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Aussie start-up receives $40k from Start-up Chile

Friday, 6 January 2012 | By Michelle Hammond
Australian start-up Immortal Outdoors will receive $40,000 to do business in Chile for six months, after being selected to participate in worldwide acceleration program Start-up Chile.


Immortal Outdoors, founded by Shane Greenup, aims to build the world’s first comprehensive map and guidebook to all outdoor recreation, mapping everything of interest in the natural world.


It is essentially a map of the outdoors, displayed on the company website, which members can continue to grow and edit.


“The idea of mapping something so vast and extensive as ‘everything of interest in the natural world’ has not been attempted as far as I know,” Greenup says.


“Thanks to modern technology, trailblazing work by websites like Wikipedia and the general willingness of internet users to participate in worthwhile projects, I believe… [it is] possible.”


The start-up is among 100 companies selected in the third round of Start-up Chile, which will see it will relocate to the South American country for six months to continue its development.


Selected from more than 570 applications, the successful companies come from 36 countries, although most are from the United States and Chile itself.


Start-up Chile was created by the Chilean Government with the aim of attracting early-stage, high potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their start-ups using Chile as a platform to go global.


In a bid to convert Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America, the program plans to bring 1,000 start-ups to Chile by 2014.


Applicants must pass through a series of rigorous evaluations, conducted by venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, industry experts and the Committee of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


Successful participants receive $40,000 of equity-free seed capital, a one-year work visa and access to local financial and social networks.


Participants spend six months in Chile, with the aim of raising funds, hiring talent, creating networks and launching their businesses while leveraging the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Start-up Chile executive director Jean Boudeguer says entrepreneurs are looking towards Chile “not just for the money but for the abundant network of people that the program attracts”.


Greenup says the program appealed to him partially because of its selection process, which is “probably quite different to what most incubators use”.


“Because the Chilean government isn’t looking for profits from equity, they don’t have quite so much emphasis on market share, income models and all that stuff,” he says.


“That still matters… but their focus is much more on how qualified you are as an entrepreneur, how realistic your business proposal is, and how connected you are to other entrepreneurs.”


“I think my strengths in my application had a lot more to do with being active in the Silicon Beach community, my global network or people related to outdoor recreation and my success with my other online business than it has to do with how much money Immortal Outdoors is likely to make me.”