Going Out with a BANG

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As the culminating post detailing the 2010 Start-Up Chile North American Tour, Diego Alcaíno expounds upon his adventures promoting Start-Up Chile in California and in Boston– ending the 2010 season with a bang.

“Weekends are for working.”  At least that’s how the entrepreneurs see it… Something we swiftly found out after visiting the Facebook Developer Garage in Palo Alto which gave us the opportunity to meet with a mass of developers and hackers.  Not to mention the chance to meet Dhana Pawar of Girls in Tech, to stop and talk about female entrepreneurship, and to snap a picture with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg—the youngest billionaire in the world.

Mark Zuckerberg + Diego Alcaino

Along the way, we met Chris McCann from StartupDigest who gave us some extra headwind with StartupDigest’s “Chile Edition,” which shot our blog stats through the roof and visibly increased the number of Start-Up Chile applicants.  And, how could we be in California and not visit our long-time UCDavis friends?  There, we met up with Andrew and Will who showed us around campus, invited us to the entrepreneurship academy, and provided us valuable feedback about the Start-Up Chile initiative.

A couple of days later we attended a presentation at Demo, an emerging technology launchpad, where we ran into Jack Dorsey, who had just visited Chile to be part of the Entel Summit.  It was a great chance to see through other eyes that Chile is running with the big dogs in social media, cloud computing, and mobile/open technologies.

One of the most remarkable events we attended was a Hackers and Founders meet-up, where they introduced us to a 500+ person audience  (eventually draining me of nearly all of my Start-Up Chile business cards).  Thanks to Jonathan Nelson for sharing his thoughts with us—and, Jonathan, you are more than welcome to come to Chile; we’ve got ourselves a few good hacker places as well.

Along with the seemingly millions of gracious introductions provided by Jonathan, he put us in contact with Zonker Harris from Hacker Dojo.  Zonker gave us the ultra VIP tour of a great work place which can best be defined by this photo (a must click link…).  We also had the chance to pitch Start-Up Chile at Super Happy Dev House’s big event where we expounded the “from the trenches” story of how Needish, a Chilean startup, transformed itself into a Groupon branch (many thanks to Joel and Timothy—the T-shirt you gave us is now hung up in our brand new Start-Up Chile HQ).

Minister Fontaine at Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, Stanford

One of the most important times during the Start-Up Chile California tour was when Chile’s Minister of Economy and Tourism, Juan Andres Fontaine, visited Silicon Valley (for the 2nd time in less than 3 months).  He gave a terrific talk at Berkeley and at Stanford, encouraging all young students to ignite their entrepreneurial flame and, of course, to visit Chile stating: “Instead of changing the world through revolution, we can change the world through innovation.”  If you missed the Stanford talk, you can find it here.

With the minster’s delegation, Cristobal Undurraga, InnovaChile’s Executive Director, signed an agreement with Plug and Play to host Chilean startups looking to temporarily work in Silicon Valley. While we were there, Plug and Play invited us to attend their iEXPO— thanks to all the great Plug and Play team members (JT, Fernando, Jojo, Jackeline, Saeed, Carolina, Alireza) for building very strong friendships.

Winding down the trip, we visited LatAm’s Trawln annual event, met Andres Barreto, founder of Grooveshark who is now working on Pulso Social, attended a Palermo Valley event, met Parker Thompson from Pivotal Labs, and gave one final presentation at Hub Berkeley.

The 2010 California Tour culminated with a trip to the East Coast where we visited Harvard, Babson, and MIT, gearing up for the next application round in 2011.

To see more photos from the California tour, please visit our Flickr page.  And to make sure you don’t miss out on Diego’s next appearances, please subscribe to this blog and the information will arrive directly to your inbox.

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