A Melbourne gaming start-up says the Federal Government should offer something similar to Startup Chile, after being the only Australian start-up chosen to participate in the South American country’s wide-ranging innovation program.
Broccol-e-games, founded in January this year by David Truong, produces educational games for children aged four to eight, with a focus on iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone.
Its first product, Maths with Springbird, was released in July. In its first week, it reached the number one position in the Australian and New Zealand education categories in the App Store.
The game has now seen more than 30,000 downloads and, according to Truong, has been played more than 230,000 times in more than 100 countries.
Originally from Adelaide, Truong relocated to Melbourne after Broccol-e-games was accepted into the AngelCube accelerator program.
Now, the start-up has been selected from a pool of more than 1,500 start-ups to participate in Startup Chile, a six-month program created by the Chilean Government.
Startup Chile seeks to attract early-stage high potential entrepreneurs, who bootstrap their start-ups using Chile as a platform to go global.
In line with the nation’s goal of transforming Chile into the entrepreneurship hub of Latin America, the program plans to bring 1,000 startups to Chile by 2014.
Participants must relocate to Chile for the duration of the program. They receive US$40,000 of equity-free seed capital, a one-year work visa, and access to local financial and social networks.
The goal of the program is to raise funds, hire talent, create networks, and launch businesses from Chile while interacting with the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Of the 101 start-ups selected to take part in the next instalment of Startup Chile, Broccol-e-games is the only Australian one. The entire Broccol-e-games team will be relocating to Chile.
“[Startup Chile is] a launch pad into the ecosystem in South America, and will connect us with stakeholders, investors and expertise,” Truong told StartupSmart.
“Money will be used to expand the team and increase our cash runway, so we can raise capital when we have even more traction. It’s also closer to Silicon Valley expertise.”
According to Truong, Broccol-e-games has already attracted some interest from investors, but will remain focused on the task at hand: growing its games.
Truong says Broccol-e-games can be based anywhere in the world, suggesting the start-up may not return to Australia.
“If there was more support in Australia for early stage tech companies, then we may consider Australia,” he says.
“But for now, Chile has amazing government support for early stage tech companies.”
“Rather than complex tax incentives, which are great for more mature start-ups, Chile is supporting early stage companies with real hard cash and networks.”
Truong believes the Australian Government can learn from Chile in order to provide more tangible support to early stage businesses.
“They should also work with the local investor community to educate them about the new generation of technology companies and Silicon Valley’s approach to investment,” he said.
“I believe that would change things for the better and stop the so-called ‘brain drain’.”