Beyond Selection: A Lasting Impact

By Endeavor Greece May 26, 2024

In our previous blog, we explored the journeys of Scale Up founders to Endeavor Entrepreneurs, highlighting key milestones and how our Scale Up program supports their path to long-term success. This success is only possible thanks to our mentors, who are our closest allies. These industry leaders, top corporate executives, and founders generously offer their time, ensuring that our network remains top-notch and that selected founders receive unparalleled support.

Today, we focus on why mentors, such as Andreas Stavropoulos, Partner at Threshold Ventures and Vice Chairman of the Endeavor Greece Board, and Bill Theofilou, Founder, CEO, Board Director, and Advisor, choose to contribute their time and how they see the value of the program. Both Andreas and Bill have been part of the Endeavor Greece network for some time now, and like most mentors, have multiplied their impact in very unique ways, beyond the selection process as panelists, and are among our top 20 mentors for a few years now in terms of hours donated. Bill, for example, holds masterclasses, ask-me-anything sessions with founders, and 1-1 meetings along with sitting on the board of some scale up portfolio companies; including Dyania. Andreas on the other hand, along with hosting meetups with high-tech founders, hosting 1-1 sessions, and participating in round table discussions, sits on the Endeavor Greece board as Vice Chairman. 

Why They Do It

The Scale Up by Endeavor program plays a pivotal role in Greece’s tech ecosystem, with the help of mentors like Andreas and Bill. Their involvement is driven by a desire to give back and nurture the next generation of tech leaders.

Bill sees the program as both a symbol of accomplishment and a hub of support. He believes that Scale Up has the potential to be a significant achievement “reserved for those who have already worked hard and with the potential to be great.” By offering resources and support to its members, the program can play a central role in Greece's aspirations to become a prominent tech hub. 

Participation in the program yields benefits for both the companies involved and the wider network, creating a symbiotic relationship we refer to as the multiplier effect. By investing in the next generation of founders from selection to support,  our network draws closer relationships to high-growth companies and together forms a community that is at the forefront of accelerating Greek Tech.

"Being part of a community set up to help, and having access to a myriad of resources, including capital and advisors, adds immense value to the participants."

Complementing this vision, Andreas Stavropoulos sees Scale Up as essential to nurturing Greece's tech talent, suggesting it should be the "startup school" where nearly all successful Greek companies should trace back a critical component of their success. This dual approach underscores the program's integral role in fostering a robust, interconnected tech community that drives innovation and growth across Greece.

What They Look For

When selecting companies for the Scale Up program, mentors like Andreas and Bill look for several key attributes. 

They both look for companies at unique growth stages where access to resources such as capital, talent, and advisory support can significantly impact scaling efforts. Andreas stresses the importance of having a strong team and early product-market fit:

"It’s much easier to set the right culture and processes, and build the right habits and muscle memory during the early days of a startup as it’s starting to scale.”

They seek out companies with early product-market fit, a strong team, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Bill emphasizes the importance of early commercial success to demonstrate viability, alongside a compelling, differentiated idea and underscores the need for sound business models, strong leadership, and the ability to act on feedback. As an experienced investor, Andreas shares the three questions he considers when assessing a candidate: "Why this team? Why now? What are the sources of ‘unfair’ competitive advantage?". He also highlights the significance of a team’s openness to learning from experienced entrepreneurs

Meanwhile, Bill brings additional criteria to the table, such as demonstrated market demand, a CEO who welcomes challenges and feedback, a bold vision, and actionable gaps that Endeavor could help close.

While the team may be successful on its own, when Bill assesses a company, he makes sure to look for how being “part of Endeavor would make a difference to the company’s trajectory” underscoring the program’s focus on businesses that still have room to leverage Endeavor’s resources of people, expertise, and experiences for significant growth and development.

Bill adds to this by stating, "What we look for are sound, differentiated ideas and business models, with the right leadership—people who will learn and act on feedback." He emphasizes the importance of companies at unique stages of growth where access to resources like capital, talent, advisors, and guidance can make a significant impact on scaling and accelerating growth.

Supporting Founders - After selection

Once selected, the support from mentors extends beyond traditional advice. Andreas and Bill engage deeply with founders through tailored mentoring sessions, AMAs, and one-on-one meetings. This hands-on approach ensures that entrepreneurs receive focused, constructive feedback and strategic guidance.

Andreas finds this stage particularly rewarding, as his experience, along with that of other mentors, can significantly influence a company’s trajectory. "It’s good to learn from our mistakes, but even better to learn from others," he says, highlighting the value of shared experience. The goal is to foster a proactive mindset in entrepreneurs, helping them prepare for future challenges and opportunities. Bill adds that being part of a supportive community with access to diverse resources, including capital and advisors, is immensely valuable for participants.

A Lasting Impact

The involvement of mentors often evolves into more profound relationships, sometimes leading to roles as board members or permanent advisors. This dedicated relationship is what sets the Scale Up program apart, offering founders not just mentorship but a partnership that can significantly impact their growth and success.

The Scale Up by Endeavor program thrives on the commitment and expertise of its mentors. Their dedication ensures the quality of the selected companies and propels Greece’s tech ecosystem forward. As we continue to support the next generation of tech leaders, the invaluable contributions of mentors like Andreas and Bill remain at the heart of our mission.