This blog post was written by Dr. Alvaro Feito Boirac from renooble.com
Hannes and I had been working not far from London before relocating to Chile. Mostly quietly developing our product and seeking funding. The minute we set foot in Santiago, things have gone ballistic so I’d like to share this with future applicants to help them prepare!
Day 1 meant presenting your startup and your team in two sentences. 100 times! The perfect environment to A/B test your mini-pitch and gauge people’s reaction. Our startup, renooble, works in renewable energy … and entrepreneurs’ reactions were fascinating: from great idea, I’m sold (before hearing the concept!), to that’s tree-hugger stuf I’m not interested in, but good luck.
By the end of the first week, after jumping through paperwork hoops, the network effect was starting to work its magic: I reached out to my recycling network to help materialmix recycle wind turbines one day. I’m now writing for their blog and she’s given us real estate contacts. Morgan from Gift Pinpoint taught us how to write cold emails and A/B test cold-business calls. Celia, an early SUPer whose startup (LegalFacil) makes legalese easy for entrepreneurs gave us great advice right when we needed some Terms & Conditions.
As I casually mentioned that to the Clared lawyers, then invited me to join them on a law consultation on incorporating in Chile (for free!). As you arrive you’re assigned a “padrino” or local contact to help you land on your feet in Santiago. It turns he is a renewable energy entrepreneur himself (working at Chile’s megatermica), and has introduced us to customers, ambassadors and potential partners.
We’re of course studying the Chilean market and would need to translate our website for that. Testing reverbeo‘s platform for our translation we found a corner case with a tiny bug. It’s now corrected so their site is more robust, our homepage is in Gaelic … and the Spanish version coming soon!
My co-founder Hannes and I are both technical … so a little marketing aid couldn’t hurt us. Without even asking for it passionate marketers like Mark Espanol (Great pitch bro!) or branding expert Carl Brinker from Innovation Arb put me on an inbound marketing highway and helped us package our message. And this only in the first 3 weeks!
With this flurry of connections you better keep a LASER focus: validating your idea and growing your startup. So our days were split between mornings at home (making 100 customer calls) and working at the shared office (a mixture of focus, distractions and useful serendipitous connections).
Forward four weeks and we’ve pivoted, re-priced, and redefined our backend strategy. Oh, and we also pitched, went skiing at 3,500m and met Luis Von Ahn in the meantime!
So if you just made it into SUP as part of generation 8, prepare for speed, networking, and remember to keep that laser focus (talk to your customers, quick!).