Te pito o te henua is the original Polynesian name of Easter Island, meaning “the navel of the land” or “the earth’s bellybutton.” The island, one of Chile’s special territories, is considered to be the most remote inhabited island in the world, with a population of only 5,000 people, and with a rich history speckled by the moai sculptures that mark its picturesque landscape.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Rapa Nui (Easter Island’s Polynesian name) acted as the breathtaking backdrop to Start-Up Chile’s most adventurous meetup to date. Approximately 10 of the program’s participants traveled together to the island to vacation and to co-host a meetup with the Island’s Chamber of Tourism and local Rapa Nui entrepreneurs. Clara Vieira, one of Leafer’s founders and organizers of the meetup, told us that “the meetup was amazing! It was the best meetup we’ve had since we came to Chile– everyone was happy and it was a privilege to exchange with the local people.”
Clara and her co-founder, Andreas, were struck by both the majestic simplicity of the island and the utility that the product they’re developing in Start-Up Chile could have for the local community saying, “Leafer will help them– its a communication tool and the island really needs to communicate to the outside because its really isolated out here. They believe in this island.”
Reactions to the Rapa Nui experience were similar among nearly all Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs who commented that “Easter Island is so untouched by the typical tourism amenities. Because there are so few people here, it feels like LOST sometimes” (Marshall Haas), and “We’re on Rapa Nui/Easter Island/Isla de Pascua building our first guide! Travel for work. Gotta love it!” (Richard Yang).
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