Biz Latin Hub’s Maja Gaukstern had the privilege of connecting with Amr Elghandour, CEO and CTO of VoxEra. Amr speaks with Biz Latin Hub about his experience expanding into Chile, and offers insights on the entrepreneurial nature of the South American country.
Amr’s tech company VoxEra was nominated one of the best 3 start-ups in Egypt, and received the award from the Egyptian Minister of Communication and Information Technology in 2018.
Soon after Amr won the Seed Award from Start-up Chile, a public startup accelerator created by the Chilean government for high-potential entrepreneurs, such as Amr. Now Amr lives in the heart of the city and continues to grow his business, while enjoying the life as an entrepreneur in the vibrant city of Santiago de Chile.
Congratulations on winning the Seed award in 2019! What does your company do?
We make a device for travelers. It allows them to use their sim card when they travel abroad to send and receive calls and texts without paying international roaming fees.
How did you find out about Start-up Chile, and what motivated you to enter?
We met David from Startup Chile in Oman during the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition as our entry shortlisted. David was giving a presentation about Start-up Chile. We had a chat with him later and he advised us to apply. After that we did our research about the Latin American market, we discovered that it’s a promising market for us, and Chile is the best place to enter the LATAM market.
How has VoxEra developed since then?
We got accepted to the program during the manufacturing process. Start-up Chile helped us to apply for our international patent. Now we have many open channels with Chilean key players, but unfortunately everything started to slow down due to protests in October, and now the pandemic. But we believe it’s going to end soon.
What kind of support do you receive from Start-up Chile?
We were granted CLP$25.000.000, office space, and a 1-year visa. They helped us open a bank account and register the company. They provided amazing mentoring and they helped us to approach some customers from them network.
Can you describe the nature of the entrepreneurial network in Chile?
I believe entrepreneurship in Chile is new but promising. As a country with a strong economic system it will be the leader of entrepreneurship in Latin America. For an entrepreneur, Chile is the best place to access the South American market.
In your opinion, what are some of the advantages and challenges that start-ups face in Chile?
The advantage is being in the most secure and stable country in Latin America. This gives you the door to access the LATAM market easily and with governmental support. I think everything is working well. The only disadvantage I can think of are the relatively high taxes.
How do institutions and fellow entrepreneurs support each other and the start-up scene in Chile?
The team is super supportive and helpful. However, I think with this huge amount of new start-ups they are very busy. After finishing the program I’m still in contact with them and they are still super supportive. Of course I made amazing new friends within the entrepreneurial network, and we continue to support each other. With the inspirational atmosphere I had another startup idea for the Chilean market and I found a co-founder within SUPPERS (that’s what they call entrepreneurs that joined Start-up Chile).
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