High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Insight Spotlights Scaleup Ecosystems in Bangladesh and Uganda

As part of a series of reports focused on scaleup ecosystems worldwide, Endeavor Insight has analyzed the impact of scaleup companies on the economies of two emerging markets: Bangladesh and Uganda. Entitled “The Critical 5 Percent” (Bangladesh) and “The […]

March 24th, 2015 — by admin

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Mexico’s Naranya Labs Partners with NXTP Labs to Form New Latin America-Focused Seed Fund

Mexico-based seed fund and accelerator Naranya Labs, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Arturo Galvan, recently announced a partnership with accelerator NXTP Labs to form a new early-stage capital fund that will invest at least $8 million in Mexico’s […]

May 23rd, 2014 — by admin

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eMBA field report: endorsing public transportation at Chile’s fourth “great place to work”

Santiago Cordillera

Mariana Torres-Montoya is pursuing a Masters in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley.   She is interning with Grupo Alto through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

“I created, in collaboration with other entrepreneurs, the Association of Chilean Entrepreneurs (ASECH). Today we are 1,000 entrepreneurs. I am sure we can reach 100,000 by 2014.” These were the words of Endeavor Entrepreneur Jorge Nazer, the brain behind Grupo Alto and one of the leading entrepreneurs in Chile, as we walked toward the first annual meeting of ASECH. The drive and ambition reflected in his comment is the same one that envelops Grupo Alto, a company dedicated to the protection of organizations’ assets from fraud and robbery through an integrated model focused on education, dissuasion, and legal action. Jorge and his team have taken Alto from a small, provincial business to a holding of five companies that, combined, make the Alto model robust and replicable abroad. The company now has a presence in Colombia and Mexico in addition to its Chilean headquarters. As the company evolves and shapes its identity, it continues to innovate by creating new products and entering to new markets in order to stay relevant. The Santiago office is a young crowd, all entrepreneurs in their own way, and the sense of contentment and camaraderie amongst them is truly unique. It’s no surprise that Grupo Alto was voted one of the best places to work in Chile last year.

As an eMBA intern, I came to Alto to help Jorge realize his next ambitious goal: breaking into the public transport market as the leading company to help bus operators reduce Transantiago’s high level of fare evasion. During my time at Alto I have been absorbing as much as possible of the enthusiasm and entrepreneurial skills that Jorge and his team display while informing the project with my knowledge of the transportation sector. The project is not short on challenges. On one hand, there is the complex nature of a highly regulated business whose success hinges on the government and a series of other actors doing their part. On the other hand, the project involves changing the mindset of a population deeply scarred by an inefficient, expensive, and slow-to-improve public transportation service. This past week, we made our pitch to a couple potential clients as we continue to strengthen our value proposition.

Chile has far exceeded my expectations, offering the best of the developed world and the warmth and joy of the Latin American character. I am constantly amazed by Santiago’s high-frequency metro system, its automated urban highway tolls, and its sophisticated retail sector. The city enjoys a level of safety unknown to its Latin American peers and provides great pockets of culture and open space. In a very interesting way, Santiago feels like a small town despite its respectable size. My new set of Chilean friends inside and outside Alto are proof of Chileans´ friendliness and their interest in showing foreigners a good time in their country. The nonstop nightlife entertainment in Santiago, be it after-office parties in hidden parking lots or the famous “asados” at friends’ places, demonstrates just how much Chileans like to enjoy themselves. Of course, I am constantly aware that I am seeing just one side of the city. There is much work to be done to lessen the city’s income disparities, a problem which plagues all Latin American metropolises, and improve the quality of life of the majority of its residents.  Through their commitment to innovation, progress and social responsibility, I am confident that Grupo Alto and the rest of Chile’s entrepreneurial community will be invaluable contributors to the sustained development of this beautiful country.

17 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Uruguay Join the Endeavor Network

CANARY WHARF – LONDON, UK – Endeavor invited 17 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Uruguay at its 44th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 708 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 443 companies in 13 growth market countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a Panel held from June 25 – 27 in London, UK. The Panel was followed by a full-day Investor Network event, engaging 18 leading investment firms and more than two dozen early- and growth-stage companies that Endeavor invited from 12 growth markets including Brazil, Argentina, Jordan, Turkey, South Africa, and Indonesia.

“High-Impact Entrepreneurship has become a global movement. By holding this judging panel and Investor Network event in the world’s global financial center, we were able to attract panelists from 12 countries,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “Panelists included high-level executives from companies including Amazon, Bain, Barclays, Ernst & Young, and Microsoft. We also welcomed venture capital experts from Silicon Valley to Amman and Dubai.”

While the panelists deliberated, the candidates enjoyed a day-long educational program at the UK headquarters of Facebook, where they heard from several top executives.

At the Investor Network event, attendees participated in workshops, several customized “speed-networking” rounds, and informal networking.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable growth models in their home countries. The International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step Search & Selection process where top local and international business leaders interview and then offer guidance to entrepreneur candidates. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 companies, consulting firms and top U.S. business schools. Additionally, Endeavor’s Catalyst program co-invests in Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ professional funding rounds.
Endeavor will host two more International Selection Panels this year in Istanbul (October) and Miami (December).

Entrepreneur(s)/Companies selected:


Entrepreneur: Leonardo Lima de Carvalho
Company: ToLife
Description: ToLife makes the patient intake and care processes safer and more efficient through products that reduce the average wait time for treatment, assist in determining how to triage patients, and lower the risk of error in generating patient records.

Entrepreneurs: Luiz Noronha, Marco Ferras
Company: Britec
Description: Britec offers an innovative solution for construction demolition followed by the crushing and recycling of rock into gravel. With highly mobile machinery, Britec provides an on-site solution for construction companies, which helps them reduce the cost and time required to remove rubble and bring in gravel.


Entrepreneur: Diego Saez-Gil
Company: WeHostels
Description: WeHostels is building the first social-mobile accommodation booking service, initially targeted at young backpackers. The service offers a simple yet powerful set of social features: users can not only browse and book different hostels around the world but can also see who else will be staying in each accommodation, allowing them to find travelers with shared interests, friends, or travel destinations. Through WeHostels, travelers can connect, interact, share tips, and plan activities together within the platform, even before arriving at their destination. The products are designed mobile-first for the “post-pc” era, considering that travelers are increasingly planning their trips from mobile devices.


Entrepreneurs: Fadi Bargouti & Majdy Abo Mathkoor
Company: Curlstone
Description: Curlstone is an animation studio that creates original IP for 2D and 3D content (such as video and games) on a variety of platforms, including TV, film, and mobile and web-based channels. The studio is aiming to become a regional player through a Middle Eastern cultural focus in some of their projects while simultaneously establishing an international body of work.

Entrepreneurs: Jalil Allabadi
Company: Altibbi
Description: Altibbi provides Arabic-speakers across the world with a comprehensive online medical health portal entirely in Arabic. Altibbi’s users enjoy free access to a medical dictionary of over 65,000 terms, a “symptom checker”, health-related news and videos, Q&A opportunities with qualified doctors, and a directory of medical institutions in the Middle East and abroad.


Entrepreneur: Brahms Chouity
Company: At7addak
Description: At7addak (“I challenge you” in Arabic) is the first gaming community catering to the Arab world. The company hosts in-person game tournaments sponsored by the likes of EA and Activision and has a website where gamers in the region can find English and Arabic game reviews, videos, and chat rooms. The website also enables registered users to challenge each other to their favorite titles on existing platforms (console, PC, mobile) and At7addak’s “Automated Scoring software” uploads their scores to their At7addak profiles.

Entrepreneur: Rabih Nassar
Company: ElementN
Description: ElementN consists of two separate business divisions, the first a highly customized enterprise software solution for telco operators and the second a highly scalable back-end solution for mobile developers.

Entrepreneur: Taline Assi
Company: Mosaic Marble
Description: Mosaic Marble is the leading mosaic producer in the Middle East. The company’s mosaics are featured in over 15,000 homes across 13 different countries, including the residences of the King of Congo, Queen Alia of Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey herself. Employing 400 artisans across Lebanon and Syria, Taline is a role model for female entrepreneurs in the region.


Entrepreneur: Gabriela León
Company: Gresmex
Description: Gresmex produces a line of surgical and medical disinfectants that features Virufin, its proprietary, bioselective active ingredient that is effective against almost all pathogens and safer for healthy cells than other disinfectants. Gresmex also has a private label business that produces products for Walmart and other similar retailers to resell using their brands.

Entrepreneurs: Diego Solórzano Cervantes & Jimena Pardo Díaz
Company: Carrot
Description: As Mexico’s first car sharing service, Carrot seeks to make it as easy and convenient as possible for individuals to get around Mexico City—a metropolis of over 20 million people—by allowing its customers to rent cars by the hour or day at key locations around the city.

Entrepreneurs: Hector Sepulveda, Luis de Yturbe
Company: Litebuilt
Description: Serial entrepreneurs Hector Sepulveda and Luis de Yturbe never believed there needed to be a tradeoff between environmental impact and bottom line results. In 2008 they developed a LEGO shaped cement block that is both environmentally friendly and up to 30% less expensive than traditional bricklaying practices. Since then Litebuilt’s construction materials have become a favorite of construction companies across Mexico.


Entrepreneurs: Daniel Armand-Ugon & Nicolas Batlle
Company: ConectaGames
Description: Since 2009, Uruguay-based ConectaGames has been creating multiplayer online and mobile versions of the most popular board and card games of each of the eleven countries in which it operates, including Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Chile, Spain and Uruguay.

Peak Games rockets to third most popular social gaming platform in world eight months after becoming Endeavor Entrepreneur

By Sam Weyrauch, Endeavor summer intern

A Turkish gaming company that specializes in multiplayer games for MENA region countries is now the third largest social gaming platform in the world. Peak Games was selected to join the Endeavor network in October 2011 after being founded one year prior, and in this calendar year alone has seen its revenue grow 600 percent. It reached 10 million daily users in 270 days, marking a significantly faster time to that mark than both Twitter (780 days) and Facebook (850 days). With a portfolio that includes 20 Facebook, browser-based, and mobile games based on popular offline card and board games native to the region and tailored to local peoples, Peak has tapped into an emerging market that is flocking to the Internet in droves. Turkey has the seventh most Facebook users of any nation in the world, and over half of them are actively involved with Peak’s online adaptation of Okey, a traditional tile game.

Peak Games is bringing in more daily revenue per user than its American competitors, thanks in large part to how “they leveraged an underserved area, tapped into its passions, and created an incendiary growth rate without having to do much heavy lifting,” according to Gamezebo.com. The company recently brought on board the former CEO of two multi-billion dollar companies and the former VP of global sales and business development of one of its biggest rivals, and is looking to bring its offerings to southeast Asia in the coming months, and Latin America after that.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Sidar Sahin, the company’s CEO, said, “Peak Games understands the importance of tailoring games for people in emerging markets and is already continuing this approach across additional high-growth areas around the world.”

For Peak Games’ official press release, click here. The story was also featured on TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance, VentureBeat, The Next Web, GigaOM, and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Dynamo entrepreneurs help pass film law in Colombian Congress

 By Rodrigo Guerrero and Melissa Tran

Producers to receive a 40% subsidy to cover the cost of movies filmed in Colombia

On June 20, the Colombian Government passed Draft Bill No. 220, better known as Film Law 2, a government policy which will serve as a powerful resource for the Colombian film industry.

Andres Calderon and Rodrigo Guerrero, Endeavor Entrepreneurs and among the four co-founders of Dynamo, were crucial in shaping this law since its inception and advocating for its passage. The Dynamo team has been working hand-in-hand with the Colombian Ministry of Culture, the Film Office, Proimagenes Colombia, the Colombian Film Commission, and the Ministry of Finance, up until the passage of this landmark law during the 4th Plenary Debate in the House of Representatives. After President Santos signs this piece of legislation, Film Law 2 will take effect in January 2013.

The Dynamo team noted that the work of four MIT Sloan MBA students was crucial in supporting its advocacy for this law before the Colombian Government. These students worked with Dynamo during the Fall/Winter of 2009-10 through the MIT G-LAB program, a key Endeavor Global service on which Dynamo has made full use.

While researching strategies for Dynamo to bring Colombian films to the U.S. market, the MBA students realized that the Colombian government was lacking incentives for attracting movie producers to film within the country. Utilizing this key insight, the Dynamo team has been working since then to develop and push for Draft Bill No. 220, which will encourage national and international filmmakers alike to choose Colombia as a filming location.

Nine years after the passage of the first Film Law in 2003, Film Law 2 represents a fundamental step in the development and promotion of Colombian cinema. Specifically, this law allocates 25 billion pesos from the government budget, or approximately US$14 million, to create a National Film Fund in order to receive donations and contributions domestically and abroad towards Colombian filmmaking.

In addition, Film Law 2 will offer a subsidy to cover 40% of total expenditures on services and personnel for both national and international producers who choose to film in Colombia. The government will also cover 20% of the value of expenditures related to room, board, and transportation during filming within the country.

Dynamo is proud to have taken an active role in the design and passage of this landmark piece of legislation and looks forward to this new phase in Colombian cinema.

U.S. venture capitalists, CEOs and techies taking recent interest in Mexico

By Sam Weyrauch, Endeavor summer intern

In the ever-continuing search to find the newest markets and unrealized investment opportunities around the world, U.S. venture capitalists have recently intensified their interest in Mexico. With a newfound attention brought upon by three events–Geeks on a Plane, an Endeavor Mexico CEO Summit, and Startup Weekend — the country is looking more and more like the latest hotbed of entrepreneurial talent.

Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) is a collection of 50 executives, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who travel across the world to the biggest tech startup cities “with the sole mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border tech opportunities,” according to its website. Founded by Dave McClure, the self-proclaimed “Sith Lord” for business-accelerating investment fund 500 Startups, with help from Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board member Wences Casares, GOAP leads discussions about tech innovation. A subset of 500 Startups, GOAP has already completed nine trips in three years and is touring Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in 2012. This is the third stop in Mexico City for GOAP, but this year other Mexican localities also organized smaller events, along with tours of local cities headed by local tech startups.

“Our fundamental mission, besides having fun, is getting to know all the human potential, evaluate the business environment and explore the possibility to start investing in a good pace in their start-ups,” said McClure. “To establish cultural comparisons that help us understand the differences between markets, their priorities and needs, and of course, to get in touch with all the human potential from the cities we’ll visit, beyond the figures, that in any case look very promising.”

The Geeks on a Plane participated in Startup Weekend while in Mexico City, where they networked with and advised entrepreneurs to learn more about the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and how they can help it expand moving forward. At Startup Weekend, participants worked to build entire businesses in just 54 hours. They brought ideas to the table about new business plans, teamed up to collaborate on the most viable projects, develop the ideas, and were judged on the products of their labor. Endeavor’s own Allen Taylor was joined by McClure and Bedy Yang from 500 Startups, Hernán Fernández from Angel Ventures Mexico, David Weekly from MexicanVC, and Adriana Tortajada from NAFIN as investor judges.

The final event was the CEO Summit, entitled “Speed of Light Growth,” a stepping stone for entrepreneurs to catapult their companies to the next level. Over 180 entrepreneurs met with investors and business leaders to network and discuss business strategies over breakfast before attending a series of success story presentations and keynote speakers. Four representatives from the Endeavor Investor Network took part in the event—Eliza Erikson (Omidyar Network), Luis Trevino (Beamonte Investments), Jaime Sanchez Cortina (Sun Mountain Capital), and Felipe Ortiz (Aureos)—as well as business coach and author John Hamm, venture capitalist Joanna Rees, and veteran entrepreneur Juan Pablo Cappello, all Endeavor Global affiliates.

According to Pilar Aguilar, CEO of Endeavor Mexico, “The CEO Summit is Endeavor Mexico’s most important event, in terms of content, for entrepreneurs. We believe that entrepreneurs are the country’s engine of economic development, so this effort to bring together such important businesses and organizations benefits Mexico.”

Having the country experience these three events within just one week is a great step in the right direction for the Mexican and overall Latin American markets, and there is sure to be more attention paid by venture capitalists, business leaders, and techie geeks in the near future.

Related links:
Bloomberg Businessweek article on McClure and the events
Interview with McClure

eMBA field report: inventive flowers and food in fast-growing Istanbul

Elizabeth Gulliver is an MBA student at Columbia Business School. She is interning with Ciceksepeti.com and Endeavor Entrepreneur Emre Aydin in Istanbul through the Endeavor eMBA Program.

I was breathless and sweaty, dragging three months of luggage up a narrow staircase, but I stopped dreading living so many floors up when I opened the door to my new apartment. The late afternoon sun on the Bosphorus is undeniably magical and I was somehow lucky enough to have a spectacular view of it all. I was already enchanted with the city before I had even begun to truly explore.

Istanbul is an astonishingly large city with a diverse mixture of neighborhoods. On the European side alone, the city ranges from the historic Sultanahmet area to older charming neighborhoods like Cihangir and Galata, to the newer developments stretching north of the city that are constantly expanding. The rapid growth and economic potential are palpable in the intense energy felt throughout the city. As observers often write, Turkey is clearly experiencing strong economic expansion and currently benefiting from its unique position between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Thus far, from what my co-workers and people I have met outside of the office tell me, Istanbul appears to be thriving as a result of its ambitious, young, and hard-working population.

This summer I am working at one of the many new e-commerce companies in Turkey. Among other industries, e-commerce has exploded in Turkey with the dramatic increase in the number of internet users and a growing middle class that is ready to consume more and is increasingly comfortable with online shopping. The company that I am working for, Ciceksepeti, currently has four websites and is in the process of finishing several others to launch in the next few months. Emre Aydin, the CEO and Endeavor Entrepreneur for whom I am working, had no e-commerce experience prior to launching the first website, Ciceksepeti.com (and online flower retailer). The website started when Emre’s brother, who lives in the US, called and asked him to send flowers to his mother and mother-in-law, living in two difference cities in Turkey. Finding this nearly impossible to do, Emre saw an opportunity and started building the website that night. Ciceksepeti.com is one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the country, and in addition to selling flowers, the company now sells gourmet gifts, jewelry, other small gifts, and experiential gifts.

In my role this summer, I am helping Emre and the staff to expand and develop their corporate structure. The company has grown so quickly that they have had little time to establish a structure that will allow them to continue to expand and launch new sites. Together, we are working to build these systems and structures. This unique position has provided me the opportunity to work closely with employees in every department of the company. The ability to learn and discuss how all the different aspects of the company, from the 24/7 call center, to the operations department, marketing teams, IT, HR and business development groups work together has been extremely interesting and valuable. I am only a few weeks into my internship, but I am eager to keep working with the team here to maximize their growth potential.

In addition to time in the office, I have been spending time exploring Istanbul and several other destinations in Turkey. Despite not speaking the language, the country has been relatively easy to travel around and people have been unfailingly helpful and patient. By far the best part of exploring so far has been the food. The food in Turkey goes well beyond the traditional mezzes that most people think of. While these are truly delicious, there are a multitude of restaurants offering newer, modern takes on traditional dishes that are simply delicious. And with the economic boom has come a broad expansion in Turkish wine production – I can safely say that this has benefited the country’s economy as I know I have already supported several vineyards myself! Looking towards the next few months, I am excited to continue exploring this vibrant country and working with the dynamic team at Ciceksepeti.

Argentina hosts 2012 “Endeavor Experience” conference

 By Belen Alvarez Toledo and David Rousseau

“Each time someone falls prey to the mistaken assertion that you can’t become an entrepreneur in Argentina, a multitude of opportunities are lost.”

Such were the words delivered by Andy Freire, board director of Endeavor Argentina, at the “Endeavor Experience” event in Buenos Aires. This year’s edition counted over 1,300 attendees.

The two-day event (June 14-15) attracted prominent figures of the entrepreneurial world, including locally famous Mauricio Macri and María Eugenia Estenssoro. Entrepreneurs from across the country enjoyed numerous networking opportunities and had the opportunity to pick the brains of “the best in the business.”

This year, for the first time, a diverse group of investors were also present to interact with entrepreneurs seeking financing, and offer face-to-face consulting and advice.

Furthermore, talks were given byEndeavor Entrepreneurs Marcos Galperin, Co-founder and CEO of MercadoLibre;  Susana Balbo, Founder of  Dominio del Plata; and Nelson Dubosq, Co-founder de HSM. Other inspirational speakers included Josh Silverman, President of American Express Consumer Services in the U.S (ex CEO of Skype); Mike Cassidy, Director of Search Product Management at Google; Alex Pryor, Co-founder de Guyaky Sustainable Ranforest Products; Emerson Andrade, Founder of Pez Urbano; and Martín Frascaroli, Founder of Aivo.

“Successful entrepreneurs aren’t those who’ve faced less obstacles than others. Rather, they are those who’ve held a clearer vision of their ideas and objectives” affirmed Andy Freire, at the closing of the event.


Happy summer from Endeavor!

From Endeavor Insight: G20 nations’ top priority is job creation. Why aren’t they talking about entrepreneurship?

By Ha Le, Endeavor summer research associate

Nineteen countries and the European Union will meet in Mexico today for the annual G20 summit to hold discussions on the state of the global economy and financial system.

Endeavor Insight analyzed the most recent policy speeches of the G20 nations to better understand their policy priorities. The speeches we analyzed included most recent State of the Union address in the U.S. and similar speeches across the world. We found that job creation is the most important issue for G20 nations. In fact, the issue of job creation was much more important than other issues, such as food security and the environment, that are part of the priority agenda for this week’s summit.

Even though job creation is the most important issue for G20 nations, entrepreneurship is rarely discussed in policy speeches made by the leaders of these countries and is not part of the official list of priorities for the current G20 Summit. In fact, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom did not mention any words associated with entrepreneurship, such as “entrepreneur” or “start-up,” in any of the policy addresses that were analyzed. The most frequent mentions of this issue came from Brazil and the United States, which included three and four references to the issue, respectively.

Entrepreneurship is the best solution to the employment problem around the world. Entrepreneurs, more specifically high-impact entrepreneurs, create jobs and enhance the stability of economies around the world. In a five-year survey of 800,000 adults in over 60 countries, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that while only 4% of respondents were high-impact entrepreneurs, they generated 38% of all the jobs created by all the entrepreneurs.

If governmental leaders truly want to create jobs, the issue of entrepreneurship needs to be elevated in its importance. Here’s hoping that next year’s G20 priorities include discussion of the best job creation tool in the world: entrepreneurs.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs say fathers were their top inspiration

Our research team, Endeavor Insight, asked all of Endeavor’s Entrepreneurs “Who inspired you to become a high-impact entrepreneur?” The #1 response was “my father.” So, on father’s day, we’d like to say thank you to all of the fathers out there that are encouraging their children to become entrepreneurs!

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