The 3rd and final round of Start-Up Chile 2011 application is now open. If your startup is still in “alpha/beta” mode, you are highly encouraged to apply (even your startup is not, do apply). My startup, Flvrd (still in beta mode) was one of 154 startups around that get selected in the previous round.

If you are applying or think to apply, one of the questions that usually goes through your mind is: “Is it hard to get into Start-Up Chile?

Well, honestly I don’t think it is hard based on Flvrd’s application but it is getting tougher from round to round because more and more startups are applying. FYI, Round 1 (329 applications, 110 startups selected) and Round 2 (650+ applications, 154 startups selected).

But there are a few important areas that I think you need to really focus on. So lets go through those (together with my personal advice) by looking into the judging criteria.

  1. Human Capital (weight: 33%): quality of the talent and commitment of the founding team members.
  2. Project (weight: 34% – composite): Strategy, differentiation, and innovation factors of the product/service purported:
    • Product/Service (weight: 17%)
    • Market (weight: 17%)
  3. Environment (weight: 33%): Value of the founding team’s networks for the Chilean entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Human Capital

They are looking for an awesome team. All startup incubators are looking for the best team and not the best idea. So make sure you have an awesome team — good chemistry, work well together, complementary skill sets and some impressive stats about the team members.

In brief, the Flvrd Team: Flvrd has two co-founders (Koekoe and I) with complementary skill sets. We have known each other for more than 3 years and we work together on projects and group assignments during our time in university. We have also participated and won in a number of international tech and entrepreneurship competitions while in university. Bonus: we are a couple.

How about a single founder? Well, to my knowledge there are a number of single founder startups that got accepted. So if you are alone, your Start-Up Chile dream is not dead, never. There are other factors which are more important than this. So don’t worry.

Project

This is all about your idea/product and they are looking for globally scalable ideas/products. If your idea is super local and could not be replicated in other countries, you might want to rethink your idea.

I don’t know how well Flvrd scores under this section but if you don’t have a world changing idea/product — I don’t think this will put you in a disadvantaged position. FYI, Flvrd is neither a world changing idea nor follows the blue ocean strategy. We just do things differently.

But It is important to have a working prototype. It shows your commitment and also your execution. Remember the popular saying? “An idea is nothing without execution”. So having a real product where you and your team have been working on for some time is a huge plus.

A pitch video is also important in the case where the judges didn’t get the picture of what you are doing, a KISS video will help you explain your idea/product. FYI, we spent more than a week working on the pitch video but well worth it.

You are also required to answer questions related to your startup’s execution and business plan. So, make sure you know what you are doing, what is your plan, the market, competitors, etc. You have to do some basic research to answer these questions well — don’t assume!

Side note: The best way to keep up with your market and competitors is to follow tech and startup blogs like TechCrunch, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, The Next Web, VentureBeat, etc.

Environment

This is where they want to know how you can contribute to the Chilean entrepreneurship ecosystem by leveraging on your skills, experiences and your networks. So, it is good to have an established network back home so that you can link them to Start-Up Chile and Chilean entrepreneurship culture/ecosystem as a whole.

Bonus: Make your application stands out and the best way to do it is through video.

So, there you go some tips and advice for startups applying for Start-Up Chile. Feel free to ping me if you have any questions.

Reminder: You have until October 27th 2011 to make the cut. Act now!

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