Every month, we send a monthly recap on Endeavor’s iconic International Selection Panels showcasing rockstar entrepreneurs joining our network of change-makers around the world.
While watching the sun dip below the horizon from the beautiful beach along the Peloponnese coastline, cocktails in hand, the Endeavor staff, panelists, and entrepreneurs couldn’t help but be grateful for the return of an in-person ISP after two-and-a-half years.
This was the atmosphere of our 94th in-person ISP that took place in Costa Navarino, Greece where we selected 21 new Endeavor Entrepreneurs who are leading 11 companies across 10 markets to join our community.
Living up to our “of, by, and for high-impact entrepreneurs” motto, 13 out of the 16 panelists present at the ISP were Endeavor Entrepreneurs themselves, creating a founder-to-founder dynamic during the interviews that truly separates Endeavor from other organizations.
See the full group of illustrious panelists here:
So, which rockstar entrepreneurs and companies shined under the Greek sun?
What they do: Lifebit created the world’s first federated genomics platform, allowing biomedical researchers to run complex analyses with data that is otherwise siloed, complex, and non-standardized.
Who they are: Dr. Maria Chatzou Dunford is a biotech innovator and a proud geek, expert in bioinformatics, medical informatics and high performance computing (HPC). Her entrepreneurial journey started when she founded Innovation Forum Barcelona, where she scouted local start-ups and connected them with peers, investors, and partners to help them succeed. This experience and community further supplanted the entrepreneurial bug within her, leading her to take her extensive background and expertise in deep tech and biomedicine to revolutionize the way data is used in the healthcare industry.
" I never focused on creating a company, rather than in bringing innovation to life,” Maria said when describing the genesis of Lifebit."
Dr. Maria Chatzou Dunford, CEO of Lifebit
After meeting her co-founder during their PhD program in Barcelona and creating the beginning stages of Lifebit, they rapidly scaled the company, fueled in part by a $60M Series B round led by Tiger Global.
Maria is already an industry leader and innovator and she is helping to spearhead the “precision medicine” movement, ensuring that any data that can be used to cure diseases is actually used in an effective manner.
What they do: Founded in 2017, OnPoint provides one-stop solutions to enable consumer brands to turbocharge their online sales through various e-commerce channels.
Who they are: While working as CCO of Lazada Vietnam, Quang Tran noticed that many brands and retailers looking to launch an online store were ill-equipped to handle the increased complexity of an e-commerce supply chain. Seeing an opportunity to help traditional retailers manage their online presence and optimize their e-commerce channels, Quang left Lazada to launch OnPoint.
Since then, Quang has led OnPoint to be the number one e-commerce enabler in Vietnam, with ambitions to become the number one enabler in all of Southeast Asia.
In the true spirit of Endeavor, Quang has always had an intrinsic motivation to make an impact and support people. Just as he is driven to transform the e-commerce enabler industry, he is equally as driven to contribute to the local economy and to be an influential figure in the progress of the Vietnamese entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Quang’s intangibles, such as his hunger and humility, were highlighted by the panelists at the ISP, as well as throughout the selection process:
" Quang is a rare young man in the market who knows exactly what to do. He is an excellent learner. Clearly he understands what he's doing and what he should be doing in the near future… It’s a strong company with a strong leader and a competent team. "
Mentor feedback during the Selection process of OnPoint
What they do: Pomelo is building infrastructure for Latin American fintech companies to help them streamline their operations and processes.
Who they are: Pomelo’s founding team is formed by a serial entrepreneur and former executives from Google, Mercado Pago, Mastercard and Naranja X.
CEO Gastón Irigoyen is a third-time founder with two previous exits (one to TripAdvisor) and he was the former CEO of Naranja X, Argentina’s largest neobank with 5M customers.
CCO Juan Fantoni holds an MBA from Kellogg and is the former Director of Fintech at Mastercard, where he signed issuing deals with Mercado Pago, Ualá and Despegar.
CPO Hernan Corral was also the CPO at Naranja X and led Digital Accounts and Cards at Mercado Pago. He also hosts the most popular fintech podcast in the region.
It took them 2 years, $50M, and 300 people to build the first version of Naranja X, where 80% of the time was dedicated to liaising with incumbent providers that didn’t allow for speed or innovation. As a result, in 2021, they decided to address their own frustration by creating Pomelo, the first regional platform to build and scale financial services throughout Latin America.
Their growth since their launch last year is nothing short of impressive: They raised $60M, built a team of 300 people, and gathered 55 customers across 5 markets. The trio’s panelists were excited to take a bet on them now and to be a key part of their still-young journey.
What they do: Solfácil is building a full-fledged solar energy ecosystem. Its main offering is an investment platform that provides individuals with loans to finance their solar energy installations.
Who they are: Fabio Carrara always knew he wanted to build an industry-changing company.
While working at Project A Ventures LatAm, Fabio discovered his passion for renewable energy, which was further sparked during a work trip to Germany where he realized how advanced the solar industry was there in comparison to Brazil.
In 2015, he decided to start his first venture, SOLSTAR, a solar panel installation company. Through this experience, he realized that the top barrier preventing wider adoption of solar energy in Brazil was financing. This was the spark that ignited the idea for Solfácil.
The CFO Guillaume Dias Borgo joined in 2020. He used his ample experience in banking and renewable energy to immediately make invaluable contributions to the company, further launching Solfácil towards their goal of becoming the largest and most holistic solar energy ecosystem in Brazil.
We are sure that they will be the next high-impact entrepreneurs in the Brazilian market. In their own words, “We are already eager to leverage Endeavor as a platform to pay-it-forward.”
" Clear purpose and great ambition. Excellent execution in innovative business. Competitive differences in business model and technology. Potential of the ecosystem and adjacent businesses."
Mentor feedback during the Selection process of Solfácil
What they do: Paymob is Egypt’s leading and most comprehensive digital payments infrastructure.
Who they are: CEO Islam, COO Alain, and CTO Mostafa met in a course about entrepreneurship while completing their undergraduate studies at the American University of Cairo.
During this class, they were inspired by the success stories of entrepreneurs in the region and they decided to jump into this world themselves. While still in college, they co-founded their first venture together, a social e-commerce platform called SocialDab.
As traction picked up with SocialDab, the founding trio were exposed to the pain points felt by e-commerce merchants due to the lack of digitalization in the payments industry, serving as the inspiration for them to go on to create Paymob.
Since then, they have expanded across Egypt and have set up operations in the UAE and Pakistan, assisted by their $50M Series B co-led by PayPal Ventures, Kora Capital, and ClayPoint.
" Paymob shares our mission and ambition of advancing digital payments adoption—it has made impressive strides in supporting the growth and success of underserved SMBs."
Ashish Aggarwal, director at PayPal Ventures to Techcrunch
What they do: Bobobox is a unique, next-generation lifestyle brand that offers a range of innovative sleeping spaces for different lifestyles, including Bobobox hotels and cabins. They are recently exploring express sleeping pods, co-living spaces, and even vans.
Who they are: Indra Gunawan and Antonius Bong are passionate and resilient entrepreneurs who are spearheading the first hospitality company in Endeavor Indonesia’s portfolio.
While Indra may not have a professional background in hospitality, he was raised in a family that had a hotel business and he was immersed in the industry his whole life. Antonius has 14 years of experience in various industries: Printing, gaming, property, e-commerce, and hospitality.
While in college, the pair set up several businesses together before Bobobox. Later, Indra’s family business allowed him to identify the inefficiencies in traditional accommodations and inspired him to innovate within the hospitality industry, coming up with the idea for Bobobox.
Indra decided to share the concept with Anton, who initially thought it was the worst idea Indra had ever had.
In December 2017, to test this concept, Indra decided to convert a room in his sister’s hotel into a capsule. The capsule was an overnight success and achieved an occupancy rate of 98% soon after launch.
This shifted Anton’s previous judgment on the idea and was just the validation needed to get him to jump on board. In 2018, the team founded Bobobox, taking on the project of revolutionizing the hospitality industry in Indonesia, and they’ve never looked back.
What they do: Tamara is the leading Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) provider in the MENA region, targeting over 600M people within the $2 trillion shopping, payment, and retail banking market.
Who they are: Since Majeed Alsukhan was a kid, he knew he wanted to do something impactful, later realizing how thrilling and impactful entrepreneurial projects are on society.
Today, Abdulmajeed is a serial entrepreneur, previously founding Habli, a logistics platform for grocery delivery (later acquired by Nana).
The idea for Tamara was born from Abdulmajeed’s own struggles as an entrepreneur when he was living paycheck to paycheck. During this time, he noticed local mom-and-pop stores had developed their own credit line, using a pen and paper system to allow the most loyal customers to buy groceries and pay for them later, inspiring the idea for Tamara.
Soon after, Abdulmajeed reconnected over coffee with long-time childhood friend Turki Bin Zarah, who joined as co-founder and COO.
Turki has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, coupled with over seven years of consulting experience at firms such as Strategy&, Kearney, and, most recently, LinkedIn.
The duo went on to launch Tamara in September 2020. Since then, the team has notably been able to hire a truly global workforce: 220 remote workers who span across 28 different countries, from Vietnam to Germany to Saudi Arabia.
What they do: RxLightning is a technology platform that reduces the time it takes for a patient to start critical medication from multiple weeks to an average of two days or even hours, by connecting doctors, patients, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers in a streamlined process.
Who they are: Before founding RxLightning, Julia Regan spent two decades in the healthcare industry across start-ups and enterprises and in various roles within innovation and product teams. After gaining this diverse experience, Julia decided that she wanted to build a company herself that addressed a problem in the space.
Through her firsthand experience of having loved ones on one of the most expensive specialty medications, Julia decided to launch RxLightning alongside her co-founder and CTO, Brad Allen. Brad and Julia previously worked together at ReMy Health and they knew their complementary skillsets would enable them to build and launch their own company.
Julia’s extensive industry experience led RxLightning to find product-market fit in record time and she is rapidly becoming a role model in the relatively small entrepreneurial ecosystem in southern Indiana, where she is based.
" She has the right attitude, background, experience and has achieved more than most in the short time she has been at it."
Mentor feedback during the Selection process of RxLightning
What they do: Impress is a chain of orthodontic clinics that provides fast, digitized, and medically-proven clear aligner treatments for patients.
Who they are: Half-Russian-half-Ukrainian, Vladimir Lupenko (CEO) co-founded Impress in 2019 alongside his wife Diliara Lupenko (COO) and Dr. Khaled Kasem (Chief Orthodontist).
Vladimir is a serial entrepreneur who has founded three consumer internet companies in Russia throughout his career. During his journey, he experienced both sides of the entrepreneurial life: He grew two of the companies to $300M+ in revenue, while his third company went bankrupt. These mixed experiences provided Vladimir with a comprehensive set of insights and skills he is currently leveraging at Impress. Throughout her career, Diliara served as the CFO & COO at Aquaton, which was acquired by Roca Group. After having a taste of what it was like to co-lead a company, she became an entrepreneur herself and founded StyleMeUp, the first Russian marketplace for modern fashion designers’ jewelry and accessories.
In 2018, Vladimir discovered the clear aligner’s growth trend while attending a YPO conference in New York and was astonished by the market’s lack of digitization and the opportunity within it. After deep market research, he and Diliara realized that Spain was the European country with the most Invisalign users. With no hesitation, both founders moved to Barcelona in early 2019 to seize this opportunity.
Today, Impress operates across Europe and the US, it has compiled a team of experts in which ~50% are trained medical staff, and has raised a $50M Series A led by Care Capital (a leading VC in the dental space).
What they do: Tovala allows customers to feel like they come home to a gourmet, chef-prepared meal by combining a smart oven with a meal subscription service to make dinner effortless and delicious.
Who they are: David Rabie grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. He aspired to start his own business when he attended a health retreat at the age of 18 and discovered a passion for health and wellness. Most specifically, the power of good food.
After various experiences, including working in China, being an apprentice to the founder of Veggie Grill, and running a frozen yogurt chain, the idea to start Tovala dawned on David.
It was one Sunday afternoon and he was making food for the whole week when he realized he was using four different appliances. He thought, “Why isn’t there one product that does all the cooking for me without sacrificing health, taste, or convenience?”
David decided he needed to find a solution to the “Tuesday night dinner problem,” when people get home from work or school without the energy or time to cook. His solution was Tovala, an all-in-one appliance that saves time and quickly delivers delectable and healthy meals. Tovala launched in 2017 when David entered UChicago’s prestigious New Venture Challenge and won first prize.
David’s ultimate vision is to reinvent home cooking to save time while sparking delight.
" David's traction and scale with Tovala is impressive. Hardware and food businesses are hard enough, but to do those in combination, along with software, is a real achievement."
Mentor feedback during the Selection process of Tovala
What they do: Flash is revolutionizing the enormous and highly regulated corporate benefits market in Brazil. The Flash platform provides all the benefits an employee receives in one platform, including food, transportation, gym, insurance, and more.
Who they are: Flash was founded by two brothers, Guilherme Lane and Pedro Lane, and their childhood friend, Ricardo Salem.
Pedro first experienced the challenges of navigating the corporate benefits market during his time working at FSB. Not only were current standards outdated and hard to access, but corporate cards were also not widely accepted across different establishments due to high fees.
Pedro was compelled to create a new solution to solve the pain points within company and employee relationships. He turned to his brother Guilherme and their childhood friend Ricardo, pitching the opportunity to revolutionize the industry.
The trio then began building the Flash MVP in 2019 when they first received angel funding.
Notably, Endeavor has been a part of Flash’s history almost since its founding. In January 2020, Flash was selected to participate in the Brazil ScaleUp program and a mentor that Endeavor connected them to went on to become an investor.
But that’s not all…
After selecting this incredible group of new entrepreneurs to join our ranks, Endeavor took the party from the coast to Athens. While in Athens, our Greek team hosted a networking event that brought together hundreds of people within the Endeavor ecosystem to meet, chat, and collaborate with one another.
To cap it all off and to mark the 10th anniversary of Endeavor Greece, our team hosted an event for the ages in an epic 2000-year-old amphitheater at the base of the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. In this incredible setting, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg moderated a fireside chat with the Prime Minister of Greece and the co-CEO of Netflix that covered topics as far-ranging as entrepreneurship to the PM’s favorite Netflix show.
All in all, the in-person ISPs came back with a thunderous bang! The time in Greece served as a refreshing moment of inspiration, camaraderie, and grand ambition.
Over the next few months, we’ll continue to host our inspiring Virtual ISPs as we look forward to our next in-person ISP in Brazil in November.