Chilean entrepreneurs unite at U.S. tech trade show SXSW

Dozens of Chilean companies head to the U.S. this month for South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive for the first time.

An alliance of Chilean business initiatives including ProChile’s CONTACTChile, Start-Up Chile, and the Chilean Association of Entrepreneurs (ASECH) is gearing up for their first showing at the Texas-based trade fair South by Southwest (SXSW) between March 8-12.

Over the week, companies will showcase their products to members of the U.S. entrepreneurial and investment community at SXSW Interactive, providing a chance to further strengthen business ties between the two nations.

Founded in 1992, SXSW was initially a set of film and music festivals, though the event has grown into one of the most important education, innovation, and business trade fairs in the U.S., each year attracting hundreds of representatives from domestic and international companies.

At the fair, 60 Start-Up Chile companies will form the Chilean Pavillion. In addition to offering a chance to learn about the companies, visitors to the Chilean Pavillion can partake in activities such as an exclusive tasting session of top quality Chilean wines, a «speed networking» event between U.S. and Chilean entrepreneurs, and a Twitter party (#SXSWChile). Start-Up Chile will also announce the launch of the Start-Up Chile 2013 funding call to all U.S. entrepreneurs, and an Immersion Chile event in December 2013.

“For the first time, our country will be present at the most relevant U.S. technology and innovation festival,” Start-Up Chile’s Alliances Director Caro Rossi said. “SXSW brings together industry leaders, and is where many startups saw first light. Companies like Twitter, Foursqaure, and Airbnb all increased their penetration through SXSW.”

Among other opportunities, Start-Up Chile members will be able to attend a conference titled “Building Successful Teams in Latin America,” featuring Chilean Sebastian Valin, founder and CEO of Campara Online, and Start-Up Chile alum and Wehostels founder Diego Saez Gil. Members will also get the chance to take part in the competition Fast Pitch VC, where entrepreneurs deliver rapid-fire pitches to a panel of venture capitalist for a shot at gaining investment.

Started by the Chilean government in 2010, Start-Up Chile receives applications from young startup companies from the U.S., Chile, and abroad, offering seed capital to early stage entrepreneurs and the chance to start their companies in Chile. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the website.

For more information on SXSW visit the website here.