George Azih, CEO of Atlanta company LeaseQuery, reflects on how Endeavor has impacted his company’s growth and factored into his own entrepreneurial journey.
Endeavor’s Impact on LeaseQuery’s Growth
This May, I had the pleasure of attending the Endeavor Catalyst Investor meeting in San Francisco, CA. During my time there, I was able to attend a fireside chat led by Reid Hoffman (founder, LinkedIn), Patrick Collison (founder, Stripe), and Eric S. Yuan (Founder, Zoom). I came away from the event feeling humbled and more determined than ever to pay back the kindness that Endeavor has bestowed upon us.
If you’re an entrepreneur and haven’t heard of Endeavor, they are a twenty-two year old nonprofit leading the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement. To me, Endeavor is dedicated to helping companies grow quicker and rise to their fullest potential — without a catch! Endeavor doesn’t take equity in your company but instead works off of a pay-it-forward donation model. Though the selection process is difficult, it’s also rewarding — whether you are accepted into the program or not.
I’ve learned a lot in the year that I’ve been an Endeavor Entrepreneur, both as a person and a CEO of one of Atlanta’s fastest-growing companies.Endeavor and its Atlanta affiliate has been a critical part of LeaseQuery’s journey and success, continue reading to learn how.
1. Variety of Thought is Crucial to Success
As leaders of companies, we can get so consumed with running the company that we rarely step back sometimes to take a second look at the canvas we are painting. There have been times when I made a decision, talked it over with some Endeavor Entrepreneurs, and came away feeling like I had just dodged a bullet.
Through Endeavor, we’ve gotten advice that truly matters, which was invaluable for LeaseQuery. We are a bootstrapped company and as such do not have a formal board of directors. One of the best things about being bootstrapped is that you have no one to answer to. One of the worst things about being bootstrapped is that you have no one to answer to. Endeavor hand-selected an advisory board for us, filled with talented individuals who’ve built successful companies of their own and are simply looking to give back. These individuals are truly altruistic, and they will forever have our gratitude.
2. Staying Humble
There is a certain amount of vanity that comes with establishing your own company, especially if you are bootstrapped. After each Endeavor event I attend, I come away humbled. No matter how big or good you think you are, there is a bigger or better Endeavor Entrepreneur. For instance, Endeavor Entrepreneur Sergio Furio, CEO of Brazilian based Creditas just raised 231M dollars. See the story here.
Given that LeaseQuery is based in Atlanta rather than Silicon Valley, it can sometimes feel as though we are a big fish in a small pond. Once we were accepted to the Endeavor program, however, I realized just how big the Endeavor pond really is. Not only are you networking with people at Fortune 500 companies, but you’re surrounded by other entrepreneurs across industries.
3. Some of the Best Thoughts Happen Outside of the Office
I’ve always been a believer that inspiration can happen while you’re doing some of the most mundane tasks. During the Endeavor Outliers event, we took a long hike during which I spoke with fellow CEOs, company founders, board members, and more about their roads to success.
I also got to speak with Todd Ehrlich, Endeavor Atlanta Entrepreneur and Founder of BAMFi, Kill Cliff, and Triserv.Todd also recently took some time out of his schedule to come and speak with the LeaseQuery team. It’s been enlightening to meet with people who have experienced the same struggles that I have and have found unique ways to solve those struggles.
4. Pay it Forward
You might think that you are good enough, but Endeavor knows you can be better. They provide access and advice to entrepreneurs and startups with a simple goal in mind — that companies will give back to their communities and pay it forward. We are huge advocates of Endeavor because we truly feel that they are an asset for companies no matter the size or industry.
5. Go Through the Selection Process
As I mentioned, the application process is intensive. At first, I was uncertain that we would be accepted. Thankfully we were, but even if we hadn’t been, I still feel that going through the process was also helpful.
During the selection process, Endeavor asked questions about our business, product offerings, and practices that I hadn’t even thought of. Once we were accepted, the team at Endeavor helped us implement structures and processes I didn’t know we needed.
I firmly believe that LeaseQuery would not be where it is today if it was not for Endeavor. The level of access we’ve gained, along with the advice we’ve been given, has been invaluable in our journey to scale LeaseQuery.