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Endeavor Investor Network Convenes Over 120 Entrepreneurs and Investors in NYC

On May 5th, the Endeavor Investor Network convened growth market leaders in New York City for a day of networking and learning. The invitation-only event gathered over 120 participants including Endeavor Entrepreneurs and leading investors […]

May 13th, 2015 — by admin

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Endeavor Entrepreneur Companies Featured in The Economist Ranking of Top Internet Companies

The Economist recently charted the top three internet and technology companies in 50 countries based on data from the World Startup Report. The ranking demonstrates the number of emerging markets with growing tech scenes that are succeeding outside of the […]

July 14th, 2014 — by admin

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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!

Endeavor Entrepreneur company Top Systems joins the Stefanini group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Company press release

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

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

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

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

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

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