Last month Endeavor Atlanta celebrated its second year of operation. We are grateful for the support from our board, entrepreneurs, mentors, and financial supporters for helping make the last 24 months such a success.
How do we measure success? As an organization that is of, by, and for entrepreneurs, everything starts and ends with selecting great founders leading hyper-growth companies and providing transformational support as they scale.
How are we doing so far? Here are the highlights:
Atlanta based Endeavor companies averaged 310% YoY growth in 2018, created 440 jobs, and collectively raised $146M of equity capital since founding
75% of the Atlanta based Endeavor companies qualified for Endeavor Outliers, a program designed for the CEOs of the top performing Endeavor companies worldwide
Endeavor Atlanta scored an 88% net-promoter-score in 2018 from Atlanta Endeavor Entrepreneurs (>70% NPS is considered world-class)
And with six high-growth Atlanta companies at the final stage of Endeavor’s selection process, 2019 is an inflection point year for us.
What surprised us in year two? In short, the power of high-impact mentorship.
Mentorship is a word frequently used in the startup world. While adding mentor to a LinkedIn profile is easy, finding and curating great mentors for founders is not but can have an outsized impact on the company. Endeavor’s Global research team, Endeavor Insights, recently completed a first of its kind study of entrepreneur ecosystems that shows top performing companies were over three times more likely to receive mentorship from an entrepreneur who led a company to scale (i.e. larger than 100 employees). This is high-impact mentorship.
In addition, our experience over the last two years shows effective mentorship requires a mutual level of trust and respect and an openness to feedback on the part of the entrepreneur. Gaining a high level of trust with an extremely busy founder is not a trivial exercise and getting founders to take and filter feedback is tricky. We’ve found that Endeavor’s non-dilutive model creates a unique, “on the side of the entrepreneur” environment where founders are more open to feedback and mentors are more likely to push the entrepreneur to think bigger and scale faster.
George Azih, Founder and CEO of LeaseQuery and Endeavor Entrepreneur, said it best: “Endeavor is the only organization I’ve seen where the mentor's interests and your (entrepreneur) interests are aligned. They don’t have a different agenda. Their sole focus is to support you as you grow and give you the resources to grow faster.”
What can entrepreneurs take from this?
Select mentors carefully and ask lots of questions
Has the mentor led a high-growth company to a level larger than your company?
Will they push you to think bigger and scale faster?
If not, do they offer some very specific functional expertise that’s helpful? (e.g., sales, legal, finance)
Select investors carefully
Do potential investors have experience scaling a company or have prior investments in companies that reached scale?
Can the investor connect you to founders who’ve reached scale?
As the chart above shows, top performers are over 2X more likely to take investment from entrepreneurs who’ve reached scale.
Find the right support programs
Find the entrepreneur program or local founder community that fits the stage and industry of your company
Seek peer support
Serial entrepreneur Mark Gilreath recommended founders join each others Boards to not only provide founder experience and an “on the side of the entrepreneur” viewpoint
I recently heard someone say finding quality mentors for an entrepreneur was “low hanging fruit”. We politely disagree.
We’d love to hear your stories of high-impact mentorship in the comments below.