A month and a half ago, we announced that Keith Dennis, President of AssertID and 2010 Start-Up Chile participant, was selected to take part in the infoDev Top 50 competition, representing Chile in Helsinki, Finland. As he’s arrived back onto Chilean soil, he tells of his experience on the other side of the world:
So– what’s wrong with this picture? The banner on the booth has a Chilean flag, the company’s name is AssertID, but the guy in the booth sure doesn’t look Chilean – and his Spanish?… well let’s not even go there!
The InfoDev Global Forum on Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship was a great experience. The mindset was very similar to that of Start-Up Chile – an understanding that entrepreneurial innovation is the engine of economic growth and everyone involved is excited to be part of that engine.
Although AssertID did not return with a funding commitment, there was definite interest from two angel funds, one US based and the other in Argentina.
There was also a great deal of interest in Start-Up Chile and many discussion about the experience. Stephane from France is interested in creating “soft landings” for foreign entrepreneurs in Africa and would like to learn from the Start-Up Chile experience. Tomi from Helsinki is completing work on his doctoral dissertation regarding “extending venture investment excellence in emerging economies” and is very interested in tracking Start-Up Chile’s success metrics.
Overall, it was a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from around the world. Well worth the long flight! And of course Helsinki was beautiful (and clean!).
Keith was accompanied by Solar Chile, the other Chilean company to have been chosen to participate in the competition whose founders, Koichi Arimitsu and Christian Sjögren, ended up winning the Access to Market and Finance Award. The award consists of an Acceleration Package that includes an international mentorship, access to investors and funds, and access to relevant contacts within the World Bank network, among others.