The lobby of the Midtown Atlanta Loews Hotel buzzed with animated conversations in a dozen languages. The grouping was a motley one, featuring men and women of various ages and styles of dress, from formal professional wear to startup-chic tees and jeans.
The multi-lingual, multi-national group was in Atlanta for the Endeavor International Selection Panel, the final step in the long process for entrepreneurs to be accepted into the elite global network of entrepreneur support organization Endeavor.
Endeavor functions in a chapter model, with over 40 locations across the world from Bulgaria to Malaysia to Nigeria. The goal is to focus on areas where entrepreneurship is typically underserved, focusing on scaling companies that have the potential to grow significantly with help from the non-profit’s many resources and programs.
The Atlanta chapter of Endeavor launched over two years ago with initial funding from Cox Enterprises and an impressive corporate and entrepreneurial founding board. This was the first time the ISP has been held in Atlanta.
The 90th ISP welcomed 28 companies to present to Endeavor board members from all over the world.
In a multi-day process, the entrepreneurs met each other, met the Endeavor team members, and went through a rigorous interview process where they broke down their products or services, business models, revenue figures, and more.
They also got a robust introduction to the Atlanta startup scene, with activities such as dinner with successful local entrepreneurs, a Scale-Up Breakfast featuring talks by leading venture capital investors, and events at Switchyards Downtown Club, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and Ponce City Market.
All the while, the panelists were deliberating about the entrepreneurs they had met and questioned. Like the Local Selection Panel, which entrepreneurs had to pass just to make it to the ISP, voting on each entrepreneur has to be unanimous to allow them into the network.
On the third and last day, the entrepreneurs learned their fate. Out of the 28 companies that presented, 21 were accepted into Endeavor. Those companies represented 37 entrepreneurs from 15 markets.
This is consistent with Endeavor’s average acceptance rate of about 70 percent, Endeavor Atlanta representative Alaysia Brown tells Hypepotamus.
Endeavor Atlanta was represented by two companies at the ISP, both of which were accepted into the organization. GreenPrint CEO Pete Davis says he is excited about the “amazing global network” afforded to Endeavor entrepreneurs.
“I’m going to use the advisory network the most,” Davis tells Hypepotamus. “We’re in 14 countries now, mostly in North America and Europe. We have our eyes on Latin America and Asia and just having the network with contacts down there will be hugely valuable.”
GreenPrint, a corporate sustainability platform that helps enterprises reduce and track emissions rates, is based in Atlanta.
The other locally-represented company is the result of Endeavor Atlanta’s territory expansion into Birmingham, Alabama. Fleetio, a tech-enabled fleet management solution, is the first Birmingham company to enter Endeavor.
Fleetio founder and CEO Tony Summerville also expressed his intention to take advantage of global connections built through Endeavor. Fleetio currently has operations in 75 countries.
“Being able to build good friendships with entrepreneurs from literally all over means that it would be no big deal to quickly connect with one of them and ask for advice about anything in their country,” Summerville says. “It’s a global economy.”
Summerville also talked about building upon his own personal growth as a company leader and chief executive. The company is growing fast, swelling from the current 77 to over 100 by the end of 2019.
“Everybody that I’ve met is just incredibly talented, with diverse backgrounds and all these different experiences — you have a five minute conversation with anyone here and you’re immediately getting some new tactic, whether it’s small or a major thing that can totally change your trajectory.”
Endeavor Atlanta now has accepted 15 entrepreneurs from 12 companies into the network.
Images via Endeavor Atlanta