Start-Up Chile California Campaign: Notes from the Road

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As Start-Up Chile’s northern campaigner, Diego Alcaíno, has been living a literally non-stop agenda– visiting Universities like USC and CalTech, meeting with California based startups, and promoting Start-Up Chile to all those in the entrepreneurship/innovation field.  The last three weeks have been especially busy and we were lucky to grab his notes from his Start-Up Chile California campaign.

It’s been an extremely dynamic month here in the Golden State with entrepreneurs from around the world emailing, calling and scheduling meetings with us… 24/7.

The last time we wrote was about 3 weeks ago and since then, the interest in Start-Up Chile has grown exponentially here in California, and throughout the globe.

The We Raised Million party, hosted by the startup Heyzap, kicked off these busy few weeks and provided us the exciting vision of how our own Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs will celebrate once their companies raise millions, sell billions, and go public! Thanks to Immad for the invitation. At the event we met Nick O’Neill, founder of socialtimes.com, the SF-based Betazeta site.

Later on, we visited Dogpatch Labs at Pier 38, one of the coolest incubators in the area that is, just as luck would have it, hosting the promising Chilean startup Zappedy. There we got to see how entrepreneurs worked.  Let me tell you, Chile’s definitely got Cali beat.

While in San Fran, we visited USF, where Carlos and Mónica worked with us to reach out to entrepreneurial-spirited students.   With fingers crossed, we’ll be able to integrate some new entrepreneurs from their world class Business Plan competition into Start-Up Chile.

Continuing on, the Founder Institute invited us to their August showcase at Microsoft during which Jason Calacanis gave a talk about the Angel Investor vs. Venture Capital debate. Thanks to Jason and our friends at Mahalo, we were able to arrange a great show with the burgeoning tech community down in Santa Monica.


Heading east of the Bay, one finds themselves in another superior innovation hub: Berkeley.  Visiting the University, we spread the Start-Up Chile word through the Haas Business School and its Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, thanks to Janne and David respectively.  Meandering around the campus, we caught wind that a Chilean entrepreneur had just graduated from the Haas MBA program and had just returned to Chile to launch a new solar energy breakthrough technology—bringing home with him the entrepreneurial spirit that will surely help Chile become the innovation hub of South America.

Invitations kept on flowing in from all kinds of people and institutions from Berkeley so we decided to check out Sutardja Dai Hall: home to the  Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology,  the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, Management of Technology program, and others.  See you guys on October 1st at the VLAB Competition!

From Berkeley we “called out” to its UC sister, UCSF, to promote Start-Up Chile to more eager business and entrepreneurship students.  It was a great success thanks to Gail, Douglas, Bill at CBE and QB3.  Continuing our university visits, we met with Dan Aguiar from the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara U—thus activating even more entrepreneurial networks directly from the valley to Chile.

Now, people always say that Northern and Southern California should be two different states… so the following week we headed south to sunny SoCal in hopes of tapping their entrepreneurial resources and, without a doubt, wearing flip-flops.

UCSB was the first University to receive us, where we met Eric from the Student Entrepreneurial Association and Bill Grant, from the Technology Management Program. It was great to see how the coastal campus is booming with activity. One of their latest startups, BioDent is a promising patent-pending technology in the Life Sciences field. Kathy and Davis, great meeting you, but stop hesitating and come on down to Chile 🙂

UCLA was whole different animal. The Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is a terrific place to look for startup support, and Angela was kind enough to arrange a top-line agenda for us.  We met Adrienne, a student from the Entrepreneurship Association is running on a $15k summer scholarship to get her business off the ground, who was delighted to hear about this opportunity.  Hopefully we will see her in Chile soon!  The Entrepreneurship Association is soon to send some of their entrepreneurs, as we have requested J  We also met Arash, an MBA student, who gave us an insightful heads-up to the LA startup scene. At the same time, we discussed entrepreneurship policy with the diversely experienced executive director, Elwin Svenson. Thanks again, Angela, for setting this all up!

Moving on and into the social and youth community of Santa Monica was just the energy we needed to continue on the Start-Up Chile campaign.  Santa Monica is rapidly turning into a creative startup hub and thanks to Tyler Crowley from Mahalo, we gathered around a dozen entrepreneurs to tell them about the state-of-the-art Ruby on Rails community in Chile.

The day kept going as we visited Coloft (thanks avesa), an outstanding work space for budding businesses, where we listened to the launch of Wanto and met fantastic entrepreneurs from Ming.ly, especially Tyler Kablasa who hooked us up to Startup Nights events.

Following the path of Sheldon Cooper, CalTech blinked brightly onto our radar. Although quiet because classes weren’t in session, the word about Start-Up Chile has been leaked on Millikan’s campus where there is a bustling group of entrepreneurs working on their space science projects with their sights already set on the first class Chilean telescopes.  We are excited to begin working with the OTT to see how we can connect Start-Up Chile to the Intellectual Ventures-Caltech Invention Competition.  Great outcomes are sure to be in store.

SoCal is full of prestigious Universities such as USC, home to the Marshall Business School and the Viterbi School of Engineering, that couldn’t be left out of our agenda.  With a strike of luck, the freshmen class of 2014 was arriving to kick off their college years and we were able to meet various soon-to-be Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs (special mention to Sean O’Connell from the International Program for contacting us with the student body).

In San Diego, home to Chilean-related Scopix, we got the chance to organize another event with potential entrepreneurs, thanks to some Founders Institute entrepreneurs.  The guys from Cooley LLP set us up with the venue and drinks and of course UCSD and the whole Connect program were part of the agenda.  Now Start-Up Chile is officially “connected” and collaborating with the global Connect network—a very special thanks going out to Steve and Nathan.

And now we head back to the Valley to continue drumming up support, ideas, and potential for Start-Up Chile, where in Santiago, the first set of entrepreneurs, Amit and Nicolas, are kicking off their business activities.  Start-Up Chile is, without a doubt, taking the Americas by storm.

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