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I'm unfamiliar with Start-Up Chile, but I know a couple Quibb members are - thoughts, Jacklyn Giron or Ozan Onay ?
From reading just this article, it sounds like a case of unmatched expectations and poor communication.
I can relate to Liis. I was Gen 2, first wave (every generation was separated into two except, perhaps, the very first group). The reimbursement process for us was also tedious and we had several valid operational expenses that were turned down due to administrative technicalities, including our server fees at one point.
I feel like there's also a misalignment of goals between the program and the entrepreneurs that are participating. The Start-up Chile team is a very young non-technical, almost grassroots-approach-type group that really care about the social impact of the program (and they're really super nice people that are truly happy about what they're doing), but most of the entrepreneurs that go for it are really just moving over for the $40k zero equity seed capital and often get frustrated by the RVA (return value agenda) process.
It's also promoted as an accelerator, but it doesn't do a good job of checking off what you would normally find in one. There's a serious lack of mentorship and guidance, you get some opportunities for one-on-one mentorship with visiting VCs but even that is 'hit or miss' since their advice comes from a 5-min intro or an email intro from the founder and next thing you know they tell you to drop everything and "go for big data!"..haha.. fond memories
I also found that they're not really capable of making introductions that matter for certain types of startups.. unless you're in Mining, Retail, or Tourism - there were a few others, but I noticed that if you're a little too niched, you have to make things happen for yourself. I guess, that's often the case in the real world anyway :)
To be fair, they've done a lot of restructuring, added more workshops, and have really made an effort to change things for the better. And seriously.. having access to so many entrepreneurs of different levels and coming from all sorts of backgrounds is pretty awesome. You learn a lot from each other. You help each other out. We've all more or less accepted that we never stop working. But we do it, because we love what we're working on.
I'd still suggest that startups should give it a try.. especially if they suit a Latin American market.
Great feedback Jacklyn, thanks for sharing. It sounds like they need to better understand what's expected of them when they use the word 'accelerator', and be a bit more proactive in sharing their nuanced objectives. As you say, It'll be interesting to see how they continue to change the program and how that affects their reputation and ability to recruit great teams.
Fantastic comment. Thank you! These kinds of programs are always super hard, and it sounds like Startup Chile is no different.
Wow. This sounds so different from Y Combinator. Even though I am not a founder, being part of the founding team still exposed me to a lot of the ideas from YC and how the program ran. It sounds like night and day. I am not going to dwell on how YC is so unique, but what struck me in the post as well as Jacklyn's confirmation was the lack of mentorship. If there is nobody to challenge your ideas, share their insights of having done it before, connect you with the right people when your problems is out of their area of expertise, is just mind boggling. Yes, at that point, it really does just become a summer camp for entrepreneurs. It's a great story to tell, but won't lead to the same kind of traction a Silicon Valley company could achieve in the same time period. And being held back a few months with a great idea is not a small matter.