I’m really excited to introduce Ttanti’s Travelers Collection, wood watches direct from Chile’s Patagonia. Max and Angel, have been working on Ttanti for 2+ years to make it a reality. Although its outside of our primarily tech focus at Magma, we loved the project and the team and decided to help out.
We’ve been working with Max and Angel for the better part of 18 months, helping them go from a 100% Chilean made prototype, to a Patagonian designed watch with a Swiss made body, all expertly finished off by hand by Chilean artisans. Ttanti is one of our portfolio companies that I’m most proud of because of how far they’ve come. (more…)
Two years ago my friend Diego introduced me to Francisco the head of one of Chile’s family offices. Francisco told us that he wanted to invest in startups and high growth small businesses not only because he thought Chile needed a fully private early stage startup fund to help entrepreneurs be successful, but also to potentially change how Chilean investors look at startups by showing them the way forward.
After working together for about six months, Francisco, Diego and I announced our first two investments, officially launching Magma Partners, a US$5M early stage investment fund powered 100% by capital from the three of us.
Our original plan was to invest in 4-6 companies per year, but we were inundated with qualified companies that needed capital, monitorship, connections and feedback from people who’d done it before. We received over 150 applications (more…)
I haven’t written anything new on Staying out of the Cubicle lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! In the first six months since we launched Magma Partners, we’ve invested in five companies and with four more in the pipeline to close before the end of the month. It’s been a great ride so far and I can’t wait to help our portfolio companies continue to have success.
I’ve written a series of blog posts on the Magma blog that outline our vision for the Chilean and Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem, plus advice on how entrepreneurs can find success more easily, one of which is already changing the conversation in Chile’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We’ve been recently featured in Pousta and GigaOm.
Frequent mistakes made by Chilean Entrepreneurs
Since we launched Magma Partners, I’ve reviewed 300+ applications for funding, the vast majority from Chile, with some from Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, USA and Uruguay.
Of those 300+, we’ve invested in seven. I’ve met some amazing entrepreneurs and have learned from many of them. But the vast majority of companies we’ve reviewed have similar problems that prevent us from investing. I’m writing this post to try to help entrepreneurs who are looking for money avoid these mistakes so that they can be more ready to accept an investment.
Magma Investment Thesis for Chile and Latin America
At Magma Partners, we invest in the best entrepreneurs we can find. We would rather invest in an amazing entrepreneur with a mediocre idea rather than a mediocre entrepreneur with an amazing idea. An amazing entrepreneur can always change their idea. We also strongly believe that Magma must be able to provide direct help to each company we invest in outside of just money. If our only help is just money, it doesn’t make sense for us to invest in a startup.
Propiedad Facil – A property tool with all the tools a real estate agent needs to list, sell and rent a property.
Deenty – An educational platform that teaches spanish speakers everything they need to know about dental health and allows people to find top rated dentists, book appointments and access quality dental treatments at fair prices.
Petly – One stop shop for pet supplies and connections to pet service providers like veterinarians and groomers.
Ttanti – High quality watches made of handcrafted Chilean wood, swiss movements and Patagonian leather.
I’m excited to announce a new project I’ve been working on for the past six months: Magma Partners, a new seed fund in Santiago, Chile that invests in startups and high potential small businesses. Along with two Chilean partners, Francisco Sáenz and Diego Philippi, we’ll invest $25,000-$75,000 in 8-10 high potential entrepreneurs each year for the next three years. Some press: Andes Beat (en), Fayerwayer, Diario Financiero, Pulso Social, Pulso Social (en).
Our goal is to then provide follow on investments in the successful companies. We held our launch event last night where we announced the fund and our first two investments and it was a great time.
I’m excited to announce our first investment, Propiedad Fácil, a property portal and real estate service provider in Chile. I think Magma Partners represents an opportunity to help keep the Chilean entrepreneurial ecosystem’s momentum going since the Startup Chile burst onto the scene in 2010.
Ever since trying to raise money for Entrustet in Chile in 2011, I’ve seen an opportunity for a Chilean early stage seed fund that operates using best practices from the United States. Chile is a very conservative country, so most investors still treat startup investing as if they were investing in a bakery or a bank and try to get as much equity as possible in the first capital raise, killing startups in the process.
I strongly believe that a higher percentage Chilean entrepreneurs fail than they should because the nascent Chilean entrepreneurship ecosystem lacks high quality mentorship, people willing to connect startups to existing businesses and access to capital using US industry standard terms. The best Chilean entrepreneurs get their start and quickly move abroad to find funding.
Our fund aims to fill the niche of high potential entrepreneurs who are starting their business in Chile with the goal of expanding across Latin America. We promise to be transparent, use US industry standard terms, give real mentorship and help you connect with potential clients and investors in Chile, Latin American and abroad.
But we’re aiming much higher. One of the things that I like about Chile is that it’s small. With about 17m people, you can have a nationwide impact fairly easily. Our plan is to not only help the entrepreneurs we invest in, but also to be a real help to those who we can’t invest in. I believe that if we execute our plan, we may be able to change the culture in Chile.
We’ve partnered with the Kauffman Mindset program to give mentorship to both companies that we invest in and Chileans who are interested in starting a business.
If you’re an entrepreneur with a business based in Chile who’s looking for funding, please check out our site, fill out our application form and a partner will get back to you within 48 hours with a “no, it doesn’t meet our criteria and here’s why” or a “yes, we’re interested, lets set up a meeting!”