Sick of Silicon Valley Startups? Moving to Chile isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

I like startups and I like to travel. But after I ran the numbers, booking a one way ticket to Santiago to pursue startups isn’t as crazy as I initially thought.

For devs looking for a change of pace and who have a bit of South American adventure in them, booking a one way ticket to Santiago isn’t as illogical as it sounds. I’m not arguing that Santiago has the same opportunities as Silicon Valley. I’m just shedding light on an adventurous startup route for those who want to brush up on their high school Spanish.

If you’re interested, please connect with me @drew_sing. It is something I am considering in mid 2013 and would love to get in touch with anyone else interested.

Startup Chile

If you haven’t heard, Startup Chile is a government funded program that plans to give out $40,000 to 1,000 startups from around the world at no equity whatsoever. That’s $40 million in free funding for companies willing to move to Santiago for at least six months.

Let’s do some basic math to prove it wouldn’t be absolutely crazy to move to Santiago.

For the 2013 batch, 105 startups out of 1400 applicants have been selected for Startup Chile. 24% of accepted startups are from the U.S. and 28% hail from Chile and Argentina. This brings the total amount of Startup Chile companies up to 216 (24 2010 and 87 in 2011).

Because the tech ecosystem is being jump-started by the government, there will be holes for talent since Santiago’s tech community hasn’t had time to develop its skilled infrastructure to this level yet. You could equate it to building a world class baseball training facility in a country that has been playing baseball, but not at an all-star level yet. I’m not discrediting the tech scene in Santiago. From what I’ve read, it’s arguably the most innovative hub in South America. More so I’m highlighting Startup Chile because these investments represent Chile’s desire to be an international leader in innovation, putting its money where its mouth is to eventually be on the same playing field as Silicon Valley in the future if all goes well.

This means there’s a window of opportunity for seasoned entrepreneurs looking to join a startup as a co-founder or 1st employee.

But how would you join a startup at a co-founder level?

Paul Graham stated about 25% of YC startups lose a founder, so based on his math there will be 250 startups in need of a co-founder in Santiago. Yes, they may hire out of their home country, but it’s always easier for teams to work from the same location initially.

Now, to the Tim Ferris inspired section of this article.

You can live in Santiago for less than $1000/month (yes, that’s including rent. Take that SF).

• A lunch meal costs around $4.50 AUD
• 3 course dinner meal with wine costs around $17.00 AUD
• Rent for an apartment room around $350.00 AUD
• When you need a break, there is world class skiing 55 kilometers east of the city at Valle Nevado. Four ski resorts are within 160 kilometers of Santiago (I’ve been missing snowboarding since moving to Sydney so had to put in this plug).


Chile is not the answer to joining or starting a successful company, but for a semi-vacation/short term move, Santiago will be a great adventure. To jumpstart your creative juices or get a bolt of inspiration, sometimes you simply need a change of scenery. So if you’re getting complacent with riding the Cal Train to Mountain View while you’re reading Hacker News, why not pick up Rosetta Stone and get cracking on some Spanish. Gracias por leer mi artículo!