This article was originally posted on Endeavor Global.
The event kicked off like many do: with cocktail hour. An international group of entrepreneurs and business leaders sipped on beverages of their choosing, traded stories, and discussed their work — but at this event each sat in their respective kitchens, living rooms, or home offices spread across various time zones.
Several weeks ago, like many other organizations, Endeavor had to revisit our upcoming events. Meeting in person was out of the question for the Brooklyn International Selection Panel (ISP), expected to convene over 100 attendees from around the world from March 23-25.
But with uncertainty as to when such an in-person event would next be possible, rather than cancel the event, Endeavor’s Entrepreneur Selection & Growth team moved rapidly to pioneer a new solution.
They organized an Endeavor first: a Virtual ISP held entirely over Zoom, during which Endeavor selected seven new entrepreneurs from six countries — including the first ever from Ireland, where Endeavor recently launched an office. Endeavor now supports 2,046 entrepreneurs leading 1,278 companies in 37 markets around the world (read more about the newly selected entrepreneurs below).
The Virtual ISP was presented by Softbank, with additional support from AXA, Bain, Brown Rudnick, EY, HSBC, Silicon Valley Bank, and Zoom.
Held eight times per year, the ISP is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step selection process to identify high-impact entrepreneurs who demonstrate the potential to leverage Endeavor’s resources and mentorship to create large-scale wealth and jobs, and are committed to reinvesting their time and money in their local entrepreneurship ecosystems to help others take off. Beyond the selection process, ISPs are also unique international gatherings that bring entrepreneurs, dedicated business leaders and staff together across borders and industries, and allow them to make connections they may never have otherwise.
“ISPs are really where you can see the magic of Endeavor come alive,” said Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg. “We knew it would be challenging to try to recreate the event virtually, but we saw it as a real opportunity to raise the bar and continue to bring people together as remote work becomes the new reality for many.”
One way this became achievable was through downsizing the gathering to just a handful of highly experienced entrepreneurs and panelists. Over the course of three days at the Virtual ISP, panelists utilized Zoom breakout rooms to interview a small group of high-caliber entrepreneur candidates about their businesses. The selection process itself required little adaptation. In “deliberation rooms” — private Zoom breakout rooms with only Endeavor staff and panelists — panelists evaluated the entrepreneurs on their potential for high-impact growth, discussed which candidates should be selected to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs, then voted unanimously to select the newest Endeavor Entrepreneurs.
Panelists included: Bob Becheck (Partner, Bain & Company), Henry “Hank” Dudgeon III (Founder, Rubicon Global), Shari Loessberg (Faculty, MIT), Armando Mann (Founder, Amdak; Endeavor Entrepreneur), Chris Schroeder (Venture Investor and Author, Startup Rising, Next Billion Ventures), Javier Villamizar (Operating Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers), Mariah Chase (CEO, ELOQUII), Martin Escobari (Managing Director, General Atlantic), Alejandro Jaimes (Chief Scientist & SVP of AI, Dataminr), Chris Misner (Advisor & Investor, Roblox), Mauro Schnaidman (Founder, Schnaidman & Partners), and Nicolas Szekasy (Co-founder & Managing Partner, Kaszek Ventures; Endeavor Global and Endeavor Argentina Board Member; Endeavor Entrepreneur).
“It was amazing we could do an ISP and select Endeavor Entrepreneurs in this environment when all other events around the world are getting cancelled,” said Kaszek Ventures’ Nicolas Szekasy, an Endeavor Global and Endeavor Argentina Board Member and alumni Endeavor Entrepreneur (MercadoLibre), who served as a panelist at the virtual ISP.
“Thank you to the truly exceptional panelists and entrepreneurs, and dedicated Endeavor staff, whose global perspective, unwavering commitment, abundant flexibility, and generous sense of humor made this an unforgettable experience and set an ambitious precedent,” Rottenberg said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome seven new Endeavor Entrepreneurs to the network.”
As part of Endeavor’s network, the entrepreneurs selected at the Virtual ISP will gain access to comprehensive, strategic, global support services, including introductions to local and international business mentors, investors, and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms who will help them address key needs.
Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of impact. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created 3 million jobs, generated $20 billion in revenue in 2018, and help build sustainable growth models in their home countries.
Learn more about the companies and entrepreneurs selected below.
Entrepreneurs: Mariano Faria and Geraldo Thomaz Junior
Description: Founded in 1999, VTEX is a Brazilian multinational cloud commerce that offers a SAAS platform and omnichannel solutions for large companies such as Walmart, Adidas, Sony, Lego, Havaianas, Samsung, The North Face, Osklen, Levis, among others. Founded as a software house developing custom applications, in 2007 it won a bid to develop Walmart’s e-commerce platform, which it launched in 2010. It has since grown to support 2K+ enterprise clients in 28 countries, with 14 offices in Latin America, Europe, and the US.
Entrepreneur: Kimon Angelides
Company: Vivante Health
Description: Vivante Health offers a digital platform for measuring and improving the health of one’s gut. The platform, GIThrive, is enabled by a non-invasive handheld breath monitor called the GIMate. Users simply breathe into the GIMate, which reads the breath and derives insights about the user’s gut health in order to trigger meaningful interventions, such as tailored diet suggestions and contact with healthcare professionals as needed.
Entrepreneur: Akshay Garg
Description: As the 4th largest population in the world, Indonesia has a $940B GDP, nearly 100M smartphone users, and around 80M productive urban millennials. Despite the large population and economy, Indonesia faces a huge gap in credit penetration: only 3.2% among a population of 260M. One source of the problem is that creditworthy millennials are getting rejected by traditional banks due to thin credit files. Kredivo addresses this problem by giving access to instant credit for urban millennials through an all-digital, seamless process to help them conserve their current cash flow and pay overtime at bank-like interest rates.
Entrepreneur: Barry Napier
Company: Cubic Telecom
Description: In an increasingly digitized world, being able to offer customers seamless in-device global connectivity is critical, but Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have struggled with the often expensive and cumbersome process of integrating with multiple Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in multiple markets in order to achieve this. Enter Cubic: an IoT company offering seamless and affordable global Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) data services all from one SIM card. By leveraging its core network, and partnerships with 70+ MNO’s in 180+ markets, Cubic provides its clients and their end users a flexible and simple way to connect, no matter where they are in the world.
Entrepreneur: Ekechi Nwokah
Description: Migo is a cloud-based platform that partners with banks, mobile operators, retailers and payment processors in emerging markets to provide credit to underserved consumers. Migo leverages the data sets of its partners to originate, underwrite and distribute loans to their customers, significantly reducing the cost of delivering liquidity to lower income segments. The customers can use this credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards.
Entrepreneur: Nguyen An Nguyen
Company: Trusting Social
Description: Trusting Social enables financial institutions to accurately assess the creditworthiness of overlooked individuals, both with and without existing credit histories. The company operates mainly in Vietnam, India, and Indonesia, and provides its credit rating services to banks, non-banking financial institutions, fintechs, and consumer internet platforms. Trusting Social currently offers three services: Credit insights on individuals, targeted customer acquisition & KYC identity and verification services. Trusting Social has raised over $27M from prominent investors including Sequoia and 500 Startups, and the company is on track to provide its 1 billionth credit score by the middle of 2020.