Last week, Endeavor hosted its 79th International Selection Panel (ISP) in Louisville. The ISP is the culmination of a 12-18 month rigorous selection process that identifies innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are committed to advancing an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and represents the heart and soul of the Endeavor experience. During this three-day event, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and business leaders convened in Louisville for interviews, private deliberations, and networking events. In the end, 21 entrepreneurs from eight different countries were selected into the Endeavor global network, consequently gaining access to mentorship, capital, and talent services provided by Endeavor.
In an effort to offer the local community a taste of the Endeavor experience and to inspire local entrepreneurs to “think big,” the Endeavor Louisville office kicked-off the 79th ISP with a breakfast forum titled Scale-Up Endeavor. This breakfast forum featured key Endeavor network members who spoke about scaling a business and the importance of high-impact entrepreneurship. Speakers included: Allen Taylor, Managing Director of Endeavor Catalyst; Guibert Englebienne, Co-Founder & CTO of Globant, Endeavor Entrepreneur, and Endeavor Argentina board chair; and Hank Dudgeon, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development at Rubicon Global.
About 100 people rose early and trekked to the new Omni Louisville hotel by eight in the morning on May 7th, otherwise known as the Monday morning after the Kentucky Derby, to hear these speakers’ stories. While the majority of attendees included local entrepreneurs, business leaders, and business professionals from Louisville, a handful of global Endeavor candidates and staff also committed to an early wake-up. International attendees included entrepreneurs from Greece, Colombia, Turkey, and more. Allen Taylor opened the session by offering a general overview of Endeavor’s mission and model to the audience before transitioning into a global Endeavor success story with Guibert Englebienne.
Conversing on stage with Endeavor Louisville team member Caroline Hafele, Guibert discussed the journey of Globant, a global leader in the creation of innovative software products based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from its early beginnings to its eventual IPO in 2014. He noted a few of the many challenges he faced and lessons learned while scaling Globant, including expanding globally, managing the complexity of the business, and handling cultural issues. He also spoke about Endeavor’s impact, including being advised at an Endeavor event by Bill Sahlman, a professor at Harvard Business School, not to sell Globant after an enticing and lucrative offer was presented to him and co-founders in 2007. Guibert additionally described inspiration he found within his local Endeavor network, specifically Mercado Libre’s earlier IPO, which ultimately inspired him to think equally as big. Globant later went on to IPO on the NYSE in 2014.
“I really believe in the power of entrepreneurship to evolve communities,” explained Guibert. He concluded by encouraging the audience to, “Get committed, get close to Endeavor. It’s a very powerful network.”
Scale-Up Endeavor closed with a fireside chat featuring Hank Dudgeon and Jackson Andrews (Endeavor Louisville Managing Director) on the topic of local success story Rubicon Global. Rubicon Global was co-founded by Endeavor Louisville board member Nate Morris and is tech’s first unicorn in waste management. While Hank cracked jokes about being a garbage man and the existence of the “Waste Hall of Fame,” he also spoke about the challenges of building a billion-dollar company in the Midwest. He, too, highlighted Endeavor’s impact on the growth of Rubicon, noting that, “we are a real-life example of what Endeavor and their network can do for you.”
In the end, Scale-Up Endeavor offered valuable business lessons to those in the audience. Even more, the session revealed the impact that high-level mentorship can have on the growth of a business and how local, relevant success stories can inspire large visions among other entrepreneurs across the community. Following these discussions with Allen, Guibert, and Hank, hopefully more Louisvillians are inspired to “Scale-Up! Go Big! Give Back!”