Uruguay is an emerging technological and innovation hub, in great part due to governmental initiatives like the National Agency for Investigation and Innovation (ANII). One of the Agency’s main focuses is to make different tools available to the public, from funding, to research scholarships, to entrepreneurship incentive programs, and more, promoting and stimulating research and knowledge application. Discover and be inspired by 10 of Uruguay’s most successful startups; some of which you might already know.
IronHide Game Studio
IronHide are independent game developers who “make the games they’d love to play”. They have developed “Clash of the Olympians”, “Kingdom Rush” (which is a three-game saga), and “Iron Marines” for Android and iOS. Kingdom Rush can also be played on Steam, GOG, Bundlestars and MacStore, expanding IronHide’s work to multiple platforms and full HD graphics. The games are easy to learn but hard to master, and the team does a great job at packing attractive design, light-hearted humor and deep tactics all into one.
These innovative small guitars have three strings, reducing chords to their main triad of notes. Learning how to play the guitar can be an overwhelming process for beginners, especially kids who may be uncomfortable with traditional guitars because their arms are too short. The idea behind Loog Guitars was to make it easy to play guitars that actually sound like guitars (unlike the ukulele) to stimulate learning. Kids can also download the free Loog app to have access to video lessons, a guitar tuner, song chords and more. After winning several awards, the startup developed the Loog Pro, for adults.
This is one of the biggest startups in Uruguay, since it has expanded to Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú and Venezuela. It has a website and an app to order food online for delivery. Most restaurants and bars are connected to PedidosYa, so you have a very good selection of food to order. A lot of times they have deals so it’s well worth checking out. Some restaurants have applied a system created by PedidosYa in which you get a stamp every time you order, and every 10 stamps you get a meal for free (for the average value you’ve spent in that restaurant).
GlamST is a virtual makeup platform specifically designed for retailers and beauty brands, that allows customers to try on products without having to actually try them on. The platform provides a multichannel and customized experience, encouraging consumers to find the right look and increasing their engagement online and offline. GlamST truly takes makeup e-commerce to the next level, as customers are provided with a limitless sample experience, beauty advice and product information at all times, wherever they are.
Motivated by the aim of financial inclusion in the fintech sector, regardless of resources or location, Bankingly provides digital banking solutions to financial institutions around the world. They offer clients the technology for agile and secure channels, such as mobile, online and social media banking. They have managed to create a platform that can be implemented quickly, with flexible monthly prices that are based on the number of users who log in.
InfoCasas collects all real estate information from agents and owners to help users find houses to buy and rent. It’s a great solution that makes the housing market a less daunting subject. Users can start their search by what they’re looking for; the tool can be used to rent, sell, buy, and find accommodation across the country. They can also refine it by the type of property they are looking for, city and neighborhood. This startup is now operating in Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Perú and Bolivia.
This platform enables international e-commerce websites to accept local payments in Latin America, in local currency. Through local bank transfers, direct debit and cash payments, AstroPay provides offshore settlements in foreign currencies to merchants, without the need to set up companies or bank accounts in each country. Conversion rates in Latin America are very low, so AstroPay helps businesses raise their conversion rates, developing a first-class payment solution for users, who usually face a variety of issues trying to make payments on foreign websites.
Inestsat provides an alternative to satellite for TV channel distribution. They replace the commonly used satellite receiver-decoder by allowing channels to be originated directly on video servers located on cable operators. This cuts the costs of distributing TV channels around the globe. Clients can also blackout or replace parts of the feeds according to the country where they will be shown, meeting licensing or regulatory requirements for each country. They provide additional options like storage, playout, subtitling and more.
This app allows users to pay bills directly from their devices. All users have to do is create an account with their banking information, and scan the barcode in their bills. The system uses digital banking security levels, and users can check the exact amount that will be taken from their bank accounts beforehand, unlike direct debit. In Uruguay, paying bills is particularly annoying because different bills are paid at different locations. With Paganza, Uruguayans have easy access to paying their bills, so they could finally stop worrying about when and where to pay them.