For the past few weeks, my feed has been flooded with posts from all major news sites covering Uruguay’s success in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
This small country -known so far for its outstanding football players and accomplishments, meat, and mate– has been recognized by Google and Apple for its innovative strategic approach during the current pandemic and the success of the Coronavirus UY app. Such recognitions add to a long list that includes Harvard and Stanford universities, and other tech giants like Microsoft and IBM, who have had large operations in Uruguay for decades now.
I will not go into much detail on the reasons why Uruguay is so attractive for Americans. A quick online search typing Uruguay+Software will lead you to the main strengths and opportunities the Uruguayan tech ecosystem has to offer, which can be summarized into:
● Time zone convenience: GMT-3 or EST+2.
● Language capabilities: English is a must-have in every tech-related job description.
● Experience: Uruguay is the largest software exporter per capita in South America and 70% of it goes to the U.S.
● Tax exemptions: software exports and related services are tax-free.
● Attractive rate: the average rate is estimated to be half of the US rate.
● National interest: several organizations, such as Uruguay XXI, CUTI, AGESIC, and LATU, support the development of the tech environment.
This brings us to the purpose of this article: to guide you on finding your next tech partner in Uruguay. To do so, I tried to answer this essential question: Where can an American startup/SME find a trustworthy partner in Uruguay that creates value?
[Note: value = (quality + service) / cost]
To start with the right foot, I recommend you look for companies with verified reviews and backed by national organizations. Contact them directly. Talk as much as needed. Ask for references and past projects done for other American companies. Take your time to build a relationship until you feel comfortable enough to work together. Also, have in mind that these guys are not desperate and they look for trustworthy customers too, as unemployment in the tech sector is almost nonexistent and most of the companies operate at full capacity.
Below, there is a list of reliable professional websites and state organizations that can help you find and connect with verified custom software development companies in Uruguay:
Clutch is a data-driven field guide to business buying decisions, which provides unbiased reviews conducted by professional analysts, as well as comparisons of businesses in a specific market. It is packed with information, reviews, and rankings of +150,000 agencies around the world, clustered in +500 categories. It builds the profiles and verifies the reviews to ensure transparency.
A few facts about the rankings and Uruguay’s positions on it:
● 180 Uruguayan agencies have a Clutch profile (10% of all Latin American agencies)
● 6 Uruguayan agencies rank amongst Latin America’s Top 30 Custom Software Development Agencies (20%)
● Strong focus on small and medium businesses — 49 out of 241 are Uruguayan (27% of all Uruguayan ranked agencies).
● 21 agencies have received reviews and the average rating is over 4.5 out of 5.0.
● The average size of the companies is less than 50 employees.
● The most mentioned qualities are understanding, engagement, involvement, reliability, and quality.
The Chamber of Uruguayan IT Companies (CUTI) is an NGO made up of +350 companies. Its mission is to promote the growth and development of Uruguay’s technology industry. It is a reference center and an active partner of institutions that make up the Uruguayan tech industry ecosystem, such as business incubators, academic-industrial centers, universities, technology parks, state institutions, and business associations. You can find the member catalog here or you can contact CUTI directly. They will assist you in finding the right partner.
3. General Consulate of Uruguay in San Francisco
In February 2020, Uruguay opened its first technological consulate in the world in the city of San Francisco, with the sole purpose of being closer to Silicon Valley and promoting the relationship between both tech communities. Tech, investment, and education are the principal focuses of the diplomatic mission. You can check the location and phone number here, or connect with the Consul General Ignacio Gonzalez Nery (@gonzalezneryh).
4. Uruguay XXI
Uruguay XXI is the national agency responsible for the promotion of exports, investments, and country image. It works to strengthen the export capacity and competitiveness of Uruguayan companies, promote the country as an attractive destination for productive investments, and promote the country brand “Uruguay Natural” in the world. It can be a great point of contact if you are interested in opening a subsidiary in Uruguay.
Almost all of Uruguay’s tech companies are located in Montevideo. With a population of 1.4 million people (like Philadelphia) and covering an area of 78 sq miles (equivalent to Cleveland), Montevideo hosts over 700 software-related companies and serves as a perfect hub, fostering collaboration and cooperation between +25,000 workers.
The Uruguayan tech ecosystem, particularly the custom software development sector, comprises young, smart, and agile companies that collaborate even with their direct competitors, all in benefit of their customers. They are specialized in small and medium businesses, in understanding their needs and dreams, and in crafting beautiful solutions collaboratively. They are problem-solvers driven by innovation, and fully customer-oriented. They will question and test your ideas until they find the best way to meet your needs.
If you want extra details on Uruguay’s tech environment and government plans, you can download the Digital Agenda for 2020 or visit the above-mentioned sites.