20 September. I landed exactly 1 year ago in Santiago de Chile with clothes, some savings and drive to pursue my dreams. It is incredible how quickly this year has gone by and it has certainly made me reflective and I think it is a good moment to dive back into blogging this fantastic journey.
So what has happened and more importantly have I accomplished my goals? It’s time to take stock. Looking back at my my blog and specifically at the first entry Flying to Santiago – the beginning of a new chapter reminds me of what I was hoping to accomplish:
“My aim is to find and work with a startup that is working on something exciting and assist in fundraising, cash flow management, business admin, accounting, sales, social media marketing and business strategy…Also, I don’t speak much Spanish. I intend to work on this whilst I’m there.”
This is not the entire truth as I was technically on a sabbatical with the promise of returning to London to work with PwC. More than the above I was looking for a career change…one that fulfilled me…one where I looked forward to each day’s victories and challenges….
In summary I have met my expectations and surpassed them many fold.
- I co-founded a tech startup called Fundacity and we are developing tools to make the life of startup investors easier…a market and a client group I am very excited about. The learning experience has been phenomenal. Key learning points:
- Pitching to investors – we pitched angel groups on our trip to Silicon Valley;
- Mechanics of fundraising for a startup – we raised public and private funds;
- People management – we are now a 6 full-time and 2 part-time;
- Accounting and taxation in Chile – “nothing is certain but death and taxes” :D;
- Legal incorporation in the US and Chile – we incorporated Fundacity in both countries to satisfy US investor needs;
- Bidding for government tenders – we recently applied to supply our platform and know-how to Innova Chile part of CORFO;
- Developing and validating an idea with minimal recourses using lean startup principles – we got great in-person mentoring from San Fran based PayPal development manager Anar Joshi and from my team mate Nicolas Schurmann that used these methods with LAN;
- Business development – traditional in-person sales and more techy social media marketing; and believe it or not
- Code – I now have some basic understanding about programming languages, frameworks and databases.
- I am a financial consultant for Taggify. This has been a great experience to utilize my accounting knowledge. With Taggify I completely overhauled their accounting and control practices by introducing and helping them switch to Xero a SaaS accounting software. Also, I helped them in replacing their CFO twice. This helped me learn a lot about people issues, hand-overs and interviewing/spotting talent.
- Organized several tech events. Startup Weekend Chile and now upcoming the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum. We are expecting 200 participants, a pitch contest with involvement from 5 Chilean universities and a series of panels, presentations and workshops to be held over 2 days. Very exciting stuff.
- I learnt Spanish to a conversational but by no means fluent level. In fact my gf Gabriela doesn’t speak English so my Spanish is being relied on quite a bit here :).
- Travelled to countries over 4 continents over the past year. Highlights being New York, Silicon Valley, all over Brazil, Buenos Aires and of course different parts of Chile and I am super excited about going again to Brazil in 1 week and then to Singapore for the World Entrepreneurship Forum.
Of course many challenges lie ahead but I have met amazing people on this journey that will be by my side along the way…:)