Everything you need to know about Chile’s startup scene
Chile Startup Guide
While Mexico’s startup scene is awesome, it’s not the only cool Latin American startup hub. There’s Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and more! And in about 3 months, Josh and I will depart Mexico and visit Chile. So on that note, I’m thrilled to let you know that the community and I got together and wrote this Chile Startup Guide for you!
In this post, you will find:
- What everyone needs to know about Chile’s startup scene
- Why Chile will attract investors and founders alike
- Chile founders and startups to watch
- Chile startups with exits
- Chile investors
- Chile accelerators
- Chile co-working spaces
If there’s something missing, leave a reply and I’ll update the post periodically.
What everyone needs to know about Chile’s startup scene
- Innovation — According to the Global Innovation Index 2021, Chile ranks #1 in Latin America and is followed by Mexico and Costa Rica.
- Unicorns — Boom! Chile has had 2 official unicorns: 1) Cornershop, an on-demand grocery delivery service acquired by Uber at a $3B+ valuation in 2021 and 2) NotCo, a food technology company that produces plant-based meat and dairy substitutes that raised $235M at a $1.5B valuation this year. In fact, NotCo’s raise was one of the top deals in all of LATAM during the third quarter of this year.
- VC funding — Per Statista, venture capital funding deployed in Chile increased over 1.6K% between 2015 and 2019. Not surprisingly, in 2020 Chile hit a new high in total venture capital funding at $136M. In October 2021, US$73.2M were deployed in Chilean Startups according to VC Insights.
- Startup categories — At 105 startups, there are more software and data companies than in any other category. At 57 companies, the second-tier categories include: social and leisure.
- Geography — At 300 startup companies, as of November 2020, the capital Santiago, Chile is where the largest number of startups reside in the country.
- Startup-Chile — If you’re in Chile or plan to go to Chile, as a founder, you absolutely need to know about Startup-Chile. True story: I was a judge for them a few years back in the day. Anywho, Startup-Chile is an accelerator funded by the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO), has generated a portfolio worth over $1.4 billion, and has helped fund 1,600+ different startups from 80+ countries.
💰 Interested in learning more about the startup-VC opportunity that lies in LATAM? Read this post.
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🗓 Want to meet-up with the Chile startup community for coffee in Santiago, Chile? RSVP here.
Why Chile will attract investors and founders alike
So, why would you go to Chile? The TL;DR is Chile has a stable economy and wants you to become a founder in Chile! For investors: I love that they are an *underestimated market, cost of living is low, talent abundant, and that they’re women-friendly.
- Government, VISAs, taxes, and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements — The government offers 1-yr work visas, and $30K+ grants and investment dollars to founders to get started. Chile also offers low corporate tax rates at 10% until 2022 (and then 25–27%) and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements. Software companies can also charge their clients without VAT if they provide their services from Chile. Read more on the Chilean startup visa here.
- Free trade agreements — Chile offers free trade agreements with 30 countries. They include the Pacific Alliance, Trans-Pacific Partnership, MERCOSUR, United States, Canada, Australia, and the European Union.
- Economy — Chile boasts an open, stable economy, that carries a $298B+ GDP and debt of 10% of it (that’s healthy!).
- Women founder-friendly — Chile is ranked 6th in the global index for women entrepreneurs.
- Talent — There’s a good amount of developers in the country. In fact, according to Terminal, there are 75K software engineers in the country. And many have worked at notable companies such as IBM, Experian, Equifax, HP, Cornershop, and Fintual.
- E-commerce — There’s money to be made in e-commerce. In 2021, the market was at $16.5B and it’s expected to grow 28% by 2024.
- Cost of living — The cost of living per person in Chile is over 2Xs lower than it is in the US. Cost of living is low.
*Underestimated markets: underestimated markets tend to be markets that are not the US or of the original colonizer countries but have the potential to become the world’s startup-VC leaders.
Underestimated founders: founders who can build unicorns but are looked over because they don’t fit the stereotypical Silicon Valley mold (Nathan Lustig — Underestimated founders article)
Underestimated GPs: Underestimated GPs are those who can build funds that will return alpha but are looked over because they don’t fit the stereotypical Silicon Valley mold (or the equivalent in other geographies).
Chile is cool, right?! Let’s learn more below.
Chile founders and startups to watch
Founders to watch
- Alvaro Silverstein, Co-founder at Wheel the World
- Benjamín Labra, Co-founder at Houm
- Daniela Baytelman, Co-founder at EasyCancha
- David Berdichevsky, Co-founder at 99minutos
- David Lloyd, Co-founder at The Intern Group
- Eduardo della Maggiora, Founder at Betterfly
- Komal Dadlani, Co-founder at Lab4U
- Matias Muchnik, Co-founder at NotCo
- Matias Rivera, Co-founder at Fanatiz
- Nicolas López, Co-founder at Justo
- Pedro Pineda, Co-founder at Fintual
- Priyanka Srinivas, Founder at The Live Green Company
- Sebastián Kreis, Co-founder at Xepelin
- Sebastian Salinas, Founder at Balloon Latam
- Thomas Kimber, Founder at Karun
- Tomás Bercovich, Co-founder at Global66
Startups to watch
- Algramo — A startup focusing on providing reusable packaging made specifically for the consumer. Using radio frequency to create this innovative solution to packaging waste the startup aims to create bulk products creating wholesale relationships with various industries.
- Awto is the first car-sharing platform available in Chile and Argentina. With their app you can rent different types of vehicles per minute, hours, and days.
- Betterfly is a purpose-driven benefits platform that rewards healthy habits with charitable donations and no-cost life insurance coverage.
- Buk is a cloud-based human resource management software system that unifies a wide range of HR functionality into a single system.
- Chipax provides accounting and finance for SMBs.
- CryptoMKT is one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in Latin America.
- Destácame is a personal finance management platform, and the first behavior-based credit score in Latin America.
- Encuadrado provides a platform for appointment scheduling, payments, and invoicing.
- Fintoc is a mobile banking app that automates bank reconciliation and payment verification for consumers.
- Fanatiz is a streaming platform that covers live and on-demand sporting events.
- Fintual is an asset management startup that manages the investments of young professionals who want to invest well.
- Kredito is a lending platform that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses.
- Global66 is a Latin American remittances company.
- Houm is an all-in-one real estate marketplace.
- Instacrops is a Chilean sensor-based crop monitoring platform.
- Jooycar is a connected-car and user-based insurance platform seeking to disrupt the auto insurance market in Latin America.
- Justo is an online marketplace and last-mile delivery service.
- Klog is a platform to automate supply chain.
- Lexgo is the first automated legal service for companies in Latin America that helps founders complete their legal processes at a much lower cost than hiring a lawyer.
- NotCo is a food tech company which is using AI technology to create delicious, sustainable and accessible plant-based foods. Combining food science with AI this Chilean startup is creating delicious and nutritious plant-based alternatives to dairy.
- Odd Industries creates computer vision platforms to transform offline processes into online data using artificial intelligence for sustainable construction. This startup is allowing for better decisions to be taken, with better information.
- Phage Lab is a laboratory dedicated to animal welfare.
- Poliglota is a language education edtech.
- Protera is advancing the science of protein engineering to address some of the most critical problems and opportunities.
- The Intern Group is an edtech that matches students with physical or virtual internships all over the world.
- Toku is a Chilean software platform enabling automated recurring payments for SMEs.
- U-Planner is an edtech platform that seeks to optimize and improve educational systems using AI solutions.
- Xepelin is an SMB Digital Bank in LATAM.
- Yapp is a health tech application that offers medicine deliveries.
For more, look at Failory’s list of the 17 Fastest Growing Startups Founded in Chile. Also, here is LatamList’s 10 Chilean Startups to Watch in 2020.
Chile startups with exits
The number of exits completed by startups accelerated by Start-Up Chile reached 25 as of mid-2021.
- MuvSmart — acquired by 99minutos
- Omnibnk — acquired by Greensill
- QVO — acquired by Kushki
Start-Up Chile has begun to see a few of its incubated startups get acquired, including:
According to Startup-Chile’s data, the top most active investors in Chile include: Kaszek Ventures, Startup-Chile and Aurus.
- Alaya Capital is a Venture Capital Fund geographically located in Argentina, Chile and USA. As a private fund Alaya invests in startups and small size enterprises with strong growth potential that are seeking for a financial injection in order to grow and expand taking the business into the next level.
- Aurus is a VC fund based in Latin America which invests in health sciences and technology startups. It invests in early-stage startups across sectors such as biotechnology, medical technologies, digital marketing, e-commerce etc.
- Chile Ventures is a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies majorly in the United States and Chile. It invests in sectors such as Software, FinTech, Healthcare, etc. In addition, the firm also provides mentorship services.
- Chile Global Ventures consolidates all the initiatives les by Fundacion Chile and invests in Chilean companies expanding throughout Latam.
- Dadneo is a venture capital firm and angel network that invests in early stage companies in chile with high potential to scale international.
- Fen Ventures is an early-stage focused VC firm. Makes investments in territories such as Latin America. Typically invests in Tech and Life Sciences companies specializing in FinTech, SaaS, Biotech and Medical Devices. Top investments include themidgame, Levita Magnetics, and Teart.
- Fondo Copec-UC is an early and expansion stage Venture Capital firm. Makes investments in territories such as the US. Invests in tech companies specializing in areas like Mobile Gaming, communication and Business intelligence. Notable portfolio companies include Atakama Labs, TNX, SCOPIX. Usually invests $0.5M to $2M in companies.
- Fondo Alerce Venture Capital is a venture capital fund that invests in globally-born entrepreneurs that develop applied technologies to solve complex industry problems.
- Genesis Venture Capital seeks to capitalize companies and innovative ventures with high growth potential, capable of satisfying needs and seizing market opportunities of different industries from Chile and other Latam countries to developed economies.
- Kayyak Ventures partners with mission-driven entrepreneurs who have a creative imagination and a radical vision about how the world should look like.
- Manutara Ventures is an early-stage centric VC firm. Makes investments in territories such as Chile. Invests in tech-focused companies.
- Scale Capital is an early-stage focused venture capital investment company. Geographies of interest include Chile and the US. Invests in Tech companies in sectors like FinTech, Media, AI. Notable portfolio companies include Inbenta, Kuapay, Pick1, and Zyght.
- Taram Capital invests in early stage companies in the B2B space.
- Weboost is a venture capital firm dedicated solely to find, accelerate & scale local Latin American startups through all the region.
* If you see an asterisk, they were called out to be most active by the community.
- ACCION is a fund focused on fintech seed investing. ACCION invests across Emerging Markets and looks for startups that promote positive impact in society. Some of their portfolio companies are Konfio, Clip, and Henry.
- ALLVP is a venture capital fund that invests in Hispanic Latin America, in founders that are transforming the region for the better with technology. Invests in Fintech, Human Capital, Smart Cities and Future of Commerce.
- Endeavor Catalyst is a co-investment fund that invests in qualifying rounds of $5M+ raised by Endeavor Entrepreneurs.
- *Kaszek is a venture capital firm that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs to build lasting, high-impact technology-based companies whose main focus is Latin America. In addition to capital, Kaszek offers significant strategic guidance, hands-on operational support, and access to local and international networks. The firm is industry and stage agnostic, investing mainly in seed, series A, and series B.
- Latitud Fund is a pre-seed & seed rolling fund born in 2021 investing across all sectors and geographies in Latin America. Latitud is targeting 15 quarterly investments, the majority of which are coming from the Latitud community of entrepreneurs. Notable investments include Pomelo, BHub, Dinie, Kocomo, Reworth, Clubbi, Finkargo, and many more.
- *Magma Partners is a seed & early-stage venture capital fund that invests across Latin America and has offices in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. Best known for Fintech, Proptech, and insurtech, Magma is a generalist firm investing $50,000 to $5M from pre-seed to series A. Notable portfolio companies include Kushki, Albo, Nuvocargo, Billpocket, Fanatiz, Houm, Yana, Ontop and more.
- *Monashees is a Brazilian venture capital firm active globally that invests in entrepreneurs committed to creating innovative solutions for a new world. Investing in the beginning stages and following alongside the companies that are revolutionizing markets, creating value, and improving people’s lives through technology.
- Motorola Solutions Venture Capital is a corporate venture capital firm arm of Motorola Solutions. Makes investments in territories such as the US. Invests in tech companies in sectors like BigData, Mobile Technology, Robotics. Notable investments include Nok Nok Labs, BlueLine Grid, Boundless, andAgent.
- Rally Cap Ventures is a fund based on a community of over 240 fintech operators across the world that invest in fintech, mostly infrastructure. Focused on emerging markets pre-seed and seed, and with portfolio companies such as Belvo, Pomelo, and Dinie.
- Softbank Latin America Fund focuses on investing in companies utilizing technologies like artificial intelligence and scout deals in e-commerce and digital financial services as well as blockchain projects.
- ZX Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on the brewing industry. It is an incubator, operator, and venture capital firm for brewers, distributors, online retailers, and brewing equipment manufacturers. Its portfolio companies include Beer House, Patagonia, Beer Box, Rappi, Owl’s Brew, My Bar etc.
- Platanus is an exclusive founder-friendly program focusing on early stage companies with strong technical foundations. Their offer to Latin American startups: mentorship, technical support, and US$100,000 in exchange for 7% equity in the business.
- Startup-Chile is a seed program; startups from all around the world have access to equity-free funds up to $80,000, work visas, training, office space, and networking resources within the community.
- The S Factory seeks cunning businesswomen with ideas and/or plans for startups in the tech industry and helps bring those ideas to life. Approved applicants receive $25,000, a year-long working visa, and working space.
- VCamp trains startups in everything that involves the world of Venture Capital from what it is, how it works, types of investors, structure, and what they need to take into account for an investment round, etc.
- CORFO is the Chilean economic development agency that works daily to improve the competitiveness and the productive diversification of the country by encouraging investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship. CORFO has different Grants for early-stage companies such as “Semilla inicia”, “Semilla Expande”, “Crea y Valida” and many others.
Chile co-working spaces
- Barrio Brasil — Cowork del Centro — Santiago Centro
- Barrio Brasil — Work/Café Santander
- Barrio Italia — Santiago Marketspace Spa
- Bellas Artes — Work/Café Santander
- Bellas Artes — Co-Work Latam-MONJITAS
- Bellavista — Urban Station CL
- Concón — iF Chile — Sede Italia
- El Bosque — LAUNCH coworking
- El Bosque — Co-Work Latam-LOS ABEDULES
- El Bosque — WeWork
- El Bosque — Co-Work Latam-SAN SEBASTIAN
- El Bosque — Co-Work Latam-ALTO EL GOLF
- El Golf — Regus — Santiago, El Golf 40
- Las Condes — WeWork Apoquindo 5950
- Ñuñoa — Work Cafe Santander
- Providencia — Hub Manuel Montt
- Providencia — Nodo Cowork
- Providencia — Co-Work Latam-BELLET
- Santiago City Centre — LofWork
- Santiago City Centre — WeWork
- AMI | Latin America Market Intelligence Research
- Cepal | Enabling Latin America and the Caribbean to better harness e-Commerce and digital trade
- Contxto | Latin American tech, VC, and startup news outlet
- Entreprenerd | Chilean startup news
- EBANX | Beyond Borders 2020/2021 Study
- GSMA | The Mobile Economy Latin America
- InvestChile | InvestChile is an agency that promotes Chile in the global market as a destination for foreign direct investment.
- LatamList — Latin American Startup news
- Magma | Venture Capital in Latin America: Elite Status and Underestimated Founders
- Tracción | Podcast about all-things growth and startups in LatAm
- Territorio Emprendedor | Podcast about patagonian entrepreneurs
Community contributors 🙌🏽 Thank you to all contributors: Josh Taub, Alex González Ormerod, Carlos Javier Scheuch, Nicolas Bernal, Chaitanya Ravi, Fer Díaz, Pedro del Campo, Leonardo Barrientos, Ezequiel Martín, Antonia Rojas, Funke, Patrick Alex and anonymous contributors!
Author Lolita Taub is a stealth mode GP and Scout at Lightspeed Venture Partners, where she invests in community-driven companies. With 15 years working within the Silicon Valley ecosystem, she has accomplished $70M+ in sales and made 70+ investments as an angel investor and VC at Backstage Capital and The Community Fund. Lolita is also a Co-Founder of the Startup-Investor Matching Tool, the GP-LP Matching Tool, and LaaS. Forbes and Inc Magazine have featured her as a woman promoting investment in underestimated founders and funders. She has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School. Most importantly, she is a dog mom to the cutest Dachshund mix, Choco.
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