14 / City Hubs for Entrepreneurship Series: Miami, Florida
PLAN FOR IMPROVEMENT There Is a Clear and Demonstrable Need for Endeavor to Work in Miami. The major weaknesses of Miami’s entrepreneurship ecosystem — poor access to early-stage financing and human capital, low-levels of mentorship, and a lack of promotion of local entrepreneurial role models — closely match the challenges that are addressed by Endeavor’s model. There is also ample evidence that local entrepreneurs who are able to overcome these challenges can grow their companies quite rapidly. Here are two recent examples: • In 2012, Unified Payments, a North Miami company, was the fastest-growing firm on the Inc. 500 list of rapidly growing companies in the United States. The company, which was founded by Oleg Firer, grew from less than half a million dollars in revenue in 2008 to $59.5 million in revenue in 2011. It now processes $10 billion in annual transactions, and it was acquired by Net Element International earlier this year.19 • Open English, a Coconut Grove-based company, was founded by Andres Moreno (who also sits on Endeavor Miami’s board) and Wilmer Sarmiento in 2006. Today, it provides live, online English-language classes to more than 70,000 students in 22 countries. Moreno and Sarmiento now employ more than 2,000 people and have raised over $110 million in financing from investors, such as Kazsek Ventures and Flybridge Capital. 20 Given the demonstrable need for the services offered by Endeavor as well as the potential represented by local entrepreneurs like those listed above, Endeavor opened a new affiliate office in Miami in September of 2013. The Endeavor Miami team, led by Managing Director Laura Maydon, will work to implement Endeavor’s model, which has been launched in 19 countries and over 40 cities across the world. Endeavor selects local, high-potential entrepreneurs into its network of entrepreneurs. In total, only 3% of the applicants are invited to join the organization. Once selected, entrepreneurs have access to programs that increase their access to capital, talent, and mentors. These include participation in events hosted by Endeavor’s Investor Network, which has helped 72 companies raise over $300 million in the last two years, as well as fellowship programs with corporate partners, such as Ernst & Young and Bain & Company, and custom-built advisory boards of executive-level mentors. Endeavor also provides entrepreneurs with training opportunities at universities that include Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The Endeavor affiliate in Miami will encourage the entrepreneurs it supports to become mentors and investors for other companies as they become successful. Worldwide, more than 65% of Endeavor’s current entrepreneurs act as advisors and investors for other entrepreneurs in their communities. As the network of Endeavor-supported companies grows in Miami over the next few years, the Endeavor Miami office will also promote its entrepreneurs in order to inspire potential founders in the community. Miami’s geographic and cultural ties to Latin America make it an ideal location for Endeavor’s first U.S. affiliate office. The city is home to a number of key mentors in Endeavor’s global network, and many Endeavor-supported entrepreneurs from South America have opened satellite offices in the city. Endeavor’s connections to the Miami community have helped to bring together a strong contingent of local business leaders who will support the work of the Endeavor Miami affiliate office. The founding board of directors for the new affiliate office is co-chaired by Adriana Cisneros, vice chairman of the board and CEO of the Cisneros Group, and Daniel Echavarria, director of Organización Corona. Also serving on the board is Peter Kellner, who co-founded Endeavor Global and is now managing partner at Richmond Global; Ernest Bachrach, CEO of Advent International; serial investor and entrepreneur Alberto Beeck; Alberto Chang Rajii, president of Grupo Arcano; Matt Haggman, Miami program director of Knight Foundation; Manny Medina, managing partner of Medina Capital Partners; Andres Moreno, mentioned above; and Sean Wolfington, co-founder of the Wolfington Companies.