Life has really taken an unexpected turn lately. If you follow this blog you know that I have been in Chile since February, making bilingual games that teach math and history. It’s been a great experience, but we also have a U.S. company in which I’m a co-founder, so as the program draws to a close, I made plans to follow up with clients / customers in the U.S. In fact, I already had my plane ticket to speak at the EPICS conference on Native American special education in New Mexico on September 19, and for meetings in Seattle, Los Angeles and four cities in North Dakota in September and October.
We were (still are) planning on maintaining an office in Santiago with the employees we have but our plan was Maria would come to Chile for the last Startup Chile board meeting at the end of September, and then she would be coming down to Chile to manage the office while I stayed in the U.S.
That was my plan on September 5. On September 6, Startup Chile had a Demo Day where they had invited the top 16 startups to pitch their companies. They announced six companies who would be offered another $15,000, plus office space for five employees, to extend their stay in Chile for five months. One of the companies, you may have guessed, was us – 7 Generation Games (if you read Spanish, check out our Spanish language site, Strong Mind Studios).
I was extremely surprised, not that I don’t think we make awesome educational software, because we do.
Still, there were only 91 companies selected from around the world to be in Startup Chile for this cohort, and as I’ve said before, it’s as if you took the most adventurous people from Harvard – hardly a random sample. Only the top 16 of those companies made it through the Demo Day selection and only the top six of THOSE received the extension.
So … I’m scrambling to find an apartment for after my lease is up, buying a plane ticket to come back after my last conference, while at the same time working on our first game based on Chilean history to be released in Chile on September 25.
“Never forget that an entire country bet on you.”
That’s what Startup Chile staff member, Francesca Lasagna, said at the graduation party and it really made me reflect. Chile is a country of 17 million people and the funding in these startups represents an investment in their economic future. They had the world to pick from and they picked us. It’s a humbling and gratifying thought.