Building Your Dreams In Chile
- Living in Santiago - I travelled to most of the capitals of Central America. As such I was totally surprised from Chile. Santiago feels like any other European or American capital more than other cities in the region. It’s very modern, include a great metro system, offer great 3G and WIFI access everywhere and you will find here all the American brands you might want. It’s one of the easiest cities to get used to and start your new life in.
- Freedom to work and travel - The program itself gives you all the freedom you want to work as you want on your startup. You are expected to spend as much time as possible in Chile, but if your business require you to be somewhere else, it’s fine. Their main concern is that your business will grow.
- The Language barrier – I came to Chile not knowing to speak any Spanish at all. It would definitely be easier and more fun to know to speak fluent Spanish, but after a few days you manage to get by with everything you need. Not knowing Spanish should not stop you from going there (or anywhere else around the world).
- Experience a new place - At one point your startup will have many customers, you will have employees, board of directors, etc. When you get there your flexibility to travel and live as you want is getting smaller and smaller. Startup Chile gives you a great opportunity to see new amazing places in the world while you can still do that. We have been taking weekend trips to Argentina, Patagonia and other breathtaking places in the region. I believe this is especially important for many Americans who tend to travel less. Living and travelling in places outside of the US give you a new perspective on life, the world and also on business.
- Business Opportunities - Chile itself is a small country, but South America in all is a huge untapped market. Most of the startups in the US don’t really look at this fast growing market. Chile can be a great place to head out form and try to tap big markets like Brazil and Argentina.
- Distance from the US - Not everything is just good. As someone who lived in San Francisco the last few years, I do feel the distance. Although it’s growing, Chile still doesn’t have a vibrant developers and entrepreneurs community. You won’t find here the same level of networking and connections you get in the bay area. That said, this is probably true to almost any place around the world. The bay area is still the Mecca for startups and nothing can replace it.
- Developers - I haven’t tried to hire anyone in the bay area for a long time, but from what I hear the market is brutal right now. Chile and other places around like Buenos Aires offer a lot of developers talent. It will be much easier to find your developers here than in the US. That said, like anywhere around the world, the best also cost more. To find the right combination of talent and much cheaper labor, you will still need to ork hard.
I think Chile is a very interesting place to explore for a long term R&D center (especially now when it’s almost impossible to hire in the bay area), but when you already have your product out, you personally will probably need to head back to the US and live close to your main market.