Monday, July 11, 2011

About StartUp Chile admission process

After getting the letter of acceptance from StartUp Chile, several people asked me questions about how was our experience with the admission process.
I think that there may be a lot of people asking themselves these same questions and searching for more information, so here it is a review of what happened with us:

- What was the application process like for you?
Well, it was fun! We prepared our application to the StartUp Chile program in two days. At that time Roberto and I were very busy with our jobs and we meet on Friday to do some work and finished on a Saturday of hard work.
To be fair I had written HomeViva business model through three months of brainstorming and work to make the blocks of the business model canvas to have sense as a whole. This was key because we had most of the information needed in the admission already processed, so all we had to do was to garnish it, make some spreadsheets and fill the forms.

- Key success factors
According to StartUp Chile to be admitted you must fulfill three evaluation criteria: Participants (33%), Projects (34%) and International Networks (33%).
In our case we are a interdisciplinary team with strengths in business from me and tech from Roberto and according to some feedback we received this looked very attractive to our judges.
Our project is very interesting and well formulated but they didn't see some of the innovations that we (think) we have, so they considered that it will be ok for the LATAM market but not to the USA market. Of course, we will prove them wrong because like all great projects HomeViva is usually misunderstood. :)
Lastly, Roberto has some cool international connections and I have almost none. This passed by.
Summing up, without question having a great project built by a good team is what helped us.

- Any tips on types of businesses they are looking for (if you have any insight)
Scalable business. Tech, bio or other kind of business with potential of high impact.

- How long was process for your idea (from initial idea start to point where you sent in application)
As I stated, HomeViva was already there a couple of months before the StartUp Chile program. The process of transforming from idea to opportunity to business model/plan in my view depends on how much are you dreaming (creativity) and how much business experience (pragmatism) you have, so it is very personal.

- How many people are on your team?
Two. Roberto and I.

- What are details around what program provides you (40k USD, office place, visa, anything else?)
This info is very detailed at startupchile.org and supposedly they give you all you mentioned.
I asked some previous participants and they were very happy with it, they received all the organization compromised and even more. We hope to have the same succes!

- Who did you have in your network that you feel was key to helping you win? (or that you showed to Startup Chile that you felt may have helped you appear stronger)
Apparently our networks were not noticed. I am a member of the Argentina's Endeavor network and Roberto is in the Plone Foundation among others, but this didn't surprised them much.

- Any other general advice
This people actually cares about the projects they are funding, so if you want to be selected make something appealing. Forget about competing with others, the real deal is to try your best. This worked for us!

I hope you find this information useful, Please don't take this as a guide nor review, all the answers are from our experience wich surely will differ from you and all others.
Lastly, if you wanna start your business and have a good project, this is an incredibly opportunity. Go for it. Don't hesitate that much. Don't wait to have all the answers.

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