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Turkey’s Iyzico Raises Series B Round of Funding with Participation from Endeavor Catalyst

The Istanbul-based Iyzico, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Barbaros Özbugutu and Tahsin Isın, raised a  $6.2 million Series B round of funding led by IFC, 212 and Speedinvest, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst.  The payments company provides a platform to […]

May 28th, 2015 — by admin

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Endeavor Expands Presence in Europe with the Launch of Endeavor Spain

Madrid, Spain – July 14, 2014 – Earlier this year, Endeavor announced that it has expanded its European presence with the launch of Endeavor Spain, marking the organization’s second affiliate in Europe.  Supported by some of Spain’s most influential entrepreneurs and business […]

July 14th, 2014 — by admin

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Alternative energy – 10 tips when starting a cleantech company, with Mike Ahearn and George Bilicic [Video, Transcript]

Endeavor is proud 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:The cleantech revolution has unleashed what some have called the largest market opportunity in the history of the planet. As experts in the cleantech space, Mike Ahearn (Chairman, First Solar) and George Bilicic (Head of Energy, Power, and Infrastructure, Lazard) discuss the magnitude of this opportunity, what it means for entrepreneurs (particularly those in emerging markets), and what entrepreneurs should keep in mind when starting cleantech businesses.


Mike Ahearn
Managing Partner, True North Venture Partners, L.P.

Michael J. Ahearn currently serves as Managing Partner of True North Venture Partners, L.P., a venture capital company that invests in early stage innovative businesses addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems in areas such as energy, water, agriculture and waste. Mr. Ahearn also serves as Chairman of the Board, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR); Member, Board of Trustees, Thunderbird School of Global Management; Member, Board of Trustees, The German Marshall Fund; Member, Board of Directors, Endeavor; Member, Global Advisory Board, Beijing Climate Policy Initiative; and Member, Advisory Board, BDT Capital Partners. Mr. Ahearn lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds B.S. and J.D. degrees from Arizona State University.

George Bilicic
Managing Partner, Omidyar Network

George Bilicic heads the Firm’s global efforts in power, energy and infrastructure and also works with companies in other industries. In addition, he serves as a member of the Firm’s Fairness Committee and Investment Banking Committee. Mr. Bilicic earlier completed a term as Head of Lazard’s Midwest Advisory business serving the needs of companies and governmental entities based in that region of the U.S. across all industries. Other than his time at KKR (see below), Mr. Bilicic has been at Laz ard since March 2002.

Most recently, Mr. Bilicic has advised on the following matters (client in parentheses): proposed merger of Progress Energy and Duke Energy (Progress Energy), proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR (Northeast Utilities), resolution of joint venture and related matters between EDF and Constellation Energy (EDF), proposed sale of RBS/Sempra Trading Business (RBS and Sempra), proposed sale of Autopista Central toll road (Skanska), potential privatization or municipalization of the Long Island electric transmission and distribution system (LIPA), proposed exchange offer by Exelon for NRG (Exelon), leveraged buy-out of TXU led by KKR and TPG (TXU), Duke Energy spin-off transaction (Duke), National Grid acquisition of KeySpan (KeySpan), PlaNYC (City of New York), Duke Energy merger with Cinergy (Duke), various alternative energy financings and others.

From May 2008 to October 2008, Mr. Bilicic served as a Managing Director and Head of Infrastructure at KKR. At KKR, Mr. Bilicic was responsible for initiating and leading KKR’s global infrastructure investing efforts and contributing to other areas, especially alternative energy and power. During his time at KKR, Mr. Bilicic served on the Infrastructure Investment Committee and led teams that considered investments in airports, ports, surface transportation, utilities and power, alternative energy, midstream infrastructure, social infrastructure, and infrastructure conglomerates.



Millionaire advice – how to get past your fear in business

Reprinted from under30ceo.com. See the original article here.

By Jaime Tardy

Everyone has had fear. It’s human nature to be fearful of a tiger. But why does it tend to get in our way in business so much? I’ve had the chance to ask millionaires and experts about their fear and how they pushed past it. Google defines fear as:

“An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”

Fear is just an unpleasant emotion. That’s it! There are a ton of other unpleasant emotions, but for some reason this one can stop us from really becoming what we want to in life. It stops us before we start. If you want to have an amazing 2012 and beyond you need to find a way to fight your fear. Below are action items for you to do to get past the fear you have in your business. Choose at least one today to fight your fear.

You Don’t Have to Be Fearless

Earlier this year I was able to ask Seth Godin a question about fear. I asked:

“Do you use excuses because of fear? How do you recognize them and get past them?”

Seth Godin:

“Oh yeah, all the time. And the fact is, in our highly-leveraged world, where anyone can write a book on Tuesday and publish it on Wednesday, if I wasn’t using excuses I’d be a master of myself and would be producing tons of stuff. I ask myself, ‘What’s important enough to be afraid for?’ In those areas I’ll strip away the excuses. I’ll focus so much energy to do the things that I think are important enough. And in other areas of my life I will succumb. No one is Clark Kent and fearless. You don’t have to be Clark Kent to do what you want to achieve.”

You don’t need to be fearless! You just need to overcome it just enough to take action in spite of it. Millionaire Frank McKinney, who calls himself a real estate daredevil and creates $30 million dollar dream homes, said this about fear:

“The first emotional reaction to the thought of undertaking a risk is fear. So we’re afraid. That’s normal. That’s natural. Then we go and do our homework with that fear firmly embedded in the back of our minds, and as we’re researching, we are subconsciously looking for a way to say no. Realize that. Don’t let it happen. Realize there is a force at work subconsciously in your mind that is tempting you to say no. That’s the primary difference between my career and most others, especially in real estate, that I don’t let the fear that is there stop me. I’m afraid every day of my life. I admit it–I’m like an alcoholic that admits he’s an alcoholic. I admit I have fear every day, but I don’t let it stop me. That is the primary difference.”

Over and over again I hear it. You don’t need to be fearless! Frank also says you should exercise your risk like a muscle, and I think you can do the same thing with fear. Once you start to face it using the techniques below, you will get better and better at facing it.


Seth Godin: the essential question to ask before extending your brand

Reprinted from sethgodin.typepad.com. See the original article here.

By Seth Godin.

Are we doing this because it’s better?

Or because we can?

As organizations grow, they gain an audience, revenue, cash flow and trust. They add staff and then, soon, they decide it’s time to offer something new. Smuckers decides perhaps it should use its shelf space to offer a peanut butter. A corporate coach wonders if he ought to add HR consulting services. A website decides to clone a product made by a smaller company that they can bring to a larger audience…

If you extend your reach because you can, because you have market power, you will probably be doing your existing customers a small service (centralized support or billing or just one less person to deal with) but your brand doesn’t increase in stature. You had a chance to bring some of your original magic to the table (after all, it’s that magic that got you started) but all you did was bully the competitors out of the way.

On the other hand, if you extend your brand because the new offering is better, magical in the way you can make it magical, then you’ve dramatically increased not just your market share but your perception as well.

Nike and Apple sometimes fit into the second category–the iPhone and some of Nike’s clothing options are clearly different/better. Starbucks did it when they launched their ice cream.

On the other hand, there are literally thousands of organizations (including non-profits) that head down the path of mediocrity by rushing to offer 57 varieties, merely to please today’s shareholders, merely because they can.

Eureka! How spare time fosters big ideas

Reprinted from under30ceo.com. See the original article here

My watch doesn’t keep very good time, and I like it that way. Its uncertainty keeps me from organizing my days too precisely. It gives me breaks – sometimes short, some longer – for unstructured thinking.

At the top of organizations, and particularly in younger companies, time for unstructured thinking is scarce. Yet, unstructured thinking is what spawns the breakthroughs that people expect us, as CEO’s, to deliver.

This is our work of the highest order. But building space for this kind of thinking requires a stance that counters certain pressures we receive from others about how we should spend our time and requires a different discipline for managing our days. Not difficult. Just different.

Here are five tips that will help you build time for unstructured thinking into your workday. And if you do it, you will raise your odds for delivering what others expect of you – the big ideas – even though some of your constituents might not see the connection as you start.


When I see a day of back-to-back entries on my calendar, I know that it won’t be a very productive one. Still, most of us fall into a trap of feeling most important and that we’re doing our job best when we haven’t got a minute to spare.

Do you remember the Eureka! story? After working hard on a problem, Archimedes drew a deep, warm bath to clear his head, release all thoughts and relax. As water spilled over the side, the answer he’d sought for days emerged. Eureka!


7 people you need on your startup team

Reprinted from wamda.com. See the original article here

by Bushra Azhar

Investors are lined up, the website is done, glossy promotional material with smiling faces is all set, your core team is pumped, and you are ready to go live. Now is the time to worry about hiring the rest of your team. A social startup, unlike other businesses, is not just about “business”; it is also about passion and values, without which you cannot survive. Hiring the best team with all of the necessary ingredients is the key to your success.

That said, “best” can’t be determined simply by a university transcript or a recommendation letter; best is what gels most effectively with your enterprise and its values. Define your own best and then hire, not just those with suitable expertise, but those with suitable personalities that contribute toward success of your start-up.

Below are the seven people you should consider hiring:

1. Someone with Passion: What else is there to look for if your chosen hire doesn’t have passion?  Social Enterprise is about changing existing behaviours and mind-sets, and only a person with passion and purpose can make it happen. An entrepreneur once said, “Purpose may point you in the right direction, but it’s passion that propels you.” Enough said.

2. Someone who is Social Media Savvy: The current day and age is all about social media (until we find something more fun). If there is a potential hire who displays good social media skills (blogging, engaging, familiarity and presence on Social Media platforms and a Social Media following), do consider getting him or her on board. This person has a voice, and if used correctly, it can offer a tactical advantage to your enterprise. Of course it goes without saying that when I say SM savvy I don’t just mean updating Facebook status multiple times a day and posting YouTube videos of cats doing somersaults!

3. A Problem Solver: Social enterprise is challenging. From getting community support to gauging measurable impact of your work, it poses many more challenges than a regular business. If you have a potential hire that can get to the root of a problem and suggest workable solutions ; he is the one you cannot miss. I can hear you saying, “But how do we find out?” Well, there are many pre-employment tests like Wonderlic Test that help gauge the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving. Have the applicant take these tests, but trust your gut feeling in the end.

4. Someone with Compassion: Thomas Merton said, “The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.” Simply speaking, if a person does not have compassion, he won’t be able to appreciate this interdependence and has no place in a social enterprise.

5. A Strategic Thinker: A person with foresight and vision is an asset for any business, but even more so for a social one. It is much easier for forward thinking, strategic people to look positively at what may seem like a short term decision because they know it can provide substantial societal and business benefits. The person who can see the bigger picture is the person you cannot afford to miss.

6. Someone from the Community: When you are working in a certain community, it is imperative that you have someone from thatcommunity as part of your team. This person should be familiar with local issues and should have a position of trust within the  community. If trained properly, he or she can prove to be invaluable in bridging the gap and managing expectations between the community and your enterprise.

7. A Good listener: Companies usually look for charismatic speakers who can move audience to tears with a well-rehearsed, yet oddly spontaneous-sounding speech.  While it is great to have a few (very few) such people as part of your team, t a social enterprise benefits more from good listeners. Listening is an engagement tool that is highly underrated. As Dr. Covey in his timeless book stresses, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This approach is key to effective dialogue and results.

All of these traits are important for building a cohesive team, but I’m not suggesting that you need to hire seven people to find these seven traits. On the contrary, you may find them all in one, or make a point of being sure that anyone hired on your team has some of these traits (e.g. passion, listening skills, problem solving and strategic ability). The key is to define what you’re looking for in a holistic manner so that your social enterprise can maximize its effectiveness. Good luck!

Photo from gwen‘s photostream.

Bushra Azhar is the Founder of Good Business Sense (GBS), a CSR and Sustainability Knowledge Advisory based in the Middle East. A former corporate VP and academic, she has 14 years of experience under her belt with almost 5 years in CSR related areas. She is the author of a research study examining the growth of CSR in Saudi Arabia and is also responsible for developing 3 out of a total of 6 CSR reports released in the Kingdom. Her latest publication The Concise Dictionary of CSR: Simple, Practical, No-Nonsense Introduction to the Main Concepts” is available for free on her company website. You can follow her on Twitter @bushraazhar.

Nurturing the young entrepreneur

Reprinted from under30ceo.com. See the original article here

by Greg Bier

The desire and skills to be a successful entrepreneur can be recognized early in a person’s life. Many young people realize the value of hard work, creativity, and effective marketing in their own way and try to relay those skills into profit. With the guidance and direction of parents and experienced entrepreneurs, the young entrepreneurial spirit can begin to form.

Signs of the Young Entrepreneur

While children or young adults might not necessarily have a business plan or feasibility study in hand, they do have certain traits that demonstrate that entrepreneurial drive. The most concrete sign for these students is the desire to earn money.  Whether it takes the form of the age-old lemonade stand, mowing the lawn, or babysitting, the knowledge of working for a profit exists. Common traits found in young entrepreneurs include independence, creativity, persistence, and confidence. By matching these traits up with the motivation for profit, a budding entrepreneur is born.

Key Lessons for the Young Entrepreneur

In a world where it seems children can get anything they want, it’s important for a young entrepreneur to struggle a bit to develop motivation and inspire creativity. Being a bit stingy with a general allowance motivates children to find ways to earn money. It also communicates the value of money so they know where it comes from, how to manage it, and how to determine the real value of a product. Young entrepreneurs learn “opportunity cost” through this process by analyzing their work and time in comparison to the cost of what they want to buy. This provides a life lesson as well as a business lesson.

Some parents might balk at the idea of making their children spend their own money at a young age, but this lesson is key for the young entrepreneur. Children will begin to scrutinize what they want and what they are willing to pay with their own funds. If a parent buys everything, then they only see half of this equation: how much they want something. The value of the process is finding that balance between desire and spending.

A concrete way to show this process to children is through setting up a bank account. They can see their income vs. their spending in a very organized way. Children also benefit from understanding how checks and debit cards work. Some older people still have a hard time understanding that, when you use a debit card, that money is gone. Even though checks might seem obsolete in our technological age, they do offer a more hands-on experience in actually writing out the amount deducted, as well as in balancing a checkbook. As mentioned earlier, this is a lesson many adults could benefit from, and it is essential to an entrepreneur.

Avenues for the Young Entrepreneur

A key facet of this process is the student’s ability to come up with ideas to earn money. The creative spark begins early. They may begin branching out and realize the assets they possess, such as video games, CDs, DVDs, and toys, and begin to sell those online via eBay or Craigslist. Online ventures open up a whole new world for potential entrepreneurs, as long as they are guided and supervised by parents. As a child becomes more interested, he or she may express a desire to work with a parent, or for the family business. This is a great opportunity for a young entrepreneur to learn how a business is established and maintained, as well as providing certain tax advantages for you, the business owner.

Young entrepreneurs also benefit from any experience that relies on teamwork. Athletics teaches goal orientation, social skills, and the importance of communication. In a similar way, school activities, such as plays, promote self-confidence, creativity, and public speaking skills. The goal of these activities is to have a child engaged and involved with other children. If this is a fairly diverse group, then your child can learn how to be open-minded and conscientious,

Games also have the potential to provide great entrepreneurial lessons. Games such as Sims 2: Open for Business Expansion Pack, Lemonade Tycoon, DQ Tycoon, and Hotel Giant build problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Many children think they are just having fun, but they are acquiring essential business skills as well.

Young entrepreneurs display traits of venture-related success early in life. If pursuing those skills is a goal shared by children and parents, a multitude of opportunities and growth experiences are available. The independence, self-confidence, and drive that children possess can translate to a successful business, as well as a successful life. In nurturing these skills, it’s important that you, as a guide and teacher, provide your children real-life, practical experiences that show them how money is earned, as well as how they can analyze their wants and their needs in spending their hard-earned income. Those are lessons they’ll carry with them, no matter their entrepreneurial path in life.

Dr. Greg Bier is a Professor of Management at the University of Missouri. He leads the newly formedEntrepreneurshipAlliance in the RobertJ. TrulaskeSr. CollegeofBusiness. He is also a partner with Entrepreneur MO. Follw Greg @gregbier

2012 Milken Global Conference spotlights Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Endeavor CEO [with videos]

From April 29th to May 2nd, the Milken Institute convened its 15th annual Global Conference in Los Angeles. Experts from various fields gathered to discuss ways of leveraging economic activity and policy to improve human welfare worldwide. Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg participated in several panels, including “Game-Changing Global Entrepreneurs” which featured Endeavor Entrepreneurs Mario Chady, Leila Velez, Vinny Lingham, and Amr Shady:

Game-Changing Global Entrepreneurs

A Conversation on Visionary Women Entrepreneurs

Investing in Emerging Markets

Insights from a talented Endeavor candidate — on not being selected

Reprinted from the author’s blog. See original post here

By Alexander Torrenegra

If you follow my tweets, you may know that I was applying to become an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Endeavor Global is an organization that helps entrepreneurs unleash their potential by providing a network of seasoned business leaders. Endeavor Entrepreneurs get mentoring from members of the world’s top companies, educational and networking opportunities, and hands-on assistance with the most difficult challenges for startups.

We were invited to apply last year. The application process took hundreds of hours of paperwork, interviews, mentorships, and judging panels. Last week we flew to Cartagena, Colombia, for the Endeavor International Selection Panel (ISP). Finally, the last step of the process. We felt prepared and excited as tons of support and encouragement poured in, cheering us on. Sixteen companies were judged by an independent panel and after hours of deliberation, seven were rejected, including us. Honestly, it was heartbreaking. I failed at pitching my business properly. I let my team down, as well as the members of the Endeavor team that invested innumerable hours helping us. I’ve never dissapointed so many great people at once.

There is a positive side though: the experience was life changing. We got over a dozen VIPs (top-notch VCs and executives) analyzing every detail of our business. They criticized it and proposed improvements. We got raw, honest feedback— something quite uncommon since most VCs that don’t like your idea simply tell you “Interesting… we’ll get back to you.” We also met a lot of great people that want to help us.

Professionally speaking, I’m a new Alex today. Thanks to Endeavor, I’m now pitching better, hiring differently, executing faster, and more importantly, dreaming bigger. Or at least, I hope so.

How to successfully scale a mobile services company: lessons from Amr Shady of T.A. Telecom

Reprinted from wamda.com. See the original article here

by Nina Curley

Endeavor Enterpreneur Amr Shady of Egypt-based mobile value-added service provider company T.A. Telecom describes how he got his start pitching mobile advertising concepts, how an initial meeting with the CEO of Vodafone kickstarted their pivot into value-added services, and how having a bootstrapped approach to making profit helped him sell his first big clients.

They’ve been growing the company in terms of revenue 10 times every 5 years, Shady says, lately benefitting from assistance from Endeavor since T.A. Telecom was selected in 2011. He advises young entrepreneurs to test, test, test, and be open to feedback.

“It’s important not to [simply] take someone’s opinion on an idea. If you believe in a service, you need to really test. We’ve learned to double down once it’s generating cash and it’s a scalable project,” says Shady.

Raising money for your startup? Beware these 5 pitfalls

Reprinted from under30ceo.com. See the original article here.

By Mike Fishbein

Raising money should be seen as a means to accomplish ambitious goals for your company, not an accomplishment on its own. Securing investment from a prestigious venture capital firm can make headlines, but there are many downsides to raising money for an early-stage company. Here are a few:

1.) Dilution

The earlier stage your company is in, the higher risk it’s perceived to have. This means lower valuation and ultimately, lower returns for you. Startups should aim to validate their idea and get as much traction as possible before raising money. From the investor’s perspective, there is much more risk associated with a company with an unproven idea. A company with no traction is less likely to get funded and if it is funded, it will be valued lower than a company with traction. More dilution means lower returns for founders.

2.) Control

You can get fired from your own company! It’s fairly common for venture capitalists to remove the founder from the CEO position and hire a new one. In addition you will have less voting power on business decisions.

3.) Resourcefulness

Money can remove spending discipline. It’s nice to be able to take a salary after getting funded, but as Peter Theil believes, CEOs should be motivated by the long-term success of the company, not by the short-term benefits of a salary. Reid Hoffman took the minimum salary available while staying above the poverty line of $15,000 while serving as CEO of LinkedIn.

4.) Exit opportunities

If you decide you want to sell the company early at low price and move to the beach, you won’t be able to because of a term called a liquidation preference. This grants investors a minimum amount of the exit price before founders receive any.

5.) Time

Raising money is extremely time-consuming. It requires a lot of networking and meetings. For someone without much knowledge of how to raise money, it can also be very time consuming to prepare for fundraising. It’s time that could be better spent building the business or networking for partnership or distribution opportunities.

Technological advancement has made it cheaper and easier for a technology to launch and start getting traction and has thus raised investors’ expectations. I recommend startups use Lean Startup Methodology to validate their idea and get traction in a time and capital efficient manner. I agree with Niki Scevak: “Instead of raising money, writing code and then proving the business, do the complete reverse.”

Mike Fishbein helps startups through mid-size companies with capital raising, mergers and acquisitions and strategy. He also teaches a Skillshare class on capital raising and can be reached at twitter.com/mfishbein.

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