Chilean Government Funds Marin Bros.' Travel Startup

Foreign investment can go both ways. The government of Chile is investing in a Marin-based travel company.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Puyehue volcano erupts in Chile on June 4, 2011. Trips near here could be arranged through a Marin-based startup.

    Invest in local business. The Chilean people are doing it.

    A pair of Marin County brothers' are using money from the citizens of Chile to fund their travel startup, using $40,000 to develop a mobile app for their website that they hope will eventually connect local farmers and tour guides directly with tourists, cutting out the middleman.

    The company's called DoTheGlobe, and the brothers are Noah and Michael Aron. They're one of the 100 startups to receive a check from the Chilean government, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

    The money will go to help start a satellite office in Chile, and will develop www.dotheglobe.com's mobile app, the newspaper reported.

    Noah Aron had the idea while staying with a family in a remote part of Peru -- in the middle of Lake Titicaca. He was paying $100 for the experience, but his host family received only $10. On DoTheGlobe's Web site, a would-be host family or tour guide posts his or her service, and a traveler connects directly with them -- no middle man required.

    On the website now, folks can connect directly with a wilderness survival tour in Guerneville, a bike tour of Marin, and a treasure-hunter in San Francisco.

    Start-Up Chile has doled out roughly $13 million in grant funding to 336 startups since its inception in 2010, the newspaper reported. Only about a fifth of the entrepreneurs were Chilean.

    Noah, 30, lives in Sausalito. His brother, Michael, 42, is a San Rafael resident and founded the Mojotown Motorcycle Shop and Mojotown design agency in San Rafael, the newspaper reported.

    Noah will travel to Chile on Feb. 28 to set up the satellite office there.