Startup Chile is a program by Chile government to attract startup entrepreneurs from around the world to accelerate their businesses in Chile. Each startup is given $40K in grant (equity free), co-working space and 1 year Chilean visa. The 6-month program provides workshops and a network of mentors and industry partners from around the world. Started less than 2 years ago, alums of the program have gone on to 500Startups, TechStars, or raised over $1M each in VC funding.
When we asked why the program opens up to startups from outside of Chile, Horacio Melo, the Managing Director of the program said: “We do this because we believe that entrepreneurs are important to Chile’s economic development. They will infuse an entrepreneurial culture shift in Chile. In that dimension, we ask for a certain amount of time on each startup to socially return to Chile by doing meetups, organizing hackathons, mentoring local startups, and so on.”. Entrepreneurs around the world embrace this initiative. About 75% of the Startup Chile companies come from 35 countries around the world. Many stay on beyond the 6 month program.
When we talked to Felipe Argomedo, a local entrepreneur, he commented: “There is a huge startup revolution in Santiago in the last 2 years or so. We now have a very active community, thanks to Startup Chile.”
Startup Chile screens applications based on 3 main selection criteria: idea, network (global reach), entrepreneurs/team. Melo commented “It is very important to us that the idea is a global idea, and that there are great founders in the team. In this sense, country of origin or industry segments are not a selection criteria to us.”
Startup Chile recently did their Demo Day in San Francisco – their first outside of the country. Melo has indicated that they are looking to showcase their graduates around the world, by planning Demo Day in New York and other cities in the near future.
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