[Originally published in the Impact HUB Seattle member newsletter]

As many Impact Hub members know, the entrepreneurial road is a long and often rocky one with no shortage of ups and downs. My journey of connecting like minded people in person began in early 2012 while living in Chiang Mai (Thailand). The company is still bootstrapped after 7 months of product development late 2012 into 2013 (we built Oh Hey World), followed by a year of consulting work while validating new product approaches to alleviating the same problem. That said, we finally caught a break about a month ago when we learned we were accepted into Start-up Chile with the new private couchsurfing concept, named Horizon, we’ve been validating and building.

For those who aren’t familiar with Start-up Chile, it’s a startup incubator funded by the Chile government. They provide $40k, equity free, and a support network to grow your business while living in Chile for 6 months. Several HUB members have gone through the program, including Mark Horoszowski and Naysawn Naderi (since moved to NYC).

Startup Chile is a community of entrepreneurs built around a large co-working facility, which makes it somewhat similar to Impact HUB.

I’ve been a member of Impact HUB since last June. My interest in joining was two fold. First of all, it was a physical location to work with others. Those who have done it, know working remotely gets old after awhile. Even if only for once a week, being in an environment where everyone else is working all around you is motivating. Second, Impact Hub is a community that believes in social impact rather than just making a profit for the sake of profit. I’m a community builder at heart, so immersing myself in a community that believes the same things I do was a big draw for me in coming to Impact Hub.

My team at Horizon is looking forward to Startup Chile, for a couple of reasons:

To be honest, the most exciting part of getting accepted is a little peace of mind. My co-founder, Will Moyer, and I have largely been nomadic for the past couple years (we’re living the private room sharing app we are building). We now know what we will be doing, and where we will be, for the next 6 months.

Access to the alumni network of entrepreneurs that have gone through the program is one of the major benefits to the program, particularly in our case. The app we are building, Horizon, enables private hospitality exchanges for existing communities, and the Startup Chile alumni group is certainly one that is conducive given the geographic spread and the fact that everyone has the shared experience of spending 6 months in Chile. Beyond that, entrepreneurs in the program generally skew towards those who have extensive travel experience.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, acceptance into Startup Chile is one more social proof point for potential investors that Horizon is a viable business.

Onward and upward…

Note: We applied to Startup Chile in late 2012 with our prior concept. We didn’t get in that time. Goes to show, persistence pays off 🙂

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