Socialatom Ventures ends first week with Hackathon
Well, it’s been quite a week. We kicked off the Socialatom Ventures startup program on Monday with 12 initial companies. Andres Barreto (co-founder of OnSwipe), one of my partners, has been here in Bogota and it’s been great for the startups getting his point of view on their individual startups. He’s not only got experience with his own startups, but has been contributing quite a bit to the Latin American ecosystem in general.
Some of the startups are going through a government “consolidation” program called AppsCo where the Ministry of Telecommunications and other incubators besides us had a hand in selecting the specific companies. Additionally, there are two other companies that we selected and invested in (thanks to our partner NXTP Labs) and will be doing all we can to accelerate the growth of all of these companies in the coming three months and a half.
During our one-on-one meetings with each startup, we try to get them to take a serious look at what they’re doing and how they’re going about doing it. Andres has been instrumental in getting everybody to “think big.” A tool that we are using to reinforce this is the New York City trip we’ve planned with some pretty amazing mentors.
On Wednesday, we had our first status meeting at 10:10pm in the evening. We chose this date and time for the progress meeting for a number of reasons with one of these being that of inculcating the reality of startup culture into the founders. Each startup pitches and also provides status on milestones in order to make sure they are learning and progressing.
It’s great to see the amount of activity in the Colombian startup ecosystem although there’s still a long way to go to even be on a par with the Brazilian and even Argentinian ecosytems. It’s great to work on this acceleration phase. Two years ago, when I first brought the Founder Institute, a pre-idea incubator, I saw (and still see) a major need for a program that could help founders develop their ideas into viable companies (that can later get “accelerated” if necessary). Accelerators such as Wayra and Socialatom Ventures really need a wider selection of companies from which to select their startups.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, it’s Sunday evening and I’m sitting here at Socialatom Ventures at a great Hackathon that Andres set up with some of our developers and host of other talented developers who were handpicked to participate. There are a number of interesting project such as a platform for asking mayors from different cities questions to a simple gifting app based on Facebook likes. In general, we’ve done everything we know to get these startups in the right frame of mind to accelerate their progress.