High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Miami’s Kairos Acquires Emotion Analysis Firm IMRSV, Expands Product Offerings

The Miami-based facial recognition software company Kairos, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Brian Brackeen, announced that it has acquired the emotion analysis company IMRSV for $2.7 million. A New York-based startup, IMRSV will be folded into Kairos’ business structure […]

April 14th, 2015 — by admin

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Endeavor Launches Seventh Latin American Affiliate in Peru; Releases “The 13-32 Report” on Local Scaleups

Endeavor announced that it will expand its presence in Latin America with the launch of Endeavor Peru, the organization’s seventh country affiliate in the region. The launch is supported by some of the country’s most influential […]

April 29th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor global network member Juan Pablo Cappello named a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader magazine

The press release below can also be viewed here.

MIAMI — Juan Pablo Cappello, a Corporate & Securities shareholder in the Miami office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig has been named a “Top 50 Entrepreneur” by Business Leader magazine. An awards reception was held for honorees on Monday, February 20, 2012. The Top 50 Entrepreneurs issue is scheduled to be published in April 2012.

Started in 1989, Business Leader magazine provides local business intelligence to readers in several Southeast markets, including: Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro and Charlotte in North Carolina; Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville in Florida; Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia.

“It is an honor to be selected for this prestigious award and listed among such a well-accomplished list of professionals,” said Cappello. “Working at a law firm with a history rooted in the entrepreneurial efforts of its founding partners, it is a fantastic feeling knowing that through this accomplishment I am not only paying tribute to this tradition of entrepreneurship, but am also contributing to keeping the spirit of innovation alive.”

Cappello has wide-ranging capital markets experience in cross-border corporate finance, private equity and venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. He was previously the general counsel and a director of [Endeavor Entrepreneur Wences Casares’ company] Patagon.com, which was sold to Banco Santander for a transaction value of over US$750 million. Cappello also co-founded [along with Endeavor Entrepreneurs] www.idea.me, the first Latin America crowd funding site and Sauber Energy, a green energy company in Chile that resolves the problem of “harmonics” in the electrical grid.

Cappello is highly involved in the business community where he is a Global Advisory Board Member of Endeavor Global, a leading NGO promoting entrepreneurship. He is also on the Legal Advisory Board of the Latin American Venture Capital Association, the Advisory Board of the Pino Entrepreneurship Center at Florida International University and of the Institute of Global International Effectiveness at the Kelly School of Management at Indiana University.

Lumni: “Growing rapidly while doing good”

Co. Exist profiled “6 Companies That Are Growing Rapidly While Doing Good”, including Lumni, a social investment company founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Felipe Vergara.

Writes Ariel Schwartz,

Sometimes, social responsibility is sacrificed in the name of keeping companies afloat. But these six companies, dubbed Rockstars of the New Economy by B Lab, have achieved three to 100 times revenue or job growth while maintaining a high environmental and social impact.

On Lumni:

Lumni, a company operating in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the U.S., “creates funds that invest in the human capital of low-income students,” according to founder and CEO Felipe Vergara. The company’s social investment funds invest in college students, and in return, the students commit to paying back a fixed portion of their income for six months after they graduate (they don’t have to pay if they’re unemployed). Over the last five years, Lumni grew from $1.5 million in assets under management to $25 million. In 2011, it reached 2,500 students. Lumni USA recently financed its first class of American students.

Lumni founder Felipe Vergara is a former professor and serial entrepreneur, highly dedicated to education. In 2010 Lumni pledged, as part of a Clinton Global Initiative commitment, to provide 10,000 students in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. with access to financing for higher education over the next five years. His company has been featured in The Economist as an innovator in education financing. He has also co-founded Primera Languages for Business, a top provider of language and cultural education in a business context. Felipe has received support from Endeavor staff, mentors, and board members in every country where Lumni does business.

8 ways Jordan created an enabling environment for tech entrepreneurs

By Fadi Ghandour

This post is reprinted from Wamda. You can find the original post here.

So Arabnet is here. If you are a regular visitor to the Beirut conference you are going to see a very strong Jordanian presence. For a country with less than 6 million people, few god-given natural resources, in a mostly desert kingdom, with very little water, Jordan is a superstar of entrepreneurship in the Arab world. So how did this happen? What is the story of Jordan and tech entrepreneurs? How can other countries learn from Jordan’s approach?

Here is my take as a Jordanian, an Arab that roams the world, and an angel investor that has been doing business in every single Arab country for the past three decades:

1. There is no safety net. When you know someone is going to pick catch you (hint: government) you have no incentive to jump. Strange, no? Well, entrepreneurs are risk takers. When risk is minimized and we are dependent on the generosity and grants of others, then we have no incentive to make it happen. “Father knows best” does not work here.

2. The private sector leads, thinks and drives the story. The public sector plays only as an enabler… this formula works and works very well!

3. Political will and policy are driven by clear vision. Back in 1999, a group from the private sector presented HM King Abdullah with a blueprint for launching the IT industry in the country, called the “REACH Initiative.” He adopted it and pushed his government to facilitate the plan, and the rest is history. When there is a will there is a way. Yes, the private sector can work with the public sector, and yes, good things can come of it.

4. It has open systems and no web censorship. Believe me, if you sensor heavily, you drive people away. Don’t even think about it. Innovative eco-systems require open systems. And Jordan does not censor!

5. Competition exists in the telecom sector. Jordan has a totally open and deregulated sector with an independent regulator. This drives prices down and brings service levels up, and thus broadband is available at reasonable cost. This is an essential element for driving the IT industry; without it you cannot compete nor start a business.

6. There are no foreign ownership restrictions, and Jordan boasts a free trade agreement. Being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is important for any country with few resources, and in Jordan, it enables Jordanian companies to start in Jordan, learn, and make mistakes, then go global.

7. There is a substantial support community. Angel investors, mentors, incubators, venture capital, and Y-combinators like Oasis500, Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship, Endeavor, IV Holdings, I-Park, and Meydan among several others work to support entrepreneurs.

8. Last but not least, there is Maktoob, where it all started. A company launched out of Amman became the largest Arab internet company later to be sold to Yahoo, making it the largest deal of its kind in the region. This exit allowed many Maktoob employees to start companies afterwards, and the success story made other entrepreneurs feel that this industry is moving forward, so they could take the plunge and start a company.

The result is that now, in the spring of the Arabs and awakening of regional empowerment, Jordanians are busy building companies and finding markets, building and nurturing talent, and exploring the world.

These are my reasons. Please add yours, and feel free to disagree.

Endeavor South Africa releases new whitepaper on state of entrepreneurship

Hot off the press: Endeavor South Africa, in partnership with FNB and SAP, releases the third edition of the “Entrepreneurial Dialogues: The State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa [PDF]

The multi-authored white paper was the result of an Endeavor South Africa summit which touched on the ideal ecosystems for entrepreneurs based on four key archetypes as identified by research conducted by the Monitor Group in 26 countries. The summit was attended by some of the best and brightest minds in business, academia and government. The white paper incorporates key topics and proposes insights and recommendations for the creation of dynamic entrepreneurial environments in the country.

Malik Fal, outgoing Managing Director of Endeavor South Africa, says, “A deliberate effort must be made to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. Local entrepreneurial heroes need to be sought out and celebrated.”

Sanjeev Orie, Head of Acquisitions for Business Banking at FNB adds, “As a company with entrepreneurial spirit at its heart, FNB is committed to supporting South African entrepreneurs to take advantage of the business opportunities present in our country by offering sound financial and innovative banking solutions. By partnering with such initiatives, we hope to initiate ongoing interventions and lead the debate on issues pertaining to entrepreneurship in South Africa, as well as to develop a greater understanding of our local entrepreneurial landscape.”

Endeavor and Abraaj work together to foster High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Headquartered in Dubai, Abraaj Capital is a leading private equity manager investing in high growth markets. Since November 2010, when Endeavor announced a strategic partnership with Abraaj during the landmark Celebration of Entrepreneurship event, the firm has been one of Endeavor’s primary partners.

Largely as a result of Abraaj’s active support and involvement, Endeavor continues to expand operations throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, Endeavor launched in Lebanon and Indonesia. In coming months, Endeavor is set to launch in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Endeavor expansion teams are actively scoping prospects in additional countries in MENA (e.g., Morocco, United Arab Emirates) and South East Asia (e.g., Malaysia, Singapore). To facilitate this expansion, Endeavor Global also maintains local support offices in these regions, working out of Abraaj facilities in Dubai and Singapore.

In addition to facilitating expansion efforts, Abraaj support has enabled Endeavor Global to scale its core operations of selecting and supporting High-Impact Entrepreneurs. Abraaj’s involvement is particularly on display this week at Endeavor’s International Selection Panel in Dubai (March 27-29). Abraaj Founder and Group CEO Arif Naqvi is serving as one of the judges on the Panel and will personally host the delegates at an opening night reception. “I can’t thank Arif and his team enough for the warm welcome they are providing our global organization in Dubai,” says Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “Abraaj continues to be an indispensable partner for Endeavor in the MENASA region.”

The International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step Search & Selection process where top local and international business leaders interview and offer guidance to entrepreneur candidates. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local and international business leaders who volunteer as mentors.

In addition to providing support for these operations, Abraaj has helped strengthen Endeavor’s network of mentors in the region. Since the second half of 2011, various Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Turkey, Egypt, and Lebanon have also been directly mentored by Senior Partners and Principals at Abraaj, receiving guidance in areas ranging from fundraising to regional growth strategies. “Abraaj mentors have been particularly valuable to our business,” says Endeavor Entrepreneur Marc Dfouni from Eastline Marketing, a Lebanon-based digital marketing agency. “For instance, they have helped us strategize when and how to seek outside investment, and even how to structure our fundraising pitch.”

Plans are underway to expand the program, connecting even more Abraaj mentors with Endeavor Entrepreneurs. As a result of Abraaj’s recent acquisition of Aureos Capital, which operates in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Abraaj executives plan to provide mentorship and support to Endeavor Entrepreneurs in those markets.

Among other programs, Abraaj has also been a leading sponsor of events such as the June 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit, where 450 people (including 170 Endeavor Entrepreneurs) gathered in San Francisco to network and learn from 90 expert speakers, and the 2011 Endeavor Gala in New York City, where Mr. Naqvi spoke about the entrepreneurial landscape of the Middle East and introduced Gala honoree and Abraaj board member Fadi Ghandour. A board member of Endeavor Global, Mr. Naqvi is a founding supporter of Endeavor Catalyst, a program that co-invests in Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ professional fundraising rounds.

The time is now for High-Impact Entrepreneurship in the region. Endeavor and Abraaj are proud to be working together to make it happen.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull: entrepreneurial handbook?

Reprinted from feld.com. See original post here.

By Brad Feld

I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull for the first time in 1975 when I was about 10 years old. I’ve read it several times over the last 35 years, but probably hadn’t read it in over a decade. My first business partner, Dave Jilk (now the Standing Cloud founder / CEO), gave it to me as a birthday gift last week.

I just read it again and it was as powerful, inspiring, and enlightening as I remembered it. I’m often asked what books I’d recommend to an entrepreneur (especially an aspiring entrepreneur). There are two: Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Whenever we are in the upswing of an entrepreneurial cycle, like we are right now, I start seeing all kinds of weird stuff appear. Random people, who get notoriety for themselves, blow up. The media is aggressively negative presumably in the quest for getting readership. Entitlement behavior runs rampant. The quick buck artists appear. Money becomes a central topic of many conversations. Established companies and government suddenly wake up to the power of innovation and try to co-opt the energy. The word bubble becomes so popular that a bubble builds around using the word bubble.

The great entrepreneurs just keep building their companies. They focus relentlessly on their products, their customers, and their people. They create things that delight, take chances, make mistakes, and iterate as they, and their organizations, get better. They just keep at it and the very best ones shut out and ignore all the noise. And they learn, and learn, and learn.

Just like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Young Jonathan realizes he is different and then outcast, but he discovers himself. He then discovers others like him, including his great mentors. He learns, experiments, tries new things, makes mistakes, and learns. And learns. And then he becomes the mentor and teaches other young seagulls to discover themselves. Throughout, he does what he loves the most – he flies, and practices, and learns.

If you are an entrepreneur, take one hour out of your day this week and read Jonathan Livingston Seagull. And then spend another hour, alone, thinking about it. I assure you that it’ll be worth the time.

Josh Silverman (former CEO of Skype and Evite) offers advice to entrepreneurs (interviewed by Om Malik) [Video, Transcript]

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.

Josh Silverman is a leading entrepreneurship executive; the former CEO of Skype and Shopping.com; and the co-founder and former CEO of Evite.

Om Malik is the founder of the blog GigaOm; an Award-winning journalist; and Author of Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist.

Full Transcript

Om: Everybody knows you as the guy who ran Skype for a long time. You fixed Skype, and you did a lot of things there. What were you doing before that? Where did you come from suddenly?

Josh: I actually started my career working for a senator because I thought the best place to change the world was in politics. So I worked for Bill Bradley for a few years in Washington and then decided that I thought the private sector and particularly entrepreneurship is actually a much better place to change the world. So I ended up at a public company for a little while to learn how to run something, and then founded a company which became Evite. I built Evite for a while and ended up selling that to Barry Diller. We founded it right in the middle of the internet boom and sold it after the crash. And then I went to eBay, and joined eBay with the idea that they could send me anywhere in the world that they wanted to. I wanted China; they picked Amsterdam. Not quite what I thought, but ended up finding an opportunity for them in classifieds, getting eBay into the classifieds business. I built their online classifieds business in Europe for several years. I came back to the United States to run a company called Shopping.com and then got the opportunity — the privilege — to go run Skype in early 2008. (more…)

How not to miss the next Kickstarter: My VC lesson learned

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

By Charlie O’Donnell

In March of 2008, Perry Chen contacted me to ask for my help with fundraising–not the kind of crowd fundraising that he specializes in–but venture capital. It was before Kickstarter got its “e” and it was spelled “Kickstartr.” I don’t think it had even launched publically at the time.

I wasn’t at a venture capital firm at the time, but since I had worked for USV and had also raised an angel round myself, a lot of people used to ask me about how to raise money.

When Perry first pitched, Kickstartr was about bands raising money to cut their next album. That didn’t sound like a huge business to me, because the dollar amounts raised wouldn’t be very big and I didn’t want to count on a bunch of bands to be successful fundraisers.

It also seemed to lack natural network effects–the idea that I would one day subscribe to Kickstartr e-mails and essentially “shop” the site didn’t seem apparent. So when he asked for an intro to Fred Wilson, I kinda ducked it. I just didn’t think it was the kind of thing Fred would do.

I turned out pretty wrong. What Kickstarter has become is nothing short of amazing. I do actually shop the site now, buying speakers and bike lights. It’s like the most amazing ecommerce store, where if someone can think of something amazing, you can buy it. And that’s on top of the impact that people have made in their communities through their projects.

None of this kind of thing was in Perry’s original pitch to me–so I can’t kick myself too hard over it.

So what’s the lesson learned here?

I didn’t realize exactly what I missed until I saw Simon Sinek’s TED talk, which I’m recently obsessed with. He says that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and that the most successful people start with an inspired drive and then work outward to a particular function. Apple for example, does what they do because they want to challenge the status quo–to reinvent our notions of what is possile. They do it through great design, and oh, they just happen to make some phones and tablets and computers.

Perry was that inspired about what he was doing–and the particulars of how he was going to get there and build a big business were kind of murky. Yet, it’s exactly these particulars that VC’s obsess over. Your pitch deck includes the “product roadmap” but there’s no slide for “why the hell do we do this in the first place?”

I didn’t understand how important that pattern was at the time, but now, four years later, I get it. Nowadays, one of the first things I ask someone is why they do what they do. I used to ask it out of curiousity, but now I get how important that is to the success of your business.

Had I actually been at a VC firm–and what I do now–is to take meetings with people like Perry. Even if I’m not sure whether what they have is a business, I want to spend more time with really inspired, driven people who have a bigger goal than just putting some nuts and bits together. Not only that, I try to stay close to them over time. My other failure after our call was not staying in better touch with Kickstartr and being more helpful over time. I essentially passed on making a rec to another VC, and that was the end of it for me, as it is for a lot of other investors. Maybe had I gotten to know them better, I would have seen more of their drive and understood the bigger picture.

You’re always going to miss deals in venture capital–but you want to go back and understand why you missed something and whether you can do anything to make sure you don’t miss the next one.

Charlie O’Donnell is a Partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, working on very early stage investments in the “Greater Brooklyn” area, which also includes Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. He previously spent two plus years at First Round Capital, where he sourced the firm’s investments in GroupMe (sold to Skype), Backupify, chloe + isabel, Refinery29, Docracy, Singleplatform, and Salescrunch. He founded New York’s largest independent innovation community group, nextNY, and was voted one of the 100 Most Influential People in New York Technology three consecutive years by Alley Insider.

Charlie was the Co-Founder & CEO of Path 101, an innovative startup in the career guidance and recruiting space, which raised half a million dollars and was a Business Insider Startup 2009 Finalist.

Things entrepreneurs never confess to their VCs

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

By Dharmesh Shah

Note: This is intended be a light-hearted piece that hits just close enough on some counts to (hopefully) be funny. Please don’t take it too seriously. (Oh, and for the record, I’ve actually said more than one of these things myself).

Things Entrepreneurs Never Confess To Their Investors

1. You know that candidate you introduced me to? Well, he was kind of a schmuck.

2. We had our management team meeting yesterday and we’ve concluded that we’re kind of screwed.

3. I know I should know this, but I have no idea what participating preferred means — and who should prefer it.

4. We’ve got a big launch of our mobile app scheduled for April 1st, we’ve lined up some great PR and everything is ready to go. Just one minor detail: We have no idea when Apple’s going to approve the app for the AppStore. We wisely refrained from putting an early version through the process, because we’re in “stealth mode”.

5. It finally hit me that revenue and cash are not the same thing. Customers provide “revenue”, employees want to be paid in cash.

6. I’m wondering if I should worry that the 10 year Oracle sales executive we hired for VP of Sales hasn’t really sold anything yet. Oh, and I think he wants my job.

7. My co-founder had a major life event come up (the event was that he decided he wanted one). He’ll be leaving us but is happy to continue to contribute as a strategic member of the board of directors. I didn’t know he had a lawyer, but the lawyer assured me that my co-founder would “Vest In Peace”, which sounds like an amicable parting.

8. Learned from tech guy yesterday that our entire back-end runs on a single “virtual” Amazon EC2 instance. Also learned that “virtual” means that it can virtually disappear whenever it wants. That’s why the engineering team has been working for months on this horizontally scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture so that when we start getting some paid customers, we’ll be ready.

9. Had to execute some “executive leadership” yesterday. At the last management meeting, our VP Marketing was telling me we were getting crushed in the market because of two big missing features. I told her that on the startup battlefield, wars are not won by features. Besides, we’re investing in our future, not our present. That’s why the entire engineering team is working on building a scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture.

10. We have 11 months of cash left in the bank. Adjusted for inflation. But, not adjusted for the fact that we have no idea if any of our large, enterprise deals that our VP of Sales sold is ever going to pay us in a form that can be used to pay bills and payroll. Our landlord is clueless and doesn’t understand the importance of the strategic deals we’re doing and the raw brand-value of the logos we’re collecting for our website.

11. Our VP of Sales keeps saying “land and expand, baby, land and expand”. I don’t know what that means exactly, but we’ve been doing a lot of landing and not a lot of expanding.

12. I’m super-excited! We had our first acquisition offer yesterday. Well, it wasn’t really an offer. And no, they didn’t really use the word acquisition, or M&A or “buy”. But there was some high-level, strategic talk about how we could work together. And, he paid for lunch, so there must be some interest.

13. We’re planning on throwing a big, bad, holiday party. It’s not one of those crazy launch parties. We want to treat it as a “recruiting” event. Yes, yes, I know that there’s no additional head-count in the budget, but we to be proactively filling the candidate funnel. Startups are “all about the people”.

14. Back in college, when you “audit” a course, it meant you just tried it out and see if you liked it. Why does “auditing financials” have to be so intense?

15. We’ve found new office space. To be consistent with the 5 year pro-forma we showed you at the last board meeting, we’ll be signing a 5 year lease that matches the space needs based on those projected numbers. It’s nice when things just work out, isn’t it?

16. I woke up this morning with this really big idea. It’ll make the idea you invested in pale in comparison. The good news is that we can reuse the work the engineering team has been doing. Not only have they been building something that’s horizontally scalable, self-replicating and auto-healing, they had the foresight to build something infinitely flexible too. Now I know the importance of hiring great people — ones that have the vision to see your vision and can adjust their vision based on your new vision. This is going to BIG!

What do you think?

Dharmesh Shah is the founder and CTO of HubSpot. HubSpot provides marketing software for small businesses. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has raised over $33 million in venture capital, and has over 1,800 customers.

He developed grader.com – a free suite of online tools for marketing measurement. These tools, including WebsiteGrader.com and TwitterGrader.com are used over a million times a month.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Cheryl Nesbitt offers advice for scaling your business

Reprinted from Cape Business News. You can find the original article here.

The transition of growing your business from a small business to a medium-sized operation poses many challenges for entrepreneurs who may not be equipped to deal with the change and some of its effects.

This is according to Cheryl Nesbitt, founder and owner of South African cooking school, Capsicum Culinary Studio, who recently addressed entrepreneurs at the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s (USB) Leader’s Angle and discussed how to survive the stressful transition period of expanding a business. According to Nesbitt during the transition phase of Capsicum, her goal was to run a R100 million business. In order to achieve this she hired a CEO with skills she did not possess but were necessary to bring her business to success. “Once a CEO and/or new management are hired it is likely that the culture of accountability will change. During this process it is important that the original culture created stays the same,” warns Nesbitt.

Nesbitt says the key to growing a business and expanding the footprint is to document all business systems, processes and routines utilised during a typical day of operation. “This is the reason why franchises such as McDonalds stay successful. They ensure that everything is documented exactly the same way,” she explains.

Nesbitt says that as a business grows, more management will be required to take on the increasing number of responsibilities of the operation. Furthermore, Nesbitt says the original employees generally won’t have the skills required to work for a medium-sized business. She refers to Steve Jobs who once said that the original team is not the team that takes entrepreneurs to the next level. “There is often a resistance from old staff to adapt to the changes of new management and for this reason they may resign. You need to have a clear succession plan in place before you decide to grow so that these frictions do not lead to unnecessary interruptions. Another alternative is to upskill staff members so that they are equipped to deal with the new responsibility when it becomes necessary,” she says.

Furthermore Nesbitt says that in order for a growth strategy to be successful, business owners must be able to adapt their strategies and compile regular competitive analyses to assess their position in the market. Moreover she says that entrepreneurs should not underestimate the value of attending conferences and networking. Attending conferences and networking often bring about idea’s that could take a business to the next level.

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