This past week in Austin, Texas, 14 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Latin America, the Middle East, and South Africa participated in an Endeavor-organized Innovation Tour (March 7-9) leading into South by Southwest (SXSW) — the famed digital and music festival that begins with a five-day Interactive conference. (Check out photos at the bottom.)
The Entrepreneurs represent a variety of tech industries including e-commerce, mobile, social media, gaming, advertising, and online publishing. Throughout the Innovation Tour, they were introduced to industry experts who offered advice and guidance. As one of the highlights, the entrepreneurs participated in one-on-one mentoring sessions with top executives from over 20 top Austin companies — for instance, Brett Hurt, CEO & Founder of Bazaarvoice.
As an introduction to Austin and SXSW, the entrepreneurs met initially with Hugh Forrest, Director of SXSW Interactive, to learn how to make the most of their time at the event. On March 8, Endeavor sponsor Dell, organized a dynamic “un-conference” featuring a lively social marketing panel moderated by Richard Binhammer (Director, Social Media and Community at Dell). Then, participants led a series of impromptu panels and discussions about various tech-related topics. The event also featured a behind-the-scenes tour of Dell’s Social Media Command Center.
Later, Entrepreneurs traveled to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong) where they toured the attractive new facilities and heard from Randall Macon, Partner, The Acceleration Agency and Director, My Entrepreneurial Journey. They also heard from Jon Kolko, Founder of Austin Center for Design and former Creative Director, Frog Design, who spoke about “Design Creativity and Innovation,” and gained insight into Human Resources issues from Janet Walkow, Cofounder, Leading Women Project and Associate Professor, University of Texas.
Endeavor also arranged private meetings with network members speaking at SXSW including an intimate Q&A lunch hosted by Reid Hoffman, and meetings with with Endeavor Global Network members Gina Bianchini (co-founder, Ning) and David Kidder (co-founder and CEO, Clickable).
In addition to these valuable business interactions, our entrepreneurs enjoyed the fruits of Austin in a different way, through barbecues, mixers, and other social events hosted by Endeavor including a networking event hosted at LINK Coworking Space and sponsored by Turnstone. Positive feedback from the entrepreneurs indicated that the Innovation Tour was both interesting and valuable.
- Endeavor Entrepreneurs attending the Tour / SXSW
E-Masary is the first mobile payment service in Egypt to use online and mobile payment technology combined with a robust network of merchants, to turn cell phones into debit cards.
Mariano Suarez Battan
Company: Three Melons (acquired in July 2010 by Playdom, itself acquired by Disney)
Gaming studio Three Melons creates popular online games on free-to-play business models. Recently, Mariano founded IDEAME.com, the “Kickstarter of Latin America” which connects artists with funding.
Company: T.A. Telecom
T.A. Telecom is a pioneering mobile telecom company that provides time-and-location specific content to over 10 million subscribers across the Middle East.
Vialux is the only provider of cell sites in Mexico that offers custom built, on-demand solutions to remote areas of Mexico, previously inaccessible by cell providers.
Company: Prefix Technologies
Country: South Africa
Prefix is a content management system (CMS) provider for the publishing industry that exposes customers to new opportunities on web and mobile platforms.
Country: South Africa, currently based in San Francisco
Yola is an online platform that allows the typical user without programming skills to develop websites through an easy drag-and-drop system. Vinny is a serial entrepreneur who also serves as an angel investor and board member of multiple tech companies.