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Startup Chile is fantastic. The program helped us double sales and expand our product line far in advance of what we could afford. It was a life-changing experience for my girlfriend who now wants to start her own business instead of working for someone else. And it took away a lot of the drudgery of starting up a company. We got the chance to live in a great apartment with a view of the Andes, eat well, socialize with many smart people, and even travel to places like San Pedro de Atacama to see the stars.

The recurring complaints you'll read are from people trying to spend the absolute minimum and running into problems. They are honest and thus reasonable, but without explicit numbers it is also hard to put them in perspective and judge the program. I think most participants will be very upfront in telling applicants they need to plan to spend more than 4k to take full advantage of the program. In our case we needed to submit around 7-8k in expenses to get the total 42k grant over about nine months. But if this is bullshit I would like to signup for more of it. My costs are at least 3k a month outside Chile. 1k a month is nothing. For teams of 2-3 people to complain about that given all of the advantages strikes me as lacking in perspective.

As far as the availability of funding, I know more people who have taken funding in Chile than have taken it in China where my business is ostensibly based. That said, the point of Startup Chile is not that you are promised future funding or that Chilean VCs offer great valuations (I had very little contact with them beyond some unsolicited emails). That seems to be a very American thing as with YC and TechStars. The point is that you DO NOT GIVE UP EQUITY during a period of high uncertainty while you iterate towards product-market fit. Anyone who can't raise funding on much better terms after participating probably doesn't have a very fundable business.

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