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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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Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board Member Wences Casares’ LemonWallet Aquired by LifeLock

Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board Member Wences Casares‘ most recent venture, LemonWallet, recently announced its $50 million acquisition by LifeLock, a U.S.-based identity theft protection company. As one of the first entrepreneurs selected by Endeavor, Wences […]

December 18th, 2013 — by admin

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Endeavor Entrepreneur company Top Systems joins the Stefanini group

Since 1987, Top Systems has been creating innovative technology solutions that are critical elements of their clients’ strategy and business. A wide range of the most prestigious financial institutions in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe have placed their trust in Top Systems. The company’s founder, Álvaro Domínguez, has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 2003.

The following is a press release from the company, which can also be found here.

TOP SYSTEMS has joined the STEFANINI group, one of the most important global providers of technology solutions for the world market.

Stefanini is a Brazilian multinational with 25 years of experience, present in 29 countries, and with 71 offices distributed in 66 cities; it has in its financial sector one of its main lines of action.

This fusion establishes a perfect combination of businesses, because it adds the strength and experience of both the enterprises with a solid presence in the financial area and widens the offer for this market of innovative solutions which complement one another.

Nowadays, Stefanini has a portfolio of more than 400 active customers, many of them among the most important Brazilian businesses, like Petrobras, Telefonica, Bradesco, General Electric, Caterpilar, Gerdau, Unilever, and Pan de Azucar. It also serves 32 global accounts including Coca-Cola, Dell, Ford, Alcoba, Motorola, and Johnson & Johnson.

TOP SYSTEMS joins the multinational team with its solutions TOPAZ for the comprehensive management of financial institutions and their deep knowledge of the business. The system TOPAZ has been implemented in more than 60 clients around 29 countries and has been highlighted by the consultants Forrester and Celent in their prestigious annual reports.

TOP SYSTEMS and STEFANINI are certain that technology helps to break down barriers. Day to day new solutions arise, and their correct application ensures the growth of businesses. Together, both companies join forces to win the greater share of the market, providing complete solutions for the financial sector.

Endeavor Entrepreneur company Bodytech receives investment of $40 million to continue expansion

Company press release

Through a strategic alliance with Teka Capital, Bodytech continues its consolidation as the leader of gyms in Latin America

In April 2012, Bodytech announced a strategic partnership with Teka Capital, which will be giving the leading health club sports in Latin America a capital injection of $40 million to fund expansion to Latin American markets like Brazil, Mexico, and Chile.

For [Endeavor Entrepreneur] Nicolás Loaiza, Co-Founder and President of Bodytech, the signing of this agreement signals the successful advancement of negotiations with Teka Capital, one of the most important and well-known private equity funds in the country which takes a chance on medium sized companies in Colombia and the region.

Currently, the health sports club Bodytech offers its services in 41 gyms throughout 11 cities in Colombia, 5 gyms through 3 cities in Peru, and 38 gyms in Chile through its recent partnership with Sportlife Chile. Bodytech is the leading line of fitness centers in Latin America according to IHRSA, the World Association of Health Clubs, and is the 25th most valuable brand in Colombia according to Compass Branding.

The private equity fund Teka Capital currently manages $148 million, including funding from local and foreign investors. Bodytech is the second Colombian company in which the fund has invested, following investment in a well-known Colombia apparel company. Diego Cordoba and Juan Antonio Pungiluppi from Teka Capital both worked at Valorem, an investment holding of the Santodomingo family in Colombia, where they managed investments in companies in more than ten different industries and oversaw assets of $3 billion in acquisitions of companies like Cine Colombia and TV Cable and in the sale of companies like Propilco, Serdan, Sofasa, Finca, Aluminio Reynolds, and BellSouth.

Video: Ernst & Young fellows assist Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Mexico City

Through the Americas Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program, Ernst & Young sends talented managers each summer to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs. In this new video, the four 2011 Corporate Responsibility Fellows who were assisting entrepreneurs in Mexico City share their experiences with the program. To view the video, CLICK HERE.

Since 2005, more than 55 Ernst & Young professionals from across the Americas, at or above the manager level, have contributed their skills to promising High-Impact Entrepreneurs as Corporate Responsibility Fellows.

Fast Company on Endeavor: “The Case for High-Impact Entrepreneurs”

Reprinted from Fast Company (Co.Exist). Original article here.

By Ariel Schwartz

Most of the time we talk about supporting small business entrepreneurs in the developing world, but what if supporting companies with dreams to be the next Apple or Facebook would have a larger effect on the economy?

In the U.S., land of kids who dream up clever tech ideas in dorm rooms and launch multi-million-dollar startups in their 20s, it’s a no-brainer to attempt to become a “high-impact entrepreneur” who creates companies that have a major impact on wealth and job creation. That’s not the case in many other countries, where people don’t dare to dream of opening anything but a mom-and-pop shop. “If you go to Mexico, Turkey, Jordan, Brazil, and tell them that high-impact entrepreneurs have the power for transformation, if people don’t laugh at you, they don’t believe what you’re telling them,” says Fernando Fabre, president of Endeavor, an organization that selects, mentors, and accelerates those same high-impact entrepreneurs in countries around the world.

In an attempt to prove that high-impact entrepreneurship makes a difference, Endeavor teamed up with SAP to create an Impact Dashboard that shows the financial, employment, and social impact of entrepreneurs that work with Endeavor compared to small to mid-sized businesses around the world. The result: Endeavor’s hundred of entrepreneurial companies grew 5.4 times faster in jobs and 2.4 times faster in revenue than comparable companies. In Brazil alone, employees who work in Endeavor-supported companies have double the income of employees in World Bank companies, and 10 times as much access to private health care versus the national average.

Most of the public policy in countries like Mexico and Brazil, says Fabre, is about supporting microbusinesses or small businesses. “What we’re trying to prove with tools like this is that you modify slightly public policy to support high-impact entrepreneurs, and it has a greater impact,” he says. Those small businesses you see on Kiva have their place, in other words, but visionary entrepreneurs with big dreams also need to be front and center. Because as the Impact Dashboard notes, the need for jobs worldwide grew in 2011 to over 200 million people while global GDP growth declined. High-impact entrepreneurs will create those jobs.

Fabre cites a handful of Endeavor companies that exemplify the kind of entrepreneurship that the organization wants to nourish. Café Punta del Cielo, a Mexican coffee chain that Fabre calls “the Starbucks of Mexico,” started just six years ago. Today, the chain has 1,021 employees and 14 retail stores. Globant, an Argentinian software development company formed in 2003, now has over 2,000 employees and is one of the fastest growing companies in Latin America of its kind.

The dashboard is a self-promotional play for Endeavor, of course, but it does make a compelling larger point: We have to support high-impact entrepreneurs just as much as small businesses. Next, SAP plans to take Endeavor’s data to look into the future. Says Brittany Lothe, SAP’s head of corporate social responsibility: “If the Endeavor entrepreneurs are performing at these rates, what would happen with greater investments, and what could that mean for job growth, and revenue growth?”

4 ways to bring fresh insight to your business

Reprinted from wamda.com. See the original article here

by Oubai Elkerdi

Did you know that marketing directors at Google use physics to explain the fundamental theories of branding? That astronomers use software developed by doctors for brain imagery to study the explosion of supernovas? And who would have guessed that the design of one of the fastest trains in the world had been inspired by nature?

In the late 1980’s, Japanese engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu studied the splashless water entry of kingfishers and the noise-reduction property of owl wings, and applied this knowledge in the design of the Shinkansen train. The new biomimetic design was not only 10% faster than previous models, it also consumed 15% less electricity and produced much less noise (residents near the tracks were delighted!).

One of the most prominent characteristics of innovators is a discovery-driven spirit that is constantly scrutinizing the world for new ideas. Many people think breakthrough innovations are the result of isolated, sophisticated thinking and research, but this is rarely the case.

History’s leading innovators and creative minds have always researched outside of the lab. When design firm IDEO was asked to renovate the computer science building at the University of California, what the faculty staff had in mind were high-tech classrooms and laboratories, futuristic fanciness and whatnot.

“When we looked at the way learning was happening we found that a good deal of it took place in the hallways, in between spaces, not in the classrooms at all” explains IDEO creative director Jane Fulton-Suri. This observation led to an entirely different model of the new buildings. Rather than focusing solely on classrooms and laboratories, more emphasis was put on circulation spaces to further encourage impromptu gatherings and collaborative learning.

This human-centered approach dates back to the rule of Umar ibn al-Khatab when he noticed that people engaged in a lot of chit-chat and arguments in the mosque. Instead of suppressing the chatter altogether, he provided people with an alternative by designating a space for discussion – just outside the mosque – known as al butayha’.

Innovation also happens when seemingly unrelated ideas and concepts are juxtaposed. When Digital Domain started working on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, they realized there was “a giant chasm” between the technology of the day and where they needed it to be to achieve high-resolution computer-generated facial expressions. So the producers started looking in other fields and combined findings from medical imaging technology, the games industry, and psychology.

This peripheral vision was crucial to the success of Digital Domain. Had they not observed and borrowed ideas from neighbouring disciplines, they may never have been able to produce such high quality production and transcend the limits of technology.

Sustainable and elegant solutions are more likely to emerge when problem-solvers leave their ivory towers and watch people in their natural habitats, collaborate across disciplines or simply examine nature. “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

Here are few tips that you can apply to turn observation into a natural practice in your organization:

    Train your eye to pick up solutions for the problems you’re trying to solve. To master this skill you must really cultivate your mind and inform yourself. One of Fadi Ghandour’s rules for being an entrepreneur is “Listen. An entrepreneur has to have the ability to listen more than he talks. Across industries as well.” Make sure you thoroughly examine other disciplines and industries, get ideas from insightful platforms (TEDStumbleUpon, etc.), and talk to all kinds of experts. Take regular walks in urban and natural environments, and read a lot – it’ll expand your horizons.

    Hire “anthropologists”. If you want fresh and insightful observations, you have to dedicate a few members of your team to camp out in schools, hospitals, malls, and bookstores, and watch how people behave in different environments and with various objects. Look for the subtleties and pay attention to details. How can you make their experience more pleasant? Anthropologists help your organization “develop a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces,” to quote Tom Kelly of IDEO.

    Hire cross-pollinators. While anthropologists bring depth of understanding, cross-pollinators enjoy a breadth of knowledge in many fields. Cross-pollinators help tackle issues from different perspectives and specialize in finding solutions in other industries. Let cross-pollinators in your organization give weekly one-hour presentations of “what’s out there.” This will help your team switch cognitive gears and approach problems from a new angle. Cross-pollinators open windows to the world outside the four walls of your organization. Stephen Johnson’s motto is: “Chance favours the connected mind.”

    Document everything. Keep a database of all your personal and collective discoveries, and visit your entries every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be all text; you can arm your anthropologists with video cameras and label the recordings for future reference. Find the easiest way to store and organize the knowledge you collect in a way that suits your organization – you may want to hire a curator.

To conclude, I’d like to quote Tom Kelly again (because he’s awesome): “People who adopt the learning roles are humble enough to question their own worldview, and in doing so they remain open to new insights every day.”

Oubai is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at McGill University. He is interested in crowd-driven innovation and multidisciplinary collaborations. His main passion is human-design interaction and the role design plays in shaping society and culture. Oubai is also the cofounder of theArab Development Initiative. You can reach him @obeikurdy.

After inclusion in Facebook App Center, Endeavor Entrepreneur firm ZunguZ plans for 15 million users by 2015

Endeavor Entrepreneurs Lance Fanaroff and Robert Sussman, who developed South African tech firm Integr8, have recently gained attention with the integration of their ZunguZ platform into the Facebook App Centre. As reprinted from ITWeb, ZunguZ is looking forward to a bright future…

ZunguZ, a locally developed platform that facilitates micro-payments between users on social networks, claims it will dislodge the world’s top online payment platforms – such as M-Pesa, Google Wallet, PayPal Wallet, Facebook Credits, and Square – in Africa.

Speaking to ITWeb, Robert Sussman, one of the co-founders of ZunguZ, said, judging from the growth rate, the platform is expected to reach 15 million active users by 2015.

The ZunguZ application facilitates money transfers between Facebook friends using the sender’s existing bank account. The receiver can access the money by activating the ZunguZ application and then getting the cash from any of SA’s big four banks, provided they have an account there.

The company says it aims to take advantage of an estimated 38 million people who use Facebook in Africa to dislodge the traditional payment platforms on the continent. Although the number represents only 6.2% of the global Facebook population, ZunguZ founders say they do not expect major competition from mobile and online payments platforms.

Sussman says ZunguZ has an edge over the other payment platforms because it is integrated into the social graph.
“One of our biggest advantages is the intelligence of the users that we obtain from Facebook. We already have their information, so it will also be easier to get to know their needs; for example, if one is having a birthday,” he says.

“[Comparing] ZunguZ to current payment services is like comparing Facebook to e-mail. They are both connectivity tools, but the one is built with people at the centre and, therefore, understands its user base. ZunguZ is not a payment platform at its core. It is the intelligence layer where ZunguZ is completely different, in that it is built with people at the centre,” Sussman adds.

Another draw card for ZunguZ, he adds, is the Z-button, a customisable payment request button that users can build and instantly publish to their Facebook walls.

“This feature is meant for micro-payments only, as these are amounts that a user would feel comfortable asking others to match or give. At no point does ZunguZ come into direct contact with monies; it simply facilitates the payment for the users.”

The Z-button feature also allows users to track the progress of payments to control and regulate what is paid by whom and when, he explains.

Sussman also points to numerous cases around the world of banks looking to invest in credible online payment platforms that enable consumers to benefit from conducting banking services via social networks.

One of these examples, he explains, is the ICICI Bank, reportedly the largest private bank in India. “The business has developed an application that enables customers to use their Facebook accounts to initiate a number of services. These include checking account balances, soliciting statements and upgrading cards.”

Meanwhile, the number of people using M-Pesa, which turned five in March this year, has risen from 19 671 in 2007 to 15 million today. On the other hand, as of 2011, PayPal had more than 350 million users worldwide with revenue of $4.4 billion.

eMBA field report: promoting health in the Mexican sun

Maria Fernanda Brockman at Alivio Capital

Maria Fernanda Brockman is an MBA Candidate, class of 2013 at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. She is interning with Alivio Capital, a sister company of Imagen Dental, through the Endeavor eMBA Program.

I have been in Monterrey, Mexico for three weeks. The city is beautiful, surrounded by mountains, and there are a lot of things to do. If you want to feel the summer sun, this is the place to visit. It’s 40°C every day.

I am working with Endeavor Entrepreneur Patricio Villarreal at Alivio Capital, a financial Institution that grants credit for healthcare services. The company is in a stage where it has enormous potential for growth and expansion. I was brought in to create a commercial strategy and position the brand nationally.

My first step was to get to know the company, the culture and the customers. Alivio Capital is in the service industry, so having a satisfied, happy customer is the number one priority. I started by studying the customer, understanding the characteristics and preferences that define our clients. After that, I started speaking with the management team to understand the company’s culture, products and day-to-day operations.

Now, I know what the customer wants, the company’s potential for growth and where to focus its efforts to position the Alivio Capital as the #1 option for healthcare financing. Working here has been a great experience, so far, and I believe every day will get better.

eMBA field report: financial savvy and pisco sours in Santiago

eMBAs Suzanne Schumer & Mariana Torres at Cajon de Maipo

Suzanne Schumer graduated The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in May 2012 with an MBA focused on finance and marketing strategy. She is working as an intern for ForexChile in Chile as a part of the Endeavor eMBA Program.

It was early on a Sunday morning in the middle of holiday weekend when I arrived in Santiago. To me, it seemed like all of Las Condes had left for the weekend to celebrate Día de las Glorias Navales. As I explored the city on that first day, I was struck by Santiago’s quiet beauty.

The peacefulness of my walk was a stark contrast to the energy within my office. In Santiago, an excited team of financial analysts and sales executives kept the pulse of an ‘off-Wall Street’ Wall Street throughout the workday. This New York replica made me feel almost like I was back at home.

This summer, I was hired as the Executive Director of International Expansion for ForexChile, an online brokerage firm that enables customers to transact a variety of securities (including stocks, commodities, foreign currency pairs, etc.) without the need for an investment professional. The operation is run by ambitious executives who are looking to expand rapidly throughout Latin America. My job is to design the business plan, focusing on sales and marketing, for ForexChile’s entrance into Peru. I am currently three weeks into my internship and deep into analytics.

For me, one of the best aspects of the job has been the multi-country experience. I have already visited both the Santiago and Lima offices, and plan to make a few more trips back and forth in the coming months. These trips are not only exciting but essential to my understanding of the different markets and key success drivers for the business.

In addition, I have made the most of my weekends outside of work. Not yet fluent in Spanish, I have had a few adventures navigating the cities’ bus and subway systems, venturing into neighboring towns and nature preserves, joining with kind strangers on bike tours of vineyards, attending music performances at museums, and trying at least one pisco sour in both cities. (The jury is still out on whether pisco is better in Chile or Peru.) Looking ahead, I can’t imagine returning to the US without my all-too-frequent empanada pino (from Santiago) or my “What cuisine should I try today?” mentality (from Lima).

Endeavor Entrepreneurs at ForexChile:

Erwin Andia

Cristóbal Forno

Nicolás Gallardo

Andrés Rojas

Suzanne Schumer at a Chilean vineyard with a fellow bike tourist

Reid Hoffman delivers commencement remarks about entrepreneurship at Babson College [transcript and video]

The following transcript is reprinted from Babson College, where Endeavor Board member Reid Hoffman, co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, delivered a commencement address for the Class of 2012. In it, he discusses the importance of entrepreneurship in today’s society and the merit of “build[ing] your network and always think[ing] in networks.”

 

I recently co-authored a book called The Start-up of You. I know that you all know this, because in honor and respect of your achievement of graduating today, I have gifted a copy to each of you. In it, I began with a quote from Mohammed Yunus. I will begin today with the same quotation:

“All Humans were born entrepreneurs. In the caves, we were all self-employed. Finding food, feeding ourselves. That is how human history began. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became “labor” because they stamped us “You are labor.”

I begin with this quotation because entrepreneurs are important. Here in the U.S., we have always known this because we have an entrepreneurial nation.

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Endeavor June 2012 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s June newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

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