Each team will collaborate with an SRI mentor—an experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneur who will provide individual coaching. The teams will also explore Silicon Valley, the world’s innovation capital, to do market research and network.
The five teams, part of CORFO’s “Go-to-Market” program, span a wide range of industries, including:
1. A web portal focused on travel and adventure 2. A biotech startup that has developed a skin implant system for wounds 3. A clean-tech startup focused on waste water treatment 4. A company that has built efficient distillation equipment for the booming micro-distillery market 5. An aquaculture-focused university team with a technology to produce seeds and grow baby clams
This is the second year that CORFO has sponsored a Silicon Valley Venture Readiness program at SRI. Of the five teams that participated in 2012, one has raised $1 million in venture funding and is now raising more. Another team is about to raise their first round of financing. And, as importantly, one team decided their business idea did not have a strong value proposition and shut the company down. Their leader recently told us, “Thank you, your program helped save a year of my life –that’s invaluable and really appreciated.”
CORFO is a public-sector organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth in Chile. Acting in tandem with the Chilean Ministry of Economy, CORFO’s programs support and finance a wide variety of initiatives to stimulate the Chilean economy and provide more opportunities for Chile’s entrepreneurs, innovators, and key industries to compete globally.
It’s exciting for SRI, too, to help these teams bring their projects to fruition. As with the teams who visited last year, we plan to continue to coach and assist them for several months following their visit to help ensure success. In addition, the teams will work with CORFO and SRI to encourage a new set of Chilean entrepreneurs to apply for the next Go-To-Market program starting in the fall. CORFO plans to send five to 10 more teams to SRI in early 2014.
We look forward to sharing SRI’s innovation best practices with more international teams and have proposed programs to organizations in Taiwan, Japan, China, Malaysia, Sweden, and Brazil. Watch for updates in a future blog post.