Our LATAM Spring programme for New Zealand startups explored Chile as a gateway to Latin America and has produced some immediate results. The programme was run by Founder Spring, a startup that focuses on designing in-country programmes tailored to NZ businesses.
The Founder Spring team carried out extensive scouting to understand the needs of and opportunities for New Zealand businesses in Chile. The team then addressed how New Zealand companies with innovative ideas, products and services could access priority relationships and networks in Chile and Latin America.
Luke Ball and Victoria Astorga from Founder Spring developed individual agendas for the three companies selected for the 8-day Chile immersion programme, including meetings with the New Zealand Embassy, NZTE, Invest Chile, Start-Up Chile, Agora Partnerships and IncubaUC.
The three companies chosen were:
- Gamefroot, an online platform that helps students learn to code through an interactive platform. Chile is currently in the process of designing a new digital curriculum. Relevant government officials and schools that Gamefroot met with gave feedback that they see the Gamefroot platform as an exciting opportunity to help them develop this curriculum. Gamefroot put on demos at schools in the Santiago, Temuco and Los Andes and held meetings with the Ministry of Education. There is now real interest in seeing Gamefroot deployed as part of the Chilean curriculum. Gamefroot Founder, Dan Milward, said: “The programme validated a market that aligns with our offering and introduced us to a fascinating culture that we want to be part of.”
- Vaka Interactiv: specialises in cultural storytelling technology and works with museums and cultural organisations to bring portraits and other cultural artefacts to life. The Founder Spring team wanted to show Vaka Interactiv leadership in the Māori space and to transfer this success into Chile's cultural sector. Jesse Armstrong, CEO of Vaka Interactiv, demonstrated the software in major Chilean cultural spaces: Palacio de La Moneda, MIM, and CorpArtes to validate the use of the software in the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) in Chile.
Wilson Pais, Microsoft’s Head of Innovation in Chile is scoping Vaka Interactiv’s participation in the Microsoft Artificial Intelligence Tour 2021 which will include: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Jesse is effusive about what the programme helped them achieve: "The programme helped me to identify that there is huge market potential for us in, not only Chile, but the wider Latin America region."
- Next Farm: specialises in smart irrigation solutions and wanted to validate the need for their irrigation solutions in Chile. While in Chile, Aaron Furrer, CEO of Next Farm, met with various avocado businesses and distributors about optimising the use of water in small and large plantations. Great relationships were established with the National Irrigation Commission and other industry regulators. According to Aaron: "The programme provided contacts in the irrigation industry in Chile from government level to individual farms. Understanding this operating environment will allow us to form the most effective market entry strategy next summer."
Through the LATAM Spring programme, each company established priority relationships to help them develop their business ideas for the Chilean market and a realistic view of doing business in Chile. Founder Spring will continue to work with all three companies to convert the relationships established into concrete business opportunities.