Online travel company lured to Chile by start-up incubator

Government program continues to attract exciting new online projects from international entrepreneurs to Chile.

Two brothers from Marin County, California will bring their brand new online company to Chile, after winning a US$40,000 grant from the Chilean government., founded by Noah and Michael Aron, was one of 100 budding companies to be selected to receive financial and business support by the Start-Up Chile program at the end of 2011.
The travel-related website allows people to sell services directly to travelers, cutting out the need for the travel agents or brokers who may charge commission, meaning that while the tourist pays more, the provider receives less.
Noah told the Marin Independent Journal that he came up with the idea while traveling in South America a few years ago.
«I was staying with this family in Peru on an island in the middle of Titicaca and I had paid $100 a night,» said Noah. «At the end of the trip, I asked them how much money had they gotten and they were like, ‘We got $10.’ They did all the work and they only got 10 percent.»
Once they have established their business, the Californian duo hope to establish ties with NGOs in developing countries to help make connections with local farmers and artisans.
The Aron brothers will use the grant to come to Chile and establish a permanent presence for their website, which was launched in December last year and already has one office and three employees.
«What we’re going to do there [in Chile] is establish an international office. It’s going to open up a whole bunch of doors,» said Michael, adding that the he and his brother would use the money to create a mobile application for the website.
The brothers plan to set up their Chilean office in in Viña del Mar, the sister city of Sausalito in Marin County, where they hope to receive venture capital investment with which to hire more employees.