Technology

Endeavor Miami board member resigns under scrutiny

Alberto Chang-Rajii during a speech at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2014.
Alberto Chang-Rajii during a speech at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2014.

A high-profile figure on the Miami tech scene has resigned his post as a board member of the non-profit Endeavor Miami following scrutiny of claims he made about his background.

Administrators at Stanford University say Alberto Chang-Rajii, founder of the international private equity and capital venture firm Grupo Arcano, never attended the school, according to a story in the Miami New Times. The Stanford University Office of the Registrar confirmed the report Wednesday afternoon.

Alberto Arébalos, Google’s former chief of communications for Latin America, has also challenged Chang-Rajii’s story about investing $10,000 in 1996 in Google’s first incarnation, which would have given him a one-percent stake in the company, according to the New Times.

The New Times story followed a lengthy Q&A with Grupo Arcano CEO Jorge Hurtado published Sunday in the Spanish-language newspaper El Mercurio in Santiago. Hurtado downplayed the importance of whether or not Chang-Rajii attended Stanford or was an early Google investor and stressed the firm’s recent investments in Uber, Snapchat and Miami-based Open English.

Chang-Rajii resigned his position as a board member of the non-profit Endeavor Miami on Tuesday.

“He did it to focus on his affairs and in Endeavor’s best interest to allow us to continue to focus on our mission, which is to mentor entrepreneurs and accelerate their growth,” Endeavor Miami managing director Laura I. Maydón stated in an e-mail Wednesday. “We are grateful for all his support to Endeavor Miami these past years.”

Chang-Rajii founded Grupo Arcano in his native Santiago, Chile in 2001. The company currently maintains additional offices in Miami, London and Sydney and employs 46 people. The firm is the presenting sponsor of the Startup Showcase at this year’s eMerge Americas conference, to be held April 18-19.

Xavier Gonzalez, CEO of eMerge Americas, says Grupo Arcano is “just one of hundreds of companies we’ve been working with leading up to this year’s conference and all our interactions have been satisfactory.”

As of Wednesday, Chang-Rajii’s bio on the Grupo Arcano website indicated he had completed a B.A. in commercial engineering but gave no university — a change, according to New Times, from his bio prior to Tuesday. Stanford is also not mentioned in his bio on the website for the Alberto Chang Foundation, which awards annual grants to college students and educational institutions.

Hurtado also clarified a statement Chang-Rajii made during a speech at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2014 in which Chang-Rajii claimed Grupo Arcano generated $1.8 million annually. Hurtado said the figure was intended to represent the company’s entire revenue from 2001-2013.

Chang-Rajii’s attorney, Juan Pablo Cappello, did not respond to The Herald’s request to comment for this story.

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald

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