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October 2, 2020

Fundación Chile promotes open innovation’s key role in the sustainable post-pandemic revival

• Fundación Chile offers its open innovation platform that brings together all the components required by Corporate Venturing to generate value and promote the acceleration and dynamism of the Chilean and the region’s economy. This includes everything ranging from project acceleration to venture capital for businesses.

• Collaboration, innovation, and systemic responses among the private sector and entrepreneurs emerge as a determining element for sustainable recovery and to address the challenges that have resulted from the health crisis, which to date has resulted in a devastating number of fatalities throughout the world and the loss of 495 million employments.

At a time when an economic, health, and social crisis are simultaneously converging, collaboration among different sized companies and systemic responses to address this triple crisis at the local and global levels is critical. In this scenario, and as a result of the opportunities generated by the Digital Economy and the Industry 4.0, there is a general understanding of the need to strengthen the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems, as well as the strategic role played by the open innovation platforms to connect corporate challenges with technological solutions -linking entrepreneurs with companies-.

According to Jamie Riggs, Managing Director de ChileGlobal Ventures, Fundación Chile’s venture capital area, having a strong ecosystem has proven to be a valuable asset for countries in dealing with the crisis.

He adds that open innovation is essential for sustainable recovery and creation of employment, in order to boost the productivity and competitiveness of companies in response to the threat of fragmentation of global value chains. “It has a two-fold benefit, on one hand increasing the competitiveness of companies by incorporating disruptive solutions, quickly gaining value from the startups; and on the other hand, generating validation, commercial traction, and scalability for startups by working with businesses.”

Open innovation is based on the belief that the answers to the many challenges faced by companies can be found beyond the boundaries of the organization itself, “where there is an inexhaustible source of innovation” as opposed to internal ones. In this respect, open innovation is less risky and costly than internal innovation, as it outsources skills and shares the risk with the innovation’s developer.

Fundación Chile’s Model

Fundación Chile has developed the country’s first Open Innovation Platform to promote the Chilean and the region’s acceleration and dynamism with all the components that Corporate Venturing as a service demands, such as open innovation programs, corporate scouting, disruptive challenge management, corporate accelerator, angel investors network, and venture capital funds, with a multi-industry experience and access to national and international networks. This platform is channeled through ChileGlobal Ventures and Expande, the Open Innovation Program in Mining.

According to Maurizio Moschini, ChileGlobal Ventures Business Development Manager, “We develop corporate venturing programs with companies and organizations, starting by identifying and characterizing their challenges and then proceeding to seek for the best solutions offered by startups and suppliers both in the local and global market. We design the insertion/fitting strategy and the pilot plan to enable the joint work between the enterprise and the startup, and then aim at scaling up within the organization. In case of multinational companies, there is a great potential for the startup to go international through the organization.”

Andrés Mitnik, Director of Business Development at Expande/Director of Business Development for Open Innovation in Mining, stated that “We seek to engage companies in the task of turning Chile and Latin America into an entrepreneurship and innovation hub that diversifies and sophisticates its productive matrix. This will be done by generating mutually beneficial and long-term relationships with Chilean and foreign startups. We seek to position open innovation and corporate venturing as a way to transform organizations in agile ways, so that they can address the great environmental, economic, and social challenges of today’s realities.”

This year Fundación Chile developed the so-called Convocatorias COVID, Colaboración y Vida (COVID Calls, Collaboration and Life) in response to the challenges that the health crisis posed in the areas of Education, Health, Economy, and Employment, and to seek out solutions to digitize SMEs and transform Chile’s strategic industries focusing especially on triple impact. Throughout ChileGlobal Ventures’ existence, 15 Open Innovation Programs have been developed, where over 1500 startups with more than 15 corporate clients have been called upon to participate (including: Nokia, Banco Estado, Walmart, Entel, CAP, CMPC, HDI, BCI, Roche, Parque Arauco, Mall Plaza, Microsoft, BHP, and CCU).

Through the Open Innovation Program in mining, Expande has developed 173 challenges that have raised 44 million dollars in contracts and raising capital, including 1200 technological solutions. Among its major accounts are Antofagasta Minerals, BHP, Codelco, and Teck. The latest international call for proposals that is currently under development, “BHP Tailings Challenge” has received 151 proposals from 19 countries, and seeks to develop a new industry based on the reuse of copper tailings, turning them into commercial products such as new materials or other applications that require innovations in both technology and business models.

In addition to the above and to wind up this ecosystem, CLIN, a Private Investment Fund of USD 20 million that was established in 2018 and that has as private contributors Fundación Chile ( responsible for its administration), Entel, Engie Factory, and family offices Zoma Capital and Stars Investments, an entity that recently joined. CLIN is also supported by Corfo and seeks to invest in approximately 15 to 20 companies that are in their early stages of development with innovative technologies and high potential for scale-up to international markets, focused on B2B markets and sectors associated with the sustainable use of natural resources. So far, we have invested in 10 startups with international impact, which seek to improve the quality of life of citizens and generate greater dynamism in the economy.

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