Chilean entrepreneur program finds another success

Sylleta impresses at Start-up Chile Demo Day with cost effective and eco-friendly marine industry solutions.

Nikhil Gunari collects the prize for startup success story Sylleta at Chilean entrepreneurial hub. Photo via The Walker Lab
Nikhil Gunari collects the prize for startup success story Sylleta at Chilean entrepreneurial hub. Photo via The Walker Lab

Need proof of Chile’s growing entrepreneurial success and ever improving environment for new businesses? Look no further than the latest generation of Start-Up Chile and its most recent class of stand-out companies.

Start-Up Chile, a government-backed accelerator program which seeks to reboot Chile’s entrepreneurial environment, offers budding new businesses the chance to launch in Chile with the help and guidance of industry and entrepreneurial leaders.

One of the most important events in the program is  the chance to pitch to investors at the Demo Day. After an internal selection, the best projects from Generation 8 were picked to present their ideas to experienced investors. Coming out on top this year was Sylleta, a Toronto based project that looks to provide cleaner solutions for the marine and shipping industries, replacing highly toxic chemicals with elements that are less harmful to both the environment and the bottom line.

A key element of every Start-Up Chile project is to be global and scalable in nature. Syletta founder Nikhil Gunari’s personal history fits this bill, having moved from India to the United States to complete post-doctoral studies, before following Professor Gilbert Walker to Toronto.

Walker turned from supervisor to co-founder, the pair eventually recognized in Canada’s Clean 50, which backs initiatives from individuals or small teams working towards sustainable development.

“Our green solutions for the aquaculture industry should help it to more safely and profitably meet the growing demand for fish protein,” Walker said, when speaking about the project to the University of Toronto News.

Gunari’s three-minute pitch gave the judges a surprise, when he drank the solution of his own product and challenged any competitors to do the same.

Sylleta’s “Macroblock” technology, which has been successfully tested, and is now awaiting government approval, will be a game-changer for shipping and aquaculture industries. Aside from being expensive and polluting, the current materials used in these industries are unable to be recycled. Sylleta’s initiative aims to make all that a thing of the past.

Another Start-Up Chile project from the same generation has taken a unique look at recycling the waste from fisherman — turning old fishing nets into skateboards. After Bureo Skateboards doubled their target on a Kickstarter campaign, the California trio behind the project is now entering their first run of distribution, which will reach supporters in August.

Sylleta took the top prize, which included flights to San Francisco to present the project in front of investors. Also on the podium were intelligent transportation system DoubleMap and Copyright Agent — a service which allows photographers to focus on their job and passion of taking great pictures, while it searches for breaches of copyright.

With the tenth generation preparing to arrive, Start-Up Chile continues to provide amazing opportunities to entrepreneurs from all over the world to grow their businesses, while at the same time promoting positive change in Chile.