Those chosen receive access to mentors and a volunteer advisory board of local business leaders as well as access to international networks that include entrepreneurs like Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn; Diego Piacentini, who heads Amazon international; Robert Polet, former CEO of Gucci; and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Group. There are also programs that provide interns from top business schools and professionals from Ernst & Young to work with Endeavor companies and a new Endeavor Investor Network that includes top venture capital firms.
“The thing that really spoke to us is that how successful Endeavor has been at building vibrant pay-it-forward communities,” said Haggman, adding that the vast majority of Endeavor Entrepreneurs stay involved as advisors, mentors or investors in their communities.
Juan Pablo Cappello, an Endeavor senior advisor, got an inside view of Endeavor 12 years ago, as he was a partner in Patagon, Argentina’s first Internet Service Provider. Wences Casares, Patagon’s CEO, was an Endeavor Entrepreneur.
“We were fewer than 20 employees and within a year and a half we had been sold for $750 million. We had in excess of 400 employees at that point. In the Patagon case, being part of Endeavor was transformative — it put us in touch with a community of entrepreneurs in the same point of their evolution,” said Cappello. A Miami lawyer, serial entrepreneur and investor, Cappello has remained an Endeavor mentor and advisor, as has Casares, an entrepreneur and investor in Silicon Valley.
Fernando Fabre, president of Endeavor and the former chief of Endeavor Mexico, in recent months has met with many South Florida community leaders. The need for an Endeavor became apparent. “I kept asking people, ‘who are the current five most successful entrepreneurs based in Miami?’ ” he said. “They came up with names from 10, 15, 20 years ago.”
Fabre said Endeavor considered several cities, including Atlanta and Detroit, but Miami kept bubbling up and seemed like a natural for Endeavor’s first U.S. center. Miami’s connections to Latin America and its track record with building other types of ecosystems, such as in the arts, helped the city’s case.
Endeavor has not set a date for a launch. “The first thing we have to do is put together just an outstanding local board of directors; they are the make or break of the organization. When they are totally committed as they are in places like Turkey and Brazil and Jordan, we shoot the moon,” Kellner said.
“The ecosystem is already starting to take off in Miami. We know we’re not the only player and that’s great,” added Rottenberg. “It’s on the verge of exploding and we’re excited to be a part of that.”