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CNBC Features Endeavor Greece Research on Job Creation; Highlights the Need for Entrepreneurship

CNBC recently featured Endeavor Greece‘s Creating Jobs for Youth in Greece report, bringing focus to the need for  high-quality employment opportunities in the struggling economy.  The piece highlights the sharp decline in young college graduates in the […]

March 1st, 2015 — by admin

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Saudi Arabian Entrepreneurs Featured on Forbes List of Inspirational Leaders

Forbes Middle East, the regional outlet for Forbes business and finance news, recently released a ranking of Saudi Arabia’s top movers and shakers. Four Endeavor Entrepreneurs made the the list of sixty for their work as […]

January 21st, 2014 — by admin

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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.

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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.

Argentina’s “Experiencia Endeavor 2011″: Aug 24-25

Endeavor Argentina’s annual Experiencia Endeavor conference is set for August 24-25 at La Rural Exposition Center in Buenos Aires. The public event aims to bring together entrepreneurs from around the world for instruction and networking. To learn more and register, click here.

On the first day, participants will attend a series of workshops on entrepreneurial topics, with sessions focusing on developing attendees’ management skills and business know-how. Additionally, several networking activities are planned, including group and face-to-face meetings between participants and Endeavor mentors / Endeavor Entrepreneurs. A networking party is also planned for more informal connections. See the complete schedule here.

The second day will consist of inspirational talks by prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs, and industry experts. Endeavor Entrepreneurs currently scheduled to speak include Santiago Bilinkis, Luciano Nicora, Matias Rozenfarb, Andy Freire, Martin Migoya, Guibert Englebienne and Juan Damia. Endeavor Argentina Managing Director Alejandro Mashad will also speak, along with Endeavor Global Network member David Frazee. View a complete list of speakers here.

For more information, visit https://eventioz.com/events/experiencia-endeavor-2011-xe2011. Also, be sure to follow Endeavor Argentina on Twitter (@EndeavorArg) and Facebook.

Endeavor Entrepreneur receives Woman of the Year award in South Africa

Last Saturday, Endeavor Entrepreneur Shona McDonald was honored with a Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award, which recognizes visionary women leaders creating social impact in South Africa. Shona received the Socio-Economic Business Developers Award at a sparkling ceremony in Gauteng, South Africa.

Shona is CEO of Shonaquip, a social enterprise that enhances the lives of people with disabilities through technical, social and policy innovation. Having built her business from nothing into a multi-million dollar enterprise that has received recognition from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the South African Department of Health, Shona is known for the large-scale impact she and her company have had on disabled South Africans.

Shona built her first modular support buggy nearly 20 years ago to improve the quality of life for children with severe physical disabilities. Her comments at the ceremony reflect how far her impact has spread since then:

“Over 500,000 children and young adults with mobility disabilities living in South Africa do not have access to appropriate wheelchairs and accessible community based seating support services. This shortage of appropriate wheelchairs results in unnecessary, costly and devastating health and social outcomes for both the wheelchair users and their families who support them.”

In terms of how the award will allow Shona to further her impact moving forward, she said:

“Having spent over 20 years building Shonaquip, a social enterprise, as a tool to drive positive change in the field of appropriate wheelchair provision in under resourced regions, I now realize that I need to reach further. I need to explore ways to shift the historical contravention of human rights of people living with disabilities from its entrenchment in charitable giving and pity to become part of the moral concerns of mainstream society and establish an inclusive footprint across the globe. And for this reason I am delighted that Shoprite Checkers has recognized the impact that a social enterprise can have as a powerful driver of sustainable social change.”

Bloomberg features Endeavor company Refinancia

This week Bloomberg ran an article about Refinancia, an Endeavor Colombia company that takes an unusual approach to debt collection. Founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Kenneth Mendiwelson in 2005, the company sells custom financial products that facilitate repayments and ensure long-term customer relations.

“We provide a dignified product to someone who has been mistreated by the financial sector,” explains Kenneth in the piece. “Someone who falls into default is not a bad person.”

A Harvard Business School graduate and former McKinsey consultant who started Refinancia with a $4 million loan from friends and family, Kenneth is an ambitious but compassionate entrepreneur who seeks to counter the perception of debt-collectors banging on doors. His success is evident in his client base of more than 250,000 individuals and expansion of services into Peru and the Mexico.

Refinancia’s dollar figures are also impressive: The 510-employee company manages a total of 800,000 loans, with a face value of nearly $2 billion, from about 15 banks in Latin America. Kenneth expects revenues of $12 million this year and $21 million in 2012. He estimates that by 2015, 60 percent of revenue will come from debtors outside Colombia.

Kenneth also has a larger vision for his services. He hopes that Refinancia can cash in on goodwill and turn one-time defaulters into borrowers. His argument is that even a person who pays back a defaulted loan will find it difficult to escape a bad credit history when seeking to borrow again: “No one is going to give him new credit, but I can because Refinancia knows exactly how he thinks and how he has behaved in the past with the refinancing product we provided to him.”

Endeavor Entrepreneur Andres Alterini on building a global company in Argentina

Endeavor Entrepreneur Andres Alterini, CEO of Smowtion, recently sat down with the Latin America PE/VC Report to discuss building a global company from Argentina. This interview is reprinted from LAVCA (Latin American Venture Capital Association).

LAVCA: Give us the Smowtion elevator pitch.

Alterini: Smowtion is a leading technology company focused on developing products and support for advertising networks. We serve over 120,000 Web publishers worldwide with an audience of 270 million unique users, enabling them to remain independent by monetizing their online content. The Smowtion SSP Publishers Platform is available in eight languages and reaches more than 200 million users around the world each month. Smowtion today is not only an IT company, but also a leading ad network that has contributed to the evolution of online advertising.

LAVCA: How did you come up with your business idea?

Alterini: The idea for Smowtion was actually born out of Keegy.com, another company I started with my two partners [and Endeavor Entrepreneurs] (Santiago Pinto Escalier and Mariano Elizari). The final business model evolved after ten years of interacting with and interpreting the needs of the booming Internet advertising sector. After many attempts, we developed a clear understanding of what the market needed and how we could provide it.

LAVCA: Tell us a bit more about Keegy. What lessons did you learn that helped you start Smowtion?

Keegy was a news aggregator, like Google News but with blogs. It let you organize the content generated by users themselves by integrating it with information from news portals. Santiago, Mariano and I started it in 2007, and at the time these functions were still separate.

In that sense, Keegy represented a democratization tool in the dissemination of content and personalized information consumption patterns based on preferences, behavior, geographic location, etc.

Although the venture was a success in regards to number of visits (more than 4 million unique users for any month), it failed to become a solid source of income so we had to evolve quickly because the money we had to put into it was running out.

However, the experience provided us with a platform to create Smowtion, which aims to create a bridge between advertisers and the people who generate web content (page authors, not massive, niche blogs or social networks).

LAVCA: What sort of financing have you received thus far?

Alterini: To date, we haven’t received any institutional funding. We were originally financed with personal savings and family investment. Fortunately, we reached the breakeven point in our seventh month, enabling us to grow organically.

LAVCA: Are you planning to approach institutional investors in the future?

Alterini: We are always looking for strategic capital to enable us to continue our steady rate of exponential growth. However, during 2009/2010 we experienced a 400 percent growth rate, and we continue to grow organically without additional capital. Although it’s not necessary at this time to raise outside funding, we are always open to new experiences and lessons to learn from others, which is something VC investors offer.

LAVCA: Your biggest market segment is the U.S. and in fact, Smowtion is included on Facebook’s approved list of ad networks. What were the key factors that enabled you to penetrate such a competitive market?

Alterini: Our formula for success is to clearly identify our customer base and listen carefully to what they are saying. Having continuous feedback from them enables us to constantly modify our products and adapt quickly to changing needs. We’ve been able to interact with both big and small publishers, which is essential for the success of our business.

LAVCA: What is your most pressing strategic challenge right now?

Alterini: In the midst of rapid growth, our challenge is retaining the unique culture and spirit we’ve developed as a startup while introducing the best corporate practices that enable us to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

LAVCA: How are you addressing this?

Alterini: As Endeavor Entrepreneurs, we have access to a network of mentors and leading experts in the area of strategic consulting. We are constantly connecting with them to learn from their experiences. To me, a successful example of how to deal with this challenge is Mark Zuckerberg and the transition he’s managed as Facebook has grown so quickly.

LAVCA: Who is your competition? What do you see as your competitive advantage?

Alterini: Our competitors are primarily other sell side platforms (SSPs), including Admeld (Google), Rubicon Project and Pubmatic. Smowtion’s advantage is its technology and human capital resources. Because of this, we are a global company even though the CEO and his team are based in Argentina.

LAVCA: Where do you want Smowtion to be five years from now?

Alterini: We will be billing more than 20 times what did last year; that would be revenues of $500,000 per employee. With a staff of over 200 employees and a solidly professional human resources structure, we will have a dynamic company culture that, while resembling the intellectual and creative atmosphere of a university, is based on the sound business practices of the digital world and global markets.

LAVCA: As an entrepreneur based in Argentina, can you give us your perspective on the current entrepreneurial community in the country? What changes would you like to see in order to strengthen the environment for start-ups in the country?

Alterini: The Argentine entrepreneurial culture is in its early stages. There is a need for increased training at all levels, a greater emphasis on risk taking and a better understanding of the financial instruments that will enable projects to be born and developed with funding structures that won’t fail before startups can grow and prosper.

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