California: StartUp Weekend + Valley Visits

California: StartUp Weekend + Valley Visits

Start-Up Chile has arrived to the Bay Area and the region is now focusing its attention on one of the most bustling southern business hubs: Chile

Diego Alcaíno, representing Start-Up Chile in California, spent the past week promoting the program, meeting some of the best minds in the industry, and visiting various showcases having to do with entrepreneurship.

Diego Alcaíno

The following is an excerpt of his notes from the road:

We were in San Francisco for the launch of Startup Weekend hosted by KickLabs, a thriving business incubator ran by Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz. Franck Nouyrigat, director of Startup Weekend, show us around which was important because they are actually bringing the event to Chile in December (thanks to Carolina Samsing from the Chilean “do tank” Montreal Inversiones). We also met various members of  Sandbox, a global community of hand-selected young achievers and innovators under the age of 30, who have taken active roles as Start-Up Chile advocates. Thanks Bjoern, Mathias, and Fadi, among others.

The next day we had a typical asado with other Chileans living in the Bay Area, and meanwhile acquainted them with the first of the program’s selected entrepreneurs: Israeli-born Stanford MBA Amit Aharoni, and Stanford Computer Scientist Nicolas Meunier from France. As the summer evening rolled around, we attended a Sandbox dinner in McArthur Park where we had the privilege of presenting the program to a large group of multicultural entrepreneurs.

Later on in the week, we fortified our presence at the AlwaysOn STVP Stanford Summit, listening to and meeting people in the field. We also visited Wences Casares, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Bling Nation, at his office on University Avenue where he emphasized the economical importance of having a non-stop San Francisco-Santiago (Chile) flight.

Bling Nation is one of the first companies to work with an engineering platform in Chile, and since the inception many others have followed suit, including: Wanako Games (NYC), Bio Architecture Lab (Berkeley), Bling Nation (Palo Alto), Atakama Labs (SanFran), Entegris (Nasdaq: ENTG), InquiroGroup (Palo Alto), Zappedy (SanFran).

Another interesting meeting was with YCombinator, listening to Paul Graham’s impressions on entrepreneurship and Start-Up Chile. He suggested not hosting the entrepreneurs via incubators, considering the strong entrepreneurial cultural spirit that always seeks to control their “chiefdoms.” We are still trying convincing Paul to bring YC to Chile…

We also visited Jonathan and Nama from The Funded, to exchange ideas and scored a free ticket to the Founder Showcase :).

Julian Ugarte, another Chilean making his way in Silicon Valley and taking part in the innovation program at Singularity University, is from the Chilean NGO, Un Techo Para Chile (A Roof for my Country). He showed us around his neck of the woods, introducing us to interesting people who were quite impressed by Chilean innovation.

Next, we dropped by the Society of Kaufmann Fellows, meeting some east coast entrepreneurs who we convinced to spread the mission of Start-Up Chile on their side of the states.

Friday morning quickly came and it was then that we held a Q+A session with eight entrepreneurs from Stanford at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. The program immediately caught the attention of the students and we received generous feedback. Due its success, we are now in conversation with an entrepreneur who had been working with Chilean engineers earlier this year. Many thanks to Nancy and Nick for helping arrange the session…

Finally, we closed and celebrated the busy week by attending the TechCrunch AugustCapital party. The surrounding energy was infectious, and we were without a doubt able to put Chile on the radar—it of course helped that everyone was showing great interest. We met various angel investors and venture capitalists and chatted with a PayPal developer who had lived in Chile, what a small world it is! Capping off the first very successful week of August in California is the acquisition of the shiny, new Start-Up Chile iPhone Coveroo—tech savvy and promotional down to a tee!”

Stay tuned for Diego’s continuing chronicles of life in California as he furthers the quest to drum up interest for Start-Up Chile, drawing the best entrepreneurial spirits to apply to the program.

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  • Carlos

    August 9, 2010 at 11:41 pm Reply

    Diego, on Hacker News (from YCombinator) someone asked Ask HN: Best Startup City – Outside the USA?

    I replied with Chilean Startup Scene to the question, and after that someone posted new questions:

    What about immigration: How hard is it for a foreigner to move there / get long term visa ?
    Are there many good developers and what’s the average salary of a developer ?
    Are there other foreigner software startups / companys or immigrants ?
    What about the government / bureaucracy: How hard is it to hire developers for a foreign company ?
    What about the English skills ? Of course, if we come to Chile we have to learn Spanish, but our software is written for English-speaking (and German-speaking) customers
    Last question: What is the cost of living like there and where’s the best place to live?

    Those are common questions that foreign entrepreneurs have, and I think it will be great if you could publish a new post replying that questions.

    Keep going the good work

    • startupchile

      August 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm Reply

      Hi Carlos!

      In regards to your inquiries, I’ve redesigned the “Destination: Chile” tab that you can find at the top of the blog. There you will find information about life in Chile, visa processes, doing business in Chile, and the general cost of living here.

      There is a large and consistantly growing expat community here in Chile, many of whom are dedicated to running their own businesses and contributing to the innovative culture Chile exhibits. Because of this expat group and the ever-present English influences on TV, radio, and other media sources, there is a wide level of English usage within Chilean jargon. Truly fluent speakers are fewer and farther between, but most working professionals have a managable English base. And because the majority of computer information is in English, you shoundn’t find this a problem.

      In terms of salaries for a developer, we can provide you with the following salary statistics for people with two years of work experience (in rounded $USD):

      Program Analist: $1210/mo
      Informations: $1450/mo
      Civil Engineer, Information: $1700/mo
      Programming: $1100/mo
      Design and Industrial Production: $700/mo

      If there is any more information you might need, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to be of service.

      • Carlos

        August 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm Reply

        Great!! Thank you for your quick response!

  • startupchile

    August 11, 2010 at 12:23 am Reply

    No problem, have a great day!

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