The 2017 Endeavor Entrepreneur Retreat, an exclusive, curated, Endeavor experience of, by and for high-impact entrepreneurs, took place May 1-3, 2017, in Half Moon Bay, California. The retreat offered an emphasis on connecting with peers and mentors, and featured intimate, challenge-specific, breakout sessions and panel discussions with industry experts and Endeavor Entrepreneurs, and a variety of inspiring keynote speakers, who emphasized Endeavor’s mission to support our entrepreneurs in thinking big and multiplying their impact.
The event convened more than 350 network members hailing from Silicon Valley and nearly 30 countries around the globe, and provided entrepreneurs of all stages of growth and industries with the opportunity to connect with peers, mentors, investors and experts around the “firepit” vs. “the mainstage.”
The retreat also featured opportunities for attendees to experience cutting edge technology and local products coming out of Silicon Valley themselves, with Tesla test drives, a Microsoft virtual reality gaming station, and excursions to local breweries and distilleries.
The retreat culminated with Endeavor’s 20th birthday party, a night kicking off Endeavor’s twentieth anniversary year and recognizing the organization’s accomplishments since its founding in 1997. During the evening, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg recognized Endeavor Entrepreneurs from more than 20 countries in the network, and highlighted milestones reached this year: 28 countries, nearly 1,500 Endeavor Entrepreneurs, and USD$10 billion in revenue generated by Endeavor companies.
Read below for highlights of the event. Videos of main stage keynotes will be made available shortly. Photos by Drew Bird Photography.
Keynote Speakers Brought Diverse Perspectives to Scaling
The Endeavor Entrepreneur Retreat featured a number of seasoned entrepreneurs, thought leaders and executives who took the main stage in keynotes, panel discussions and fireside chats. Below are highlights from a selection of speakers who took the main stage.
On day one, entrepreneurship, technology and global impact thought leader Pascal Finette of Singularity University discussed the exponential pace of technology and what that means for business, science and every aspect of entrepreneurs’ lives. Pascal addressed the importance of constantly thinking and acting bigger in order to remain relevant, and spoke to his vision of how entrepreneurs will shape the future. Following Pascal’s talk, Ryan Graves, Uber’s first employee, then took the stage alongside experienced investor and Startup Rising author Chris Schroeder for a fireside chat discussing Ryan’s trajectory with the company through its rapid growth and the challenges that come with that.
During the afternoon session, South African Endeavor Entrepreneur and CEO of Brandseye JP Kloppers interviewed political scientist, political economist and author Francis Fukuyama on the rise of global populism and its effect on democratic institutions, technology, science, and the economy.
“We’re living in a world that does not like disruption.” –– Francis Fukuyama
A highlight for many in attendance, Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard took the stage on Day 2 alongside Argentinian Endeavor Entrepreneur and Conexia Co-Founder Sebastian Letemendia for an intimate look into the unique philosophy behind Yvon’s sustainable and wildly successful business. In a talk that received a standing ovation, Yvon spoke to the importance of defining a business’s values from the start and carving them in stone, noting that at Patagonia, “success is measured by how much good we’ve done.”
On days 2 and 3, attendees also had the opportunity to hear from fellow Endeavor Entrepreneurs who have successfully taken their companies to scale. Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg moderated a panel interview with three of Endeavor’s “biggest bubbles” — three entrepreneurs who have gone above and beyond when it comes to multiplying their impact. Globant Co-founder Guibert Englebienne, Redpoint eVentures Managing Partner Romero Rodrigues, and Xurpas Founder and CEO Nix Nolledo shared their experiences and journeys from seeding their companies, to becoming Endeavor Entrepreneurs, to investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs in their ecosystems and giving back through mentorship and board roles at Endeavor.
Xapo’s Wences Casares also spoke at length with Boardroom Consulting’s Christa Steele and Bain Capital Venture’s Matt Harris about the future of blockchain. As one of Endeavor’s earliest entrepreneurs selected, and a pioneer of digital currency, Wences offered a unique perspective on the risks and rewards of dedicating oneself to ideas on the fringe of innovation.
Other main stage speakers during the event included Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Endeavor Catalyst’s Allen Taylor, Pledge 1%’s Amy Lesnick and The Founders Pledge’s David Goldberg.
Vertical-Focused Breakout Sessions Offered Entrepreneurs Tailored Workshops
By attending smaller workshops and vertical-focused sessions, attendees benefited from personalized coaching and advice – in a sense, small “team meetings” – with some of the best entrepreneurial minds in the Endeavor network and across nine industries representing Endeavor’s entrepreneur communities: Agriculture; Retail and Consumer Tech; Data, Marketing and Media; Education; Enterprise Software and Services; Finance; Food and Beverage; Healthcare; and Smart City and Industry.
From thought leadership presentations to “challenge sessions” focused on different stages of scaling, Endeavor Entrepreneurs also had the chance to network and ask mentors questions on a variety of topics ranging from investing in emerging markets, to mobile advertising, to industry-specific trends.
First-Ever Endeavor Women’s Network Gathering
Before the official Endeavor Entrepreneur Retreat kicked off, Endeavor hosted its first ever Women’s Network Gathering to strengthen its community of women in high impact entrepreneurship. The event took place April 30 to May 1, and convened more than 40 women from 13 countries.
The event started with a Networking Dinner hosted by AXA Insurance, where Endeavor Entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and board members were welcomed by Dawn Miller, CEO of AXA USA. During the evening, Endeavor Entrepreneurs Silvina Moschini (Founder of SheWorks!) and Verónica Pascual (CEO of ASTI) shared the stage with Dawn to discuss the challenges they have faced during their entrepreneurial journeys and the lessons they have learned.
The next morning, Leah Busque (Founder & Executive Chairwoman of TaskRabbit) jump started the session by giving a keynote on how to “Unleash the Entrepreneur Inside: 5 Lessons Learned.” Afterward, Claire Lee (Head of Silicon Valley Bank’s Early Stage Practice) moderated a panel with Sarah Heck (Head of Stripe Atlas’s New Markets and External Affairs) and Elizabeth Gore (Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell), during which they offered their perspectives on important topics such as work-life balance, career development, and obstacles that exist in Silicon Valley vs. the public sector. The event finished with a breakout session, in which groups planned how to best leverage the Endeavor network to make meaningful change within their respective ecosystems.
A lively social media conversation
Attendees also joined the conversation online across social media platforms with the hashtag #EndeavorRetreat. Highlights from twitter may be viewed below.