This article was originally posted on Endeavor Global.
After 15 years of knowing Endeavor and 11 being part of the team, I thought I really understood the power of its network. Throughout the years, I witnessed Endeavor’s direct impact in building hundreds of entrepreneurial success stories from many corners of the world. Support came in many flavors, from mentoring, to funding, to accessing talent and continuous education. Today, two years after I left my role at Endeavor, I’m living first hand what in my perspective is Endeavor’s network superpower: TRUST.
I recently joined Elephant in a Box, a New York based company set to disrupt the furniture industry, starting with the $36 billion sofa market in the US, through it’s high end, instant assembly/disassembly, portable couch, using a unique state-of-the-art patented honeycomb technology found in the aviation and aerospace industries.
Here’s the catch: All co-founders and main investors are connected to Endeavor.
Serial entrepreneurs, Mohamed Kamal and Reham Khalifa, the creators of the concept, participated in an Endeavor International Selection Panel with a previous venture. There, not only was the “think big” seed was planted, but that’s also when Mohamed Azab (an Endeavor Entrepreneur, Endeavor Egypt board member, and investor) and I met the pair. Azab became Kamal’s mentor, and the relationship evolved to a strong friendship. Following Azab’s advice, Kamal went off to MIT for an MBA and Khalifa to Harvard Business School (HBS) for executive education. After one year of developing Elephant in a Box’s product at MIT, the relationship once again evolved to a partnership and Azab joined as the company’s co-founder.
In parallel, Azab and I continued to strengthen our bond. We worked together on many projects and he became not only my friend but also my mentor. We overlapped during our executive education programs at HBS, and often used to say, “how cool would it be to do something together.” During the HBS experience we both met David Salazar, who was, at the time, an Endeavor Detroit mentor, and is now an Endeavor candidate planning to attend an International Selection Panel later this year. Today, David is not only on our board, but is also one of our main investors.
The strongest teams are not made only from exceptional individuals bringing a diverse set of skills, experiences and backgrounds; they are built on trust. The trust that allows leveraging a team’s differences and collective brain power toward a common goal. The same trust that embraces a growth mindset, that is not afraid of revisiting assumptions, learning from the market, and THINKING BIG. At Elephant in a Box, we don’t just have any type of trust, we have trust built upon the values we shared through Endeavor’s network.
Today, I’m proud, honored, humbled and excited to be Elephant in a Box CEO and co-founder. For us, becoming a global unicorn and being selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs is not a dream; once you have the Endeavor vision and DNA engraved as we all do, it becomes a milestone.