High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Join the global conversation

Entrepreneurs

Endeavor Hosts Retail, Food & Beverage Tour for Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Features Presentations from Top Industry Brands

Endeavor hosted a Retail, Food & Beverage Industry Tour for select entrepreneurs in its network, providing them with a rare look into the operations of  some top global brands in each industry. The two-day tour included a mix […]

November 19th, 2014 — by admin

Read more

In the news

Colombia’s Bodytech Plans Expansion in Latin America, Profiled in El Espectador

Colombia-based Bodytech, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Nicolas Loaiza Galeano and Gigliola Aycardi Batista, recently announced plans for expansion in five Latin American countries as the business prepares to become a publicly listed company. Bodytech’s steady success led to […]

March 25th, 2014 — by admin

Read more
Get RSS Feed

eMBA field report: coffee and creative growth, Chilean-style

2012 eMBAs Gloriann Lopez and Anthony Campbell and Gloriann’s co-worker

Gloriann Lopez is an MBA student at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. She is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Sirve in Chile through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

“Cachai?” he asked me with his eyebrows raised and a twinkle in his eye. I nodded my head in agreement. “Cacho,” I responded affirmatively, somewhat proud of my newfound ability to grasp one of the most integral words in the Chilean dictionary.

There is something about Chile. Maybe it is the people, the beautiful mixture of native and European ancestry who you find surrounding you; the many expats you find who come here to explore the treasures hidden within the borders; the warm, genuine nature of a morning greeting; or the necessity of a morning coffee. Maybe it is the bread: soft, delightful and integral to any good day. Maybe it is the breathtaking scenery: the surrounding mountains that seem to dwarf us and make us seem almost insignificant; the expansive ocean that Neruda once loved so deeply and described with such poetic beauty; the far reaches of the dry north; or the harsh, cold climate of the icy south that holds within it treasures that only mother nature can divulge. Maybe it is the history, one of stark contradictions and struggle, that is often misinterpreted and yet inseparable from the DNA and mindset of every Chilean, regardless of age or affiliation. Maybe it is the deep-rooted appreciation for tradition, for education, for perseverance and excellence. Or maybe it is the food, the sweet richness of a Pastel de Choclo, the ingenuity of hearty humitas, the creamy indulgence of just about anything filled with manjar, or the anticipation as you bite into a fresh-made, warm empanada. Maybe it is a bit of everything.

Over the past four weeks I have had the opportunity, through Endeavor, to work with the top seismic engineering company in Chile as a strategic consultant to develop internal and external strategies. The role has been challenging to say the least, but more rewarding than I ever expected. The people that form this visionary engineering company are incredibly hard-working, bright, and forward-thinking when it comes to developing their business to compete both within Chile and on a global scale. There is a great sense of pride in the engineering and creative excellence that forms the basis of Sirve, and the company’s acceptance of me, of my ideas, and willingness to adapt their processes and push themselves to the next level of growth has impressed and inspired me. I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by this great team and even luckier to feel like a part of it.

Today, we are in the process of developing and streamlining internal processes through the selection of a new ERP and are working to tighten organizational definitions and operating procedures, as well as analyze and assess external strategies and growth. There is no shortage of work or excitement in any given day and when 6 or 7pm hits, there is no mad rush out of the door. I come home exhausted most nights, but with a sense of achievement and excitement for what tomorrow will bring. Each weekend is filled with a different adventure that renews and refreshes my soul as I meet new people, explore new reaches of the world, and perfect my Spanish, Chilean-style. I wouldn’t wish for it any other way.

Gloriann Lopez, Anthony Campbell & a Sirve co-worker at Isla Negra, Chile

eMBA Anthony Campbell and Gloriann Lopez’s co-worker at Sirve at Valparaiso

How do you make a product into a habit?

Reprinted from Pam Slim’s Blog (Escape from Cubicle Nation). Original article here.

By Charles Duhigg, New York Times reporter and author of the bestselling book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

How do you make a product into a habit?

That question has bedeviled entrepreneurs and marketers for eons. Everyone knows that once they make their product into a habit – part of a customer’s daily routine, an automatic reaction – it becomes a best-seller. When we start shaving every day, checking our email automatically or wiping the counter after every use, that’s when companies sell us razor blades, smartphones and paper towels.

But how does it happen?

To understand how products become habits, consider the case of how America developed a toothbrusing habit, and in particular how one toothpaste – Pepsodent – became one of the world’s most popular brands.

In the early 1900s, a prominent American businessman named Claude C. Hopkins was approached by an old friend with an amazing new creation: a minty, frothy toothpaste named “Pepsodent” that, the friend promised, was going to be huge.

Hopkins, at the time, was one of the nation’s most famous advertising executives. He was the ad man who had convinced Americans to buy Schlitz beer by boasting that the company cleaned their bottles “with live steam” (while neglecting to mention that every other company used the same method). He had seduced millions of women into purchasing Palmolive soap by proclaiming that Cleopatra had washed with it, despite the sputtering protests of outraged historians.

But Hopkins’ greatest contribution would be helping to create a national toothbrushing habit. Before Pepsodent, almost no Americans brushed their teeth. A decade after Hopkins’ advertising campaigns, pollsters found that toothbrushing had become a daily ritual for more than half the population. Everyone from Shirley Temple to Clark Gable eventually bragged about a “Pepsodent smile.”

I discovered the story of Claude Hopkins a few years ago while reporting my book, The Power of Habit, which explores the science of habit formation. Today, Hopkins is almost totally forgotten. He shouldn’t be. Hopkins was among the first to elucidate principles that even now influence how video games are designed, public health campaigns are managed and that explain why some people effortlessly exercise every morning, while others can’t pass a box of doughnuts without automatically grabbing a jelly-filled cruller.

So, how did Hopkins start America brushing?

By taking advantage of a quirk in the neurology of habits. It wouldn’t be until almost a century later that medical schools and psychology labs would fully understand why habits exist and how they function. Today, we can create and change habits almost like flipping a switch.

But there are historical outliers who seemed to intuit or stumble into these insights before anyone else. Hopkins created a tooth brushing habit by identifying a simple and obvious cue, delivering a clear reward and —most important —by creating a neurological craving.

And craving, it turns out, is what powers a habit.

When Hopkins signed on to promote Pepsodent, he realized he needed to find a trigger for its daily use. He sat down with a pile of dental textbooks. “It was dry reading,” he later wrote in his autobiography. “But in the middle of one book I found a reference to the mucin plaques on teeth, which I afterward called ‘the film.’

“That gave me an appealing idea,” he wrote. “I resolved to advertise this toothpaste as a creator of beauty.”

(more…)

Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham on South Africa, entrepreneurship, and his latest business venture

Reprinted from the Daily Maverick. See original article here

By Rebecca Davis

South African tech entrepreneur Vinny Lingham is about to launch his new venture, Gyft, from his base in Palo Alto, California. Rebecca Davis talked to him about life as a start-up guru, how SA government policies are harming investment, and why he’s putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to turning Cape Town into a technology hub.

Vinny Lingham, at age 33, “has forgotten more about acquiring traffic than a lot of people in Silicon Valley know”, to quote a TechCrunch article in 2010. He made his name in search marketing, establishing Clicks2Customers and its holding company, incuBeta, aged 24. Then he founded Yola, a business offering free website building and hosting, which today has seven million users. Then he moved from Cape Town to Silicon Valley. Seven months ago he stepped down as the CEO of Yola to focus on his next big thing: Gyft.

That’s more action – and success – packed into a decade than many people manage in a lifetime. So perhaps it’s not altogether surprising to find that Lingham does not lack  confidence in an interview situation, albeit one carried out down a crackly Skype line.

With three companies behind him and another on the way, Lingham is living the start-up dream. But he’s quick to state that his lifestyle is nothing like the dotcom tycoon of popular stereotype. “Not all entrepreneurs drive around in big cars with fancy houses. I live in a modest little apartment. It’s nice, but it’s just two bedrooms,” he says.

“The difference between entrepreneurs and other people is that you work for a lot lower salary on a monthly basis, but then you’re building long-term equity wealth and value in your shares and the companies you build. Ambition often comes with sacrifice.”

He’s been living in the US for just over four years now. On his first visit to Silicon Valley, in 2002, it wasn’t a very appealing place to be – the market was dead, and not much exciting was happening. But after Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006, energy returned to the valley. At the time, Lingham was spending five months of the year on a plane between the US and South Africa, juggling Clicks2Customers’ substantial American client base.

“I built (Clicks2Customers) up within three and a half years to a $10 million-a-year business, with only one South African client. So all the revenue was coming from the States.”

Clients ranged from eBay to Expedia, and Lingham attributes the search marketing company’s success to his own technical know-how. “I understood the techniques to rank keywords for clients higher than anyone else,” he says simply.

“Other people try and start businesses with a very shallow knowledge of the field that they’re in, and it’s difficult to teach someone else if you don’t know how to do it yourself. So I spent many years building up my knowledge and developed a unique insight into how Google’s algorithms work, and we were able to use that to our advantage.”

But the constant travel to ensure that American clients were happy wore him down, and saw the chain set in motion whereby he left the company in order to start Yola in 2007, and made the move to Silicon Valley shortly afterwards.

Four years down the line, there’s still not a trace of American in Lingham’s accent. He says he doesn’t consider himself at all American. “I’m a South African citizen, and I love South Africa, although I’m disappointed in the way things are going. My mother-in-law was attacked last week in her house in Cape Town. These stories are becoming far too common, and it’s quite disheartening. But I’d love to go back one day, although right now it’s a career choice.”

Lingham maintains strong South African ties: he still has fingers in a lot of business pies, and he actively invests in and mentors entrepreneurial talent in the country. He was also a co-founder of the Silicon Cape Initiative, which aims to turn the Western Cape into a tech hub. He thinks the province is the perfect place for this.

“There’s a similar vibe to Silicon Valley, some fantastic tech companies, and the culture is nice and diverse – people from all around the world live there,” he says. “It’s not just about Cape Town, it’s about South Africa, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and tech hubs needs to be geographically centralised, and Cape Town makes a lot of sense.”

His frustration at what he sees as the South African government’s obstructionism in making it difficult for expatriates to make a meaningful economic contribution from overseas is a theme he returns to continually. He cites the notorious “loop structure”, which refers to the prohibition on South African residents holding any South African assets indirectly through a non-resident entity. (Moneyweb once suggested that the loop structure “has probably scuppered more cross-border transactions contemplated by South African residents than any other exchange control or tax policy”.)

Lingham describes the loop structure as a “stupid rule from apartheid. I want to hire South African employees, and I want to give them stock options, in order to build up a culture, to build the business. I’m not allowed to do it.” He sees this as exemplifying the government’s blinkeredness when it comes to making the country an attractive prospect for investors.

“The biggest mistake that the government and people of South Africa (are) making is to think that South Africa is going to be the biggest economy in Africa in 10 to 15 years,” he warns. “South Africa is no longer the gatewa

Summer blog series: Read 2012 eMBA reports from the field! (updated)

As part of Endeavor’s annual eMBA program, generously supported by Barclays, MBA students from around the country are selected to work on-site with our entrepreneurs for 10 weeks during the summer. This year, 31 eMBAs were placed with 27 Endeavor Entrepreneurs in 10 countries across the world.

The eMBAs create stories chronicling their experiences throughout the summer, contributing to Endeavor’s blog as part of our “eMBA field report” series.

Here are the accounts we have published thus far:

Spreading innovative design from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia

This eMBA has been surrounded by entrepreneurs in colorful Lebanon.  He’s on a mission help furniture designer Nada Debs expand to Saudi Arabia and to solve the unemployment crisis in the region through entrepreneurship.

A fresh approach to fast growth and seaside splendors in Uruguay 

Working alongside the sharp entrepreneurs of Pedidosya.com has been a dream for this eMBA and it’s helped him to re-shape his career goals.  Weekends spent at nearby getaways didn’t hurt, either.

Lights, camera, asado!

This eMBA’s charismatic host entrepreneur welcomed him with a steak dinner and then got right down to business.  Since then, Adrian Garcia has been thrilled to bring a fresh perspective to an already well-positioned and fast-growing media company.

Pushing boundaries for personal growth and professional gain in Monterrey

At the foot of the beautiful Sierra Madre Mountains of Monterrey, this eMBA is plotting her host company’s expansion to Brazil.  She’s already learned a great deal about the Mexican economy and way of doing business and next she’s off to Colombia for a research project.

Taking charge and finding adventure in Santiago

For this eMBA, his summer internship has been the full package: he’s lived in new country, learned a new language, applied his business school knowledge and hit the slopes and the beach in the same weekend.

Research and teamwork in Egypt 

A repeat blogger on Endeavor.org, this eMBA has dusted off his programming knowledge at Hindawi. Along the way, he’s treated his co-workers to a Chinese feast and they, in turn, invited him to an aftar, a traditional Ramadan breakfast.

Rainy weather and fiery ambition near the southernmost point in the world

Working with Innovex has led this eMBA to Puerto Montt, the salmon capital of Chile, where he is working with the advisory board to help chart out the company’s future.

Saving the world one industrial city at a time

Living in Monterrey, Mexico has been rewarding for this eMBA, where he is helping Imagen Dental build a business plan for national expansion and even attended an Endeavor National Selection Panel.

Taking an entrepreneurial risk to keep Mexican companies safe

Interning at ALTO, this eMBA is collaborating with the CEO to research, strategize, and create a plan to expand the company to all of Mexico.

Tea and vision technology in enchanting Istanbul

This self-proclaimed tea addict has been stationed in Turkey, where she has not only analyzed markets to determine the potential for Vistek’s products within them but also found even bigger tea drinkers than herself.

Preserving public transportation at one of Chile’s 2011 “best places to work”

At Grupo Alto, this eMBA is helping one of the leading entrepreneurs in Chile to break into Santiago’s public transportation market to work with bus operators to protect against fare evasion.

Inventive flowers and food in fast-growing Istanbul

As an intern for Ciceksepeti.com, this eMBA is helping expand and develop the e-commerce company’s corporate structure while becoming an expert in modern versions of traditional Turkish cuisine.

Promoting health in the Mexican sun

At Alivio Capital, this eMBA has gained insight into both customer and management goals so that she may help focus the company’s commercial strategy and brand identity on what its consumers want.

Financial savvy and pisco sours in Santiago

After being selected, this eMBA has worked as the Executive Director of International Expansion for ForexChile, where she has designed the business plan for the company’s upcoming entrance into Peru.

Mobile media in Monterrey; the right place at the right time

Working in Mexico for Naranya, this intern has helped develop a new business and marketing strategy for the Latin American ecosystem, fully immersing himself in the entrepreneurial atmosphere of the city.

In Egypt, change is in the air

From his first journey through the now-famous Tahrir Square to his work with Hindawi on a project calculating top bloggers for uFollow, a type of RSS compiler, this intern has had an unforgettable experience in Cairo.

A Brazilian adventure filled with strategy, futebol and broken Portuguese

When he hasn’t been going to futebol games, exploring Brazil, learning Portuguese, or indulging in Brazilian cuisine, this eMBA has worked with the leadership of Arizona to draft long-term strategies for growth.

A test of will power in the struggle to break down barriers in South Africa

Despite a retail market that caters to international behemoths, this eMBA is optimistic about the future of an African fashion brand as she works to develop its first e-commerce platform.

A summer spent selling ads to car dealers and jump-starting a personal journey

Interning in Brazil has allowed this eMBA not only to brush up on his Portuguese, but also to confirm his desire to work abroad and start his own company.

A lesson in scaling businesses and mountains in Monterrey

This eMBA’s internship experience has challenged her mentally and physically, from conducting business meetings in Spanish to climbing el Cañón de la Huasteca.

A taste for coffee and creative growth, Chilean-style

At Sirve, the top seismic engineering company in Chile, this eMBA has savored the local coffee and chocolate and the opportunity to become a part of a talented and open-minded management team.

Explosive IT growth, exuberant dancing and a steak that will make you cry in Bogotá

This eMBA arrived to a brand new office an apartment stocked with food.  Since then, he has worked on an passionately on expansion plan
to Mexico and Brazil while still making time to see the sights and eat some truly amazing steak.

A quest to improving online tourism options in Argentina

This eMBA has learned a great deal about the Latin American tourism industry while strategizing about how to consolidate its offerings online and touring the barrios of Buenos Aires, himself.

Spontaneity and new marketing frontiers in sunny Silicon Valley

This eMBA is putting his marketing knowledge to the test for a South African Endeavor Entrepreneur in the world-renowned, dynamic start-up environment of Silicon Valley.

Leveraging private sector efficiency to improve education for disadvantaged groups in Mexico

Mutu Vengesayi is an MBA candidate at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Enova. Hear about her experiences incorporating technology in the classroom.

Enjoying spontaneity and discovering new marketing frontiers in sunny Silicon Valley

Dhiraj Sehgal is an MBA candidate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham’s new venture, Gyft, located in the heart of the tech industry.

Marcos Galperin and Reid Hoffman speak on CNBC about entrepreneurship, Endeavor

Earlier this year, Endeavor Entrepreneur Marcos Galperin was named the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year from Argentina, while Endeavor board member Reid Hoffman was the winner from the United States. The following are excerpts from their interviews on CBNC at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Monaco Forum.

Interviewer: How are you helping to make an entrepreneurial spirit in your community?

Marcos Galperin: I’m helping create and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in Latin America by participating in all sorts of activities where we foster entrepreneurship. I’m a board member of Endeavor in Argentina, I’m a big donor of Endeavor, and we support and help high impact entrepreneurs in Argentina and in the region. I’m constantly mentoring and helping entrepreneurs access investors in Latin America and in the United States, and I’m very active in this area.

Reid Hoffman: There have been two themes to how I choose non-profit organizations. One is entrepreneurship, which is entrepreneurship in terms of how do we change societies—this is Endeavor and Kiva and Startup America—and the other one is the use of the consumer internet. So, for example, DoSomething, which enables every teen to be a philanthropic agent. And both of these get to confounding scale and have the same impact on the world, that what I do as an entrepreneur, with LinkedIn, has. The U.S. has a great history of entrepreneurship, but now in kind of the modern, kind of globalized times, it’s more important than ever. So, with the combination of Startup America, which helps entrepreneurs in each of the fifty states; Kiva, which helps micro-entrepreneurs; and Endeavor, which helps high-impact entrepreneurs around the world; each of these organizations helps grow and foster both entrepreneurial culture and the network of essential people that make entrepreneurial companies go. Customers, advisors, investors; all these sorts of things all come down to networks, and so you grow the network.

You’ve secured your first corporate pitch. Now what?

Reprinted from Under30CEO. Original article here.

By Josh Ferris. Ferris is an interactive marketer with a background in real estate and web technology. Find Josh on Twitter at @joshferris.

—–

Corporations can be scary. First, they’re described as ‘entities’, which just sounds monolithic and unfriendly. The truth is, corporations need your innovation now more than ever and most would be happy to talk with you about ways that you can grow their business.

Step 1: Get your foot in the door. What do you do next?

Know Their Dress Code

Before you go to your first pitch, start by finding out what the company culture is like. Are they business casual, conservative suit and tie or do they wear t-shirts every day? The first impression a corporate client will have of your business is the way you dress to represent it.

If they’re suit and tie and you show up with messed hair and a t-shirt, what does that say about your business? Further, what does that say to your prospective client about how you feel about THEIR business? It’s all in the details. When in doubt, go business casual.

Bring Everything You Need To Make Your Presentation Anywhere

This might seem obvious but don’t assume that your potential customer has the technology you need to effectively communicate your ideas and value in their conference rooms. What if a promised conference room is unavailable and you need to have a meeting by a blank wall in the cafeteria?

You could bring paper copies of your presentation but then you’re butchering trees for no reason. Instead, consider bringing an iPad or a portable projector that you can use to convey your points no matter where you are.

Prepare To Answer Tough Questions About Funding And Vision

Corporations are scoping out ways to lower in-house costs by outsourcing specific needs to entrepreneurs like you but they’re careful about who holds the keys to their castle. If they don’t see the deal being valuable for them over the long term or if they don’t think you’ll make it to next year, they will be hesitant to do business with you.

Alleviate this concern by being open about funding, what your goals are and how you see your product evolving over the next two years. Most companies are willing to give you a chance but they want reassurance that they’re making the right decision by seeing that you have all your ducks in a row.

Consider Alternative Licensing Models

This affects each industry differently but you should have an open mind to more than one licensing option for your product. Cost per user, per month seems to be a popular tech business model these days but it shouldn’t be your only model.

Imagine if a corporate customer wants to work with five startups that all have different values and services. If all five are on a $5 cost per user, per month business model and the company has 1,000 employees, it’ll cost them $25,000 per month or $300,000 per year to use all five services. That’s no drop in a bucket.

Taking it a step further, startups are getting better and better at tailoring their products to a niche. As this continues, the competition to become the next “$5 per user, per month” company grows significantly.

Explore alternative models like one-time cost licenses or an annual tick up (clearly outlined for your customer) of cost per user, per month, as you add more features.

Companies are receptive to the idea of “test driving” a service at a lower cost and you’ll get the benefit of that customer’s feedback as you build your product.

Be Receptive To Feedback And Changes

Your product is your baby. You probably couldn’t quantify the number of hours you’ve slogged through code, networking events and the like just to get your foot in the door.

Still, in the end, no product is flawless and you should be open to feedback and suggestions. You might find tailoring a product to a particular customer opens your business up to servicing their competitors as well.

Stay In Touch

Lastly, stay in touch. Most corporations don’t turn on a dime and decisions aren’t made overnight. Not even over two weeks or two months.

Look at it like this: if they operate on quarters (Q1-Q4), you have four opportunities to reengage them about your product each year. Use the time wisely and share new updates and enhancements you think they would like. Ask for feedback on ways to improve what you have.

Above all, start by building a relationship and then keep it going. Even if you don’t get their business, they might refer you to someone that does become a customer.

Mexico’s growth will come from entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises

Reprinted from innovations (volume 7, number 1) – MIT Press Journals. Original abstract page here and article here.

Text based on the presentation, “A Unique Approach to Measure How High Impact Entrepreneurs and Venture Capital are Key Drivers for Long-Term Economic Growth.” Fernando Fabre, Endeavor Global.

By Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui

For a country to grow, private-sector companies have to grow. Since 1993, revenues of the companies that comprise Mexico’s Stock Market Index (Índice de Precios y Cotizaciones of the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores) have experienced a compounded annual growth rath (CAGR) in dollar terms of 14 percent. Comparatively, the CAGR over the same period in revenues of the companies that make up the Bovespa Index (Brazil’s stock exchange index) has been 2 percent.

Yet over the same time period, Mexico has experienced a mediocre growth in relationship to peer countries. Mexico’s nominal GDP CAGR since 1993 has been 5 percent, versus 9 percent for Brazil. This means Brazil has growth a rate 1.8x faster than Mexico’s. It’s because of this disparity that a recent survey of the top 92 business leaders in Mexico, done in anticipation of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, found that “the topic at the top of the minds of most Mexican executives is economic growth.”

Why has Brazil’s GDP grown 1.8x faster than Mexico’s if Mexico’s largest companies have grown 7x faster than Brazil’s? The answer is entrepreneurship and the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Large companies in Mexico have in fact shown dynamic growth; however, that has not translated into a higher GDP because these companies have not increased the size of the pie; they have, rather, captured a greater piece of the existing pie. Moreover, the largest companies have achieved their growth primarily through expansion with foreign market operations, which does not contribute to the growth of Mexico’s GDP.

Given that the growth of Mexico’s largest enterprises does not raise its GDP, the country is left with two main options: to create more microenterprises, or to increase the growth of its SMEs.

Achieving one percentage point growth in the GDP by creating new microenterprises would mean adding 273,000 such companies. To achieve the same result through the growth of SMEs, 105 midsize companies would have to grow from medium to large. Therefore, from a public policy perspective, it is most efficient to focus on SMEs to raise the GDP.

I am not arguing that Mexico should abandon its programs to facilitate the creation of microenterprises. However, it is important to recognize that these efforts will primarily address issues of social inclusion, which is very necessary but will not result in the short- or medium-term growth of Mexico’s economy.

(more…)

eMBA field report: a Brazilian adventure filled with strategy, futebol and broken Portuguese

Uday Tumuluri is an eMBA student at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur Guilherme Bruno at Arizona through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

As I stepped out of the Guarulhos airport and looked at the surroundings, a thought began to take shape in my mind. When I rode through the infamous Sao Paulo traffic in the taxi it became clearer: on appearance, Sao Paulo is just like Mumbai or New York, a massive city full of traffic; huge, elegant buildings and depleting infrastructure alike; and most importantly, a busy city. On my first day at work, I was overwhelmed by the friendly and welcoming nature of the employees of Arizona and in the next few weeks I realize that this is a trait of all Brazilian people – to be friendly, warm and welcoming. I knew Brazil loved its futebol and on my second day I got a taste of the passion as I watched, amongst fans, two rival teams battle out a cup semi-final and slept to the sound of fireworks across this city.

My project thus far at Arizona has been more than I could have asked for. I am currently working with the company’s leadership to draft a long-term strategy for growth in Brazil’s rapidly growing economy. Arizona is a leader in pre-media services (i.e. finalization and proofing done on advertising media before it is published) and has created technology tools that are being used by top agencies and companies in Brazil to manage their media assets. In the past year, Arizona has taken the shape of a technology company while remaining hungry for growth.

My project took shape in an interesting manner, which indicates the flexibility one can have as an eMBA Summer Associate. It started with a plan to start a new consultancy service for clients, but in speaking with the leadership, we soon realized that the need of the hour is a long-term strategic plan. This is where I come in: to identify market opportunities for growth in-line with Arizona’s vision to be the leading marketing services company.

My stint at Arizona has been very rewarding not least due to the amazing camaraderie and the belief bestowed upon me by the leadership at Arizona. The Endeavor Entrepreneurs, namely Guilherme Bruno, Alexandre Hadade, and Marcus Hadade, are people who passionately care about Arizona and work tirelessly to strengthen the company and take it to new heights. Patricia Osorio, who heads Marketing and Innovation at Arizona, is a fantastic person to work with on a daily basis because she ensures that I have all the resources and help I need to succeed at Arizona and in Brazil. The fast pace and continuous idea generation at Arizona and can seem disorganized to some. For me, however, it is a wonderful challenge to work on as I try to channel these ideas towards my project objectives. I am midway through my internship and I am enthused about the possibility of making a significant impact on Arizona’s future strategy in the coming weeks.

I cannot possibly end this blog without mentioning that I have been exploring Brazil. Rio de Janerio is truly a paradise and the most beautiful city I have seen. The food in Brazil is rich in variety with its feijoada, solgados and yes, the acai. I speak broken Portuguese, but I am amazed at how patient people are and willing to help me. Already, I can clearly state that these weeks are taking the shape of an unforgettable life experience as I look forward to more exciting work and travel. Muito Obrigado Endeavor, Arizona e no Brasil!

Endeavor network member shares thoughts on Investor Network event in London

Reprinted from Ahmad Takatkah’s blog. Original post here.

On my way to San Francisco to join Kauffman Fellows Program, I stopped in London as I was invited to become a member of Endeavor Global Investor Network, and participate in both: a round table discussion about the VC industry in the MENA Region, and in several speed dating sessions with global Endeavor Entrepreneurs to mentor and advise. The Investor Network event was held immediately following Endeavor’s International Selection Panel in London.

There were startups from: Brazil, Argentina, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, South Africa, and Indonesia. While investors were from USA, UK, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Argentina, Morocco, Saudi, and Jordan.

From Jordan, there were only two investment firms participating: Oasis500 for Seed Stage, and Sinbad Ventures for Early Stage, while from Saudi there was a representative from Abraaj-KSA for High Growth and Late Stage investments.

The round table discussion was really great, the speakers gave insights about the VC and PE industries in the emerging markets they come from. Some of the investors shared with us their success and failure stories. I learned a lot.

Regarding the mentorship, actually this was not my first time to mentor global entrepreneurs. At SeedStartup, the seed accelerator of Dubai, I mentored entrepreneurs from Italy, UK, and even from Tanzania. The new thing about this experience is having growth stage global entrepreneurs not only seed/early stage ones. Mentorship is a two way learning experience, and I have to admit that I have learned new things from the high growth entrepreneurs I met — especially from Lebanon and Turkey. So I guess this is one more step towards becoming a global VC.

During this week, a few more startups were selected to join the Endeavor network as well. And I am happy for all of the Jordanian and Arab entrepreneurs who were selected this time: Curlstone, Altibbi, At7addak, and ElementN. Congratulations guys, you deserve it.

“The struggle”: words of advice on entrepreneurship’s “dark side”

Reprinted from Ben’s blog. See original article here.

By Ben Horowitz, cofounder and General Partner of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz 

Don’t admit that your faith is weak
Don’t say that you feel like dying
Life’s hard then it feels like diamonds
Your home’s just far too gone
Much too late to even feel like trying
Can’t understand what I’m saying
Can’t figure out what I’m implying
If you feel you don’t wanna be alive
You feel just how I am
— Lupe Fiasco, “Beautiful Lasers”

Every entrepreneur starts her company with a clear vision for success. You will create an amazing environment and hire the smartest people to join you. Together you will build a beautiful product that delights customers and makes the world just a little bit better. It’s going to be absolutely awesome.

Then, after working night and day to make your vision reality, you wake up to find that things did not go as planned. Your company did not unfold like the Jack Dorsey keynote that you listened to when you started. Your product has issues that will be very hard to fix. The market isn’t quite where it was supposed to be. Your employees are losing confidence and some of them have quit. Some of the ones that quit were quite smart and have the remaining ones wondering if staying makes sense. You are running low on cash and your venture capitalist tells you that it will be difficult to raise money given the impending European catastrophe. You lose a competitive battle. You lose a loyal customer. You lose a great employee. The walls start closing in. Where did you go wrong? Why didn’t your company perform as envisioned? Are you good enough to do this? As your dreams turn into nightmares, you find yourself in The Struggle.

About The Struggle

“Life is struggle.” –Karl Marx

The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place.

The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer.

The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right.

The Struggle is when food loses its taste.

The Struggle is when you don’t believe you should be CEO of your company. The Struggle is when you know that you are in over your head and you know that you cannot be replaced. The Struggle is when everybody thinks you are an idiot, but nobody will fire you. The Struggle is where self-doubt becomes self-hatred.

The Struggle is when you are having a conversation with someone and you can’t hear a word that they are saying because all you can hear is The Struggle.

The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness.

The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse.

The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy.

The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. The Struggle is where your guts boil so much that you feel like you are going to spit blood.

The Struggle is not failure, but it causes failure. Especially if you are weak. Always if you are weak.

Most people are not strong enough.

Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through The Struggle and struggle they did, so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is The Struggle.

The Struggle is where greatness comes from.

Some stuff that may or may not help

There is no answer to The Struggle, but here are some things that helped me:

Don’t put it all on your shoulders – It is easy to think that the things that bother you will upset your people more. That’s not true. The opposite is true. Nobody takes the losses harder than the person most responsible. Nobody feels it more than you. You won’t be able to share every burden, but share every burden that you can. Get the maximum number of brains on the problems even if the problems represent existential threats. When I ran Opsware and we were losing too many competitive deals, I called an all-hands and told the whole company that we were getting our asses kicked, and if we didn’t stop the bleeding, we were going to die. Nobody blinked. The team rallied, built a winning product and saved my sorry ass.

This is not checkers; this is mutherfuckin’ chess – Technology businesses tend to be extremely complex. The underlying technology moves, the competition moves, the market moves, the people move. As a result, like playing three-dimensional chess on Star Trek, there is always a move. You think you have no moves? How about taking your company public with $2M in trailing revenue and 340 employees, with a plan to do $75M in revenue the next year? I made that move. I made it in 2001, widely regarded as the worst time ever for a technology company to go public. I made it with six weeks of cash left. There is always a move.

Focus on the road – When they teach you how to drive a racecar, they tell you to focus on the road when you go around a turn. They tell you that because if you focus on the wall, then you will drive straight into the wall. If you focus on how you might fail, then you will fail. Even if you only have one bullet left in the gun and you have to hit the target, focus on the target. You might not hit it, but you definitely won’t hit if you focus on other things.

Play long enough and you might get lucky – In the technology game, tomorrow looks nothing like today. If you survive long enough to see tomorrow, it may bring you the answer that seems so impossible today.

  • Don’t take it personally – The predicament that you are in is probably all your fault. You hired the people. You made the decisions. But you knew the job was dangerous when you took it. Everybody makes mistakes. Every CEO makes thousands of mistakes. Evaluating yourself and giving yourself an “F” doesn’t help.
  • Remember that this is what separates the women from the girls. If you want to be great, this is the challenge. If you don’t want to be great, then you never should have started a company.

The end

When you are in The Struggle, nothing is easy and nothing feels right. You have dropped into the abyss and you may never get out. In my own experience, but for some unexpected luck and help, I would have been lost.

So to all of you in it, may you find strength and may you find peace.

 

Contact us

Press center

Community

Newsletter Sign Up