First Entrepreneurs from Atlanta and Tunisia Selected
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – September 14, 2017 – Endeavor selected 26 entrepreneurs leading 18 companies from 13 countries at the 74th International Selection Panel (ISP) held September 11-13, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York.
The selection panel also welcomed the first entrepreneurs from Endeavor Atlanta and Endeavor Tunisia into the Endeavor network, as well as the network’s first ever joint office company — Cognira, which has drawn support from both Endeavor Atlanta and Endeavor Tunisia.
Endeavor now supports 1,538 entrepreneurs leading 962 companies in 30 growth markets around the world. Panelists at the event included top business leaders and investors who were drawn from Endeavor’s extensive network of board members, mentors, and supporters.
The ISP is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step selection process to identify innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are committed to advancing an ecosystem of entrepreneurship.
“The amazing entrepreneurs and high-impact businesses we saw convene this week in Brooklyn demonstrate all of the entrepreneurial potential still waiting to be uncovered around the world,” said Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “We’re particularly thrilled to welcome entrepreneurs from some of our newest offices: Atlanta, Kenya and Tunisia!”
In New York, panelists from around the world interviewed entrepreneur candidates about their businesses, evaluating them on their potential for high-impact growth, and then deliberated on which candidates should be selected to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Once selected, Endeavor Entrepreneurs gain access to comprehensive customized services, including introductions to local and international business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms who will help them address key needs.
Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, generating billions of dollars in revenues, and building sustainable growth models in their home countries.
Endeavor will host the year’s upcoming ISPs in Sofia, Bulgaria (October 23-25), and Miami (December 11-13).Learn more about the companies and entrepreneurs selected below.
Companies by local office:
Company: QA Symphony
Entrepreneur: David Keil
Description: The software development market has increasingly trended towards “Agile software development”, which involves iterative development and frequent releases for continuous testing and improvement. However, software testing tools have been slow to catch up to this shift in the market and still cater to clunkier forms of traditional software development. Enter QASymphony, an Atlanta-based SaaS platform providing modern testing solutions purpose-built for Agile software development teams, helping customers to deliver high quality software at a rapid pace. As one of the first testing solutions for Agile teams, QASymphony is a rising leader in the $30B global market for software testing with 490 customers and 12,000 users across 30 countries. QASymphony’s client roster boasts prominent Global 2000 companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Boeing, IBM, Disney, Visa, Cisco, and OfficeDepot.
Entrepreneur: Martin Fidani
Description: With a growing number of health conscious consumers and fitness enthusiasts in Latin America, the demand for safe and effective, sports and nutrition supplements is on the rise. However, in this crowded market, with many unlicensed retailers, consumers are often torn between cheap and low quality local products, and expensive imported ones. ENA, with its 30 year track record, is a leader in high quality sports nutrition products in Argentina, with a growing footprint across Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Martin Fidani took the driver’s seat as CEO of the company founded by his parents in 1989 and has already increased yearly revenues 3x by professionalizing the staff, streamlining operations, and redesigning the sales strategy. He has ambitious plans to expand out of sport nutrition, a segment in which ENA already controls around 30% of the Argentine market, into becoming a Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
Company: QuadMinds Technologies
Entrepreneurs: Guillermo Castelli & Federico Storni
Description: Quadminds is bringing the internet of things (IoT) revolution to Latin America, providing customers with devices and solutions that help them better control and monitor every step of their value chains. Quadminds’ end-to-end services begin with an initial consultation to determine the right application of the company’s connected-sensor technology and continues through installation and maintenance of sensors, all at a competitive price point.
Entrepreneur: Daniel Hatkoff
Description: Cellphones are selling like hotcakes in Brazil! Currently, the country has more cellphones than people, but for many Brazilians owning a smartphone is a serious investment. Smartphones in Brazil are 3-4x more expensive than in the U.S., often costing more than $1,500 – over 10% of the average income per capita. Ironically, most Brazilians don’t purchase phone insurance because available options are prohibitively expensive and slow. Instead, the majority of people turn to mom-and-pop repair shops that charge an average of $150 and take up to 60 days to repair a phone. This is where Pitzi comes in. Pitzi offers customers a phone protection plan against accidents and/or theft that guarantees a phone back in less than 5 days, or a new one if Pitzi can’t repair the damages. Customers can buy Pitzi’s plans online or at any of its reseller, retailer, or carrier partner stores when purchasing a new phone.
Company: Antelope Audio
Entrepreneur: Igor Levin
Description: In an industry like sound recording, where innovation is hard to come by, Antelope Audio is leading the charge on introducing cutting edge technology. Through its advanced hardware and software solutions, Antelope Audio ensures high quality audio across a number of specialized markets in the music production industry.
Entrepreneurs: Matteo Cera, Oscar Peña, Gonzalo Úcar
Description: Hogaru, founded in 2014 by Matteo Cera, Oscar Peña, and Gonzalo Úcar, provides professional cleaning services for small and medium sized businesses in Latin America. Rather than using contractors, Hogaru’s cleaners are fully employed to foster long-term retention and quality. Hogaru invests heavily in a cleaner’s background check, training, compensation and benefits (e.g. microloans and access to education). Hogaru is backed by Y Combinator and currently operates in three cities across Colombia (Bogotá, Medellin and Cali) with a team of 500+ fully employed cleaners and 2k+ recurring clients, and plans for expansion.
Entrepreneur: Natalia Zabala
Description: The $3 billion childrenswear market in Colombia has a broad and ever-growing customer base, but despite high market demand, there is a notable lack of strong brands. Polito solves this problem by locally designing, manufacturing, and retailing affordable, comfortable attire for children ages 0-12. For these reasons, Polito already stands out from the competition, but its focus on fun and expression make it a truly singular brand. Since 2010, Polito has established a presence in 16 different cities across the country and hopes to expand beyond Colombia in the near future.
Company: MOVE Systems
Entrepreneur: James Meeks
Description: MOVE Systems, founded by Jim Meeks, is focused on modernizing the mobile food industry by providing a healthier, safer, and environmentally friendly food cart. Additionally, through its subsidiary Simply Grid, MOVE is working with the FDNY and major hospital systems to reduce carbon emissions and cut energy costs for their mobile fleets. MOVE has become part of the country’s economic fabric by promoting entrepreneurship, supporting the veterans of our armed services, and manufacturing locally, all the while being a steward of the environmental sustainability movement within the world of mobile food and urban life.
Entrepreneur: Ugo Parodi Giusino
Description: In advertising, brands are the new publishers and video is the new language. However, producing video campaigns involves months of back and forth between producers, brands, and agencies, over briefs, which is expensive and inefficient. Enter Mosaicoon: a managed marketplace for selling and buying original videos quickly and easily. Using Mosaicoon’s platform, brands and agencies create video campaigns in less than one week by selecting and customizing ready-to-use, professionally made videos from a network of over 2,000 vetted producers. Having won business from internationally recognized companies such as Unilever, P&G, Volkswagen, Huawei, Johnson & Johnson and Toyota, Mosaicoon is well positioned to exploit a burgeoning global digital video market currently valued at $23 billion and expected to pass $50 billion by 2021.
Company: Twiga Foods
Entrepreneur: Grant Brooke
Description: Twiga Foods is revolutionizing Africa retail. A mobile-based supply platform for Africa’s retail outlets, kiosks, and market stalls, Twiga Foods allows grocers to access better quality products, at lower prices, delivered directly to their shop. Twiga’s solution completely replaces informal markets by giving vendors, simple mobile-based ordering platforms to purchase their stock and providing farmers with predictable pricing for their crops.
Company: ACE Ed-Venture
Entrepreneurs: Anne Tham & Melinda Lim
Description: Malaysia’s education systems use outdated teaching methods that rely on passive regurgitation of information and don’t prepare students for the 21st century workplace, which requires skills like collaboration, creativity, and leadership. And despite adequate resources for education, Malaysia ranks 52nd out of 72 countries in global education (OECD Survey, 2015). Determined to change this, ACE EdVenture (ACE) is a network of schools bringing a fresh approach to Malaysian education by harboring a dynamic and interactive environment where students benefit from active learning methods (e.g. discussion-oriented, experiential, application-based learning). With 1,700 students across 3 schools, ACE is home to Malaysia’s first ever entrepreneurial school, which teaches students from the age of 7 how to run profitable, sustainable businesses.
Company: Sistema Biobolsa
Entrepreneurs: Alexander Eaton & Camilo Pages
Description: Sistema Biobolsa helps farmers put waste to work: utilizing patented Biobolsa biodigesters, farmers convert animal manure into renewable energy and organic fertilizer to power their houses and fertilize their crops. With as few as two cows, a Biobolsa biodigester produces enough clean and renewable biogas to meet all energy needs for cooking and heating in a rural household as well as organic fertilizer to improve crop yield for up to five hectares.
Entrepreneurs: Endri Tolka, Taher Baderkhan, Abi Mandelbaum
Description: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would YouVisit? Organizations in every industry leverage traditional videos and 360° videos to drive customer engagement. However, traditional videos have now become commonplace, 360° videos are costly and time-intensive to produce, and both fail to convert audiences due to the spectators’ passive involvement. YouVisit is SaaS company that combines its award-winning production studio with its proprietary platform, Aria, to help organizations better engage and convert audiences through interactive 360° experiences across mobile, desktop, and virtual reality devices.Competing in a $3 billion VR/AR market that is projected to explode to $108 billion in 2021, YouVisit has established a strong footprint in the U.S. market through work with clients such as Swarovski, the U.S. Army, the University of Miami, Accenture, and Visit Philadelphia.
Entrepreneur: Richard Eldridge
Description: Lenddo is a SaaS company which uses non-traditional data comprising social media and smartphone records in order to ascertain potential borrowers’ financial stability. Its vision is “to improve credit access for at least a billion people” in developing countries around the world by 2020. Started in 2011 as a lending institution, the company pivoted to 100% licensing its technology to banks and other financial institutions in 2015, and operates in 20 markets with Philippines, India, Colombia and Mexico as some of its largest. The company saw the largest ever Series A in the Philippines with the financial backing ($24M in total) of some of the leading VCs globally – Accel Capital, Blumberg Capital, Omidyar Network, iNovia and Metamorphic Partners, Kickstart Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Skype Co-Founder, Toivo Annus, and Barry Silbert.
Entrepreneur: Esra Assery
Description: With branding, semantics are everything. Though in Saudi Arabia and many Arabic speaking markets, international brands fail to pick up on subtle cultural nuances, often mistranslating slogans and inaccurately portraying their customer bases, while local agencies struggle live up to their international counterparts’ quality. Run by 90% Saudi women, eTree is a fully integrated digital agency that provides high quality, localized digital solutions at 50% of the cost as an international agency. eTree has already worked with a handful of local governments and globally renowned companies such as GE, Shell, and Cisco, and the company is poised to scale within the GCC digital advertising market valued at $4 billion.
Company: Goiko Grill
Entrepreneur: Andoni Goicoechea
Description: Goiko Grill, founded in 2013 by Andoni Goicoechea, is a Spanish hamburger chain known for its delicious products, honest brand, great atmosphere, and community engagement. Most notably, Goiko Grill engages local social media influencers before launching in a new city in order to attract buzz and potential hires that are dedicated to the brand. Spaniards across the country know they can count on Goiko for a great burger and a great experience. With 23 restaurants today, the brand plans to expand to over 60 locations within the next two years.
Entrepreneur: Jordi Torras
Description: When customers can’t find the answer to their questions or issues on a business’s website, they often call or email a customer support department. This leads to long wait times and frustration for not only customers, but also for fatigued agents who often face many repetitive questions. Inbenta helps businesses automate their customer support operations and improve self-service rates through a Natural Language Processing (NLP) software. Businesses can implement an Inbenta-powered search engine on their website, which allows users to input their questions and receive accurate answers. Rather than leveraging a simple keyword match, Inbenta’s AI-powered search engine understands the intent and meaning behind a user’s language, showing relevant results regardless of how a question is asked. A Forrester Consulting study found that Inbenta’s solution provides companies with a 390% ROI, by reducing the volume of incoming contact center calls and e-mails. With a solution that spans 25 languages and 10 industries, Inbenta is poised to become the leading player in NLP-powered customer support automation.
TUNISIA + ATLANTA
Entrepreneurs: Hatem Sellami & Bahadir Ustaoglu
Description: Cognira helps retailers make better decisions in merchandising and supply chain. Its cognitive analytic approach leads to improved forecast accuracy, better product selection and effective promotion strategies. Cognira’s solutions leverage structured and unstructured data sources and utilize cognitive analytics to learn, predict, and make recommendations.
All photography by Hannah Cohen