A host of Latin America’s technological startups met in Santiago, Chile Tuesday as part of First Tuesday’s monthly events
The conference takes a different format each month, with April’s being “Speed Dating.” The format set up startup companies with investors. The startups then had two minutes to impress the investors, who ranged from Chile Angels, J.P. Morgan to Microsoft.
“It’s a little faster and more amplified way of doing business,” said Tim Delhaes, coordinator of the event. “The hope is to have investors and clients make a first impression, to make alliances.”
In total, nearly 100 meetings took place in just a few hours – but that wasn’t even enough for some startups. Not every company was able to get a table, either because they weren’t invited to the conference, or were a last-minute addition. This allowed for “Wildcards” and “Last Minute Dating,” quick meetings outside for companies unable to get a table.
Among the highlights of the conference were Metaki, a social geolocalization app looking to integrate with Facebook, Twitter and Googlemaps. The company, owned by Daniel Atik, allows users to use smart phones, or a computer, to allow Twitter-like updates with Google maps support. The result is a status update that allows users to plot their location on a map, perfect for meeting up with friends. The service currently has 600 users, but Atik hopes to expand with additional funding.
“It’s done and functional, but I don’t think Metaki will ever be done,” he said. There’s always improvements to be made.
The people who brought gift cards to Chile were also in attendance, Alan Strauss and Boris Kraizel of GiveCard. After a trip to the United States, the two cousins and a friend decided to bring the technology to Latin America. They currently have 60 companies onboard, including Falabella, Ripley and other department stores.
“Our goal is to have it be like in the United States, where you can buy gift cards for almost any store in the supermarket,” said Strauss. The two have degrees in civil engineering and spent a year studying in Australia, where they grew accustomed to the conveniences of the gift card.
Although the event was well-attended, it didn’t quite have the startup feel. The lobby was flooded with corporate sponsors, from Pepsi and Claro to American Airlines. Even so, many budding businesses got the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the business.