2020 Impact Report
What have we learned in this tumultuous year? We learned that Endeavor’s mission to lead the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement has never been more urgent. I have always said, "When economies turn down, entrepreneurs turn up". Now we can say, "When economies turn down, ENDEAVOR turns up!" Our network united to support our entrepreneurs so they could lead through the crisis. We learned that Endeavor can still innovate, as together we transformed our entire organization. In 2020, we reinvented every aspect of our work: from our International Selection Panels, to our local scale-up programs, to global Outlier events to the Endeavor Catalyst LP meeting. Most important, we learned that the "Magic of Endeavor" transcends in-person connections.”
This year’s Impact Report provides an inside look at how our global community stepped forward to lead through crisis.
Linda RottenbergCo-founder & CEO
At Endeavor, we like to say, “When economies turn down, entrepreneurs turn up.” From our initial launch in emerging markets amidst the Thai baht collapse, to our expansion into Europe in the middle of a financial crisis, Endeavor has led by example to prove our belief that wherever chaos and crisis erupt, high-impact entrepreneurs can find and lead a path forward.
This year, Endeavor Entrepreneurs met crisis with action, and Endeavor was ready to support them.Today, our work has never felt more urgent.
Endeavor’s network spans nearly 40 countries, united by a shared mission: to identify the entrepreneurs with the biggest ideas and support them with a Network of Trust, enabling them to take big ideas to scale, create jobs, and mentor, invest in, and inspire others, moving economies and society forward in the process.We call it #OneEndeavor.
Since our founding in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, Endeavor’s core values have guided our growth. In 2020, they steered our way forward. As the world pulled back, we doubled down on our commitment to be Entrepreneur First. More than ever, this year pushed us to be nimble and creative in adapting to better provide that support.
In 2020, we held ten Virtual International Selection Panels, the last step of our selection process, where we welcomed 80 new Endeavor Entrepreneurs into the network.
The Lip Bar is a makeup company using technology to drive complexion based recommendations to ensure customers get the right color every time.
Squire is a provider of barbershop management software designed to help barbers and shop owners operate their businesses with cashless and contactless pay transactions.
ELSA (English Language Speech Assistant) is a mobile application for English pronunciation training and accent reduction using speech recognition, powered by the company’s proprietary AI and speech recognition technology.
Today, African genomic data only comprises about 3% of data available. 54gene enables the study of African genetics to learn the underlying genetic drivers of disease affecting everyone globally.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest coffee exporter, is also Southeast Asia’s lowest per capita coffee consumer. Kopi Kenangan is a locally-focused retail coffee chain that is quickly filling that unmet need for Indonesians, serving up millions of affordable coffee beverages across hundreds of locations.
Aerobotics uses drones to help farmers protect their crops and manage yields, collecting data at scale and utilizing machine learning to analyze and identify potential deficiencies in the field, reduce insecticide and fertilizer use, and increase profits.
Our teams and network around the world swiftly pivoted to reorient our services to our entrepreneurs’ acute needs, launching and contributing to an open-source Entrepreneur Crisis Resource Center and monthly, intimate Leading Through Crisis strategy sessions, which hosted top business leaders, investors and mentors for discussions on key challenges, from fundraising to team management. For Endeavor Entrepreneurs continuing to fundraise, we also held virtual 1:1 “speed networking” sessions and workshops with top VCs and partners like Silicon Valley Bank and Gunderson Dettmer.
We reinvented gatherings, bringing together more than 90 of the fastest-growing Endeavor Entrepreneurs for a two-day virtual Endeavor Outliers that included intimate gatherings with today’s top CEOs and coaches, and guided peer-to-peer conversations curated around company stage, industry outlook, leadership, and functional challenge; while providing Endeavor Entrepreneurs with platforms to inspire the next generation through virtual talks that drew thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Recent data suggests that scale-ups matter more for local GDP than any other metric. Scale-ups are also likeliest to survive a hit on the economy, as they are uniquely positioned to pivot to invest in solutions when a crisis hits. A 2019 study of the Istanbul tech sector by Endeavor Insight, Endeavor's research arm, found that scale-ups that were based in Turkey but generating sales in foreign countries were more resilient during times of economic and political crisis. This year, Endeavor Entrepreneurs across the world continued to reach new heights.
High-impact entrepreneurs are those that play a critical role in revitalizing our economies, reimagining the ways we live and work, and inspiring innovation in generations to come, through creating and leading companies that reach significant scale, or scale-ups.
Nova Credit, a fintech company that allows immigrants to bring their financial histories from one country to another, raised $50M from backers such as Ashton Kutcher, Alex Rodriguez, and U2’s The Edge. Meanwhile, task automation software company Softomotive was acquired by Microsoft in September in a milestone deal, putting Greece’s tech ecosystem on the map.
Argentina’s Satellogic successfully launched 10 satellites to provide cutting edge high-resolution earth observation data, while Italian company D-Orbit successfully completed the first commercial last-mile delivery service, delivering 12 earth-imaging “cubesats” to their intended orbits — including several bearing the Endeavor logo!
DLocal, a leading cross-border payment platform connecting global merchants to emerging markets, secured an $800 million investment from General Atlantic, becoming the first unicorn company in Uruguay, while used car platform Kavak raised a new funding round in September to become the first unicorn in Mexico.
When Endeavor surveyed 200 entrepreneurs to identify their strengths and weaknesses, the most commonly selected strength was, “I see opportunities where others see obstacles.”
In a year that exposed the shortcomings of global supply chains, overstretched public healthcare, and broken public education systems, Endeavor Entrepreneurs have kept cities, communities, and countries going. In 2020 Endeavor Entrepreneurs continued to test and scale solutions to pressing, persistent gaps in infrastructure around the world.
Founded by surgeon Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, Proximie’s AR technology connects surgeons from anywhere in the world to consult on cases and instruct their peers in real time during complex procedures, which saved lives in the tragic aftermath of the Beirut explosion. Jordanian digital health platform Altibbi also stepped up to provide free telehealth consultations for Lebanon’s citizens. In the height of the pandemic, Altibbi partnered with the Jordanian Ministry of Health to launch a hotline, fielding more than 250,000 calls to 116 different doctors. Meanwhile in the US, Northwest Arkansas’ NowDiagnostics is working to develop a $10 at-home COVID test.
When Jordan went under lockdown this past spring, more than 2 million children lost access to public education. In just one week, Mawdoo3 founders Rami Al Qawasmi and Mohammad Jaber developed an advanced online platform for remote learning to take public education online — at no cost to students or the government. In Brazil, Descomplica is a leading ed-tech platform, leveraging video-based learning and courses to reach millions of students remotely and democratize access to education.
With SMEs comprising an estimated 90% of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa, COVID-19 hit merchants in the region hard. Flutterwave, a Nigerian fintech company led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Gbenga Agboola & Ife Orioke, developed a new product to enable small businesses to create an online store at zero cost to them. Meanwhile, in Brazil, digital bank Neon accelerated the development of solutions such as deposits, investments, and online purchases, targeted toward the country’s unbanked population. And in Vietnam, Trusting Social is enabling financial institutions to accurately assess the creditworthiness of overlooked individuals, democratizing access to loans and more.
As the world faces a rapidly changing climate, NotCo, a Chilean food tech company that manufactures plant-based milk and meat replacements, is working to tackle one of the biggest polluters: animal agriculture. In the US, AppHarvest is bringing sustainable agriculture — and jobs — back to Kentucky with the largest greenhouse in Appalachia; while in Kenya, Twiga Foods is using technology to connect farmers with vendors, allowing for food to be sourced and delivered across the country.
One thing never changes.
Everything we do begins with our entrepreneurs.
Endeavor’s model is designed to search for, select, and scale up entrepreneurs with the greatest potential for large-scale success, then spread their stories and resources to sustain lasting economic and social transformation in their home markets and beyond. Here’s how we did it in a year that was anything but typical.
Endeavor supports over 2,000 high-impact entrepreneurs today across 38 markets — and counting. This year, even as global travel ceased, we continued our active expansion, searching the world to identify markets with a growing pipeline of high-impact entrepreneurs and a vibrant startup scene lacking in scaleup support. Across the world, Endeavor and our entrepreneurs have been busier than ever.
Endeavor’s 500+ team members and worldwide network painstakingly probe all our markets to identify qualified entrepreneurs leading innovative companies that are solving real problems at significant scale.
We meet some founders early and follow them through local scale-up programs to build our search & selection pipeline. We encounter others who have raised capital, and still others who are already “unicorns” — tech companies valued at US$1BN — yet still have room to grow. This year, some of our newest entrepreneurs came through our pipeline entirely virtually!
Glints, an Indonesian tech-enabled recruitment platform co-founded by Oswald Yeo and Ying Cong Seah, began Endeavor’s selection process in June, meeting with mentors and team members virtually over the course of three months to pitch their company and gain feedback, culminating in their selection into the network at Endeavor’s eighth Virtual International Selection Panel in September.
Our selection process begins in each local market and culminates in our International Selection Panels (ISPs). Typically held throughout the year in different cities around the world, this year we took our ISPs virtual, bringing together entrepreneurs, dedicated business leaders and staff together from their respective kitchens, living rooms, or home offices spread across various time zones. In 2020, we held one ISP and 10 vISPs, selecting 105 new Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 28 markets.
Endeavor’s selection process is also a service to entrepreneurs we screen, where transformational conversations with preeminent business leaders push candidates to reflect and answer tough questions about their business models, team strength, and future growth plans.
In 2020, thousands of candidates received an initial review by Endeavor staff based on recommendations, nominations and proactive research.
Endeavor staff conducted one-hour interviews with 1,536 companies to assess the candidates’ viability.
Endeavor mentors conducted multiple interviews with 646 companies, probing their business strategy, innovation, growth potential, and entrepreneurs' personal qualities.
Local mentors and board members interviewed and deliberated on 214 companies at an LSP.
International business leaders served as panelists to interview candidates leading 81 companies.
Only those final candidates gaining unanimous approval from experts panelists become Endeavor Entrepreneurs.
From the selection process on, Endeavor delivers demand-driven services locally, regionally, and globally, specifically developed from years of research and feedback to target the key areas of support high-impact entrepreneurs need to take their businesses to scale.
This June, entrepreneurs leading more than 90 companies from 22 markets gathered virtually over Zoom for Endeavor Outliers, a program tailored to highest-growth companies in the network. Highlights included intimate roundtable discussions led by top business entrepreneurs and coaches such as Reid Hoffman, Brad Feld, Punit Aggarwal, Jerry Colonna, Javi Olivan, and Bill Veghte, and guided peer-to-peer conversations curated around company stage, industry outlook, leadership, and functional challenges — all designed to inspire, connect, and provide a platform for getting support from both peers and experts.
Successful entrepreneurs reinvest in their communities and networks, multiplying their impact. Ninety percent of Endeavor Entrepreneurs go on to serve as angel investors, mentors, and active promoters of high-impact entrepreneurship.
Each year, we present The Lindas, an award honoring Endeavor Entrepreneurs who not only have achieved extraordinary scale, but who also exemplify the values of our global network: integrity, trust, high-impact ambition, a borderless mindset, and a commitment to paying it forward by spreading the transformative qualities of entrepreneurship through role modeling, mentorship, and reinvestment.
Endeavor Insight, our research division, partners with leading foundations and corporate sponsors to investigate the impact of entrepreneurs and provide data-driven insights into what makes entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive. Endeavor Insight’s latest projects shed light on some of the key roles entrepreneurs can play in rebuilding economies, and how local institutions can accelerate their success.
Endeavor Entrepreneurs use our platform to give back and ensure that future generations have access to opportunities for self-fulfillment and community advancement, becoming Endeavor board members and mentors, investors, and role models in their countries.
Brian Brackeen was initially selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur with his Miami-based facial recognition company Kairos in 2014. This year, together with his wife Candice, he launched Lightship Capital, a groundbreaking VC firm to invest in underrepresented founders in the Midwest. Once he relocated, he joined the Endeavor Louisville board.
Guillaume Pousaz bootstrapped Checkout.com into a global payments leader and unicorn valued at over $15B. Guillaume is a frequent mentor and ISP panelist, an Endeavor Catalyst LP, and as of this year, an Endeavor UAE board member.
Veronica Pascual Boe is the CEO of ASTI, a mobile robotics company headquartered in Burgos, Spain. Veronica is dedicated to fostering job experience and training in STEM and hard sciences, and has trained over 100 students—many of whom ASTI has hired afterward. A winner of The Lindas in 2019, this year Veronica joined the Endeavor Spain board.
Whatever Endeavor gives Creditas CEO Sergio Furio, he puts right back into the network. In 2018, Creditas received investment from Endeavor Catalyst; today, Sergio has become one of the Fund’s LPs. Sergio is also one of the network’s top mentors — this year he spent 34 hours mentoring! — and recently joined the Endeavor Brazil board.
Learn about the fund’s latest milestones from Endeavor Board Member and Endeavor Catalyst Chair Reid Hoffman.
Endeavor Catalyst is our rules-based, co-investment fund that invests in the companies of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. As of October 2020, Endeavor Catalyst has ~$250M in Assets Under Management (AUM) across three funds and has invested in over 160 companies across 25 markets. The fund has realized ten exits and has ten “unicorns” in its active portfolio.
Through Endeavor Catalyst, investors gain access to a world-class, diversified pipeline of companies while also participating in meaningful profit-sharing with Endeavor. Today, we proudly count dozens of Endeavor Entrepreneurs among our investors in Endeavor Catalyst. Returns from Endeavor Catalyst, combined with other market-driven revenues, will enable Endeavor to become a financially self-sustaining organization by 2030.
Peak Games, a mobile gaming company led by Endeavor Entrepreneur Sidar Sahin, was acquired in June 2020 by Zynga for $1.8BN, marking the first billion dollar-plus exit of a Turkish startup, and the largest exit for Endeavor Catalyst to date.