High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor and Linda Rottenberg Profiled in The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor, a U.S.-based international news publication, recently profiled Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and the story of Endeavor, spotlighting the organization’s journey and its rapidly growing global impact. In particular, the article calls […]

April 16th, 2014 — by admin

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At Miami selection panel, Endeavor selects 40 High-Impact Entrepreneurs (from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Lebanon, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Uruguay)

  Original press release here.  MIAMI– Endeavor selected 40 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 10 countries at its 46th International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 766 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 476 companies in 14 emerging and growth market countries. […]

December 13th, 2012 — by admin

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Endeavor and Abraaj Capital form strategic alliance to foster entrepreneurship in MENASA

Official press release pasted below:

- Endeavor regional headquarters to be established in Dubai, hosted by Abraaj Capital

- Will offer opportunities for early stage businesses to access mentors, advisory boards and top business networks

Dubai, UAE; November 8, 2010: Abraaj Capital and Endeavor announced today a strategic alliance to combine the expertise of the region’s largest private equity firm with Endeavor, a non-profit organization that transforms emerging markets by establishing high-impact entrepreneurship as the leading force for economic development.

The joint venture will include the founding of an Endeavor regional hub for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region, which will be hosted by Abraaj Capital and headquartered in Dubai. This will become a base for the organisation to grow its capabilities in the Arabian Gulf and beyond, offering the opportunity for early stage businesses to access the mentorship and networks required for them to flourish. The Dubai office will allow Endeavor to promote its expansion to new countries in the region and to provide expanded services to its country affiliates in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, all of which will continue to operate independently.

Proof of the value that Endeavor’s high-impact entrepreneurship growth can bring can be found across the globe. In Latin America, businesses assisted by Endeavor have created over 100,000 jobs and generated over $3 billion in annual revenues. With the United Nations Development Program estimating that Arab countries alone will need to create more than 50 million new jobs by 2020, the fostering of entrepreneurship is critical in meeting this need.

Abraaj Capital is already a champion of entrepreneurship in the MENASA region, hosting the landmark Celebration of Entrepreneurship, which will bring together the many elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the event, Abraaj Capital will also announce further details of its Riyada Enterprise Development investment platform, a $500m fund that will invest in SMEs throughout the region, providing much needed capital and support to a broad range of businesses.

Arif Naqvi, CEO and Founder, Abraaj Capital said: “The growth of entrepreneurship is a commitment shared by both Abraaj Capital and Endeavor. Through their focus on high-impact entrepreneurship they have demonstrated how fostering SMEs can contribute positively to job and wealth creation. The partnership is a natural union of two like-minded institutions.”

Linda Rottenberg, Co-founder and CEO of Endeavor said: “I am incredibly passionate about the prospects for growing high-impact entrepreneurship in this region, which has an amazing amount of talent and energy. Endeavor will dramatically increase its presence in countries across the MENASA region over the next five years to ensure we are doing our part.”

About Abraaj Capital:

Abraaj Capital is the biggest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since inception in 2002, it has raised close to US$ 7 billion and distributed almost US$ 3 billion to its investors. Headquartered in Dubai, the Abraaj Group operates eight offices in the region including in Istanbul, Cairo and Riyadh. Funds managed by the Abraaj Group or its predecessor entities have made 36 investments in 11 countries and achieved more than 20 exits.

More than 75 world-class investment professionals work for Abraaj Capital, which manages seven funds; four buyout funds; Riyada Enterprise Development Fund, a Fund dedicated to small and medium enterprises; ASAS, an income-generating, sale-and-leaseback Fund; and a real estate Fund. Assets under management at the end of 2009 were US$ 6.1 billion. Funds managed by the Abraaj Group have holdings in about two dozen companies in the region including Air Arabia, the region’s biggest low-cost carrier; Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey’s largest privately owned hospital operator; and Al Borg Laboratories, the Middle East’s biggest privately owned medical-testing laboratory company.

Abraaj Capital has won many regional and international awards, including five consecutive years as ‘Middle Eastern Private Equity Firm of the Year’ from London-based Private Equity International. Abraaj Capital Ltd., a member of the Abraaj Group, is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The group is also an associate member of the European Venture Capital Association.

“A New Era of Innovation Starts in the Middle East”

Shaun Young, from the Endeavor Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship, has just published an article in EXECUTIVE magazine on entrepreneurial innovation and Endeavor’s role in the Middle East. Check it out!

Endeavor companies Woodtech and Jeeran interviewed on Bloomberg Venture TV program

Recently, Mike Yorston, the co-founder of Woodtech Measurement Solutions and the founders of Jeeran.com, Omar Koudsi and Laith Zraikat were interviewed on Bloomberg Venture about the ways that their companies are influencing the changes in the existing marketplace.

Watch the Woodtech interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Watch the Jeeran.com interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Entrepreneur Gustavo Arjones, on the ISP experience

The following is an article reprint that appeared last week on Socialmetrix’s blog. Its author, Gustavo Arjones, is CTO of Socialmetrix and one of the new Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected at the California ISP. Socialmetrix is a pioneer marketing information company in Latin America, providing research and analysis of online consumer generated media and traditional media to its clients.

First of all, I don’t think I have enough words to tell how glad I’m to be participated of the 36th ISP – Pebble Beach, California, CA, it was amazing, through local panel we face taught questions that helped is to rethink key process on the company, also realize Unique Value Proposition that we weren’t marketing or even considering as unique – mainly because it was easy put together that part of our system, we didn’t feel it was that important, and it was!

There is a long list of people in Argentina and Uruguay who helped us, giving fantastic and insightful feedbacks: Ale Mashad, Shirly Kalush, Celia Alfie, Emiliano Chamorro, Esteban Brenman, Federico Muxi, Gerry Garbulsky, Laura Raffo, Luciana Pagani, Martin Migoya, Martin Sommers, Miguel Sampedro, Pablo Saubidet, Rodolfo Montes de Oca, Santiago Costa, and more . . .

Reading the profile that Peter Olivier put together with Martin I felt accomplished, realizing that on so short period of time we created this company, with several clients, all over Latin America and US.

Flying to SF Bay Area brings deep feelings, as an information technology guy I used to think to succeed I should be there, every peace of code, program, operational system I always use on my field, came from this area.

In California, meeting others entrepreneurs, listen to their stories, some of them seems as an action movie! Energizes a lot, give a warm feeling you’re not alone, you can related to several people all over the world – It’s one of things Endeavors generates, this safe environment where everyone is willing to share their success and their fails, willing to “give back”.

It’s an auto-generate force, because at same moment I saw this warm welcome, willing to help behavior there is nothing less I can’t do anything beside enjoy the ride and help as many entrepreneurs I possibly can.

Reading the panelist biographies for me was like reading a little bit of the history of Information Technology and Venture Capital Industry, so many bright minds, and with so much expertise. What amazed most was those high profile professionals, taking the time to read, understand and judge my project, even if they were available to do such consulting service, I don’t think I would ever pay rate they would charge.

Together they have invested more than 10 Billion dollars in worldwide ventures, many of them serial entrepreneurs.

The team of Endeavor Global planed and execute an awesome event, with really fancy dinners and lunches optimized to generate networking and connections – again when we started talking about Socialmetrix with someone – many times interested ears, advices and contacts.

I can only describe the panel as the best beat I ever had! Doesn’t matter how big we foresee our project, we have been invited to think bigger! I had to swallow my pride sometimes to be open to those feedbacks, but at the end of the day, became clear all those guys don’t have another agenda but helping us.

As Ale Mashad told me “You can learn from the books or you can learn from the experience” – well my MBA brings the first, Endeavor is bring the second.

The debate day was hard to focus on the visits we were doing, my mind always comes back to same idea “did we do good? have we been approved?” – even though I’m already quite thankfully for all feedback I already been received, I wanna to win, be part of it!

Longest hour ever waiting on hotel lobby to talk with Shirly and Ale to know the results and the joy to hear “Welcome”, and that’s word I’ve more present from everyone who congrats us “Welcome”, it IS nice be part of the gang!

We are coming back with tons of ideas, homework and things to debate, and I’m very thankful to Endeavor and all ppl who worked hard and is part of this organization for all support.

I have no illusions that everything is figured out, I know that will be a lot of hard work but now I know I’ve a group of friends who are facing the same adversities and people with tons of experience, as an older brother.

This little (or long) post can’t describe whole palette of sensations and feelings during the process, but I hope it can help organizers realize how great have been their work on this event and appreciate I’m to be part of it.

At California Tech Retreat, Entrepreneurs learn from 20+ top execs and tour Google, Facebook, eBay, and Microsoft

Silicon Valley Tour – Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and eBay

On Friday October 1st, a group of 42 Endeavor Entrepreneurs and ISP candidates visited four Silicon Valley companies. The tour took place while panelists at the International Selection Panel in Pebble Beach, CA were in deliberations, deciding who would become an Endeavor Entrepreneur.

The tour began at Microsoft, where the Entrepreneurs heard from Richard Schick, Director of Broadband Services. Richard talked about Microsoft’s latest technology for TV and video and brought the group into Microsoft’s “Home” demo room and one of their labs.

From there, the group moved on to Facebook. Angela Zaeh from the International Growth and Strategy team shared best practices as to how best to work with Facebook using plugins, fan pages, and Facebook Connect.

Next stop was Google. After touring the Googleplex, the group had lunch with leading executives from business development, engineering, sales, and product management, all of whom offered a range of perspectives on Google’s work throughout Latin America. After lunch, Gisel Hiscock and Luis Arbulu from Google’s New Business Development team explained Google’s approach to innovation and their acquisition and partnership strategy in new markets in Latin America and the Middle East. A big thanks to Armando Mann, Endeavor Entrepreneur and now Google employee, for organizing the visit!

The tour finished at eBay, where Robert Chatwani, Senior Manager of Internet Marketing and founder of eBay’s WorldofGood.com, talked about eBay’s story, their global footprint and acquisition strategy, and eBay’s new initiatives such as WorldofGood.com and MicroPlace.com. What was perhaps most interesting for the entrepreneurs in the audience was how to use eBay as a platform for new businesses and applying the principles and mechanics that eBay has discovered to new markets, for example in the Middle East.


First-ever California Tech Retreat

Endeavor’s new San Francisco office organized a Tech Retreat tailored to Endeavor’s tech-focused entrepreneurs that took place immediately after the aforementioned Selection Panel. The retreat consisted of a series of events on October 3rd and 4th that exposed Endeavor Entrepreneurs to founders, investors, and senior executives of leading Silicon Valley companies.

“Don’t Screw This Up!” – Breakfast with David Fraze, Partner, K&L Gates
David Fraze, lawyer and entrepreneur, delivered a three-hour presentation about the common mistakes that entrepreneurs make from formation to fundraising and protecting IP to doing an IPO. Though David was expecting 25 people, 73 entrepreneurs attended!

TRAWELN – Social gathering of 200+ entrepreneurs and investors
Investors and entrepreneurs from all over Latin America in addition to those living in Silicon Valley came together for an afternoon of networking and eating (asado of course!) at Wences Casares’ home in Woodside, CA. Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of Growth, Mobile, and International was the guest speaker and spoke about innovation. He challenged the audience to think about how to invent new things and how to tap into changes in human interaction, transparency, and the notion of value.

Drinks with Gina Bianchini
At a small gathering with Gina Bianchini, cofounder of Ning and Endeavor Global Advisory Board Member, at the Sheraton in Palo Alto, Gina talked about the power of social technologies and the way in which they are touching all industries and changing the way people interact with one another.

Conference at Stanford University Featuring 22 Silicon Valley Experts
From 9am to 6pm, 172 people (entrepreneurs, investors, service professionals, and academics) heard from 22 Silicon Valley experts who covered a range of tech topics such as mobile, gaming, IT, and new media, in addition to management and strategy issues surrounding funding, international expansion, building an executive team, and strategic partnerships. Highlights included…

Ariel Poler, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, shared an honest breakdown of how funding works in Silicon Valley, including what motivates investors and the truth behind a lot of their candid replies.

Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of DFJ, focused on the pace of innovation and Moore’s law and what this means for the future of technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and cleantech. His analysis was impressive, his view of Fortune 500 companies sobering, and his hopes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets encouraging.

In his panel “Tech Powered Global Growth,” Erik Dithmer, Vice President and General Manager of SMB at Dell, interviewed three Endeavor Entrepreneurs illustrating how they are using IT to unleash global growth, deliver exceptional customer service, and improve employee satisfaction.

The gaming panel with cofounder of Zynga (Eric Schiermeyer), founder of SGN (Shervin Pishevar), and VP Product at hi5 (Monty Kerr) emphasized the importance of incorporating gaming mechanics into every product, software, and interface. “Understanding human behavior and engagement mechanisms can benefit any technology entrepreneur!”

Media panel featuring Facebook, YouTube, and Glam Media demonstrated how entrepreneurs can now structure entire business models on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter and use these
new platforms to reach target audiences and tap into additional markets.

Eleven entrepreneurs presented through panels and entrepreneurs spotlights. They included: Fatih Isbecer from Pozitron (Turkey), Martin Migoya from Globant (Argentina), Guillermo Oropeza from DocSolutions (Mexico), Marcelo Romcy from Proteus (Brazil), Santiago Pinto from Smowtion (Argentina), Santiago Subotovsky from Emergence Capital (Argentina), Luis Navas and Sebastian Letemendia from Conexia (Argentina), Vinny Lingham from Yola (South Africa), Imad Malhas from Irisguard (Jordan), and Daniel Wjuniski from Minha Vida (Brazil).

Many thanks to our sponsors DELL, ERNST & YOUNG, and SAP.

Abraaj Capital to host largest Middle East entrepreneurship conference (Nov 8-9; Dubai)

Together with 50 partners, including Endeavor, Abraaj Capital — one of the world’s leading private equity firms — will be hosting a free “Celebration of Entrepreneurship” event from November 8-9 in Dubai.

The event aims to gather more than 1,000 top entrepreneurs, business leaders, youth and artists to catalyze a new phase of entrepreneurship in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. Organizers cite the program’s mission to “inspire creativity and collaboration, empower tomorrow’s talent, and connect ideas with opportunities” — spurring an entrepreneurial movement to revolutionize economies and reinvigorate communities.

The program itself will include training workshops, talks, and one-on-one meetings with leading mentors in the region. Among the speakers are Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, co-founders of Endeavor.

The event will also serve to highlight the launch of WAMDA (http://www.wamda.com), designed to be the region’s definitive online portal and social hub for all things entrepreneurship. It will also spotlight Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), the Abraaj Fund which targets the SME segment.

Endeavor selects 23 High-Impact Entrepreneurs at California ISP

From September 29 to October 1, Endeavor hosted its 36th International Selection Panel (ISP) in Pebble Beach, California, welcoming 23 new High-Impact Entrepreneurs (representing 13 firms) from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico and Turkey. Endeavor now supports 540 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 349 companies.

TechCrunch reporter Sarah Lacy, who attended the event, published this commentary (Oct 1).

Congratulations to the organizers and panelists at our first-ever West Coast ISP, and to the following selected entrepreneurs:


Entrepreneurs: Andres Alterini, Mariano Elizari & Santiago Pinto Escalier
Company: Smowtion
Description: Smowtion operates an ad serving network that maximizes ROI for advertisers and publishers through innovative use of targeting and optimization technology.

Entrepreneurs: Martin Enriquez, Juan Manuel Damia & Gustavo Arjones
Company: Socialmetrix
Description: Socialmetrix provides market research solutions that monitor companies’ presence across social media and helps them improve their image, products and communications.

Entrepreneur: Tiago Moura Mendonca
Company: ABC – Atacado Brasileiro da Construcao
Description: ABC operates a growing chain of home improvement stores in the province of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Entrepreneur: Marcos Burattini
Company: Vivere Brasil
Description: Vivere is a first-mover in providing an innovative BPO solution to the real estate loan market in Brazil, helping to make that country’s rapidly expanding mortgage market more efficient and accurate.

Entrepreneur: Dr. Pamela Chavez-Crooker
Company: Aguamarina
Description: Aguamarina is the leader in the development of biotechnology processes and services for the mining industry in Chile and abroad.

Entrepreneurs: David Assael & David Basulto
Company: Plataforma Networks/ArchDaily
Description: Plataforma Networks operates important online media platforms that connect architects and companies worldwide.

Entrepreneurs: Pedro Tosin & Diego Diaz del Castillo
Company: Oruga
Description: Oruga is an emerging player in the Colombian animation industry.

Entrepreneur: Ahmed Hindawi
Company: Hindawi Publishers
Description: Hindawi uses an Open Access publishing system that has made it an emerging player in worldwide scientific research and journal publishing.

Entrepreneurs: Ramzi Halaby & Zafer Younis
Company: Modern Media
Description: Modern Media delivers comprehensive integrated marketing solutions that enable clients throughout the MENA region to use social media to stand out and connect with their target audience.

Entrepreneurs: Firas Al-Otaibi, Mohammed Asfour, & Wael Attili
Company: Think Arabia (Kharabeesh / Untitled)
Description: Think Arabia is an innovative player in developing creative Arabic animation content for new media platforms.

Entrepreneurs: Eduardo Graniello & Felipe Labbe
Company: Intellego
Description: Intellego provides business intelligence solutions that increase clients’ revenues, cut costs and improve performance.

Entrepreneur: Yunus Guvenen
Company: Digitouch
Description: Digitouch is creating a marketing revolution in Turkey by creating the first affiliate marketing network in that country.

Entrepreneur: Erdem Yurdanur
Company: Kokteyl
Description: Kokteyl focuses on business-to-consumer marketing projects on both mobile and web platforms.

Download Endeavor’s 2010 Impact Report

Endeavor’s 2009-2010 annual Impact Report is now available. From our latest impact metrics to country updates, the report highlights the accomplishments of our network and Entrepreneurs in the past year — in which we welcomed our 500th Endeavor Entrepreneur. CLICK HERE to download the report (PDF).

Linda Rottenberg speaks at Clinton Global Initiative

Linda Rottenberg was a featured panelist for the “Strengthening Market-Based Solutions” action area at the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative on September 22. In a formal group discussion that centered around supporting high-growth firms, Linda elaborated on Endeavor’s high-impact model.

In 2008, Endeavor made and fulfilled a CGI commitment to promote cross-continental mentorship for entrepreneurs by connecting entrepreneurs in Egypt and Jordan with business owners in Latin America. In 2009, Endeavor made and fulfilled a CGI commitment to cultivate and launch the Mentor Capital Program.

Interview w/Gina Bianchini, new member of GAB

Gina Bianchini, cofounder of Ning and current Entrepreneur in Residence at Andreessen Horowitz, has recently joined Endeavor’s Global Advisory Board. We recently interviewed Gina about how she became an entrepreneur, the challenges she’s faced in the process, and her relationship with Endeavor.

Q: Gina, some could say you were bred to be an entrepreneur. You grew up in Cupertino, studied at Stanford, worked within Goldman Sachs’s High Technology Group, and then did advertising for high tech companies. Though you founded your first company right out of business school, when did you first know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

A: There is no doubt that I grew up in an entrepreneurial culture. My grandparents ran a nursery in Cupertino before it became Silicon Valley and the home of Apple Computer. Watching these two definitions of entrepreneurism meet helped me immensely in not only taking on the slightly insane life of a serial entrepreneur but in making it through the high highs and the low lows that go along with it.

I look at my journey as a series of small things that led to me being an entrepreneur. On the other, I have always dreamed of doing something that changed the world. Watching the people around me from my little agricultural town of Cupertino actually do it, has inspired me from the time I can remember.

This is probably another way of saying, there wasn’t one moment where I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but rather I put myself in situations that slowly and incrementally brought me to this place. I’ve just followed each opportunity placed in front of me and worked my ass off to deliver to the very best of my ability in every way.

Q: As an entrepreneur, what would you say has been the greatest challenge that you have ever faced, at Harmonic Communications, Ning, or generally?

A: In the same way there has never been one great success, I don’t think that there is one single great challenge. There have been a lot of little ones. If you can embrace challenges by breaking them down into smaller decisions, this life gets a lot easier.

Q: Ning was based on a pretty revolutionary idea – that communities could come together around passions and interests. Ning now has 46 million users, so the initial vision is clearly working. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

A: I love Jeff Bezos quote about having scars all over his body from the things he and Amazon have learned. There is a ton I’d do differently if given the chance! But that’s not the way it works. Rather, it’s about making the best decisions you can with the information and experience that you have at that moment and constantly learning from what happens next.

As a founder and the CEO, the key is to always raise your hand and take responsibility for the decisions. I love the John F. Kennedy quote, “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” I take responsibility for the good, the bad, and the plain old ugly. I think it is the key to success.

Q: You and serial entrepreneur Marc Andreessen launched Ning in October 2005. You served as CEO until this past year. Tell us about the transition from founder to CEO.

A: After five and a half years, it was time to move on, but I’m incredibly proud of what we built. I’m knee deep in the early stages of something new and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to get Ning to the level it achieved when I left and to work with the best team I could have imagined.

Q: Your first exposure to Endeavor was in Istanbul, as a panelist for one of Endeavor’s International Selection Panels. Our CEO Linda Rottenberg quickly saw the value you would provide to Endeavor as an organization and most importantly to our entrepreneurs. But from your perspective, what made you excited to work with Endeavor?

A. This is one of the most special organizations to which I’ve been exposed. From the mission, to the structure, to the lessons learned, to every person I met, I am proud to be a part of it.

Thanks for your time Gina; we’re thrilled to have you on board!