When you hear the word “Endeavor”, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Some may say “journey” or “adventure”. And while those who say that are not wrong, we want to introduce you to an important partner to General Provision, and an integral piece to South Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Endeavor Miami.
Endeavor is a non-profit organization that accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs on a global scale. Based out of New York, Endeavor has a presence in over 20 countries around the world. Aiming to identify and support entrepreneurs who have the highest potential for social and economic impacts, Endeavor provides a network and services that will help these entrepreneurs expand, create jobs, and continue to encourage others like them.
Specifically, General Provision partners with Endeavor Miami to grow and connect the Fort Lauderdale ecosystem. We believe it is important that our members have the resources and tools available to them that can take their work to the next level. We recently sat down with our friends at Endeavor Miami so that they can explain exactly what they do and how that can specifically help our community at GP:
How does Endeavor not only define, but identify a “high-impact” entrepreneur that it would want to support?
High-impact entrepreneurs are visionaries who generate the highest returns, create the most high-value jobs, have the most significant impact on their communities, and inspire the most people to follow their lead. The way we identify a high-impact entrepreneur has much to do with his/her vision, and little to do with their industry. Our entrepreneurs must be founders of an established company (we are industry agnostic in selection) with a proven business model that is at an inflection point where it is ready to scale and grow quickly.
Does Endeavor pay more attention to the financial performance of a company, the soft-skill attributes, or an even balance of both?
As much as financial performance is critical to the success of a business, we tend to take a holistic approach in our selection process. Entrepreneurs must have a proven business model, but we cannot emphasize enough the importance of the entrepreneur being open to mentor feedback, as targeted mentorship is such a critical part of our services and how we help companies scale. They also have to be willing to think BIG and make audacious, intimidating goals for their company’s growth. Our selection criteria focuses on the entrepreneur’s leadership ability, the business track record and whether the timing is right to scale.
At what stage in a company’s life is it too young or too old to take full advantage of Endeavor’s resources?
In general, a company is too young if it is still in the ideation phase and has yet to prove its business model. Endeavor does not support start-ups. As a guide, the earliest stage our companies come to us financially is around $500K in revenue, although this varies greatly by industry.
Companies are not generally a good fit for our program if they have no interest in scaling, aggressively expanding or have had stagnant growth for several years. Endeavor isn’t helpful to so-called lifestyle businesses- companies that are comfortable where they are at and not looking to significantly and quickly grow.
Can you give us an overview of the Endeavor evaluation process?
Our evaluation process is rigorous, but brings its own benefit, due to its close evaluation of a company and continuous feedback from world-class business leaders. We consider the selection process as part of our services and value added to entrepreneurs.
We are always looking for entrepreneurs to come through our process. The first step is a “First Opinion Review”, where a company meets with our Endeavor Miami team to evaluate if they are a good fit for the Endeavor process. If our team sees potential, they set up a series of “Second Opinion Reviews” with Endeavor mentors. Based on the results of these, the company founders present at a “Local Selection Panel”, where they are interviewed by a panel of local business leaders. Think Shark Tank in Miami!
Once selected unanimously by the local panel, the founders are prepped to present at an “International Selection Panel”. These are held 6-8 times a year globally and follow the same format as the local panel. Should they pass this step, voted in unanimously by their interview panelists, we welcome them into the Endeavor family and begin supporting them immediately!
What specific resources within Endeavor’s network are made available once named to the program?
We categorize our support into 4 buckets: Access to mentorship, capital, talent and markets. Within these categories, we offer targeted services, customized to each entrepreneur’s unique challenges.
Need guidance on your business? We’ll set you up with an advisory board of local business leaders. Looking to raise funds? Our office in San Francisco can help you with the big fish in Silicon Valley, while our local investor network can help you grow from our South Florida backyard. Feeling like you’re just not quite up on the latest management strategies? We have specialized leadership programs for Endeavor Entrepreneurs at leading universities like Harvard and Stanford. NBD. These are just a few examples of the services we provide.
Finally, we’re in 27 countries around the world. We are the only global organization that supports entrepreneurs at scale. As you begin international expansion, our teams are ready across the globe to support you and plug you into our network, wherever your business takes you.
Can you elaborate on the culture of Endeavor, as well as its mission to support entrepreneurial efforts?
Our culture at Endeavor is very much centered around the power of mentorship and a collective network, we believe in a “pay-it-forward” model. We trust that our selected entrepreneurs will become role models, inspire, mentor and invest in others as they build scalable businesses to have a multiplier effect in the economy.
Our mission is simple: We want to lead the high-impact entrepreneurship movement in South Florida with the objective of driving the growth of our local economy and entrepreneurial community.
What is your assessment of the South Florida startup ecosystem? The Fort Lauderdale ecosystem?
We consider ourselves lucky to be part of the South Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem. While South Florida’s ecosystem is still very young, it is certainly off to a promising start. Just take a look back at where we were 5 years ago- it’s undeniable that we are headed in right direction! Endeavor is here to help optimize that growth that we have already seen- manifested in success stories like that of Don Montanaro, one of our Endeavor mentors. Don founded and built his company, TradeKing, right here in Fort Lauderdale, and recently sold it to Ally Financial to the tune of millions of dollars. This is just one story of many, with many more to come as we continue to foster the growth of the South Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Can you give any success stories from local Endeavor Entrepreneurs since being named to the program?
Of course! One of our success stories comes from EveryMundo, a tech company that helps airlines increase their customer acquisition. While EveryMundo has matured into a successful, global company (recently announcing its expansion into Asia), it was headed in a completely different direction when it first entered into our selection process two years ago. The founders had the foresight to listen carefully to Endeavor mentors who interviewed them in the selection process, and ended up completely pivoting their business plan from one of an agency model to developing their advanced SEO capabilities implemented as a SAAS company. This shift has allowed them to scale quickly, and has proven to be a game-changer in making them stand out in the market.
Does Endeavor have any new initiatives for 2017 that companies should know about?
We sure do- here are some examples:
Across the world, Endeavor has an impressive network of world-class business leaders and successful entrepreneurs who act as mentors for our Endeavor Entrepreneurs locally and globally. We just launched the Endeavor Open platform where everyone within our network can reach out directly to anyone in our global network with a mentorship ask- giving them access to a curated list of business leaders across a variety of industries and markets. This allows for a more efficient process and makes it easier for mentor/mentee relationships to be formed across the world- leading to faster growth for Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Additionally, we’re always adding new services through partnerships (local and global) and this year we’re increasing the opportunities for our network to interact through curated events. Pretty cool stuff!