Jeeran caters). Thus integration with Facebook is a big step for Jeeran, towards encouraging viral content and creating a more engaging experience.

The Jeeran team is looking to focus in on its consumers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, before exapnding too quickly, says Koudsi. The vast majority of these users- 80% and 99% in Jordan and Saudi, respectively- user Jeeran in Arabic, and with over 3,000 buinsesses on the platform, and 800,000 visitors a month, the site is not lagging.

The next question is, will Jeeran procced to go beyond places, into offering reviews of merchandise, food, and general items for sale, similar to the arena that co-founder ex-Jeerani Laith Zraikat is working in with Olgot? Koudsi won’t reveal much about Jeeran’s exact future direction, but Jeeran has recently shifted its slogan and position from “Places in Your City” to “Reviews by the People”… we’ll have to stay tuned.

Endeavor company Bodytech honored for 15 years of growth and job creation

On July 23, as part of the celebration of the 202nd anniversary of the independence of Colombia, the Colombian Society of Press and Media recognized Endeavor Entrepreneurs and Bodytech founders Gigliola Aycardi and Nicolás Loaiza for establishing an important Colombian institution. Bodytech is currently the largest chain of health and fitness clubs in Latin America, and is largely recognized for having professionalized and consolidated a health and fitness industry that was once fragmented and informal in Colombia.

The Colombia Society of Press and Media specifically honored Bodytech with the General Francisco de Paula Santander Law and Democracy award in the degree of Grand Cross of Commander in recognition of the initiative and drive that have marked the company’s growth over the last 15 years since its founding. The award also distinguished how the company has served as a strong engine of quality job creation as well as improved the lives and health of millions of Colombians.

How to be a VC: Being open

Reprinted from This is Going to be Big. Original article here.

By Charlie O’Donnell.

I always get asked how to get into VC and so I think a lot about what it takes to do the job well.  I’m way early in my career, so I won’t say I’ve perfected anything yet, but after 8 years on the investing side and 3 in startups, I’ve come up at least one thing:

Be open.

In venture capital, you say “no” a lot.  When you say no a lot, you get good at it.  It comes off the tongue fast and in lots of different ways.  It is your default response.

Practicing the word no as many times as a VC does means you have to fight not to have your mind close on you.  I fight it…and fight it hard.  I want your pitch to be the one I say yes to–and I want you to solve the inherent problems in your business model.  I want to figure out if I can help you get there.

I don’t think that every VC takes the approach that anyone can be successful–or that every problem is fixable, which is weird to me because their job is to make people successful and fund things that solve problems.  Yet, time and time again, I see well practiced dismissiveness.

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How to use fifteen minutes a day to create a culture of accountability

Reprinted from Duct Tape Marketing. Original article here.

By John Jantsch

It’s great to have a plan. Even better to charge out and begin to execute the plan. But, to keep your plan alive day in and day out, you’ve got to have a routine that holds everyone accountable for all things big and small.

To keep commitment high and reinforce a culture based on your objectives you need to install a systematic approach to meetings that allows people to be heard, get help, pose ideas, participate, learn, grow, move projects forward, and stay connected.

This will include annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily planned sessions designed to accomplish specific tasks.

I can almost hear some collective groaning coming from my readers, but trust me on this. If you do this right, you’ll wonder how you ever succeeded without it. You may find that more gets done in terms of actual work and real team building in a month using this system than at any time in your business.

First off, have everyone in the organization sketch out their near term plans. The projects they need or intend to get done in the 30, 60, and 90 days based on your overall marketing or business plan. This should be an ongoing moving process and will be one of the tools used in your meeting system.

Daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly

Every organization, depending upon the number of employees and other logistics, will have slightly differing needs, but the basic framework should look something like this:

Quarterly meetings – These meetings should be used to give “state of the business updates” that will likely include financial data and reporting on goals and objectives for the year.

One of the ways that many organizations reinforce core values is to choose a quarterly theme that relates to one of your stated core values and plan activities and initiatives that highlight the chosen value. I’ll go into more detail about this specific tactic in a subsequent chapter on culture.

These meetings should be fun and celebrate achievements, milestones and accomplishments that may fall outside the realm of work.

Monthly meetings – These meetings may include financial and milestone reporting, but should also include teaching.

One of my favorite ways to include teaching in the monthly meeting is to select a member of the staff, regardless of department, and charge them with leading a session about their department or function’s specific initiatives, goals and achievements.

This can be a fun way to “get to know accounting” or “showcase the new advertising campaign.”

Weekly functional meetings – It gets a little trickier once you start breaking meetings down to functional teams or departments. This is where organizations with flat structures (everyone reports to one boss) start to choke. If you’re the boss and you manage everyone in the organization, this tactic will reveal why you can’t continue this practice.

The good news is that this process and the project planning process I wrote about recently are how you start to create a management structure in your organization where perhaps none existed previously.

In fact, many organizations find that the sheer act of planning creates its own logical team organization structure based on who can be and is responsible for projects.

The focus of the weekly meeting is project movement. If you have a very small staff this may be a weekly staff meeting, but the focus is still to get updates on projects. If you have a very organization you may logically conduct these in small groups around projects.

Some mid-sized organizations hold weekly all hands meetings in addition to functional staff meetings in an effort to highlight their most important initiatives.

VML, a digital marketing agency located in Kansas City, holds an all staff meeting every Tuesday morning with the primary purpose of highlighting the organization’s community, non-profit and charitable activities. The brief meeting is also frequently used as a way to recognize staff members who exemplified core values during the coarse of the week.

Daily functional huddle

The concept of the daily huddle has been used in large business for years and has had a huge impact on organizations such as Ritz Carlton, Johnson & Johnson and 3M. Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits did a great deal to popularize the notion in small business circles. Harnish contends that this was one of Rockefeller’s core concepts used while building Standard Oil.

While some may view this tactic purely in terms of efficiency I think it’s one of the greatest ways to build team commitment and spirit and once again reinforce purpose.

Wamda.com on Endeavor’s launch in Saudi Arabia

By Nina Curley

Reprinted from Wamda.com. See origina article here

Endeavor has announced the launch of a new office in Saudi Arabia that will bring its global support for high-impact entrepreneurs to the Gulf region.

The office will be Endeavor’s fifth in the Middle East and North Africa, after Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, expanding the non-profit’s ability not only to mentor high-impact entrepreneurs in the Gulf, but also to increase opportunities for existing Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

The move was a natural fit for Endeavor, says Joanna Harries, the company’s International Expansion Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We’ve had a lot of success in the region since launching in Turkey in 2006. We opened in Jordan and Egypt in 2008, and then Lebanon in 2011, finding great entrepreneurs to support in all three markets. In the past year, we wanted to enhance our presence in the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia presented the biggest opportunity, in terms of market size, potential capital for entrepreneurs, and supportive strategic partners such as Abraaj,” she says.

As the youth population in Saudi Arabia continues to grow and the economy diversifies from its petroleum industry base, supporting high-impact entrepreneurs will be essential for sustainable growth. Endeavor Saudi Arabia is further supported by a local board of directors made up of the country’s top business professionals. Board Chairman Rami Alturki said in the press release, “Entrepreneurship is one of the keys to addressing the need for tens of thousands of new and innovative jobs in the Kingdom.

Rakan Al Eidi will serve as the Managing Director of Endeavor KSA, working to recruit the first high-impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the Kingdom. Al Eidi previously founded the Saudi Entrepreneurs Club and has served as an Ambassador at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Endeavor’s regional office in Dubai will continue to facilitate connections between Endeavor Entrepreneurs throughout the region. “Our first priority is to support entrepreneurs within the country, yet we also want to provide support to our entrepreneurs that have regional aspirations,” says Harries.

By working both nationally and regionally, Endeavor aspires to boost the country’s fledgling entrepreneurship ecosystem. “We’re very excited by the enormous opportunities to build entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia,” said Endeavor Co-founder & CEO Linda Rottenberg.

Introduced by Endeavor, Silicon Valley fund 500 Startups invests in Jeeran

Editor’s note: Endeavor was pleased to play a role in introducing Jeeran to their new investor.

By Nina Curley

Reprinted from wamda.com. See original article here.

Silicon Valley-based seed fund and accelerator 500 Startupshas today announced investment in Jeeran, the popular Amman-based user review platform.

For Jeeran, which launched as a Yahoo-style Arabic user-generated content portal in 2000, and then pivoted in 2010 to focus on locally relevant place reviews in English and Arabic, the investment is a great validation. 500 Startups has investments in over 20 countries, and its investment in Jeeran marks its first in the Arab World.

David Mcclure, the founder of 500 Startups, said in a statement, “We’re super excited about Jeeran and its proposition to the emerging world, We’re ready to blow up startups in the MENA region.”

Beginning with Jeeran makes sense; both co-founder Omar Koudsi and Laith Zraikat (who has since left) stand as leaders in Jordan’s technology entrepreneurship scene and are Endeavor Jordan entrepreneurs. The startup has already taken on funding from leading investment vehicles Accelerator Technology Holdings, Intel Capital, and Seedcamp. Also joining in the current round are Fadi Ghandour, founder of Aramex, and Rabea Ataya, the founder of job search platform Bayt.com.

Since its pivot, Jeeran’s overall userbase has decreased, but with a far more focused product, it has tapped into a new niche and likely more sustainable model, bringing over 250,000 offline businesses online. It’s useful in poorly mapped markets like Jordan, where accurate maps and local phone numbers add critical value for consumers. The site also focuses in Saudi Arabia, and offers review in 17 cities throughout the region, yet scaling will be key to its ultimate success.

That’s exactly what it hopes to do the help of 500 Startups’s 160 mentors around the world. Co-founder Omar Koudsi said, “Jeeran is looking forward to collaborating with 500 Startups to help develop its internal capabilities, and will be sending some of our team members to train in Silicon Valley, where 500 Startups is based.” The press release also stated that the round comes as part of preparing Jeeran for an aggressive expansion strategy across the Arab World and Asia in the coming year.

eMBA field report: research and teamwork in Egypt

Nate Wong at the Pyramids

Nate Wong is an MBA student at Yale University’s School of Management. He is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Hindawi in Egypt through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

This is a follow-up to Nate’s previous blog post.

Teamwork

The feedback session with the uFollow team was a great way for me to meet my colleagues and has resulted in some great friendships and bonds. The team was eager to try Chinese food, so I treated them to a Chinese feast the day before Ramadan started for everyone to try. For many, it was their first foray into Chinese food and eating with chopsticks – yes, we had lessons prior to eating! I am excited for an aftar, or break fast, feast that my co-workers invited me to during Ramadan, which will be a great way to experience Egyptian culture and more Egyptian food firsthand.

While I only have a couple more weeks left in my internship, I am excited to see the fruits of my labor come to fruition already.

Of course, the eMBA experience would not be complete without stories of excursions outside of the office as well. I ventured outside of Cairo and explored Luxor, the place of the famed Valley of the Kings; Aswan along the Nile; and all the way down to Abu Simbel in the “Nubian” region close to the border of Sudan. Some of my highlights have included a hot air balloon ride in Luxor, a sunset Nile cruise, and negotiating at a spice market in Aswan. With only two more weeks left, I still have a couple more sights on my to-do list, and am excited to see what traction we can gain with on the acquirer front now that we have documentation and a defined strategy and list of potential buyers to contact!

eMBA field report: improving Latin American tourism options online in Argentina

Mohamed Thoraia is an MBA candidate at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Evolution Group through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

Flying for more than 25 hours — all the way from Cairo to Buenos Aires — was not enough to keep me from going to the office on the day I arrived.  My excitement about being in Argentina and my curiosity about doing business in Latin America gave me enough energy to get through the day.

Founded by Diego Noriega, one of the most accomplished internet entrepreneurs in Argentina, Visiting.net is about changing the way that tourism businesses reach consumers. It is a Vacation Rentals Portal that aims to consolidate the fragmented online and offline rental offerings in Latin America and provide the travelers with a truly local experience.

Working on the market entry strategy and brand development for Visiting.net has offered me a golden opportunity to learn about the travel and tourism market in Latin America and understand the dynamics and the drivers of this vital industry.  It was also rewarding to be a part of the entrepreneurial community through various interactions with Endeavor local office staff or by spending time with fellow MBA alumni who are persistently working on their start-ups in a truly inspirational environment.

Ultimately, being surrounded by the passionate and motivated team at Visiting.net, indulging in the unique taste of Argentine food, and hopping between the barrios of the stunning Palermo Soho district have certainly been some of the key highlights of the past few weeks.

 

 

How High-Impact Entrepreneurs are helping create a middle class in Mexico

Despite the global recession, Mexico’s middle class has significantly increased over the past few decades. According to a recent article in the Washington Post and International Monetary Fund data, “GDP per capita has increased from $7,357 in 1990 to $13,928 in 2010 [in Mexico], accounting for inflation.” In addition, according to Mexican government data, the percentage of Mexicans living in poverty have dropped from 80 percent in 1960 to 48 percent today. Endeavor believes that high-impact entrepreneurs have helped create this increase in GDP, growth in middle class and decrease in poverty levels in Mexico. High-impact entrepreneurs make outsized contributions to revenue growth. For example, Endeavor’s high-impact entrepreneurs generate revenue 3.3 times faster than comparable companies in Mexico, as seen in Endeavor’s Impact Dashboard.  In turn, this outsized contribution to revenue creation generates GDP growth within a country. Most importantly, GDP growth helps individuals escape poverty and move into the middle class.

The below infographic further demonstrates the power of high-impact entrepreneurs to alleviate poverty and grow the middle class via GDP growth.

eMBA field report: taking charge and finding adventure in Santiago

Anthony Campbell and friends in Chile

Anthony Campbell is an MBA candidate at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He is interning at EMAN through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

When I first spoke to Endeavor Chile staff and Iván Báez, the Endeavor Entrepreneur who founded EMAN, from Barcelona, I was immediately sold on the idea of working in a new country and new language to directly shape and implement a growing company’s strategy. Four weeks in, I can honestly say that the role has offered much more than I was expecting. It has evolved from “simply” developing a marketing strategy for a new product line to a fundamental review of the company’s strategy and prioritizing investment opportunities between the portfolio companies. Having worked in consulting before my MBA, this is a golden opportunity to apply all that I have learned and actually see things through to implementation rather than just leaving behind a nicely formatted PowerPoint. Knowing that what you recommend will actually become a reality obviously means you feel a greater sense of responsibility, but is also an opportunity. I think it is unique to an Endeavor internship and is the one thing from which I am learning the most.

Aside from the day job, Chile offers pretty good weekend opportunities. With the other eMBAs in Santiago, I managed to make it to the ski slopes and the beach in just one weekend. On another I took a trip to the Elqui Valley. Writing this on the plane to San Pedro, I have little doubt that, for me, this internship is the best combination of professional development and personal adventure.

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