Rob Machado is a Brazilian writer-journalist by trade and now is founder and CEO of Authorship.me, a new text content enhancement and metric-driven writing software for professional content producers, which is currently in beta. He just spent the past 14 weeks living in Nashville as part of the inaugural cohort of the 1440 Accelerator Program, an innovative publishing-specific accelerator backed by Ingram Content Group. Startup Southerner connected with Machado at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, where 1440 was based, and we were intrigued by the fact that this was not his first accelerator program, but that it was his first one in a U.S. startup ecosystem. He previously participated in Startup Chile, in Santiago, and is currently back in Brazil ready to embark on another. Since he has experience with more than one startup ecosystem, we asked him to reflect on what’s unique—or not—about each one. Here’s what he had to say:
Nashville was, all in all, a very glad surprise. Of course, being a Johnny Cash fan, one hears about the city’s folk/country background. What came as a surprise, was how the triadic combination of the old printing community, alongside the contemporary music scene, and—more recently—the healthcare biz ecosystems, have turned the city into a southern innovation hub. One of the local driving forces behind this change is the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, located downtown five blocks from bustling Broadway.
The EC’s long, red brick building’s past incarnation was as an old trolley service station, now re-born as an exciting mixture of business learning center, and co-working space. There, associate entrepreneurs can make use of printing facilities, meeting rooms, workstations, and also enjoy access to weekly learning events and gatherings. Besides this, they get access to a very proficient network of industry-specific mentors. The EC also houses the cohorts for the 1440 Program, as well as its other “siblings”: the Project Music Accelerator, the eldest, and the forthcoming Project Healthcare Accelerator.
Authorship.me’s first acceleration process took place half a world away as part of the 11th generation of the Startup Chile program. If you are a startup founder, and don’t know about this initiative, you are definitely missing out!
Affectionally called SUP by its participants, this world-renowned program was devised as a means of stimulating the local Chilean business ecosystem, by bringing foreign entrepreneurs to live and work in Chile for six months. The program then helps entrepreneurs to jumpstart/scale their business ideas, by awarding selected entrepreneurs an equity-free government grant of 20 million Pesos, originally around USD $40k (nowadays close to USD $30k, due to currency devaluation).
Foreign entrepreneurs are expected to chip-in with 10% of the total grant’s value, and are incentivized to employ local talent. They are also required to give back to the local ecosystem, by organizing, or taking part of, a wide variety of social-entrepreneurial events. The SUP program started in 2011 and, last year, as of my generation, it had already surpassed its initial four-year goal of graduating 1,000 startups—to the point of earning the region the nickname “Chilecon Valley.”
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Despite being the world’s 7th largest economy, Brazil has historically faced serious socio-economical challenges, currently compounded by the one-two punch of an ongoing political crisis and the most severe recession since the 1930s.
Fueled by World Cup and Olympiad dreams, for a time—during the first decade of the millennium—it all seemed to be working in favor for our economy (perhaps you’ll even remember an iconic magazine cover, by the Economist, the one with the statue of Christ the Redeemer taking off like a rocket?). But economic tides started changing around the second half of 2014, amid the county’s largest corruption scandal, right after the re-election of president Dilma Rousseff, who was recently ousted and soon to be impeached.
Sailing against the current, Authorship.me is now about to embark on its third round of acceleration, as part of the SEED Minas Accelerator Program (an initiative by the Brazilian State Government of Minas Gerais). Born just as the economy started faltering, in 2014, SEED Minas came as a breath of fresh air for the regional entrepreneurial community. Inspired by Startup Chile and with similar goals and socio-entrepreneurial return mechanics, the program takes place in the regional capital city of Belo Horizonte, famous for its local entrepreneurial tech community, located around the neighborhood of São Pedro. The region—also known as San Pedro Valley—has attracted more than 100 startups, and was chosen by none other than Google for its regional headquarters.
Authorship.me is currently in beta. To enlist as a beta tester, visit authorship.me and please use the promo code: Southerner