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Three Keynote Speakers Announced for the 2015 Endeavor Entrepreneur Retreat

The invite-only 2015 Endeavor Entrepreneur Retreat will take place May 6-8 in Westchester, NY. Three top-tier keynote speakers have been confirmed for the event: – Kenneth I. Chenault is Chairman and CEO of the American Express Company. He joined […]

March 2nd, 2015 — by admin

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Two Mexico Entrepreneurs Named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2014

The  Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is an annual list of the top innovators driving global, regional and industry agendas to improve the state of the world. The 2014 list of 30 entrepreneurs includes […]

March 26th, 2014 — by admin

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Letting go of your inner control freak

Reprinted from under30ceo.com. See original post here.

By Maren Kate

One of the most natural human impulses is the desire to be in control. Usually the more instability a person is dealing with in their life, the more they grasp for control of whatever aspect they can. This is often why we see children with bad home lives picking up an eating disorder (if they can’t control their parents, they can control what goes into their body) or a mid-level manager in a failing company micro-managing the people underneath him with an iron fist.

As a child I was obsessed with controlling my surroundings, down to the point where watching a new movie stressed me out because I didn’t know what was going to happen. As I grew up I was able to shake my extremely controlling ways, in part due to a therapist and long-suffering boyfriend, but when I started Zirtual a year ago I saw the red-eyed control-monster once again rear it’s ugly head.

I wanted to do everything myself but as I started hiring people I realized that it was impossible to keep tabs on it all and be able to focus on the high-level stuff at the same time. My dilema was ironic since Zirtual is a company based around the concept of saving one’s time by delegating tasks to a personal assistant.

I had worked with assistants for several years and they had very much helped force me out of my micro-managing ways because knowing I was paying someone gave me an extra incentive to send off tasks to them and clear my plate. But working with a team and co-founders was a completely new experience.

An important quote I ran across which totally changed my thoughts on micro-managing and delegation within my business was from Richard Branson:

“I am often asked how I manage to keep my finger on the pulse with so many different companies and ideas to think about. This is all about the art of delegation. From a very early time, when we went from one company to two companies, I realized I couldn’t do everything myself. I had to learn the art of delegation and try to find people who are better than me to run the companies – that wasn’t that difficult!”

Luckily for me (and our team) between Branson’s encouraging outlook and a few delegation tricks I learned along the way I was able to let go of my controlling ways and instead focus on growing my business.

3 Ways to Not Get Your Control Freak On

1. Surround yourself with smarter people than, yourself. Never hire someone you think you’re superior to, this is a lesson I realized very early on. Hire people who make you think “wow, they’re a lot better at me in X, Y or Z” and you’ll be less likely to try to micro-manage them.

2. Practice the 80/20 principle. This idea, called “Pareto’s Law” is based around the idea that 20% of the things we do contribute to 80% of the results. So 20% of your work is actually responsible for up to 80% of your success. Instead of focusing on the whole enchilada try to spend your time on that important 20% and let the rest be handled by your team. This is hard for the control freak but luckily, like with all things, delegation gets easier with practice.

3. Start small. The first step I took to freeing myself from my control-freak ways was to hire an assistant. Just somebody who could take small tasks off my plate and free up some of my time. This trained me on the basics of how to manage people, how to delegate properly and how to practice letting go of the majority of my day which I didn’t need to be directly handling. As your business grows you’ll want to eventually have a whole team who you delegate to, but often it’s helpful to start small with just one person like an assistant or intern.

Maren Kate is the founder of Zirtual, a personal concierge service for busy professionals, and writes about the startup life and unconventional living on her blog Escapingthe9to5.com.

“The money is not important”

Reprinted from growvc.com. See original post here.

By Markus Lampinen

Whenever you talk about startups and building new businesses, there’s often someone that chimes in with the comment “money isn’t important for entrepreneurs.” And over the years in building Grow VC, we too have heard that argument several times. Well, guess what, it is actually quite important.

Often the counter argument is the value of the right mentors. Granted, the value of a good mentor, advisor and role model is vast for a budding entrepreneur to rise to their fullest potential. A great mentor will force entrepreneurs out of their comfort zones, to pick up new abilities and hone their business skills to meet the demands of the market. But at the end of the day, if the entrepreneur has no time to listen and learn, even the greatest mentor will not be able to conjure more time for the entrepreneur.

Time IS Money

It’s a saying we shrug off almost daily and it reverberates in many different contexts. It’s not the golden egg of all proverbs, but it does have a point. Each minute of each day costs someone money. The sooner you learn to accept this, the sooner you will also be able to set yourself in the right mindset, of weighing your options and priorities, and focusing your time on what matters the most to yourself.

If you are spending time bootstrapping your venture and not taking out a salary, then guess what, that time is coming out of your own pocket. You are in effect paying for it. This is in various forms, for example through missed salaries or other opportunities (the alternative cost). It is an investment into the future of your startup venture and your own career. However it remains for you to decide if the investment is worth the sacrifice that you will endure making it.

Oh and one more thing, ask an entrepreneur that’s bootstrapped a venture or two if money is important. I’m sure you’ll get quite a clear answer.

No Such Thing as Free Advice

Entrepreneurs form tight networks in their local regions, but nowadays also increasingly much outside of their local setting. Time spent on networking or pitching in to someone else’s business is also time that has to cost someone. You can again decide that it is an investment into some future outcome, be it a relationship, partnership, a good contact or friend, but at the end of the day, if you are paying for it, make sure you get value out of it.

I’ve seen people ‘helping out’ in others businesses for months, only to end up in frustration and confusion as the ‘helper’ does not get anything out of the relationship. Sure you learn a bunch and so on, but let’s get real. If you are adding value to someone else’s operations, you should get something out of it. Often stringing people along ends up in miscommunication and unclear expectations, something that is good to clear up right at the start. “If I’m going to spend this much time in helping you out, this is what I expect in return..”. You don’t have to be so crude about it, but at the same time fair is fair.

Everything is a Trade Off – Don’t Pretend it isn’t

You are the judge of how you spend your time, but everyones time costs money. Make sure you can always justify your use of time to yourself. “I’m doing this instead of X, Y or Z – is it the best use of my time?”. A tangible example is sitting at a meeting looking at the same PowerPoint you’ve seen a thousand times, versus working on actual work, exercising or even spending time with your kids. Everything is a trade off, don’t pretend it isn’t.

Once you get into the mindset of thinking about time as the most precious commodity, which it most definitely is, you will have a hard time justifying menial and ultimately pointless activities to yourself. And that’s the point. You shouldn’t be doing pointless activities anyway.

Ask yourself, would you pay someone else to do the things that you are spending your time on?

An interview with Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg (The Bridgespan Group)

Interview conducted by The Bridgespan Group and reprinted from Bridgestar.org. You can see the original post here.

Interview by Kathleen Yazbak

This “CEO Perspectives” features a conversation between Bridgespan Executive Search Partner Kathleen Yazbak and Linda Rottenberg, CEO and co-founder of Endeavor Global.

Kathleen Yazbak: You’re an entrepreneur, leading a network of organizations led by entrepreneurs, each supporting entrepreneurs in their countries. How do you define ‘entrepreneur’ and has your definition changed over time?

Linda Rottenberg: Endeavor Global has always been of, by, and for entrepreneurs. Originally, we thought of “entrepreneurs” as those who create jobs and wealth and give back to Endeavor’s work with other entrepreneurs, creating that positive cycle. However, the term “entrepreneur” has become ubiquitous, and I think it has been devalued over time. At Endeavor, we now talk purposefully about ’high-impact entrepreneurs,’ those who drive innovation and growth. Growth potential is now a more rigorous lens than it was. We now think of our entrepreneurs’ success as a multiplier effect and are now far more definitive about growth being the role model.

There have been distinct phases to your work at Endeavor, and thus your role and leadership. How do you categorize those phases?

Rottenberg: If I look at the phases, they’ve all been about the people. Phase one—roughly 1998 to 2003—was about getting top, local business leaders to pick us up. We found the movers and shakers and we told them, ’We have a model, but you have to decide whether you want it, and you have to pay us for it.’ We put the onus on them, and we built local boards and partnerships to find and nurture the best entrepreneurs.

Phase two began in January 2004, when Edgar Bronfman, Jr. [the chairman of Warner Music Group] became our board chair. We went from being a founding board to developing into a board that had a focus on resources and strategy at its core. Edgar wanted to help make Endeavor important and pushed us to take on a goal of 25 countries by 2015. Our growth and expansion led us into South Africa, Turkey, and the Middle East.

Phase three, which occurred roughly three and a half years ago, is when Omidyar Network took a bet on us and gave us a challenge grant to build our leadership team and management and to build in retention, because we were finding that because we are private-sector driven, we were losing smart, young people to business school, as well as to hedge funds and private equity firms.

Phase four is now, with our Endeavor 3.0 strategy. We have an operating plan to double in the next five years what it took us 14 years to do. Part of this phase is about unlocking our long-term sustainability.

Winning the talent war

Reprinted from informationarbitrage.com. See original post here.

By Roger Ehrenberg

Let’s face it: the hardest thing about building a great company is attracting and retaining great people. But once great people are attracted by pursuit of an exciting mission, a complex and interesting engineering problem and, yes, compensation, how to you keep them?

The problem is that truly great people stick out like a sore thumb. Some of them are even members of “The Guild” (the pack of 1000x developers that hang out at places like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google and the top start-ups run by their Guild mates). These people are the targets for cash-rich, rapidly growing “it” companies and command compensation packages in the millions of dollars, heavily skewed toward restricted share and option grants. They also offer rich perks, the best hardware and loads of creature comforts. These people are game changers, and are brought in to build mission critical pieces of the software stack designed to operate at web scale. The salutary impact on their new employer is expected to be orders of magnitude larger than their comp package. From a purely monetary perspective, it is hard for the start-up to compete.

But clearly some start-ups have been successful in recruiting and retaining 1000x engineers, even in the face of sickly flattering offers from the red-hot incumbents with richly-valued shares. There are a handful of tools that successful start-ups use to keep these unicorns in their seats, sometimes alone but often in combination:

Create – and maintain – an engineering culture. Too often developers are viewed as tools for executing a product vision and not as engines of creativity capable of helping shape the vision. The best developers are jazzed by solving wicked hard problems, and in the process gaining tremendous insight into the product, its strengths, limitations and opportunities for development. Celebrate these coding monsters and help push their stuff into production. This only makes them happier. Feed the beast!

Be generous with stock options. Gone are the days when the business founder gets 20x the early technical hires. This is a sure-fire way to create a revolving-door culture where the best are compelled to leave for purely economic reasons. Even developers who are intoxicated by the mission and the problems to be solved have their limits, and top developers know their market value and won’t stand for shabby treatment over time. The equity package for “Guild” members at start-ups has to be massively adjusted. Whether they are “founders” or not, their impact on executing the plan is essential for the plan to come to life. Be generous and work to expand the pie for all shareholders, even if that means taking additional dilution due to a large option pool.

Create larger option pools Day 1. So much time is spent haggling over the size of the option pool in the earliest days. I see founders of seed stage companies routinely wanting to size the post-money option pool at 10%. This is simply way too low. In a Series C company? Perhaps. In a seed or early Series A company, where a significant number of engineers need to be hired? Grossly inadequate. I’d say option pools should almost be double what is common today (10%-15%) in order to provide sufficient flexibility to hire and retain the best people. Option budgets should be re-calibrated to reflect the true value of the 1000x engineer. What is the purpose of spending the time and effort to onboard one of these people, only to be stingy when it comes to ownership? It makes no sense.

Consider pre-emptively marking your top engineers to market. Given the intimacy of the start-up community, it is often pretty well known that a particular start-up engineer is speaking with one of the larger “hot” companies. Further, a totally rocking engineer is well-known by their peers, each of which is a potential threat for making a run at their friend and trying to get them to join their company. When you’ve witnessed the 1000x performance, it is safe to assume that they are being approached regularly by larger firms to join the team. Before these talks gain any traction, estimate the kind of package your engineer would get to leave (A). Then calculate what a reasonable exit scenario for your company is, say, 2-years forward (B). Divide A by B: this will give you the approximate amount of ownership the engineer should have in the company to be economically neutral.

Keep the work varied and challenging. Rock stars like to be stretched. Bad things happen when the exceptional developer’s mind is allowed to wander. Keep it from wandering by being constantly challenged with stimulating and exciting work. And by all means don’t “kick them upstairs” and ask them to manage; this isn’t a promotion, it’s a prison sentence. Get a great VP Eng to manage the release cycle and to keep the team on task. Do not waste the 1000x developer’s skills or psyche on managing people. It’s all about the work – keep it that way.

Show the love. Developers may be low key on the outside but they are pure fire on the inside. They have ego; it just might not be of the in-your-face variety. They are more likely to be thrilled by authoring an open-source project or filing a patent application than getting some public acclaim. What they really want is respect from their peers. To this end, think creatively about ways they can demonstrate their skills and share it with others. Publicly acknowledge the impact they have had and will have on the organization. And just treat them well.

At the end of the day even a generous start-up might not be able to compete with Facebucks or Google’s gazillions, but the range and richness of work coupled with having a massive and observable impact on a smaller company’s business can often tip the scales. But to win against these aggressive and monied competitors, start-ups need to be on their game. Hard.

Roger Ehrenberg is the founder and Managing Partner of IA Ventures. Roger currently sits on the boards of BankSimple, Kinetic Global Markets, Metamarkets, Recorded Future, and The Trade Desk, and is a Board observer of SavingStar. Formerly, he served on the boards of Alphacet, Buddy Media, Global Bay Mobile Technologies, Magnetic, Selerity and Stocktwits. For his complete bio, click here.

Bing Gordon: “CEO 2.0: Lessons from Bezos and Pincus” [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.

Overview: Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers spoke about why being a web 2.0 CEO is different than being a traditional chief executive. In his presentation, drawing from the experiences of Jeff Bezos, founder, president and CEO of Amazon.com and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, he articulated how the new kind of CEO must be visionary, customer focused, a coach rather than a dictator, and committed to a fast pace. He also included other tips on the best ways a web 2.0-era CEO can build a support system and adopt specific strategies to be especially effective.

Bio: Bing Gordon joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner in 2008. He leads on the sFund, the investment initiative to fund and build applications and services that deliver on the promise of the social web. The sFund, launched in 2010 with strategic partners Amazon.com, Facebook, Zynga, Comcast, Liberty Media and Allen & Co., has made 16 investments to date, including four seeds. Bing serves on the board of directors of sFund companies Klout and Lockerz; sFund strategics Amazon and Zynga; as well as MEVIO and Zazzle. He was also a founding director at Katango (acquired by Google 2011), ngmoco (acquired by DeNA 2010) and Audible (acquired by Amazon in 2008).

Before joining KPCB, Bing had been a long-time executive at Electronic Arts, beginning with EA’s founding in 1982 with initial funding from Kleiner Perkins. He was chief creative officer at EA from 1998 to 2008 and previously headed EA marketing and product development. Bing drove EA’s branding strategy with EA Sports, developed EA’s pricing strategy for package goods and online games, created EA’s studio organization, and contributed to the design and marketing of many EA franchises, including John Madden Football, The Sims, Sim City, Need for Speed, Tiger Woods Golf, Club Pogo and Command and Conquer.

Bing was awarded the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, and he held the game industry’s first endowed chair in game design at The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University and his B.A. degree from Yale University, where he serves on the President’s Council. Bing’s favorite games of all time are World of Warcraft, the Sims, Diablo, Pogo, Civilization, Columns, Freecell, Farmville and Cityville.

Full transcript:

I want to talk to you today and share what I’ve learned about how to be a CEO in the era of consumer Internet. I’m on the boards of Zynga and Amazon and there are two great CEOs.

I’ve done lecturing for universities and what I’ve learned for motivated students and what I’ve learned from game designers (I’ve been making video games since 1982—video games) is no matter how long I spend with them, they can only take away one and a half actionable ideas unless they take notes. So if your ambition is to have more than one and a half ideas out of the next 20 minutes, take notes [Editor’s note: done!] or have a really smart friend next to you. (more…)

What makes an entrepreneur successful?

Reprinted from growvc.com. See original post here.

By Isaac Bullen

Growing up in Austin, Texas, I have encountered numerous brilliant minded businessmen who have gone on to create successful companies on their own. Michael Dell is the most notorious; he founded one of the largest computer manufacturing companies in the world. One of my contemporary college graduates went on to form Hey Cupcake, which started as nothing more than a food trailer, and has since grown to several locations. So, the question is, what makes these businesses successful?

Here are a few things I’ve learned from talking to other entrepreneurs, developing my own business ideas and listening to guest lectures:

1) The most important thing behind any successful entrepreneurial idea is a good concept. However broad that term may be, what is known is that the idea must feasible and money needs to be accounted for; pardon the pun. Know how much everything will cost to set up, use accurate figures to estimate returns and search for investors that will likely give the amount of money you need to begin. Keep this in mind before you start your actual business.

2) Often times, many guest lecturers are extremely vague in their wording. This just happens to be the nature of the business; again, no pun intended. Whether they are trying to protect their idea or they have nothing to say but broad generalizations, many lecturers tend to speak in ways that really do not contribute anything when speaking to a large audience. I find the best thing to do when attending a guest lecture with very vague information is to ask for specifics at the end. Make sure your question demands thought and could not be answered by just anyone, rather, specifically requires the knowledge of the person talking. They should be lecturing because they are experts; make them show their expertise.

3) Practice before you begin your business. I took an entrepreneur class in which we came up with the idea for a double sided peanut butter jar that would allow for access to either side of the container. The project took a lot of work without requiring the investment of any money. I was faced with challenges I could not have conceived of before I started actually doing the work.

Specifically, the question came down to would it be viable to charge extra money for a container with two lids. The cost of the extra lid would have to justify allowing access to all the contents of the jar. This question involved calling peanut butter manufactures as well as jar producers. Much of the information we hoped to get was classified as confidential, but by the end, we were able to conclude that it was not a viable concept.

4) As demonstrated with the previous point, your practice concept does not have to be a good idea. In fact, the idea really does not matter because this is just a test to fine tune your skills. Where you start to learn is how you go about collecting information, mitigating potential problems and estimating how much capital is required from investors in your idea. The key point here is entrepreneurial endeavors requires more work than initially meets the eye, and properly preparing for things that can happen will save you both money and time.

5) One of the most sobering pieces of advice I ever received was the fact of the matter is that most businesses fail. All the preparation in the world combined with a great concept does not guarantee success. Entrepreneurial endeavors are risky by nature. If, at the end of the day, your business fails, do not lie to yourself and pretend that there are feasible options when there clearly are not. Be honest with yourself and know when to cut your losses.

Keep in mind that good preparation, getting the most out of guest lectures by asking hard questions and developing a unique concept are some of the best ways to prepare for a life as an entrepreneur. It’s risky business, but the potential reward certainly can justify the required leap of faith.

Isaac resides in the UK and works in search marketing for companies like AON Hewitt, specialists in Auto Enrolment, fiduciary management and human capital consulting.

Good things come to those who ask

Reprinted from womenentrepreneursecrets.blogspot.com. See original post here.

By Jack Canfield

Good things come to those who ask!

Asking for what you need is probably the most underutilized tool for people. And yet, amazing requests have been granted to people simply because they’ve asked for it!

Whether its money, information, support, assistance, or time, most people are afraid to ask for what they need in order to make their dreams come true.

They might be afraid of looking needy, ignorant, helpless, or even greedy. More than likely, though, it is the fear of rejection that is holding them back. Even though they are afraid to hear the word no, they’re already saying it to themselves by not asking!

Do you ask for what you want or are you afraid of rejection?

Consider this: Rejection is just a concept. There is really no such thing as rejection! You’re not any worse off by hearing no than you were before you asked. You didn’t have what you asked for before you asked and you still don’t, so what did you lose?

Being rejected doesn’t hold you back from anything. Only YOU hold yourself back. When you realize that there’s no merit to rejection, you’ll feel more comfortable asking for things. You may just need a bit of help learning how to ask for what you want.

How to Ask for What You Want

There’s a specific science to asking for and getting what you want or need in life. And while I recommend you learn more by studying The Aladdin Factor, here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Ask as if you expect to get it. Ask with a positive expectation. Ask from the place that you have already been given it. It is a done deal. Ask as if you expect to get a “yes.”

2. Assume you can. Don’t start with the assumption that you can’t get it. If you are going to assume, assume you can get an upgrade. Assume you can get a table by the window. Assume that you can return it without a sales slip. Assume that you can get a scholarship, that you can get a raise, that you can get tickets at this late date. Don’t ever assume against yourself.

3. Ask someone who can give it to you. Qualify the person. Who would I have to speak to get… Who is authorized to make a decision about… What would have to happen for me to get…

4. Be clear and specific. In my seminars, I often ask, “Who wants more money in their life?” I’ll pick someone who raised their hand and give them a quarter, asking, “Is that enough for you?” “No? Well, how would I know how much you want? How would anybody know?”

You need to ask for a specific number. Too many people are walking around wanting more of something, but not being specific enough to obtain it.

5. Ask repeatedly. One of the most important Success Principles is the commitment to not give up.

Whenever we’re asking others to participate in the fulfillment of our goals, some people are going to say “no.” They may have other priorities, commitments and reasons not to participate. It’s no reflection on you.

Just get used to the idea that there’s going to be a lot of rejection along the way to the brass ring. The key is to not give up. When someone says “No”— you say “NEXT!” Why?

Because when you keep on asking, even the same person again and again…they might say “yes”…

…on a different day
…when they are in a better mood
…when you have new data to present
…after you’ve proven your commitment to them
…when circumstances have changed
…when you’ve learned how to close better
…when you’ve established better rapport
…when they trust you more
…when you have paid your dues
…when the economy is better
…and so on.

Kids know this Success Principle better than anyone. They will ask the same person over and over again without any hesitation. (can you relate?)

Getting a good perspective on rejection and learning how to ask will make a world of difference for you as you work toward your goals. Practice asking and you’ll get very good at it! You’ll even speed your progress by getting what you need, or improving yourself in order to get it later.

Make a list of what you need to ask for in all areas of your life, and start asking.

Remember, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE… if you dare to ask!

Jack Canfield is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. His success tips are offered are www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com.

Start-up dilemma: to sell or not to sell

Reprinted from informationarbitrage.com. See original post here.

By Roger Ehrenberg

There is almost nothing more exciting – or debilitating – than the acquisition offer received by an early-stage company. It is generally the single most polarizing event in a start-up’s young life, often pitting acquirer vs. investors, founders vs. investors and founders vs. founders. It is an event that must be handled with great care or else the process can leave lasting scars on an organization, its founder dynamics and its morale.

The investor perspective is heavily informed by the types of investors in the syndicate. If, for example, a company has only taken angel financing, the economics of an early exit can often be compelling for both founders and investors. For a company that has taken in $1.5 million at a $5 million post-money valuation (angels hold 30% of the company via the seed round) and receives a $20 million offer, the angels get a quick 4x return while the founders collect $14 million pre-tax dollars. Not too shabby. While more professional angels might balk at such a quick sale, others will likely chalk up the win and recycle the gains into new investments. The founders, meanwhile, just pocketed a nice chunk of cash. For the first-time entrepreneur, this is surely a life-changing event and one which lays the foundation for a career of less stressful risk-taking now that the house is paid for and the college fund is overflowing. Even if the founders started the company with the goal of building a massive enterprise, a real offer with real cash and real wealth creation is enough to flip more than a few founders from idealist to pragmatist. And the founders have to be honest about this and the investors need to be ok.

Diego Piacentini (SVP, Int’l Retail, Amazon) on designing an e-commerce strategy [Transcript]

Endeavor is pleased to make public the following transcript 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: In part 1 Diego Piacentini discusses the strategies and future of e-commerce and how it can change your business. In part 2 Mr. Piacentini discusses the challenges if e-commerce, and how to best use it to your advantage.

Bio: Diego Piacentini has served as Senior Vice President International at Amazon since joining the company in February 2000, and is a member of the Amazon executive team. He is responsible for all International retail operations: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.cn and Amazon.it. Prior to joining Amazon.com, Diego was Vice President and General Manager of Apple Computer Europe. He joined Apple Computer in 1987 and was promoted to the post of general manager for Apple Europe in 1997. Before joining Apple Computer, he held a financial management position at Fiatimpresit in Italy. Diego serves on the advisory boards of the Foster School of Business at theUniversity of Washington and of Endeavor, a global non-profit organization helping entrepreneurs in developing countries. Diego is also on the board of the Maasai Association (www.maasai-association.org) supporting their education and health initiatives in Kenya. Diego holds a degree in economics from Bocconi University of Milan. An Italian national, he has traveled and worked across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Full Transcript:

Part 1:

If you have a product, you love the product, you will sell it online. One of the first recommendations is always consider having multiple channels. Make your website as good as you can, but also put your product in existing marketplaces if they do exist. There are many marketplaces in the world that are global. One is Amazon.

One of the great things about Amazon is that we are investing a lot in technology that allows sellers from one country to list on Amazon and display the product in all the 8 countries on Amazon.

What does that mean? If you want, we can manage logistics. We can have your company focus at what they’re good at, which is designing, selling, manufacturing your products, and then Amazon can focus on what it is good at, which is how to bring in commerce, customer relations, shipping products, and receiving products. (more…)

After all, what is an angel investor?

Reprinted from Endeavor Brazil’s Endeavor Mag. See original post here.

By Cássio Spina

Translated by Jack Connor

The term Angel Investor, or Business Angel, was coined in the U.S. in the early twentieth century to describe investors who bankrolled the production costs of Broadway plays, taking risks and providing implementation assistance in order to take part in the financial rewards. The concept evolved into investments made by individuals, usually professionals or successful entrepreneurs in start-ups, providing not only financial capital but also intellectual support for an entrepreneur through their experience and knowledge. This is how it ended up being known as Smart Money.

For their investment, the Angel-Investor receives a minority equity share and has no executive position in the company, rather acting as an advisor guiding entrepreneurs and participating in strategic decisions, greatly increasing their chances of success as well as accelerating development.

The angel investment in a company is usually done by a group 2-5 investors, both for dilution risk as well as to share the commitment. It is worth noting that the current trend for performing the most efficient angel investment is by designating an investor-leader (Lead Investor or, sometimes just as a Deal Leader) that makes the pre-project evaluation and negotiates with the entrepreneur, which is then presented to other angel investors (in this case called followers). With this investment method the process is faster and more effective, as accomplishing the whole process as a group can be exorbitantly slow, since it can be a challenge to reconcile investors’ schedules for even a simple meeting, not to mention that consensus can take months to reach.

Of course, the lead investor must receive additional compensation for his added dedication, not necessarily in money, but by having a different percentage share of the business, as they must make more time available to accomplish this whole investment process. Nothing prevents a single angel investor from acting as a business leader for one company and a follower for another, it actually allows them to increase productivity and opportunities. On the other hand, if the main activity of the angel investor is with another company, and they have little willingness to engage in the entire investment process, it is recommended that they become a follower.

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