Entrustet Settling into Startup Chile

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Entrustet moved to Santiago, Chile for 6 months for Startup Chile.  Jesse and Nathan have been in Chile for almost two weeks now and have started to settle in.  Here’s a summary of their blog posts and press coverage since they’ve moved to Chile.

Wisconsin IT Startup Relocates to Chile, Celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

This week is global entrepreneurship week and Chile is celebrating. The Chilean Government wants to be the startup and innovation hub of South America and believes that it needs to inspire Chileans to take risks and start businesses. We attended an event in front of La Moneda yesterday called Chilean Entrepreneurship Day, which featured successful Chilean entrepreneurs, government officials and many Chilean students. It’s great to see a government that’s getting behind entrepreneurship and innovation and actually doing something. All governments say they want to foster innovation, but Chile is actually doing it. We’ll keep you updated on the Chilean startup scene, Start-Up Chile and other interesting things we find from Chile in our series here on WTN.

First Impressions from Santiago

Eastern Santiago very developed and clearly first world.  If it weren’t for everyone speaking Spanish, I could be in any other mid to large city in the US or Europe.  The center, where our office is located, is a little older and really busy, but still nice.  There’s people everywhere during the day.  It’s filled with shops, restaurants and businesses.  We’re not sure what it’s like at night, but people have told us it can get rough downtown.  There’s got to be at least 6-7 universities headlined by Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile, so there’s lots of young people seemingly everywhere.

Digital Firm takes Chilean Detour

Now the two Madison entrepreneurs are on their way to Santiago, Chile, where they will spend six months running their two-year-old digital estate planning services company. Entrustet, which operates in the emerging “digital afterlife” industry, is among 25 companies from around the world that are receiving a $40,000 grant and free office space in Santiago in exchange for temporarily locating their business there.

“We think entrepreneurship and starting your own business is an adventure in itself, so why not keep the adventure going and go somewhere else?” said Lustig, 25.

Punishing Failure and the Ramifications on Entrepreneurship

On just the first day here in Santiago, Chile, I had a very interesting conversation with a thoughtful Chilean businessman about the cultural difference between the U.S. and Chile regarding the punishment of failure. He explained to me that the biggest impediment for entrepreneurs in Chile is the fact that Chilean culture harshly punishes failure in general. All the other Chileans in the room concurred.

As I spoke more with this Chilean businessman, it became truly apparent how debilitating it would be for entrepreneurs to grow up in a society that punishes failure. And it makes perfect sense, right? I mean, If I had my family and friends looking over my shoulder constantly and warning me not to fail, I would never have started Entrustet. I would never even have set up the food stand outside the Newton Little League field when I was fifteen.

Badger Trips Selected as Finalist at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Capital Entrepreneurs member Badger Trips has been selected as a finalist at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.   Badger Trips is one of 33 finalists selected from more than 1,500 competitors and is in the running for $150,000 in cash and services.  Badger Trips provides students a TrueFan experience by organizing transportation, luxurious hospitality, premier tailgate and post-game parties for away sporting events.  More information on the competition is available here.

Defrag Conference – Day 1 Recap

Defrag Conference 2010 is taking place this week in Denver, CO and Capital Entrepreneurs is attending.  The Kaufmann Foundation sponsored 25 young entrepreneurs to come to the conference and four Capital Entrepreneurs members were lucky recipients: Steve Faulkner of Real Time Txts, Dan Gordon and Mike Fenchel of Momenta Technologies, and Heidi Allstop of Student SPILL.

Here are some highlights of day 1:

  • Alex Wright, Director of UX for the New York Times, gave a fantastic opening talk about the history of social networks.  Take away message: Social networks have been around forever, the medium has just changed, not the behavior or the motivation.
  • Blekko is here demoing their new search engine.  All of us were skeptical, but after the CEO gave us a personal demo we were singing a different tune.  If the use of slashtags really takes off, Blekko could be a much better way to search the web.  Google is getting gamed by content farms and spammers and there has to be a solution.  Blekko may be it.
  • Vivek Wadhwa literally ranted and raved for 45 minutes on the sad state of innovation in the US and most other countries.  The talk was very polarizing and there were mixed reactions from the crowd.  He did applaud the Startup Chile program which Capital Entrepreneurs members Nate Lustig and Jesse Davis of Entrustet just started this week!
  • Jeff Ma, the inspiration for the movie “21”, gave the final keynote.  Great talk, great story.  Black jack is completely data driven so the information was very appropriate.  Also, he did not get beat up like in the movie… or so he claims.

Overall, the conference has been awesome so far.  We have all met some amazing people and are thrilled that Kaufmann allowed us to attend.  We will be posting tomorrow to recap Day 2.

Student Spill Featured in New York Times and ReadWriteWeb

Capital Entrepreneurs member Student Spill was featured in an article on ReadWriteWeb which was picked up by the New York Times.  Student Spill is a service used by universities to aid students in dealing with personal problems.  Students can anonymously submit descriptions of their personal problems and receive responses within 24 hours from trained student supporters.  Student Spill has now expanded to 10 campuses across the country.  From the article:

“Fifteen to twenty percent of students feel comfortable enough with a counselor to seek out that kind of help,” Allstop says. “Schools are getting all their data from that small group. 82% of Spill’s users indicated embarrassment or fear as the number one factor that had prevented them from utilizing campus counseling facilities in the past.” Allstop argues that her service is a non-threatening way to gather more representative data about actual student concerns, while also providing direct support to students in distress.

Entrustet Selected for Startup Chile

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Entrustet was selected to be a part of Startup Chile.  Startup Chile is a program started by the Chilean Government to bring 25 startups from around the world to Chile to help foster entrepreneurship.

Entrustet’s founders, Nathan Lustig and Jesse Davis, will be moving to Santiago November 15th to continue to run Entrustet.  As part of Startup Chile, the Entrustet team will receive a $40,000 subsidy, free office space and connections into the Chilean entrepreneurship community.

The CE blog will post updates from Lustig and Davis as they run their business from Santiago.  We’ll also try to foster some ties between Madison and Santiago, which we believe are quite similar.  Both cities are up and coming startup hubs and we believe we can learn from each other.  Watch this space for continued updates.

PerBlue Launches 4th Age for Mobile Game Parallel Kingdom

Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue emailed me today to let me know that they just launched their third age of their popular mobile game Parallel Kingdom.  Parallel Kingdom is a mobile, location based, MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.  PerBlue recently closed an $800,000 funding round and has been using the money to continue to grow their flagship game, Parallel Kingdom.

Launched in October 2008, Parallel Kingdom now has over 250,000 users from around the globe.  PK is one of the first games that allows users to interact in a game and in the real world at the same time.

The fourth age, called Age of Thrones, adds the new Kingdoms feature.  “Since Parallel Kingdom’s conception two years ago, we knew we wanted to let players build entire Kingdoms,” PerBlue CEO Justin Beck said. “We took our time to make sure it was done right. In my opinion, Kingdoms are the deepest and most social feature of their kind in any mobile game.”

Kingdoms will allow small and large groups to officially organize. Players work together to build and run their Kingdom by strategically allocating resources, managing diplomatic relationships, and of course, waging war. All Kingdoms will be ranked globally on their war victories as well as their overall influence.

Parallel Kingdom is available for free on the iPhone and Android.  PerBlue generates revenue by selling their virtual currency, Food, which allows users to acquire new weapons, abilities and powers.

UlluTek Selected for Early Stage Symposium

Capital Entrepreneurs member UlluTek was selected to present at the Early Stage Symposium next week in Madison.  From the UlluTek website:

It’s official. UlluTek is presenting at 2010 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. There are 42 early-stage companies in two tracks: WAN Track for companies seeking angel investment and beyond and Elevator Pitch Olympics for companies seeking seed funding. UlluTek will be in the WAN track with 19 other companies.