During the 92nd International Selection Panel in Riviera Maya, held December 11-13, 2019, Endeavor officially marked the milestone selection of the 2,000th Endeavor Entrepreneur since the organisation’s founding in 1997.

With 24 entrepreneurs leading 15 companies from 11 markets selected at the last panel for 2019, Endeavor now supports 2,016 entrepreneurs leading 1,258 companies in 35+ growth markets around the world. Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell completed the selection process and shares his experience below.

1. What motivated you to join the Endeavor process?

I have always been passionate about entrepreneurship as a way to create jobs and fulfill a purpose of having a positive impact in our world; this seems to be in line with Endeavor’s goal in terms of ‘impact’ and ‘giving back’.

While Clickatell is arguably larger in size and traction than the typical Endeavour cohort; taking the time to invest in the Endeavor process made sense given that one of our priorities is to expand our leadership in chat commerce enablement into new markets such as Latin America and this is a region where Endeavor has a strong network of ‘like-minded’ entrepreneurs and advisors.

2. Comment on the process.

The process was insightful and helpful as it acts as a trigger to take a critical look at one's business, the market you serve and the overall market opportunity as a whole. The preparation as well as the interview panel format creates a ‘forcing function’ to ensure you can clearly articulate the execution plan; this I found to be well worth the effort. Finally, being together with like-minded entrepreneurs from around the world is always a privilege and energising, I truly enjoyed meeting the group.

3. In your opinion, why is innovation important in today’s business landscape?

Innovation is a big part of our success and company DNA; back in 2000 we were the first solution in the world that enabled the internet to communicate with a mobile phone via text messaging by simply adding four lines of code to a web page. Innovation takes commitment and drives real value; it also shaped our values as you have to have courage to innovate, and be curious, creative and collaborative. We essentially connected the fastest growing commerce platform with the world’s largest communications platform with thousands of brands across 200 countries paying for our services.

4. How are you leading innovation in your sector?

We believe technology can be used to make things better and easier for mankind, and we focus our efforts on helping people like you and me ‘get things done’ and save time when we are interacting with the brands we love. Globally, we are regarded as leaders in the area where communications (messaging, chat, interaction, etc.) meets commerce (payments, billing, etc.) and  truly #1 in several markets when it comes to chat commerce enablement (the 3rd wave after e-commerce and app commerce)

5. Comment on your experience of Endeavor to date; how has it helped you to think bigger?

The endeavor team are very helpful, professional and overall a great group of people to work with; I cannot say enough about the joy it is to interact with them.

We are definitely thinking bigger as a result of the work we have done with Endeavour and the international selection panel. All I can say is watch this space given that we are spoiled with a very large $70B+ market opportunity and have the product, team and momentum necessary to be successful in leading the market we target.

6. What are you most looking forward to on your Endeavor journey?

As mentioned we are exploring expansion into Latin America, and I look forward to partnering with the Endeavor team and entrepreneurs as we explore opportunities. We are also getting ready for a growth round (series C) and believe Endeavour will provide a good sounding board for us.

7. Lastly… With a focus on our value proposition, is it possible to comment on how Endeavor has helped you with Access to Market, Access to Talent, and Access to Capital?

It is early in the process and relationship with Endeavour, and we expect to actively engage and interact with the team to see how best they can assist us with market, talent and capital access. Stay tuned.

ISPs in 2020 will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (February 10-12), Brooklyn, New York (March 23-25), London, U.K. (May 11-13), Bali, Indonesia (June 30-July 2), Nairobi, Kenya (August 10-12), Lake Como, Italy (September 14-16), Palo Alto, California (October 26-28), and São Paulo, Brazil (December 9-11). For more information on these events, please contact ISP@endeavor.org.

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