In 1997, Endeavor launched its first office in Latin America with the goal to help founders in emerging markets scale internationally. Since then, the non-profit organization has started operating in 42 markets globally, connecting over 2,400 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 1,500 companies, and nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide. Among the international companies touched by Endeavor, 65 became unicorns. While the economic impact is undeniable, this is not the main metric used by the organization to measure its success.
Redefining Success: The Multiplier Effect as a New Metric
For Endeavor, impact—specifically, the multiplier effect—stands as a main pillar. According to Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor’s co-founder and CEO, the goal has never been merely valuation; instead, it’s about catalyzing “networks of trust, mentorship, and celebration.”
Alongside indicators like growth, profit, and valuation, Endeavor believes in founders’ compound impact when they mentor, inspire, and invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs. These founders can impact well over 700 companies in their regions through mentorship, employee spinouts, or direct investments.
This shift in traditional VC thinking isn’t just theoretical; it’s backed by substantial data. Endeavor Insight, the organization’s research division, studied entrepreneurial ecosystems in more than 50 markets, calculating the closeness and centrality of influential actors in an entrepreneurship ecosystem. The degrees of connections included in recent studies are former employment, mentorship, angel investment, and serial entrepreneurship.
The team collected data from its entrepreneurs and their companies and supplemental information from Pitchbook and LinkedIn to create a new interactive map that showcases the Multiplier Effect in action. The map traces 25 Endeavor entrepreneurs from 14 countries, making their direct or indirect influence on local communities visually clear.
Global case studies offer a broad understanding of this effect:
- Rappi’s Multiplier Effect: In Colombia, Endeavor helped scale the on-demand delivery app Rappi into the country’s first unicorn. Its alums have found or led over 130 businesses, and its founders have mentored or invested in well over 20 other entrepreneurs.
- Globant’s Multiplier Effect: Endeavor Argentina selected Globant in 2004. Its four founders have mentored 201 startups and helped inspire 435 former employees to become entrepreneurs.
- Careem’s Multiplier Effect: Middle East ride-hailing company Careem joined Endeavor’s network in 2018. Over 90 former employees became founders, and Careem’s three founders have mentored over 30 entrepreneurs.
These cases set a universal context within which we can analyze the Bulgarian ecosystem.
The Bulgarian Ecosystem: A Community Focused on Mentorship
In Bulgaria, the giving back mentality is also growing in recent years, with total hours donated by local Endeavor Entrepreneurs and their network reaching 308.5 in 2022. The majority of these hours are dedicated to active mentorship, representing not just time commitment but also the creation of a sustainable mentoring infrastructure that forms the backbone of the local startup ecosystem.
Notable Mentors and Their Contributions
Some of the most active Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the past two years include: Pressian Karakostov (PhoneArena); Alexander Lefterov (Tiger Technology); Georgi Georgiev (Skapto); Sabina Gyosheva (BYFAR); Viktor Bilyanski (Scalefocus); Hristo Borisov (Payhawk).
- Pressian Karakostov, Founder of PhoneArena and PubGalaxy: His contribution goes beyond mentorship; he has also made angel investments and serves on the board of Endeavor Bulgaria, setting an example of multifaceted involvement.
- Alexander Lefterov, Founder of Tiger Technology: Known for his expertise in software, he’s frequently called upon to assess the potential and mentor software startups, locally and internationally.
- Hristo Borisov, founder of the first Bulgarian unicorn Payhawk: Not just limited to Bulgaria, Borisov has engaged in mentorship activities across borders, sharing his experience with companies in Italy, Turkey, and Brazil.
Forms of Impact: Beyond Mentorship
- Selection Process: Endeavor Entrepreneurs often participate as interviewers, using their industry insights to help Endeavor pick companies with the highest potential for its various programs.
- Events: Attendance at local and international Endeavor events serves as a platform for networking and learning, further enriching the ecosystem.
- Strategic Introductions: Entrepreneurs also help by making introductions and recommendations, thereby aiding in the growth of the local startup community.
Conclusion: The Power of the Multiplier Effect in Bulgaria
In the Bulgarian context, the Endeavor model reinforces how the multiplier effect contributes to a more robust and sustainable startup ecosystem. The substantial time commitment of local entrepreneurs for mentorship and community building, as evidenced by the donated hours, serves as an insightful metric of this effect. This emphasis on community over individual success aligns well with Endeavor’s global perspective that prioritizes compound impact over isolated growth metrics.
Because for an emerging ecosystem to grow, it’s not enough creating a successful business; it’s about setting the groundwork for future entrepreneurs to succeed, thus creating a flywheel effect cycle of sustainable growth and influence.