Endeavor Entrepreneur María Noel Ache was featured on CNN Español as the founder of AIVA, a company that provides technology and outsourcing business services to investment and insurance companies in the Latin American, Caribbean and Pacific Rim regions. In the […]
Original Ernst & Young press release posted here. CR Fellows return from seven-week skills-based volunteering program More than 60 Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Latin America have benefited from the volunteer efforts of Ernst & Young’s Americas […]
As panelists duked it out over which entrepreneurs deserved to become Endeavor mentees at the International Selection Panel this past week, some clear winners emerged. Those who were selected, including two dubbed the “Sephora of Chile” and the future “Staples of Egypt,” managed to convince the panelists that they understood their customer, understood their market, structured their business well, and could have a wide-reaching impact. But that doesn’t mean they were perfect. On Wamda TV, we asked panelists who inspired them, and what room they saw for improvement.
Susan Lyne, Chair of U.S.-based luxury retail site Gilt Groupe, describes how Chilean beauty company DBS inspired her, and why entrepreneurs need to focus on their governance.
Osman Ünsal of Turkish investment firm Atlas Corporate Finance describes the Chilean woman entrepreneur and Egyptian family business that impressed him the most, and the biggest mistakes that he saw entrepreneurs making.
Fawaz Zu’bi, founder of Jordanian venture capital firm Accelerator Technology Holdings, describes why entrepreneurs need a confidence boost, and what it means for Jordan to host entrepreneurs from other emerging markets.
Endeavor selected 28 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from seven countries (Chile, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey) at its 40th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 632 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 399 companies in 12 emerging growth countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a Panel held from October 17–19 in Amman, Jordan.
“This panel in Amman is proof that despite the economic challenges around the world, entrepreneurs continue to innovate, create new jobs and build high-growth companies,” said Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “We continue to be impressed by the caliber of entrepreneurs we’re seeing. By the time they arrive at an International Selection Panel, these entrepreneurs have already passed through a rigorous 12-18 month screening process including numerous local panels. Thousands of entrepreneurs participate each year, and throughout the process they receive concrete feedback that helps them build their businesses.”
Endeavor’s next scheduled International Selection Panel will be held in Uruguay in December, followed by Panels in Dubai in March 2012 and London in June 2012. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms and top U.S. business schools. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable growth models in their home countries.
During the ISP, Endeavor also held its inaugural Global Acceleration Panel (GAP), whereby existing Endeavor Entrepreneurs are able to “re-live” the ISP experience through interviews with expert panelists — with the key difference of being able to join the final “deliberation” and interact with the full panel. Marcelo Romcy and Carlos Pessoa from Brazilian tech firm Proteus, an Endeavor company, were the first GAP participants, gaining feedback on key challenges from panelists Jason Green, Samih Toukan, Chris Schroeder, Fawaz Zu’bi, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı and Jorge Errázuriz. Specific feedback from the panel included commentary on Proteus’ expansion plans, service vs. product offerings, and human resources. Enthusiastic about the GAP, Marcelo encouraged Endeavor Entrepreneurs to inquire about the program, and expressed interest in participating again in the future.
Note: scroll to the bottom to view an entertaining video of the Jordan ISP, produced by Endeavor Turkey.
Entrepreneur(s)/Companies selected at the ISP:
Entrepreneur: Dominique Rosenberg
Company: DBS Chile
Description: DBS Chile is an innovative makeup and beauty supply retailer that operates concessions inside major department stores and, more recently, a free standing boutique.
Entrepreneurs: Tarek Sryo and Alaa Sryo
Description: One of Egypt’s largest manufacturers of stationery supplies (pens, notebooks, etc.), SASCO is rapidly expanding throughout the region through a new e-commerce platform and plans to expand to five to six new markets each year.
Entrepreneur: Ammar Sajdi
Description: RealSoft makes turnkey national statistics solutions capable of managing the collection process of data for general censuses and national indicators like the Consumer Price Index (CPI). As the first mover in this niche market, RealSoft services governments in eight countries and has established offices in the UAE and Oman.
Entrepreneurs: Hussam Hammo, Sohaib Thiab, Afif Toukan
Company: Wizards Productions
Description: Wizards is a leader in the regional online gaming market, having localized three online games and developed ten games of its own, serving more than 700,000 registered users. It is the first MMO (massively multiplayer online) browser-based game development company in the Middle East.
Entrepreneur: Labib Shalak
Description: Founded in 2003, MobiNetS enables mobile phone operators to make better informed business decisions by providing them with a dynamic, end-to-end view of their networks.
Entrepreneur: Jad Khoury
Company: Print Works
Description: With offices in Beirut and Dubai, Print Works is the leading diversified printing shop and production company for marketing campaigns in the MENA region.
Entrepreneurs: Gabriel Manjarrez and Pedro Zayas
Description: This Mexico City-based company acts as an intermediary between cell phone service providers and the unbanked, offering post-paid cell phone plans to people who otherwise would not have access because they lack a credit card.
Entrepreneurs: Diego Creel and Oswaldo Trava
Company: Lo Mio es TUYO
Description: TUYO buys small household goods and electronics from customers or third-party businesses and re-sells them in 10 stores in and around Mexico City. The two entrepreneurs are professionalizing the purchase and sale of pre-owned goods in Mexico, an industry that historically has been limited to pawn shops and outdoor markets.
Entrepreneurs: Luvuyo Rani and Lonwabo Rani
Description: Silulo has grown from a single internet café to a company that offers computer training courses, internet café and business center services, and IT retail and repair. In the process, the Rani brothers have matured from two township kids selling refurbished computers out of their truck, to nationally recognized businessmen and role models.
Entrepreneur: Ersan Ozer
Company: Magnet Digital
Description: Founded in 2005, Magnet Digital is a digital media holding company with a suite of sites that collectively attracts 11 million monthly unique visitors.
Entrepreneurs: Sidar Sahin and Hakan Bas
Company: Peak Games
Description: Founded in October 2010 by one of Turkey’s top internet entrepreneurs (Sidar Sahin) and a former Endeavor intern (Hakan Bas), Peak Games is bringing top quality Facebook games to emerging markets. Until recently Peak has only targeted the Turkish market and it is already among the top ten gaming companies globally, with 4 million Daily Active Users (DAU). Recently the firm launched games in Arabic and Spanish.
Entrepreneurs: Deniz Oktar, Selcuk Atli, Baris Can Daylik
Description: By layering data from Facebook’s Open Graph over data used in traditional recommendation engines, SocialWire matches online retailers’ clients with products that match their specific tastes. SocialWire has created a unique Facebook ad optimization product.
The moment Egypt toppled Mubarak was thrilling. Yet what has come after has been less so. Against a background of violence between Christian Copts and the military, a once-fertile climate for small business and foreign investment has turned arid. According to the Economist, Egyptian GDP has fallen, its stock market is hamstrung, manufacturing is in decline, and tourism has dissipated. The government now faces “an external-financing gap of about $11 billion in the second half of this year and the first half of next.”
Not all are pessimistic, however. Looking at Turkey, some believe that if Egypt’s government works to support the growth of small and medium businesses, it “could be Turkey in ten years.” Entrepreneurship, they say, as many in crisis situations do, is the answer. Yet it’s not just the government that will have to support them. Since the revolution, Egypt’s entrepreneurs found themselves the target of public ire and blame.
Hind and Nadia Wassef, the sisters behind Diwan Bookstore, are concerned about their country’s start-up landscape. Understandably, they are also worried about their own enterprise, which they founded in 2002 with one bookstore. Today, Diwan is a budding local brand with 10 shops throughout Egypt that celebrate Arab literature and culture.
“I’m sure the revolution looked lovely as it played out in the media, but its aftermath is the real test of success,” says Hind. The sisters say that Mubarak’s fall, followed by the arrest of several business figures on charges of corruption, has cast big business as the enemy, making it difficult to be an entrepreneur. “There is a sense that ‘we must take revenge on big business,’” says Hind. “The opposition against big business is so huge it has driven people into the perceived refuge of the all-encompassing father-state that will solve all of their problems.”
The sisters say that they’re not worried about Islamism or the social agendas of their leadership. “We’re not worried about who is going to be in power and what kinds of laws they’ll pass. The economic orientation of the leadership that is to come is what will affect the investment climate of the country,” they say.
Currently, it is not favorable. Foreign direct investment is down and consumers are staying at home. That has meant decreased sales for Diwan. “There is an increased interest in reading about politics,” says Hind, “but Diwan depends on recreation and disposable income.” Currently there is little appetite for either. “Consumption is linked to people’s perception of the country’s stability,” she attests. “If they feel secure enough, they browse in bookstores, dine out, window shop and gallery hop. But if there is unrest, people stay at home.”
Khaled Ismail, the founder of wireless technology company SySDSoft, hopes that the energy that motivated Egyptians out onto Tahrir Square will help solve the problem by “trickling down” into entrepreneurship. “We need more than a new ruler and a new regime,” he says.
Ismail believes that change should begin with the media, which he notes has fed the negative image of business overall. “Good business people create jobs and opportunity,” he says. “They are the role models the media should be talking about.” His own company is one such example; earlier this year, SySDSoft was acquired by Intel, which has opened Ismail’s operations, and therein Egyptian technology, to a global market.
Role models are something Egypt has historically lacked, says Ismail; it’s one of the reasons that Egyptian youths “don’t dream big.” Mentors and training are other crucial needs. Although many Egyptians who lack employment and educational opportunities start businesses, the majority fails. One of the reasons for that, he explains, is that everyone, understandably, is chasing profit. “But entrepreneurship is harder than that,” he says. Its success depends on the value that the product or service generates. “That may not happen for 2-3 years.”
The dividends of Egypt’s revolution may take longer. Elections have to be held. The constitution needs to be re-written. A new government must be formed. None can be done without the assurance of stability and prosperity. Entrepreneurs have a big role to play in Egypt’s future. How they contribute to Egypt’s growth will be critical. How the country allows them to do so will be even more so.
Endeavor is proud to make public the following transcript and video from a panel at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. The event, which assembled over 450 entrepreneurs and global business leaders, featured dozens of entrepreneurship-related presentations by top CEOs and industry experts.
Overview: This panel features leaders who have led and managed international expasion at their respective companies. The panelists discuss both the challenges and opportunities in going global, and their experience and advice with the Endeavor Entrepreneurs.
Moderator: Juan Pablo Cappello, Partner, Breenberg Traurig LLC
Diego Piacentini, SVP, International Retail, Amazon
Sal Giambanco, Director, Omidyar, Former SVP, Human Resources, PayPal & eBay
Claudia Fan Munce, Managing Director, IBM Venture Capital Group and Vice President, IBM Corporate Strategy
William Holtzman, Former Vice President, International, Handspring
Juan Pablo: Often when companies fail, it’s for the same reasons and sometimes the beginning of the failure has to do with misguided expansion strategies, so hopefully we’ll help you avoid all of that failure.
Juan Pablo: Lets start with Diego, my long time friend. Amazon was founded in 1994, and you guys have expanded into at least eight countries. In terms of that expansion, what makes you choose where you’re going to expand? What are your considerations before you get there? How does Amazon think through these strategies? (more…)
Endeavor is pleased to make public the following transcript and video from a presentation at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. The event, which assembled over 450 entrepreneurs and global business leaders, featured dozens of entrepreneurship-related presentations by top CEOs and industry experts.
Overview: Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and President Fernando Fabre concluded the Summit with their ideas, goals and dreams for Endeavor and the Endeavor Entrepreneurs who make it all possible.
Fernando Fabre (President, Endeavor Global)
We want to talk about what we define as the Endeavor Experience. Four months ago I joined Endeavor Global, after serving as the Managing Director of Endeavor Mexico. A lot of people have asked, “What do you do in your position?” Let me tell you what I’ve been doing. It’s something I really believe in.
First off, we’ve been in operation for almost 14 years. We have operations—meaning full-time, hired staff—in over 30 offices in 15 countries around the world. We have 200 staff members, we’re supporting over 600 entrepreneurs from about 400 companies, with revenues of over $4 billion and 150,000 jobs. With the magic of compounding, in the next five years we’re going to double that so we’re going to have 60 offices in 25 or 26 countries actually around the world, we’re going to have another 400 Endeavor Entrepreneur firms within the next five years, with revenues of $12 or $13 billion, and 400,000 jobs. I can tell you that that is going to happen. With certainty that’s going to happen because it has happened in the last 14 years. It’s going to happen because we have the most outstanding team of Managing Directors (MD).
We have an extraordinary team here in the U.S. In the US alone we have 34 staff members—including Dave Geary (Partnerships), David Wachtel (Marketing & Communications), and Larry Brooks (Finance). Make no mistake: in the next five years, we’re going to double the impact we’ve made in the last 14 years. It’s going to happen.
But beyond that, what we’ve been saying over the last year is, “Let’s look at Endeavor differently. What is the promise, the value proposition that we’re making to Endeavor Entrepreneurs? What’s the ‘Endeavor Experience’ we’re offering them from the first time a staff member or MD talks to or recruits them to Endeavor, the moment they’re in the selection process and receiving services? We are making a promise of certain standardized elements, including access to a network of the smartest, brightest business minds in the world. Right now we’re working harder on developing a standardized platform for providing this access. (more…)
Last September I wrote a post outlining my view of the venture capital industry: increasingly evolving like the beer industry as it continues to mature. Large VC firms resemble Budweiser-type macrobrews, competing based on scale and brand with a standardized product across multiple geographies, sectors, and stages. And much like the emergence of microbreweries specializing in craft beer, new Micro VCs (disclosure: like my own firm NextView Ventures) are thriving by specializing along at least one or more of these three dimensions (geo, sector, stage) with a unique offering for a specific subset of entrepreneurs.
It’s interesting to take step back and look what’s transpired in the year since that post. I hypothesized that, “Perhaps a contrarian statement in this environment: but even though there’s been a dip in fund size due to broad economic factors and LP appetite, it wouldn’t surprise me if the truly top firms raise even larger funds over the coming decade.” And it’s already happening… heritage firms have indeed raised even larger funds. Within the past twelve months, we’ve seen Bessemer raise a $1.6B fund, Greylock expand its fund to $1B, and Accel raise $1.35B across two funds. Hardly sounds like the death of the VC industry predicted by so many. But these are indeed multi sector, multi-geo, and multi-stage firms with long-standing LPs who are confident in their abilities as an enduring franchise to sustain elite performance.
I believe that we’re only the beginning of the new wave of emerging firms (and those existing ones retrenching and repositioning towards) taking a specialized offering approach. Those venture firms firms caught in the middle without the scale of a large firm and without the focused strategy of a Micro will continue to wane.
But if the VC market is really resembling the beer market, what does that mean for the customers, entrepreneurs?
More brewers = more sources of capital. Especially at the seed stage, because there are lower barriers to entry for a new firm with a seed stage strategy (because of capital requirements to raise mid-/late- stage specialized fund), a plethora of new firms will continue to be founded. All of that choice becomes a double-edged sword for entrepreneurs, but in the end is of course net positive. Founders benefit of having more funding options is certainly preferable, but there is a substantial onus on entrepreneurs to navigate an increasingly crowded and clouded landscape. While social media has brought greater transparency to many aspects of the VC business, it’s still a relationship-driven and moderately opaque industry.
Local brewers = geography matters. As macrobrew VCs are increasingly spending time in multiple geographies (separate from their HQs) there is real potential to differentiate along knowing that you can actually sit down and see your VC face to face. For some that’s important, but for some that’s a negative. Just as some people here in Boston prefer drinking Cambridge Brewing Company ale; others could care less it was brewed locally.
Specialized brewers = increasingly specialized sectors will cut beyond just a broad domain focus. Big Data, mobile, cloud-only are all dedicated sub-sector funds examples I know of in the IT space. Think of it as a hoppy IPA brewery vs. one which focuses on American Ales. How much of a benefit is it to have your mobile company backed by a firm which only does mobile? They’ll certainly know the ecosystem and be able to share learnings and network across the portfolio.
What’s pouring = individual partners matter. Each brewery has its own brews, and each firm has its own people. Individuals will matter just as much as the firms themselves because of their efforts to make a distinction from the often faceless macrobrews. Personality fit has always been important, and this dimension will become increasingly a factor on where the best entrepreneurs turn to for their capital.
Can’t try every beer = paradoxically, reputation and word-of-mouth will matter more. Even with greater transparency in online, with the abundance of choice, people will look to referrals. Discovery of the right potential venture firm that will serve as a good fit becomes a harder problem because of the sheer number of options available. When you only had a few beer choices, you tried them all; now you’ll ask your friends (with similar preferences) what they like.
Whether buying a whole keg or just a single draft beer – raising a large round or only a seed round, the VC landscape is definitely changing dramatically for entrepreneurs. However, the difference is that with a beer you can always select another next time, but your VC you’re stuck with for a quite a while.
Reprinted from www.under30ceo.com. See the original post here.
By Amy Abrams
Early in my career, I worked in what is now referred to as the first dotcom bubble. When I think back to those days, I remember it being incredibly fun, hectic, creative and exciting. I also remember working around the clock and feeling like I had no life. In many ways, it was the modern-day equivalent of the Wild West with industry people hoping to strike gold. People were starting new companies daily. Some of the companies became brief success stories, many went out of business and a few are still around today. What characterized the majority of these companies was that they were looking to grow fast and then exit with a big payout in the form of an acquisition or an IPO. The entrepreneurs running these companies were willing to work 24/7 to achieve this goal and expected their employees to make the same sacrifice. What I witnessed over time was a lot of over-worked and unhappy entrepreneurs whose dream did not come true.
While I was in it, living the frenetic life in the dotcom universe, I barely had time to think. But one question kept coming to mind: Is this the only way to be an entrepreneur? The answer became clearer over the years. It most certainly is not. After working with entrepreneurs for over ten years, I’ve found the most valuable opportunity of entrepreneurship is to be able to create meaningful work on your own terms, on a daily basis. Instead of sacrificing a lot in hopes of scoring it big payoff someday, your payday can be everyday.
Being able to get there requires a bit of a re-think, however. Perhaps one of the most drastic elements is to think beyond the financial rewards of running your own business. It goes without saying that it is important to feel compensated for the work that you do and that level of compensation varies from business owner to business owner. However, instead of exclusively working non stop and making significant sacrifices in your life so that you have a big pot of gold at the end, it’s worth considering ways that you can feel like you are receiving golden nuggets daily.
Consider your personal motivations for becoming an entrepreneur. For some it is a desire for autonomy or creative control. For others, it’s about finding meaning, freedom, or unlimited earning potential or a combination of many of these. Now ask yourself, would you sacrifice this aspect of your business for the next 5 years so that you could receive a big payout? No way! This motivator was a driving force for starting your business in the first place. Its value is worth its weight in gold, so to speak. So there is your first golden nugget. A word of caution here: once you realize the value of these benefits, you need to make sure that your business allows for/honors/accommodates them. Perhaps you need to do a little tweaking to make sure that your business meets your needs.
Next, consider what you do for your business. It is not that common in the professional world to have the opportunity to write your own job description. The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that you can and you do. And part of the thrill of entrepreneurship is that that job description changes. You can create a role for yourself in the business that utilizes your strengths and that allows you to feel energized because you get to do what you do best. Of course, there are some aspects of entrepreneurship that are not glamorous (for example, taking out the trash) or that you are not skilled at or enjoy but you still need to accomplish. There are lots of ways to outsource areas of weakness or areas you dislike over time. So ask yourself, would you be willing to compromise doing what you know you do best? What you most love? Would you take a job that does not utilize your skills and talents in exchange for a big paycheck? Of course not. Many entrepreneurs are motivated to start their own business so that they can enjoy their work on a daily basis. That is the operative word — that everyday your work is meaningful. And there is your second golden nugget.
Finally, it is worth considering how your business can make an impact. Many entrepreneurs start their business with the hope that their business will make a difference. This comes in a lot of forms, most frequently tied to the idea of innovating, changing an industry, blazing a new trail or solving a problem. Making a difference is often something that people refuse to put a price tag on as it fulfills a deeper sense of meaning for the individual. The impact your business can make in this world is a golden nugget unto itself. It is pointless to even question if this is something one would trade for a big payout. Working on daily basis towards making a difference is your daily gold.
The course of entrepreneurship varies greatly. There is no one road to get there. But along the way, there are some fundamental building blocks, some critical milestones that go beyond the tactical measures of business growth and success — the personal elements of satisfaction that help motivate and validate your decision of entrepreneurship, those things that cannot take away.
From left to right: Didem Altop (Endeavor), Kaan Gür (Akbank), John May (ACA), Hakan Binbaşgil (Akbank), Banu Samiloğlu (Turkcell), Özcan Tahincioğlu (Endeavor), Mustafa Say (Endeavor and TUSİAD), Tayfun Bayazıt (TUSİAD), Robert Okabe (ARI)
By Ceylan Hunal (Endeavor Turkey)
“İyi Yatırım Summit,” an event targeted at developing an angel investing community and entrepreneurial culture in Turkey, was held at at Sabanci Center in Istanbul on October 4-5. The summit, organized with the collaboration of Endeavor Turkey, TUSIAD and Angel Resources Institute and sponsored by Akbank and Turkcell, brought together leading Turkish and international investors, entrepreneurs, academics and top executives.
Opening remarks were made by Özcan Tahincioğlu, Board Chairman of Endeavor Turkey, Hakan Binbasgil, Deputy CEO of Akbank, and Tayfun Beyazıt, Vice President of the Board of Directors of TUSIAD. During the two-day summit, attendees discussed the “Angel Investor” model, which aims to support entrepreneurship and enhance entrepreneurial activity by providing knowledge, mentoring and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs, along with funding support.
The first day of the summit featured five panels lead by Robert Okabe, President of Angel Resource Institute, and John May, Chair Emeritus of the Angel Capital Association, which aimed to educate participants on various aspects of angel investing. The panels focused on portfolio strategy, due diligence, structuring of a deal, valuation of early stage companies, and post-investment relationships. On the second day of the summit, Robert Okabe and John May gave a half day workshop on different valuation techniques for early stage companies. The other panelists in the sessions were mostly Endeavor members, Endeavor Entreprenuers and Endeavor partners. The audience also included select members of the greater Endeavor network, such as NGOs and business leaders, all uniting to shape the nascent angel investor ecosystem in Turkey.
Reprinted from www.under30ceo.com. See original post here.
Matt Barrie is an award-winning entrepreneur, technologist and lecturer. He is Chief Executive of Sydney-based Freelancer.com, which is now the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace connecting over 1.5 million professionals from around the globe. In 2011, he was named BRW Entrepreneur of the Year.
Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Matt has experienced his fair share of ups and downs. In this Q&A interview with Alex Pirouz he explains how a vision much bigger than yourself can make it easier to push through times of uncertainty and hardship.
The main asset of what is now called Freelancer.com was launched in 2004. It wasn’t until 2009 that you took over. How did you build the brand after that so quickly?
“I started purchasing outsourcing sites all around the world, ranging from thousands of users to hundreds of thousands, and put resources behind them such as an engineering team, marketing team, etc.
“I had to see if it was going to be a good fit with the existing websites, if the price was right and if there was something compelling and unique that was going to add value to our existing infrastructure.
“In doing so, two years ago we were placed in the top 5,000 biggest website and now we are 240th globally, our users have grown from half a million to 2.5 million and in April 2011 we reached one million projects being listed on our site.”
In your opinion how important is it to recruit the right staff?
“One of the biggest challenges business owners face is finding the right people. When you hire A-grade people, in turn they attract more A-grade people to want to work at the organization. So essentially I look for someone who is A-grade and is able to fit into our culture.
“You only need to look at Google, Facebook and other big companies to notice that people are drawn to them because of their work culture and the people within their organization.
“In striving to be the best in the industry and one day the eBay of services, we have not only been able to attract the right talent but it has also given staff the drive and motivation to always want to expand and look at ways to improve so we stay ahead of everything.
“Whilst some entrepreneurs want to know and control everything within the business, a good manager of a business will hire people smarter than him and delegate certain roles to those people. By getting boggled down with the daily duties and tasks they will never have time to build the business.
“Find people who are better than you and give them that job. If you don’t delegate, you will never build a big company.”
What is the biggest challenge facing entrepreneur’s today?
“Starting is what I believe to be the biggest challenge. For people to transition out of work and go out there and take a risk is the toughest in my eyes. 60% of people think about starting their own business but only 5% do. Getting going is the toughest.
“If you are thinking about starting something, go and do it. It will be one of the most rewarding and challenging things you can do in your life. Just make sure you remain focused, don’t become complacent and always look to be growing as a company.”
As an entrepreneur what drives you on a day to day basis?
“I want to forge my own destiny whilst changing the world. A massive business has never been built in Australia, you have Facebook and Google but nothing has ever been done here so I want to be the first one to do that.
“It can be very tough and you wake up some mornings and think, is this going to be as big as it is, its potential?, and you do have some doubt. Every company has its ups and downs; you just have to persevere, execute, execute and execute. That requires a lot of focus and you just need to push through.”
Rand Fishkin, the CEO & co-founder of SEOmoz, has an long, thorough, and incredibly detailed blog post up about The $24 Million Moz Almost Raised. Rand does an awesome job of providing extensive details while maintaining confidentiality of the participants.
The story covers the full lifecycle of the VC fundraising process, beginning with Rand and his teams’ discussion about whether or not to raise money. He documents the fundraising dance, including providing lots of juicy email correspondence to underscore his points. He lays out the numbers for his company, the terms for the deal, and his view of when he was negotiating effectively vs. stumbling around.
Ultimately he gets to a signed LOI and that’s where the fun begins (in the section titled “Then Things Got a Little Weird”). The deal ultimately falls apart and Rand does a nice postmortem where he speculates on what happened. He then wraps it up with how his team responded and what’s next for SEOMoz.
If you are an entrepreneur, go read this post now. It’s probably the best and most detailed description of the VC fundraising process that I’ve read. Well done Rand – on many levels. Even though this particular deal didn’t close, I love your statement at the end:
“What I can say is that this experience makes me and the rest of the Moz team even more inspired and motivated to build an amazing company. We can’t help but feel passion for proving doubters and naysayers wrong. The greatest revenge is to execute like hell, bootstrap all the way, and do what we said we’d do – become Seattle’s next billion-dollar startup, and make the world of marketing a better place.