Entrepreneurs in Latin America: The Lure of Chilecon Valley
ONE by one they came to the stage and pitched their ideas to the crowd. There was the founder of kwelia.com, which makes software that helps landlords mint more money from their properties. There was the co-founder of Chef Surfing, an online service for people looking to hire chefs, and for culinary wizards keen to tout their skills. And the creator of Kedzoh, which has an app that lets firms send short training videos to workers via their mobile phones or tablet computers.
These and other start-ups, some sporting fashionably weird names such as Chu Shu, Wallwisher and IguanaBee, won rapturous applause from the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the audience. To your correspondent, who is based in Silicon Valley, it all felt very familiar. Yet this scene took place in Chile, a nation better known for copper-mining and cheap wine than for innovation.
Many countries have sought to create their own versions of Silicon Valley. Nearly all have failed. Yet Chile’s attempt is interesting because it exploits the original Silicon Valley’s weak spot—America’s awful immigration system. When the home of free enterprise turns away entrepreneurs, Chile welcomes them