What’s Chile got to do with start-ups?

What’s Chile got to do with start-ups?

By Sorab Ghaswalla

Mumbai, December 8, 2012

If readers may so recall, in one of my previous columns I had talked of a survey that had identified some of the best startup ecosystems in the world. Leading the pack, naturally, was the US, followed by Israel, Brazil and so on. Bangalore, India was 19th in this Top-20 list.

So why am I talking of it again? The reason is, Chile. Do not be too surprised if this South American nation gets into this exclusive, Top-20 list soon. Why? Because of the Chilean Government’s initiative in encouraging startups.
Launched in 2010, the Startup Chile Accelerator programme has been going from strength to strength, ever since. For those of you who cannot identify Chile on the global map, it’s
that strip of land between Peru and Bolivia, and till some years ago, its claim to fame, or infamy, was its military government led by General Augusto Pinochet, who ruled between the 70s to the late 80s. Today, it is one of the most stable countries of South America.
The best part about the programme is that the funding and other facilities extended under it is not limited to only startups from the Republic of Chile. That’s why I am talking about this programme in my column today. What is little known is that entry into this Accelerator programme is open to startups from any part of the world. If you are a startup in India, then you should sit up and take note, because between 2010-12, many Indian startups, too, have been accepted under this programme. India is the 3rd favourite on the list.
The program just announced the names of 105 startups from 31 countries that have been selected to be part of the programme’s sixth edition in 2013. Starting early next year, they will make their way to Santiago, the capital of Chile, to participate in the programme. Most of the companies come from the U.S. (24 percent), followed by host country Chile (19 percent) Argentina (9 percent) and India (7 percent).
The programme will also host startups from countries like Morocco, Ukraine, Pakistan and the Netherlands. 
And before I forget, you will need to shift your team to Chile for a specific period in case you are selected.
When one looks at the profile of the startups that have been accepted this time, a majority (24 percent) are from the e-commerce category. Obviously, Indians are getting this one right, what with the sudden plethora of shopping sites like Flipkart and Jabong. This is followed by Mobile & Wireless (10 percent), Media (10 percent), IT & Enterprise Software (10 percent) and Social Media & Social Networks (10 percent). The rest is made up of startups from Education,  Energy & Clean Tech, Finance, Natural Resources, Social Enterprise and Tourism.
Coincidentally, my website, www.whatsnewonthenet.com had barely a few days before the
announcement of the 2012 winners, written about a start-up from Nepal called Picovico, which had been accepted under this programme in the fifth edition, and had got $40,000 as start-up fund. Picovico is an interesting startup – it converts static images into video. So, you can take a series of pictures from your family album or college yearbook, put them together using the Picovico platform, and out comes a video. 
Actually it is a like one of the flipbooks we used to see some years ago. A mini-book with a series of action photos, you flip the pages to see the action completed in one go. Something like that. Of course, you can also embellish your video with music, a theme, some text, and then share in on the social networks. Cute. Earlier, Picovico had been accepted by The Morpheus Ventures in India under its start-up accelerator programme.
Anyway, coming back to the Chile Startup Programme, if you are a startup and want to learn more about it, go to this URL – www.startupchile.org
Honeymoon between Twitter and Instagram sours
Users of micro-blog Twitter and photo sharing application Instagram may have realised something’s amiss. They are not wrong. Instagram photos appearing in your Twitter feeds may be looking a little “off” to you, maybe cropped. That’s because both companies have got into a kinda tiff.
In a status update, Twitter has said Instagram photos may appear cropped because the latter had disabled its Twitter cards integration. As a result, photos were being displayed as they were earlier in the “pre-cards” era.
Instagram, on its part, does acknowledge doing this. Explaining its rationale, the company said it now had a web presence of its own and wanted more and more of its users to enjoy that experience. It said a few months ago, it did support Twitter cards because Instagram had a minimal web presence then. But since then, several improvements had been made to the website, one of which allows users to directly engage with Instagram content through Likes, Comments and Hashtags. It has further said it would continue to evaluate how to improve the experience with Twitter and Instagram photos. 
Signing off, Instagram has added that its users will continue to be able to share images to Twitter as they originally did before the Twitter Cards implementation.
This is clearly a case of the smaller partner in an alliance growing wings and wanting to fly. The synergy seems fading away. For a long time now, Twitter and Instagram were closely linked, and Twitter Chairman Jack Dorsey was one of the earliest investors in Instagram. The latter also largely grew on the back of Twitter, but now that it’s achieved some amount of traction around the world, wants to strike out on its own.
Well, all that I can say is children do grow up and you need to let them go, guys. The same principle should be applied to this relationship. On that note, I bid adieu.