Israeli investor and entrepreneur Arnon Kohavi moved to Santiago Chile for 6 months and considered the feasibility of created a venture capital fun there. Fascinating interview by Anna Heim exploring Kohavi’s Chilean experience from The Next Web:
AH: Why had you decided to move to Chile in the first place?
Arnon Kohavi: I first came to Chile to visit some good friends from business school. They introduced me to government representatives, and I saw a desire from people I met to create a local startup ecosystem. They asked me if I’d come, and I accepted to come for 6 months as a test. My plan for these 6 months was to try to start a VC fund – a real one, which understands entrepreneurs, not just a group of people with a finance or banking background. I also wanted the fund to be big – US$40m – to invest in a proper field of startups.
AH: So why did you leave after six months?
AK: I took off because it will take longer for Chile to reach the tipping point. Good will from the government and a few people isn’t enough to re-create what places like Silicon Valley, Israel and Finland have.The heart of the problem is Chile’s dramatic generation gap, between young entrepreneurs and the old generation. The Chilean society is less dynamic than Asia or the US; a handful of monopolistic families control the country, and won’t move.Worse, these families don’t care about anything the young, the poor… besides their money. They don’t have to: the country’s natural resources copper, etc. are a disadvantage here, because it means the rich don’t need to work hard. The Asian model is better, because it focuses on exporting manufactured goods.
Where will Chile come out on the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index? (Chile was #26 on the 2011 GEDI).
The new data will be released on January 5th, 2012. Come learn more about the results and participate in a fun discussion on the data on January 6th, 2012 in Arlington, VA.
Free and open to the entrepreneurship and development community. Register now.