What do a bootstrapped accounting software startup and a cryptocurrency payments company backed by over $70 million in venture funding have in common? They’re the newest members of the selective Endeavor network for entrepreneurs.
Atlanta-based LeaseQuery and BitPay were both accepted into Endeavor last week following an international selection panel in Louisville, Kentucky. Both the international panel and the local Endeavor Atlanta board and mentors look for entrepreneurs building companies with the potential to scale globally, who can give back, in turn, to the Endeavor network.
With chapters in over 50 cities across six continents, the network helps entrepreneurs in four ways: access to new markets, access to capital as a potential co-investor, connections with peer founders and mentors, and access to talent.
Globally, Endeavor Atlanta Managing Director Aaron Hurst says that about 2.5 percent of companies initially screened make it past the international panel; during the multi-step selection process, both the local and international panel interviewers probe into the entrepreneur’s founder journey, their company’s finances and projected growth, the market for their product and their team.
“Endeavor’s entire history is based on identifying companies with the potential to scale and impact their communities in a meaningful way, and then provide them with the resources, counsel and network to do just that,” says LeaseQuery’s co-founder and CEO George Azih. The former accountant and his co-founder Chris Ramsey have built a product that manages and streamlines lease accounting, a field where regulations often change and static Excel spreadsheets are the norm
Without taking any outside funding, the three-year-old company was already profitable last summer — at the time, Azih shared with Hype that they were on track to grow over 400 percent within the year.
“When we decided to apply to join Endeavor, we understood that while we were doing well as a company, we would be able to be great with Endeavor,” he says.
Azih now hopes to leverage the Endeavor network to keep up with hiring, something he says the selection process and local chapter has already assisted them with. The Endeavor Atlanta board includes entrepreneurs such as Sharecare founder Jeff Arnold, PGi founder Boland T. Jones, Atlanta Ventures David Cummings and many more.
“We are currently at about 50 employees today. More than half of them would not be here were it not for Endeavor,” Azih shares, citing that the company’s VP of Marketing was a direct referral from a current Endeavor Atlanta member.
BitPay CEO Stephen Pair agrees that the local board was one of the reasons the company began pursuing Endeavor acceptance. BitPay, which has offices in Argentina and Amsterdam, builds cryptocurrency payment technologies. Their products include a platform for businesses to accept cryptocurrency, a bitcoin wallet and a bitcoin debit card.
Now, Pair says he looks forward to connecting with the larger organization, especially as the company focuses on international growth and Asia-Pacific operations expansion.
“There are a lot of great people in the Endeavor network with experience in the transition from a venture phase to a growth phase,” Pair says.
Both companies also look towards serving as a mentor for future Endeavor Atlanta entrepreneurs as the organization aims to help more growing companies reach their next level.
“One of the attributes of every single individual we have met through the Endeavor network is selflessness. It is very rare to come across people who are willing to give you unbiased and objective advice, especially when they have absolutely nothing to gain,” says Azih.
The Endeavor Atlanta chapter has several other local companies in various stages of the selection process now.