High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Argentina’s 2015 Experiencia Brings Together 2,000+ Participants to Celebrate High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Endeavor Argentina hosted its 2015 Endeavor Experiencia this June. The event, which took place in Buenos Aires, was designed to promote networking between entrepreneurs and potential investors as well as celebrate the work of Endeavor in the region. It […]

June 29th, 2015 — by admin

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Endeavor Catalyst Participates in Recent Funding Round for Uruguay’s Scanntech

Endeavor Catalyst recently joined the funding round for Uruguay’s Scanntech, a leading technology platform that connects retailers in emerging markets to consumer products companies, financial institutions and more. Marking Endeavor Catalyst’s seventeenth investment, the Scanntech […]

September 30th, 2014 — by admin

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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.

Hire today or gone tomorrow: How your startup is getting lapped by companies who know how to hire

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

By Charlie O’Donnell.

There will always be an excess of bad ideas and dumb money in the market–so we’ll always be complaining about a lack of talent, no matter how many developers there are.

Still, I contend that most companies have no idea how to hire, and in the last week, my theory got proved to me several times over.

In February, I got contacted by a former management consultant who was now working in an operations role for a high profile startup.  He was ready for his next big thing and offered to help me out with the fund.  I wasn’t hiring, but I agreed to meet him due to his generous offer.  We met up and I was super impressed.  In March, I introduced him to two startups that needed some operations help.

The first company responded right away, but offered to meet the candidate ten days later.  Four weeks went by and the other company still hadn’t responded at all–not until I nudged them.

Luckily, he wasn’t in that much of a rush, so the timing still worked out for meetings.  Both companies were impressed and one wanted to make an offer.  The other one didn’t really follow up at all, and I got a note from the candidate:

“btw, any idea what could have happened on the [Company #2] front?  I thought the entire process went as well as it possibly could and I even walked out of there (after meeting [the founder] and the entire team in two sessions) w/ what I thought was a soft offer.  and then radio silence.  I’ve followed up as non-annoyingly as possible via email but I don’t want to be pushy.  any thoughts?”

And the company that wanted to make an offer to him?  He sent me this note about the founder:

“have you heard anything from him?  I thought the conversation last monday went well but I’d love to hear more about what he specifically needs/is looking for.  he seems to be a hard guy to pin down.”

So I ping the founder and they have another meeting.  The candidate was psyched:

Hey there, I had a great convo w/ [the founder] this morning.  I may have finally met someone who has the same (possibly more, though I find it hard to believe now that I’m writing it down) amount of energy that I do.

Still no offer, though.  Another two weeks go by.  By then, the market catches on that he’s looking, and another startup, one that was bigger and more mature, starts the recruiting machine.  The candidate meets the team first thing in the morning one day, has four interviews with the right folks, and gets an offer literally at the end of the day.  He was overwhelmed by their interest after getting the runaround from the other companies over weeks, if not months, and chose to accept.


Endeavor Entrepreneur Laith Zraikat (from Jordanian tech firm Jeeran) ventures into product reviews

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Nina Curley. This article focused on Laith Zraikat, who, along with Omar Koudsi, became an Endeavor Entrepreneur after founding Jeeran.

Ever since co-founder Laith Zraikat left Jeeran earlier this year, the Jordanian tech scene has been curious what he’ll do next. He’s not one to rest; his martial arts background speaks to a calm intensity that he also brings to coding and building apps. It’s unclear if the man ever goes off duty.

After 12 years of building Jeeran, which just secured funding from seed fund 500 Startups, Zraikat is ready to bring that focus to something new. Since March, he’s been crafting Olgot, a mobile application that will allow users to say they “like,” “want,” or “got” items around them. In contrast to Jeeran, which now focuses on local place reviews, Olgot, which means “to grab” or “catch” in Arabic, delves into the product layer, allowing consumers to share and comment on individual products – chocolate cake at Café Strada, an iPod at electronics store Smart Buy, or a piece of art or t-shirt that they want.

The idea is to make a place’s offerings more transparent, allow consumers to discover new products, and help companies receive customer feedback by item- information that often gets lost in the long list of reviews on place-review platforms like Yelp and Jeeran. “I believe that there needs to be a company that is encouraging people to share and discover more of the products that they see,” says Zraikat.

Also, similar to the way Foursquare’s checkins encourage re-engagement with a venue, Olgot would encourage users not just to read reviews, make a choice, and then close the app, but to continue to post about what they are enjoying, he says. “I’m hoping to have multiple engagements at each location per visit.”

The app prototype that I saw was sleek, with good user experience and a very simple tessellated wall that looked like Pinterest meets Flipboard. The social strategy also seems sound: the app will integrate with Foursquare for venues in Amman, where it’s being tested, and will allow users to share items on Facebook and Twitter. The tricky part will be the basic issue all social apps face: can it get enough traction for the social element to take off? Will enough users want to rate, price, and share elements of their daily lives? Will it be fun enough?

Do Users Like Reviewing Products?

When it comes to answers, Zraikat is not the first to come up with the idea. Silicon Valley-based Hollrr, which sprung up in February 2010, let users share products and services on Facebook and Twitter, using badges, Foursquare-style, to turn sharing into a game. Yet the app went dead quickly, posting its last tweet in June 2010. Checkpoints, which launched in the U.S. later that year (with a name that wouldn’t work well in this region), offered users the ability to check-in to products and gain coupons by scanning them. It received almost 100,000 Likes on Facebook, yet is restricted to items with a barcode.

Another recent example includes Stamped, which was founded by ex-Google employees last November and allows users to simply give a restaurant, book, movie, or song (all aggregated from online sources) their “stamp” of approval. As Zraikat pointed out, it doesn’t allow users to rate a variety of products in those restaurants, and it’s limited to online content.

Olgot is perhaps most like Oink, which Digg founder Kevin Rose launched last November. The app allowed users to rate individual products and categorize them using hashtags. It saw 10,000 downloads in two and a half weeks, most likely thanks to Rose’s brand recognition, TechCrunch points out. It was an experiment, explained Rose, “first we have to prove that there’s value in seeing a bunch of people help curate what the best stuff is in a given place.” Yet by March 31st, the site closed.

Zraikat has heard that the experiment was a success, in that the answer was yes- people do want to rate products and share them. Google acquired the Milk team, including Rose, and may try to leverage the idea in a future product, he guesses, especially after their acquisition of Zagat last year.

Building a Global Product

Yet Zraikat has built Olgot to stand apart from these other apps with one critical differentiator: he plans to encourage users to post the price of each item, to eventually build in a mobile payment mechanism. The app will also include wishlists, will get smarter at predicting what you like and don’t like, and will incorporate privacy controls so that users can “like” or “want” items to one friend group but not another- an aspect that I brought up as a concern.

If Zraikat can test and discover what’s truly sticky among Olgot’s multiple functions, it will have global potential. There’s no need, he points out, to only focus on the local or regional market. “Barriers to global entry have been shattered by Foursquare. Thanks to their platform, the local recommendations space has gone global.”

He’s looking to leapfrog from Jordan to the U.S., where mobile payment integration and uptake will likely be easier. Yet in the Middle East, Olgot will have the advantage of being a first mover in the space, especially if it integrates mobile payments. For now, the app is in invite-only beta- there’s no URL, but you can look for evidence of testers’ shares on Twitter and Facebook.

eMBA field report: pushing boundaries for personal growth and professional gain in Monterrey

Marjorie Camporini is an MBA candidate at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. She is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Vialux through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

Here I am, writing my blog post for Endeavor on the airplane on my way to Bogota. It is hard to leave the beautiful mountains of Monterrey, but exciting to go to Colombia for the first time. Three weeks ago, I started working for Vialux, a Mexican company based in Monterrey that provides difficult-to-find cell sites to telecommunications carriers. So, why am I going to Bogota now?

My project at Vialux is to build a business plan for expansion to Brazil. The company’s last expansion project brought them to Colombia and Endeavor Entrepreneur Fernando Martinez (a partner at Vialux and the creator of my project) believed that it would be useful for me to go to Bogota and analyze the successes and failures of that expansion plan. After a few days there, I will fly to Brazil with Fernando for two weeks of meetings. The objective is to learn about the Brazilian market, gather as much information as possible for the expansion plan and find potential partners and managers for the future Brazil office.

All in all, working for Vialux has been an amazing experience so far. My project is very challenging and working with Omar Rios (Vialux’s Commercial Manager) and Fernando has been a great way to learn not only about the industry and the company, but also about the Mexican economy and way of doing business. I am also learning about entrepreneurship and the transition from a small, scrappy company to a larger, more structured one. These two men have shared every single detail of the company operations with me and that, combined with the aligned, positive environment at Vialux, has made me feel at home. I truly feel that I am part of the company and not just an intern.

However, life is not just about work and I have to confess that I was not expecting to meet the awesome people I have met in Monterrey. I was also not expecting that I would enjoy the Sierra Madre Mountains so much. It is fascinating to live in a place surrounded by these giant rocks! Mariya Krasteva, another eMBA who is studying at MIT and Harvard, is also working for Vialux, but at the parent company, Enexa. She is my roommate and together with two other Monterrey eMBAs, Maria Fernanda Brockman and Nuno Neves, we have been exploring everything the city has to offer. Local friends have been amazingly supportive and their hospitality allowed us to acclimate very quickly. We have gotten excursion tips  from Rocio Diaz Gonzalez, our local Endeavor staff contact, many times and have enjoyed sightseeing, climbing, visiting caves, partying and of course eating (much more than I should!) real and delicious Mexican food.

I am glad that I have had the opportunity to get to know a little bit about Mexico, hang out with incredible friends and challenge myself with a very dynamic project which allows me to see the results of my work and feel that I am adding value to the company. I am sure I made the right choice when I decided to work with Vialux and its vibrant entrepreneurs Fernando and Francisco. In addition, it is rewarding to be part of Endeavor and to learn more about how this successful nonprofit is making a significant, social impact all over the world. The local office of Endeavor is always organizing events to put eMBAs, mentors and entrepreneurs together.  What can be more inspiring?  All my expectations have already been exceeded and I am looking forward for the next four weeks in this exciting atmosphere.

Lunch with Monterrey eMBAs Maria Fernanda Brockman, Mariya Krasteva, Nuno Neves and local friends

Climbing en Huasteca

San Pedro and its mountains

10 video resources every entrepreneur should know

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Nina Curley

It’s always best to get tailored advice from hands-on mentors, but in your “free time” it also pays to get inspired by content around the world that reveals insights from other entrepreneurs. It also helps, when the going gets tough, to remember that there’s a global community of people with similar experiences, and resources available online to boost your knowledge. Here are 10 resources that will enhance your skill set and allow you to stand on the shoulders of entrepreneurial giants.

1. Khan Academy

If you don’t know about Khan Academy yet, get acquainted. The comprehensive site, created in 2006 by Bangladeshi American educator Salman Khan, offers over 3,200 video tutorials on everything from Algebra to Valuation and Investing, Venture Capital and Capital Markets, and several Microeconomics courses to get entrepreneurs set up with the basics about understanding markets and finance.

2. Potential

Dubai-based SME consultancy Potential, founded by Lebanese entrepreneur Shadi Banna, hosts a large trove of presentation videos in English, Arabic, French, and Turkish on very specific topics in finance, marketing, legal issues, and sales, including presentation on business plans, innovation, getting investment, growth strategies, intellectual property, building a team, and project management, among others. For those looking for Arabic presentation tutorials tailored for SMEs, this may be the best resource on the web.

3. Stanford’s ECorner

For those looking for in-depth lessons, Stanford University offers hour-long interviews with leading entrepreneurs on its E-Corner website. The content is also available on iTunes via its Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast- with video and without, or on the Stanford E-Corner iPhone application. The most recent three videos are a discussion on finding your way, by Drew Houston of Dropbox, Secrets at Apple’s Core, by author Adam Lashinsky, and A Playlist for Entrepreneurs by the creators of Spotify.

Another good resource for tech entrepreneurs is Stanford’s Technology Entrepreneurship podcast series, which run closer to 15-20 minutes, featuring specific discussions of business models, technology life cycles, sales and marketing, and venture capital investment.

4. Cofounder TV

Launched by Rony Nashar of Dubai-based accelerator SeedStartup this February, Cofounder TV offers a curated list of videos from around the web that offer advice to entrepreneurs. In contrast to some of the more U.S.-focused resources, Cofounder TV includes more international content, like a recent International Entrepreneurship Panel featuring entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Vietnam, Chile, Columbia, and Germany. Some (including the last one) are aggregated from the Founder Institute, some from the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, others are documentaries, but Nashar has done the legwork for entrepreneurs, making it easy to consume the best of the genre without sifting through the troves of material online.

Since he launched the platform as a side project, Nashar says that he’s seen a lot of traffic from around the globe, with 28% of viewers coming from the U.S., 32% from Asia, mostly China, 26% from Europe, 7% from South America, 3% Australia & New Zealand, and 3% from Africa when we last spoke. Yet he confesses that he would love to see more consumption in the Middle East.

5. HBR Ideacast

For those looking for a quick tutorial, Harvard Business Review offers its weekly audio podcast series, HBR IdeaCast, both on its website and on iTunes. Browse interviews with experts and industry leaders, on topics ranging from group decision making to leadership (with Christiane Amanpour) or to growth strategies. The podcasts range from 10-20 minutes, and you can alternatively browse transcripts on the website.

6. MIT OpenCourseWare

At MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), you can download and view free lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT courses, essentially getting an MIT education, anywhere. For entepreneurs, those in the Sloan School of Management and even some Microeconomics might be useful.

7. Cisco eTube

Like the Stanford E-Corner, Cisco eTube is a large repository of video interviews with startup founders and global business leaders. It boasts 557 videos tagged “entrepreneurship,” with 210 simply about having the right mindset. 26 videos also focus on web 2.0, and 4 on a topic as specific as green computing. If you have time to shift through the videos, the site could be a useful, resource for an international perspective.

8. TechCrunch TV

Again, when it comes to tech entrepreneurship, TechCrunch is a good place to go to see various sides of the business, with product reviews in “Fly or Die,” investment advice in “Ask a VC,” entrepreneur profiles in “In the Studio” and its “Founder Series,” startup work environments in “TC Cribs“, and other niche series along with breaking news and events.

9. The TechStars TV Show

The TechStars TV Show, which featured a startup reality show on Bloomberg TV, isn’t an educational resource in the direct sense. But seeing what other startup founders go through in high pressure situations, as they try to pitch their companies, incorporate mentors’ advice, and battle to reach their targets before the end of the show, might inspire you.

10. Wamda TV

This may seem shameless, but we can’t leave ourselves off of this list. Just remember you can always head to our Wamda TV channel to check out our latest profiles of entrepreneurs, event coverage, and Entrepreneur of the Week series. Almost all of our content is in both English and Arabic.

Bonus: Country-specific sites

A few sites in the region focus on showcasing entrepreneurs in a specific country:

Jo’preneurs offers great profiles of major Jordanian entrepreneurs, drilling into the critical issues in short segments in Arabic.

The Egypreneur YouTube channel features interviews by founder Abdelrahman Magdy with thought leaders and startups in Egypt, including event coverage, although now that Egypreneur has shifted into becoming a social network, video content has slowed.

Bahraini Views offers crisp interviews in Arabic showcasing Bahraini entrepreneurs and business leaders giving their advice in Arabic with English subtitles.

Cisco eTube offers several videos of Lebanese entrepreneurs for some reason, more than it offers from any other country in the region.

If you know of any other country-specific video sites or any others that inspire you, let us know in the comments.

Shorter flights at lower heights: The right way to angel invest

Reprinted from OnStartups. Original article here.

By Dave Balter.  Dave is the CEO of BzzAgent, founder of Smarterer, an active angel investor and a holder of proms. You can follow Dave on twitter @davebalter

Everywhere you turn these days, you find an angel investor. Aside from those who have always invested small amounts of cash in startups, more and more venture capitalists are making personal side deals, active entrepreneurs are investing in other entrepreneurs, seed funds are cropping up everywhere, and Angel List has emerged for the everyman.

But most Angels will fail to get back the capital they’ve invested (let alone make money), and it’s not because they don’t pick good companies or back great entrepreneurs — it’s because they’re completely mistaken about an Angel’s role in the investing cycle.


100 lessons learned from 10 years of SEO

Reprinted from Quick Sprout. Original article here.

By Sujan Patel

This June marks my tenth year in SEO, which means that I’ve gone through dozens of different algorithm changes and implemented SEO techniques on hundreds of websites across various market verticals.

I’ve worked both in-house and at agencies, but all this experience doesn’t mean that I’ve got the final answer on what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to SEO.  In fact, I’ve made tons of mistakes along the way – and today, I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career.

The following lessons are all based on my own experiences and screw-ups.  They aren’t just related to SEO, but to my life, business and entrepreneurial pursuits in general as well.  I hope you find them useful when it comes to avoiding the same mistakes I’ve made in the past! (more…)

The art of NYC cycling for entrepreneurs #bikenyc

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

By Charlie O’Donnell.

A lot of people ask me about cycling in NYC.  They ask me about startups, too.  As I was biking around the other day, I realized that they have a lot in common and so the advice I have to give about both is pretty similar:

1. Cycling is a *higher* risk activity, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous.

If you’re going to start a company instead of working for someone else, you’re definitely putting something at risk–current income, opportunity cost, some social capital perhaps.  That being said, it doesn’t mean you’re going to wind up homeless if things at your startup don’t work out.  Failure of a startup doesn’t mean failure of your career by any stretch–so long as you treat people with respect and honesty, and you work hard.

2. Taking some amount of additional risk can make for a better overall outcome–because biking in bike lanes all the time is boring and may not even be that much safer.

If you’re going to put it all out there in a startup, bite off something that you’re not 100% sure will work out, but that, if it did, would make a significant impact.  If you have zero chance of failure, you really didn’t challenge yourself–and you might actually be more successful if you attempt something harder that is worth doing.  That will inspire others to join and help.

3. Pay attention to traffic patterns–buses only pull over at bus stops, taxis will dart back into the street after a dropoff, etc.

Pattern matching is one of the most useful skills out there as an entrepreneur.  How do users generally behave around your value proposition?  What has worked in other startups?  Why?  What hasn’t worked?  If you can’t learn from the patterns of history, you’re going to get flattened.

4. Big trucks are slow to accelerate–you can always beat them out when they’re moving from a standing stop.

What if Google does this?  Well, they could, but you have to believe that you’ll do it better, faster, cheaper.  They could do anything but you have the advantage of already being in the flow of the market.  By the time a big company gets its act together, you’ll be free and clear.

5.  The things that will get you aren’t what you expect–it’s not the cars, but potholes and pedestrians. 

Startups are all about being prepared for anything–knowing where you’re heading, but being nimble at the last second when something comes up that could wipe you out at the wrong moment.

6. There is absolutely nothing you can do when a car door swings open right in front of you except brace for impact. 

Staying alive is the name of the game in a startup–and you’re going to have plenty of near death experiences along the way.  Know they will happen, and that you won’t see them coming.  Just hold on tight and weather the storm.

7. There’s no such thing as the “best bike”.  There’s only the best bike for you.

There are lots of goals people have when they start a company.  Some people want to see their ideas win.  Others want to make a ton of money.  Other people just like the challenge.  Just because another company does things a certain way doesn’t mean they’re necessarily right for you.

8. You need a good lock.

Don’t get obsessed with competition, but know what the alternatives do well so you know how you can be better.  Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose, but you don’t want to lose on a feature that you could have easily built which is what your competition ate your lunch with.

9. You must wear a helmet. 

Put all the right legal documents in place–co-founder agreements, privacy policies, etc.

10.  Get some bright lights and reflectors. 

Learn how to market yourself and what you’re doing, both personally and as a business.  You won’t have a ton of money to put towards marketing, so understanding PR and ways of building up awareness about your efforts through social media are really important to get noticed.

Safe biking! (and startupping!)

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