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Contxto – Software startup, Chipax, isn’t going to let a global pandemic stop it. This Chilean platform’s dealings with the circumstances brought on by the novel coronavirus only delayed its plans. Although like other scrappy startups, it’s adapted and is moving towards its goal to expand into Mexico in 2021.
In this regard, it’s preparing to raise an investment round for US$2.5 million as well as snag 1,200 customers by year’s end.
Why it’s a big deal: If someone wanted a snapshot to understand Latam startups during this unusual point in time, Chipax’s case is a prime example to grasp everything that’s been going on.
But more importantly, it illustrates how supple startups and their teams can adapt to overcome unforeseen challenges.
On Chipax‘s platform
Like other startups before it, Chipax emerged when its founder, Antonio Correa, stumbled upon a problem. He’d been working at a small tech business that needed help getting its management ducks in order… or else cease operations.
Correa took it upon himself to design a software program that ditched the hundreds of Excel spreadsheets. Instead, all the necessary financial data (accounts, taxes due, etc.) was consolidated onto a single program.
Needless to say the owners were delighted—and became Chipax’s first customers in 2016. Four years later and the Chilean startup now has 600 customers.
Things were running smoothly up until January of this year when it planned to raise an investment. Then disaster (Covid-19) struck.
Covid calls for tightening the belt
“Everything we’d achieved was stopped in its tracks,” mused Correa. “But we made it our goal to continue on.”
However “continuing on” came at a cost, literally.
Survival meant lowering expenses and obtaining financing no matter what. It even implied having some tough conversations with the team. Correa admits that lowering his staff’s salary was a price that had to be paid. Fortunately, they pulled through.
But there were downhearted tales to be heard too.
“We dedicated a lot of time to listening to small business owners’ stories and some were very sad,” reflected Correa. “And we didn’t always have the means to help them. That really wore us down.”
- Related article: Latin American startups versus Covid-19
Is that surprising? Not really.
According to a survey by Eurochile, 81 percent of SMEs in Chile reported being “severely affected” by the Covid-19 contingency. Moreover, 45 percent don’t think they’ll make it through because of the country’s mandatory quarantine.
Wherever possible, Chipax sought to lower its prices to help the SMEs that use its platform. But even it must set boundaries to stay afloat. It’s the type of tough business decisions all founders face sooner or later.
But business last month began picking up for the Chipax team and it also launched a new invoicing service.
As the world begins contemplating the “post-Covid” era, this Chilean startup—like many others—hopes to continue growing and close its investment.
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