Uruguay is Latin America’s most collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem, according to a study conducted by the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Initiative and the MIT D-LAB Local Innovation Group. Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, has a solid foundation to be recognized as an innovation-based entrepreneurship ecosystem reference in Latin America.
According to Startupblink, Montevideo is 13th among the best cities for startups in Latin America. With approximately 3.5 million inhabitants, Startupblink also ranks Uruguay in the 6th position of best countries for startups in Latin America. Perhaps the best-known startup in Uruguay is dLocal, a cross-border payment platform that is the country’s first and only unicorn. The company went public on Nasdaq in 2021, and dLocal was then valued at $6B.
It is worth mentioning that a few weeks ago, Uruguay’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining Omar Paganini announced the creation of a new program with public and private resources called “Uruguay Innovation Hub”. The program’s objective is to strengthen the country’s positioning as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in Latin America. This initiative seeks to attract capital and startups from all over the world to strengthen the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Also, the program will promote the foundation and development of international startups in Uruguay.
The minister presented the project during the Test & Invest International Forum, organized by the national government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). During this event, Uruguay’s president Lacalle Pou commented that “Uruguay’s vocation is to become a Latin American hub.”
With a growing startup ecosystem and a national government that pushes forward the country’s entrepreneurial efforts, Uruguay is steadily turning into one of Latin America’s epicenters for innovation in technology. This is why we made a selection to highlight some of Uruguay’s most relevant and interesting startups:
Bankingly was founded in 2015 by Martin Naor. The startup provides digital banking channels for financial institutions allowing them to improve customer experience, gain new customers and save costs. Its founder and director, Martin Naor, worked for 12 years in Microsoft’s LatAm operation, where he held leadership positions.
Through a pay-per-use SaaS service, Bankingly offers different tools to traditional financial institutions and cooperatives to advance in the digitization of products and customer relationships. It offers the possibility of creating an app and a web channel.
In May 2022, the startup closed an $11M Series A round, seeking to deepen its expansion to 40 markets, including Asia and Africa. The round was led by Dalus Capital and backed by institutions and firms such as the IDB Lab and IDC Ventures.
Datanomik was founded in 2022 by dLocal co-founders Sergio Fogel and Gonzalo Strauss. The startup is a B2B Open Banking platform that helps companies easily access financial information. Datanomik provides through a single API access to the different bank accounts of companies in several countries. The API collects standardized and real-time data directly from banks and other institutions, such as payment service providers and e-commerce platforms.
In March 2022, Datanomik closed a $6M seed round in which Nazca, Canary, Latitud, and Andreessen Horowitz participated.
Companies normally perform penetration testing 1 or 2 times a year, as it is a slow and very expensive process. Strike combines automation and specialized ethical hackers to apply perpetual penetration testings.
In April 2022, Strike raised $5.4M in a seed round led by Magma Partners, Greyhound Capital, FJ Labs, Canary, NXTP, VentureFriends, Latitud, and Orok Ventures.
Prometeo was founded in 2018 by Ximena Aleman and Rodrigo Tumaián. Prometeo is the largest Open Banking platform in Latin America. The company provides a single point of access to 40 financial institutions through 110 APIs in 10 countries in the region.
It allows banks, fintechs, and enterprises to access consolidated financial information, initiate payments, perform transactions and account validations, and build financial management tools.
Meitre was founded in 2016 by Juan Ignacio Caviglia and Luis Caviglia. Meitre is a restaurant management platform where restaurants can access online reservations, and a revenue and customer management system.
The company optimizes restaurant demand by analyzing past data to better understand future demand through algorithms. Meitre’s platform also helps restaurants create customized marketing campaigns.
Paganza was founded in 2012 by Leonardo Vernazza and Marcelo Lanfranconi. With Paganza’s app, users can send money to any contact, pay recurring bills and also use their cell phones to pay faster in stores.
The startup’s platform allows users to pay all recurring bills from a single platform: loan installments, credit cards, insurance, and more. Paganza automatically searches for users’ bills and sends reminder notifications. It also analyzes users’ consumption history.
Prex was founded in 2015 by Alfredo Bruce. Prex is a fintech that offers a digital account, an international Mastercard, and a mobile app. The startup’s mission is to democratize access to financial products and services across Latin America.
Prex users can manage their entire financial life from a single super-app. Clients can make everyday purchases, shop abroad, make payments, receive personal loans 100% online, exchange currency, and more. The digital account and Mastercard have no maintenance or renewal costs.
Prex was launched in Argentina in 2019 and in Peru in 2021. The startup has over 1 million customers and granted 250,000 loans.
Pedidos Ya was founded in 2009 by Alvaro Garcia, Ariel Burschtin, and Ruben Sosenke. Pedidos Ya is one of Latin America’s leading food delivery and quick commerce technology companies. In 2014, the company was acquired by the food delivery global leader Delivery Hero. Also, in 2020, Pedidos Ya acquired Glovo, another delivery food app present in Latin America.
The company’s platform connects over 77,000 restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, and stores with millions of users. Nowadays, Pedidos Ya operates in more than 500 cities in Latin America. Pedidos Ya is present in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Nocnoc was founded in 2018 by Diego Szilagyi, Ilan Bajarlia, and Joaquin Colella. Nocnoc connects international sellers to local e-commerce marketplaces throughout Latin America. Merchants from China and the US can connect their products to Nocnoc’s platform.
Nocnoc’s technology and team analyze sellers’ supply and match it to the demand of Latin American markets. Sellers and brands can also optimize pricing, conversion rates, and increase sales.
Nocnoc’s founders had previously worked together at dLocal, where they were part of the founding team. In March 2022, the company raised a $7M seed round co-led by Mouro Capital and Quona Capital.
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