Demystifying Startup Chile for Indian Entrepreneurs: The Do’s & Don’ts
Over the years, many Indian startups have made it to the Startup Chile program. In Generation 5, there were 4, in Generation 6 there were 8 and in Generation 7 there were 10. Our startup, Crispify, an Android app for semi-automated video enhancement and sharing, made it to the program in Generation 6
I went into the program with a single prototype in hand. The peer atmosphere at the program improved my productivity and I made a lot of friends there. It was a whole lot of fun with activities like parties, informal meetups, get-together. For me, it was an opportunity to learn the Spanish and Chilean culture as well.
While I missed the opportunity to travel around beautiful places in Chile like Atacama, Pucon, Valpariso or Machu Picchu at Peru, many of my friends traveled there and posted beautiful pictures of their trip. Hopefully, they will post Crispified videos when they travel next time!
The application process for the next generation has already started and I thought it would be a good idea to share a few things that could help fellow entrepreneurs.
If your startup makes it to the program, here are the list of things you must know.
- First, the founder and the team members (maximum 3 allowed) have to get a temporary work visa (valid for a year) as suggested by Startup Chile. This could be a painful process in India. But they will help you with steps to get the visa through a private wiki account. There is a closed Facebook group for Indian entrepreneurs in the Startup Chile program where you can get all your doubts cleared. Basically, you’ll have to produce a police clearance certificate (PCC) and medical fitness certificate for the Visa after the you notify the code sent by Startup Chile to the Chilean embassy in Delhi.
- You can get the PCC from a local police station or through a passport kendra office. A doctor should be able to give you a fitness certificate after a few tests including: Hepatitis, AIDS and ECG. You also need to take a travel health insurance plan for 6 months. Once you have these things, you are ready to fly.
- In Chile, there will be an orientation session for 2-3 days to begin with. This will be followed by an “Intro day” where all selected startups will be allowed to pitch for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, everyone will get a chance to acquire a local ID card called RUT card.
- After getting a RUT card, Startup Chile staff will help you open a bank account in Chile and the participants have to sign the contract with CORFO, the funding agency behind the program.
- Once your contract is approved (It takes about 20 days after you land) you will get a lump sum of $20,000. Around this time, there will be a “Progress day,” when you are expected to show the progress of your product with a short pitch for 5 minutes.
- Based on the performance from “Progress day”, 20 startups from a total of about 100 startups (in a generation) will be selected for the grand event “Internal demo day.”
- You have to attend ‘Technical review meetings‘ and ‘Financial review meetings‘ with the assigned Startup Chile staff to submit expense report documents to get reimbursement for the initial $20,000. Now you will have to earn 2000 RVA points by giving lectures to Chilean universities or by mentoring local students or by taking interns. There will be a lot of RVA activities every week.
- Once you show an expense report of $20,000 and earn 2000 RVA points, you will get another $20,000.
- Startups selected for “Internal Demo Day” will present their pitch to a bigger crowd including a lot of investors and guests from big companies.
- When you are finished with the $40,000 and 4000 RVA points in a 6 month period, you can leave from that program if you wish or just wait for the official graduation day for that generation.
- Equity-free fund
- Chance to network with entrepreneurs from different parts of the world
- Chance to meet local VCs and VCs from US too
- Can easily get business/tourist visa for many countries and travel
- Peer mentor-ship and chance to find other mentors
- Office space with Wifi and free evening snacks!
- Chance to learn Spanish and explore the Latin American market
- Lots of activities like guest presentations, meetups, pitching events
- Getting Chilean visa in India (Particularly PCC)
- Submitting expense report for getting reimbursements in Startup Chile
- Doing social activities / RVA (Return Value Agenda) activities as per the norms of the program. Pure English speakers won’t get many opportunities.
- Winter can be too cold. Smog polluted area.
- Student rebels happens many times in the city
- Not-so-friendly banking
- Local food may NOT be tasty for Indians. Learn to cook!
About the Author
Balaraman Lakshmanan is the founder of Crispify, an Android app to increase the tempo of the video automatically and intelligently while compressing the file size during the process. To get the sneak preview of the product, please follow the steps given in this picture.