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Argentina’s Technisys Raises $13 Million in Funding Round, Receives Participation From Endeavor Catalyst

Technisys, an Endeavor Argentina entrepreneur company, raised $13 million in a Series B round of funding that included participation from Intel Capital, Alta Ventures, KaSZeK Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst and existing investor Holdinvest. Technisys has brought an […]

October 17th, 2014 — by admin

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17 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey Join the Endeavor Network

Johannesburg, South Africa – August 16  – Endeavor selected 17 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 10 companies from Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey at its 49th International Selection Panel.  Endeavor […]

August 15th, 2013 — by admin

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eMBA Field Report: Seeing the world anew – three eMBAs in Argentina

Fareeda, Eduardo, and Jose spent their summers as eMBAs working with Satellogic in Argentina.

By Fareeda Ahmed

As the tenth and final week of my eMBA internship comes to a close, I am flooded with an emotional cocktail of enthusiasm, reflection, and gratitude.

Enthusiasm

For the past two-and-a-half months, I have been supporting Satellogic, Inc., a technology startup that promises to make significant waves in the satellite Earth Observation [EO] market with its proposed enhancements to existing technology. Sound unfamiliar? Good. It did for me too. I had no previous experience in aeronautics…or engineering…or working in South America (let alone in the mountains of Patagonia, where Satellogic is currently headquartered).

After 10 weeks of researching the satellite market, I have come away with a deeper understanding what EO means and what it can do – essentially satellite pictures of earth serve a variety of purposes, such as tracking deforestation, monitoring coastal safety, and lending imagery to news and media services.

I have come away with a deep and growing enthusiasm for the potential of this market. While I can’t give all the details away, suffice it to say Satellogic’s CEO Emiliano Kargieman has constructed a crack team, with whom it was a pleasure to work, and the growth of the market combined with the potential introduction of previously untapped markets – thanks to this new technology – promise to make Satellogic a leader in its space, and an inspiration to entrepreneurs in markets around the world. I am enthusiastic about the product, the team, and experience I have had here that is sadly drawing to a close.

Reflection

The eMBA experience has proven enriching and enlightening to me, and beneficial and fulfilling for our client, based on their warm reception thus far to the work of me and my two eMBA colleagues (Eduardo Cajavilca and Jose Luis Tenorio de Figueiredo, the man of a thousand names, all of which I’m sure I’ve spelled correctly…). Now approaching the “peak” of the experience, there is an opportunity to look backwards on the project, the people, and the place that have coalesced these past several weeks and transformed so much in each other. Without getting too detailed, my top three reflective “take-aways” are:

1. Rethink the work/life balance, and consider that, especially in a startup environment, any split between work and life is an unnecessary gap, and even detrimental. Here, everything has blended beautifully; colleagues are friends and snowboard-mates; “work” dinners are nothing of the kind I have known before. Weekends are an opportunity to explore other facets of our team’s dynamics. A team so thoroughly intertwined is not overwhelming or all-consuming; rather, as illustrated by Satellogic, it can encourage deep trust between team-members, helping them towards the goal.

2. South America is a diverse and exciting place for new business. This was my first time in South America. I am astonished at the diversity that I did not in my ignorance recognize or appreciate. I anticipate many more exciting innovations to sprout from this multi-cultural, storied, and underacknowledged region of the world.

3. Winter in Patagonia is no joke. Seriously. This hemisphere is not kidding around.

Gratitude.

I am immensely grateful to Endeavor, my aforementioned eMBA colleagues, and the Satellogic team for comprising the perfect storm of an exceptional summer/winter. There are few places more beautiful than San Carlos de Bariloche, even in the midst as it is of a near-constant dusting of ash thanks to a nearby Chilean volcano. Our office overlooks the beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi, home of a mythical creature not unlike the Loch Ness Monster. The mountains that encase this lake have provided a beautiful backdrop that has certainly lent a generous amount of serenity, calm, and inspiration to our hard-working team.

Warm wishes for the Satellogic team in the fulfillment of this visionary venture.

* * *


By Eduardo R. Cajavilca

I have spent 9 weeks in Bariloche working with two other eMBAs (Jose Figueiredo & Fareeda Ahmed) on the market entry strategy for Satellogic, a venture that is proposing new and improved satellite services. Emiliano Kargieman, Satellogic founder, has compiled an amazing team that is focused on developing innovative technology in Argentina and offering it to the rest of world. Inspired by the team’s entrepreneurial drive, we set out to find the best strategy to compete with the current leading companies.

Our assignment has been more challenging than I initially expected, due to the complexity of the industry. However, overcoming these hurdles has taught me new business skills that can only be acquired in a startup environment. I couldn’t be more thankful to Endeavor and Emiliano for allowing me to be part of this breakthrough venture!

It’s wonderful to read about the different experiences of eMBAs in their respective projects. I’ve also had the pleasure to meet delightful people and discover the amazing city in which the project is based. With that in mind, the following is a list of 6 peculiar facts that make Bariloche and the Satellogic team of Winter 2011 an amazing experience!

1. Surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and lakes, Bariloche is one of the best places to go skiing, hiking, kayaking. The summit of Cerro Campanario, a small mountain 20 minutes from the city center, was once voted by National Geographic as one of the “Top 10 Views of the World”

2. Silicon Valley startups are fueled by coffee and Red Bull, but the Satellogic team is fueled by yerba mate. Team members drink it all the time! Pipore is the brand of choice.

3. Lago Nahuel Huapi, the biggest lake in Bariloche, is filled with mysterious tales.
Similar to the Loch Ness in Scotland, Nahuel Huapi is believed to be inhabited by a Cretaceous monster, called Nahuelito. Some Barilochenses claim to have seen it.
Isla Huemul, the biggest island in Nahuel Huapi, contains remains of an atomic energy laboratory. In the 1940s, a German physicist claimed to know how to achieve nuclear fusion and convinced the Argentinian president to fund his research. After a few years of no apparent results, it was discovered that the physicist had tricked the president.

4. The Satellogic team is made up of people from different geographical backgrounds including: Argentina, England, Mexico, France, Portugal, and the U.S.

5. The delicious Argentinian beef offered at local restaurants have attracted some interesting figures: Butch Cassidy and his gang would frequent El Boliche Viejo; and Bill Clinton dined at El Patacon on his stop at Bariloche.

6. Due to the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in June, the city authorities have closed the airport all winter. Team members have used bus lines to travel between Bariloche and Buenos Aires. The 20 hour ride is actually quite nice since the Argentinian buses are very comfortable and the meals served during the trip are much better than airline meals.

* * *

By Jose Figueiredo

I’m writing from San Carlos de Bariloche in Patagonia, the south of Argentina. Me and two other eMBAs, Fareeda and Eduardo, are helping an Argentinean entrepreneur develop a market entry strategy for a constellation of a new generation of satellites. Isn’t that incredible? Yes! So far, the project has been really awesome.

The entrepreneur, Emiliano Kargieman, has been amazing; he takes a ton of time with us to go through our analysis and conclusions. Every Friday, we have a long meeting together where he takes the time to discuss with us how to move forward. I am definitely learning a lot from him.

Apart from the project, the area is stunning. San Carlos de Bariloche is located on a lake surrounded by snowy mountains. Patagonia is also beautiful. We have been exploring its diverse beauty and adventures, traveling up to 2000 km during weekends to visit towns, sights, and attractions nestled in the Andes.

I am sure everybody says this, but: this is the best internship ever.

Avoid these three “small business killers”

Image by Antonio Bovino via Flickr

This editorial is reprinted from companyfounder.com (@companyfounder).

By Paul Morin

Small businesses, even those that appear promising at the start, have an unnerving failure rate. Here I’ll discuss three common small business killers, and what to do about them. In my extensive time in entrepreneurship, I’ve experienced and seen them all, in my own businesses and those of my clients. The good news is that if you are aware of these issues and keep vigilant watch, you can spot them early and often prevent them from killing your business.

Common Small Business Killer #1: Insufficient Funding

I guess this one should come as no surprise. Most businesses are started on a “shoestring budget” and tend to stay that way through most of their lives. While this may be unavoidable for some who are starting a business, for others, it is simply an issue of not understanding the likely capital requirements of the business and planning accordingly.

Solution: Perform a break-even analysis before you start your business, so you can get a basic understanding of the sales volume you will need to break even. This will, of course, involve making many assumptions and it will never be perfect, however it will at least give you a target and a basis for understanding where you need to take the business. It will also help guide you as you put together your pro-forma financials, including a cash flow projection, which will help you understand when the business is expected to start generating, rather than burning cash. Realize that if you make your projections too “rosy,” you are likely to miss them and run into cash flow problems. Project conservatively and leave yourself a buffer for projection error. Finally, make sure you understand the potential sources of capital available and stay ahead of your capital requirements, so you’re not in a compromised position, trying to raise cash in an emergency.

Common Small Business Killer #2: Weak Profit Margins

Some businesses have inherently weak profit margins, due to a variety of factors, but usually because of intense competition and the pricing power of key suppliers. If you know from the get-go that you are entering a business with weak margins and little hope of improvement in that area, you’re either crazy, don’t realize this issue, or have some other ulterior motive.

Solution: Before you enter any business, make sure you have a very good understanding of the profit margins of the business. In particular, you should look for gross margins of sixty percent or better. I will agree with you that such businesses are not easy to find, but as one of my first mentors told me, when you have gross margins of sixty percent or better, you can make a lot of mistakes in the remainder of your business and still survive to fight another day. Make sure that as you are putting together the pro-forma financials for your venture, you are very realistic regarding the direct costs you will have in producing your products and/or delivering your services. Any unrealistic assumptions regarding these costs will give you an inaccurate picture of the likely gross margins you will enjoy in your business and make your pro-forma financial projections misleading and dangerous. Likewise, be very realistic about how you will be able to price your offering, as this will be the other determinant of the gross margins you will be looking at. Finally, be realistic about how these direct costs and pricing power are likely to change over time, given the competitive forces and other market trends you see at work in your industry.

Common Small Business Killer #3: Unskilled Management

The unskilled (or under-skilled) management issue occurs quite a bit. Two scenarios where this issue is particularly common are: 1.) a person comes out of a larger corporate environment with a very specific skillset and decides to become an entrepreneur; and 2.) a family business employs its family members in key management and leadership positions, regardless of the fact that they don’t have the experience or the skills to do the job well. There are many other situations where entrepreneurs do not have the proper skills to run the business they have chosen, but these are two of the most common.

Solution: When you are starting a business, or even if you already have it up and running, take a close look at the types of skills that will be necessary to run and grow the business effectively. If you are not sure what it takes to be great at your endeavor, take a look around at those who are already succeeding in the same or similar businesses. Take a close look at the core skills and knowledge they employ to allow them to do well in that business. In some businesses, the most important competency is financial acumen, in others it’s operational knowledge, in most all, it’s marketing and sales capabilities. Make an honest assessment. Where you see gaps in your knowledge and capabilities, partner with or hire others to fill those gaps. Remember when you’re doing this assessment that, regardless of how talented you may be, it will be very hard for you to have the time, energy and capabilities to do all tasks well. Be sure you have the most critical ones covered and seek assistance everywhere else.

It’s important to understand that these are just three of many potential “small business killers,” but start with making sure you have these three under control.

TIME magazine features Endeavor, Egyptian firms Diwan and El Matbakh

The democratic upsurge of the Arab Spring has been one of this year’s most provocative international developments. The related question of economic growth in the Middle East is addressed in a new article in TIME magazine, which highlights the role of Endeavor and Egyptian Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Author Michael Schuman points out that some businesses thrived even under the old regime, but had to contend with excessive government regulation and bureaucratic cronyism that hindered growth. One Endeavor company, El Matbakh of Cairo, has successfully supplied food for large corporate cafeterias for years. Yet in spite of their success, Endeavor Entrepreneur Hiba Jammal has been less than satisfied with the previous government’s regulatory practices:

Jammal says she got lost in a confusing and opaque web of regulations. She hired a lawyer to help her wade through the morass, but it made little difference. ”You can’t get anything done unless you know someone who knows someone who knows someone.”

Her dissatisfaction was mirrored by another pair of Endeavor Entrepreneurs, sisters Hind and Nadia Wassef, founders of Cairo’s successful Diwan Bookstore chain. “The bureaucrats have the productivity of a Cheerio,” complained Nadia. “It is demoralizing. Why would you become an entrepreneur in Egypt?”

Yet there is reason for hope. In the words of Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg, as quoted in the article, “A collapse of the traditional structures creates an opening for young people who want to create wealth.” In other words, inasmuch as one believes that the previous governments stifled small businesses through corruption, overbearing regulation, and cronyism –- circumstances all described in the article –- a new government is an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new and dynamic marketplace.

And although the author cannot predict the future, he did find a young businessperson with high hopes, IT company OMS’s co-founder Ahmed Kabeel: “I can’t hide that there are a lot of uncertainties in the circumstances around us,” but with the advent of democracy, “if you do something for your country, it will deliver results.”

SuperReturn Middle East 2011 (October 16-19 – Dubai)

Endeavor is a Supporting Association for the MENA region’s largest private equity event, which brings together 500+ delegates to hear from global titans, Middle Eastern & International LPs and regional GPs. Endeavor Entrepreneurs, mentors, and staff members are eligible for a 10% discount. (For more information, contact ludmilla.figueiredo-at-endeavor.org.)

Click here for complete details about SuperReturn Middle East event, which will take place October 16-19, 2011 in Dubai, at the Ritz-Carlton (Dubai International Financial Centre).

Speakers include Endeavor network members Timothy Draper (Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Mustafa Abdel Wadood (CEO, Abraaj Capital), and Josh Lerner (Jacob H. Schiff Prof of Investment Banking, Harvard Business School). Learn more about the speakers here, and download the speaker lineup.

Click here to download the latest conference program. You can also follow the event on Twitter @SuperReturn.

To see what the conference was like last year, check out the video below.

Endeavor August 2011 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s August newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

Reminder: To receive our monthly newsletters by email, please enter your email address in the sign-up box at the bottom of our homepage.

Globant acquires US mobile and social technology firm Nextive

Argentinean technology outsourcing firm Globant, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Martín Migoya (CEO), Martín Umaran (COO), Guibert Englebienne (CTO) and Nestor Nocetti (EVP Innovation Labs), announced that it has acquired U.S. mobile and social technology firm Nextive. This is the first acquisition of a U.S. firm by an Argentinean IT firm.

Selected by Endeavor in 2005, Globant has attracted major global clients across industries, including Google, Coca-Cola, Disney, LinkedIn, and Nike. Globant recently created eight new studios showcasing the breadth and depth of their services, including “High Performance Computing,” “Consumer Experience,” “Luminous Gaming,” and “Mobile.”

Nextive, which is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, has developed social and mobile applications for clients such as Crowdstar, GSN, and Zynga. Globant will capitalize on the Nextive’s social and mobile expertise by tasking its team with leading Globant’s Mobile Studio. The acquisition will enable Globant to expand its U.S. presence, with Nextive’s 130+ current employees and plans to hire 200 additional employees in the U.S. in the next two years.

This news follows Globant’s recent funding round, in which the company raised $15 million in expansion capital from Riverwood Capital and FTV Capital.

NY Times: Endeavor sets example for importance of nonprofit management coaching

More nonprofits should take a page out of Endeavor’s book, according to a recent New York Times article. The article addresses the growing trend of management and human resources training for nonprofit leaders. In fact, many philanthropic organizations and donors are beginning to require such training when they provide financial support to nonprofits.

One such organization is the Omidyar Network, which pledged $10 million in growth funding to Endeavor. The article highlights Endeavor’s relationship with Omidyar as an example of the benefits of executive management training. Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg worked with Omidyar Network’s Sal Giambanco (Endeavor Global Network member, International Selection Panel panelist, and speaker at June’s Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit) to redefine leadership levels and roles and to recruit an experienced management team to drive Endeavor’s growth.

As the article points out, despite initial resistance, which is common among time-constrained nonprofit leaders, Linda found the management training and coaching to be very helpful for Endeavor as it sought to reduce its reliance on donations and cope with rapid growth. In reference to her work with Omidyar Network’s advisors, the article quotes Linda: “’We don’t always agree with them. We don’t kowtow. But the services they are offering are really useful, especially at organizations like us where resources are always scarce.’”

eMBA Field Report: Endeavor Atacama launched!

Arnim Falk Bonow is an MBA student at IESE Business School in Barcelona and is spending the summer as an eMBA with Aguamarina in Antofagasta, Chile.

After six weeks in Antofagasta I have finally settled in well. The desert is still here but it almost feels like home now. Given the fact that I am the only eMBA here in the north of Chile I have started to getting to know the other entrepreneurs, mentors, and staff related to Endeavor Atacama which was just inaugurated last week here in Antofagasta. The more I hang out with these people, the more I realize how inspiring and rewarding entrepreneurship is.

Turns out that instead of only working for my assigned project I am now supporting some of the other entrepreneurs in the network. I am getting to love the Endeavor spirit because it give me a lot of exposure to different problems around entrepreneurship. Not everybody gets insight into Biotech, Software and Technology in one internship lasting two and a half months.

Last week we had the inauguration of Endeavor Atacama in Antofagasta with prominent persons from politics, industry and Endeavor. At Aguamarina, the biotech startup I am working for, we had half of the Endeavor board of directors visiting and a representative from CORFU, a government fund supporting innovation in Chile. In order to make the week a bit crazier, Aguamarina also hosted its first board of directors meeting the same day. It was a lot of pressure but there were really interesting people to meet.

In celebrating the inauguration of Endeavor Atacama, the members decided to spend a weekend together in San Pedro de Atacama. Although I had been there before I took the opportunity to accompany them. To our surprise Roberto Muller – an Endeavor Global Mentor living in the US – joined us for the trip. I can tell you that this has been one of the most inspiring trips I have had in my life!!! This man brought Levi’s to LatAm, founded PONY (a sports apparel brand), was President at Reebok and built Fox Sports. I let you imagine the stories he knew to tell but I can assure you that he was a blast. And we had some great individual talks (in Spanish, English and German)! It was a pleasure to talk to a man who has done many things in his life I wish to do in mine. Yes, it is possible!

Thank you Roberto and thank you Endeavor!

Endeavor Entrepreneur Amjad Aryan on building Jordan’s top pharmacy chain

After leaving CVS, the largest U.S. pharmacy chain, with his brother and sister to start a pharmacy chain with their father based in Miami, Florida, Endeavor Entrepreneur Amjad Aryan had what he calls a “crazy idea.” While the chain was succeeding in Florida and the U.S., there was a bigger opportunity to differentiate the business and make an impact in the Middle East and his native Jordan.

In a video profile on Wamda.com, Amjad explains this decision, as well as many others that helped him grow Pharmacy 1 into “the CVS of the Middle East.” Amjad and the Pharmacy 1 team opened the pilot store in Amman in 2001, and began testing their value proposition in Jordan. Do Middle Eastern customers value good pharmaceutical care over the convenience of the nearest pharmacy? Do customers want to browse on their own, or depend on the pharmacist for direction and advice?

After two years of business operations and customer testing yielded positive results, Amjad moved his family to Jordan. Since then, Pharmacy 1 has focused on consistency and quality of customer service, including home delivery of medications. Amjad shares that even he has made late night customer deliveries!

Finally, Amjad addresses Pharmacy 1’s two biggest challenges during the company’s early expansion efforts: naysayers and industry regulators. To overcome the first, Amjad says he focused on his work and shut his ears to detractors. Resistance from industry regulators was a bit more difficult to overcome. “We were really fought viciously [by the Jordanian Pharmaceutical Association], thinking that we are going to destroy the small pharmacies,” Amjad said. “I’m very proud to say that with 47 pharmacies, not a single pharmacy closed or shut down in Jordan because of Pharmacy 1.”

Chilean Endeavor firm Betazeta secures $3 million funding from Copesa Group

Chilean firm Betazeta, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Francisco Sandoval and Leo Prieto, announced that it has secured a $3 million investment—in the form of capital contribution and share purchase—from leading Chilean media firm Copesa Group. Copesa Group will own 20% of the company. This deal caps off more than $4 million in total investments secured by Betazeta, all through Chilean investors.

Betazeta is a network of ten online vertical communities, including some of the biggest-name blogs in the Southern Cone. Betazeta’s network of blogs makes up the second largest independent Internet community in Latin America. With a steady stream of online traffic and a pioneering interconnectivity among its content and classified sites, the firm is well-positioned to tap into Latin America’s market for online advertising – which is projected to grow more than 25% by 2012, and represents the highest-growing region worldwide.

The founders acknowledge their appreciation for Endeavor’s role in their business growth and investment. Leo and Francisco, who initially met at Endeavor Entrepreneur / Board Member Wences Casares’ Traweln event, have received ongoing mentorship from business leaders including Diego Piacentini, SVP, International Retail, Amazon. In addition to local mentorship and a global advisory board, the entrepreneurs have benefited from an Ernst & Young Fellow as well as the MIT G-Lab program.

In a blog post last week, Francisco assured readers that the investment does not signal major changes or a loss of independence for Betazeta, but rather that the firm will continue pushing forward in its quest to be the leading Hispanic media outlet. The investment signals that a regional media giant—Copesa Group—also believes in that mission. With Copesa Group’s support, in the form of both financial backing and industry “know how,” Betazeta can pursue projects necessary for growth.

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