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InvestChile signs agreement with US to promote arrival of technology companies to Chile

10 April, 2019
  • An agreement with ChileMass will foster exchange between the state of Massachusetts and Chile in sectors such as clean energy, technology, education and venture capital. The director of InvestChile, Cristián Rodríguez, also met with the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA).

In Boston, United States, the director of InvestChile, Cristián Rodríguez signed a collaboration agreement with ChileMass, a Massachusetts-based organization. The agreement seeks to promote exchange between the state of Massachusetts and Chile, particularly in sectors such as energy, technology, education and venture capital.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Brittany McDonough, a director of ChileMass and of the MassChallenge start-up accelerator, founded in 2010, which has raised over US$4.3 billion. It will allow InvestChile to draw on the support of ChileMass, both for contacting local companies and for promoting sectors with high potential for the Chilean economy.

Cristián Rodríguez highlighted the importance that the innovation and technology sector has acquired in Chile’s investment matrix in recent years, noting that is an area in which the state of Massachusetts is a leader. “For us, it is extremely important to consolidate a network that improves our ability to bring the new opportunities our country offers to the right eyes and ears. In this context and in view of the importance the venture capital sector has acquired for the country, having a partner like ChileMass in Boston is great news, especially given our goal of transforming Chile into a regional hub of innovation and technology.”

Rodríguez was one of the speakers at the first Innovation Day organized by ChileMass at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he was accompanied by a delegation of Chilean businesspeople and entrepreneurs, led by the president of the Manufacturers’ Association (SOFOFA), Bernardo Larraín. At the event, attended by some 300 people, Rodríguez pointed out technology and global services projects – at different stages of development – in InvestChile’s portfolio have increased from 13 projects, worth US$508 million, in 2016 to 87 projects for US$2.4 billion in 2018, and that many of these correspond to US companies.

According to Brittany McDonough, the agreement “will be a vehicle that will allow us to work together in a more specific way to support innovation and collaboration between Massachusetts and Chile. We see an important strength on issues such as clean energy, where Massachusetts and Chile share a common view, and we are confident that start-ups, innovation leaders in different industries, such as clean tech and ad tech, as well as universities will benefit from the relationship between InvestChile and ChileMass.”

Similarly, Mark Sullivan, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment, stressed that “our economies are similar and bridges are already being built” between the state and Chile. He indicated that “the job of my office is to attract companies to Massachusetts, just as InvestChile does for your country. But this is never a one-way task: we can collaborate so that our companies go to Chile and Chilean companies come here.” Sullivan highlighted the case of Chilean physicist and MIT professor César Hidalgo and his company Datawheel. “It is a good example because it is based in Boston, but it gives opportunities to talent from Chile to provide what it cannot find here. This could also be replicated by Chilean companies, installing their operations here with their resources in Chile.”

Meeting with NEVCA

The activities of the director of InvestChile also included a meeting with Ari Glantz, director of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA), whose members manage funds of more than US$75 billion and have a portfolio of 4,200 companies. Rodríguez and Glantz explored options for collaboration between the two institutions, particularly with a view to the International Investment Forum that InvestChile will be holding in 2020. In addition, Rodríguez met with Sam White, co-founder of Greentown Labs, the largest incubator of clean energy projects in the United States, which supports over 170 companies and has raised more than US$320 million.