Latin America’s allure is attracting Silicon Valley attention, and world-class accelerators are no exception. UC Berkeley’s own accelerator program, SkyDeck, is taking applications from LatAm startups interested in receiving mentorship and funding as part of its 2018 cohort.
Each startup will receive up to $100,000 of funding and as much mentorship as they require from qualified alumni and faculty members. The funding will come from Sequoia Capital, Canvas Ventures, Photon VC, and IronFire Capital, along with other VC investors entrusting SkyDeck with the discovery and development of the next generation of high-impact startups.
The last SkyDeck cohort featured a two LatAm startups: a Colombian team that developed a robot delivery service called Kiwi Campus; and the Chilean team behind Wheel The World, which offers custom outdoor adventures for people with disabilities.
“UC Berkeley is where people come to make the scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs that will transform our world. The addition of capital from the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund will help our startups reach their full potential in one of the most exciting markets on the planet”, commented SkyDeck Executive Director Caroline Winnett on the announcement.
The accelerator program is taking applications from all Global Founders Program participants, coming from every corner of the world. The program provides access to the university’s state-of-the-art labs at the inspiring environment of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.
“The success of the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem is dependent on the best people from around the world, executing on the best ideas from around the world”, said Skydeck Fund Manager Chon Tang in a press release, highlighting the innovative approaches to problems that often come from beyond the US to thrive in the vibrant scene that surrounds the valley.
The latent opportunity in LatAm is that it will grow along with companies invested in its future. A recent report by the IMF indicates that LatAm requires strengthening its business environment, education outcomes and infrastructure—three elements that a thriving entrepreneurial scene can help tackle and profit from.
Foreign investment, both financial and educational, are valuable tools to bring Latin American startups to the next level of competitivity and innovation. As investors, incubators and accelerators flock to the region – attracted by its future outlook and the thirst of entrepreneurs for disruption and opportunities – a snowball effect of development should ensue, promoting local entities and startups.