PerBlue Visits Startup Chile

Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue visited Nathan Lustig and Jesse Davis of Entrustet in their Santiago, Chile office last week (both are CE member companies). Based in Madison, Entrustet has been operating from Santiago since November after being one of only 25 startups selected from around the world to participate in the Startup Chile program.

Startup Chile is a program started by the Chilean government to attract entrepreneurs to the country and ultimately increase local entrepreneurial activity. The program provides companies with a $40,000 subsidy, office space, visas, and more. Companies must operate from Chile for 6 months. Startup Chile has attracted a lot of press, and has established Chile as the entrepreneurial hotspot of South America.

Back in the US, President Obama recently announced Startup America, an initiative to “celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.”

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs.”
-President Barack Obama

The initiatives of Startup America are a great start, but could also having a program similar to Startup Chile (that provides subsides and support directly to startups) help even more in attracting and creating new startups at the local level (particularly in Madison)? Could we pull off a Startup Madison and establish Madison as even more of a startup hotspot?

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.

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.