Tech Startup Movement in South America

Stylized drawing of Uruguay map with computer users and students, family watching internet cloud video on large flatscreen TV,  foreground featued image of female physician referring to electronic medical records on a tablet while examining a male patient. Inset map of Uruguay's location in South America
Montevideo and Uruguay – Growing Technology Hub.

Uruguay is the place to be for tech opportunity. As is “Technolatina” South America in general. Startup or established, large or small business.

Yesterday on our social networks, I shared a new article from new-business, entrepreneur-targeted Fast Company, which noted that Montevideo, Uruguay is becoming a Technology Hub. My link goes directly to my comments on their report, where I explain that in many ways, it’s not just “becoming”, it already is. I give solid reasons and examples why, including how I was “discovered” by a major cloud software / services company, NetSuite, by virtue of moving to Uruguay, and got a job as a technical writer here in Montevideo – by virtue of having “changed the rules of the game” for my career, because I moved out of a growth-challenged society (USA) into a growing, business-friendly one (Uruguay).

Same Mark Mercer, same skills. Career prematurely executed in USA, in demand in Uruguay.  Read the link for the details of why Uruguay is right for business, and why being here re-opened and re-booted my career. Going back into corporate software engineering work wasn’t the right long-term move for me, so I returned to freelancing. Where I’m finding opportunities both right here and globally.

Returned revitalized by realizing the new world of opportunity in Uruguay. And excited to see what my friends and colleagues at the tiny Uruguayan startups, SuiteCommerce & Gproxy, both acquired by NetSuite mid-2012 to serve their global customers from right here in the Southern Cone,  have built to make a huge advance in web ecommerce. And proud to have made even a small contribution during my short time there. (I’m the guy who explained Pinterest to one of their lead developers, who then promptly ran with it far beyond what I demonstrated, and built it into the new Social-integrated Web Shopping modules for businesses. What’s hilarious is that I’m the guy who explained Pinterest, considering its 80%+ female demographic, jejeje. To be fair, I also stressed how important Google+ for website SEO is, even for those not actively networking on G+.)

That’s by no means the first time Uruguay, and Latin America in general,  has been lauded as a great place for business opportunity, such as software and business services. Take a look at what TechCrunch had to say six months ago:

The Rise Of The TechnoLatinas: A Full-Fledged Startup Movement Emerges In South America | TechCrunch.

Western Hemisphere globe view with Latin America (Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and all of South America except Surinam and French Guiana) hightlighted in green.
Rise of the Technolatinas – image ©2012 TechCrunch

What’s a tech hub? A place where the combination of highly-educated workforce, global orientation, excellent technical infrastructure, modern developed-country basic services (reliable power, clean water, good transportation), sensible tax policy with business incentives, healthcare that doesn’t financially burden either employers or employees, and more, combine to make it an excellent place to start, and to grow, a technology-centric business. Or to move or expand an already established tech business. For example, in the Free Trade Area Zonamerica, where I worked for a time for NetSuite’s newly-acquired startup SuiteCommerce, I was right across the street from travel IT giant Sabre’s Latin American headquarters.

Large dark-glass framed office building with red SabreHoldings sign, foreground showing reeds in landscaping
Sabre Holdings offices in Zonamerica FTA, Montevideo, Uruguay

Which is their second-largest location in the world, and like SuiteCommerce, services the world, not only Latin America, from right here in Uruguay.

I’m not going to say that Uruguay, or Latin America in general, is the only place to be for revitalizing your career, starting your business, expanding your opportunities. It’s not. Only Siths deal in absolutes. But the region clearly is on an upward trajectory, despite glitches in the global economic system. Certainly South America and Central America are venues you should consider. For your life, for your business ideas, for your investment opportunities, for your expansion of your already successful business. We have the infrastructure and the environment. Uruguay is welcoming to business.

Despite the “socialist” label you hear, especially from the USA MSM, we have the freedom and opportunity. And that “socialism” on things like health care means that as an employer, entrepreneur, or employee, you are not crushed under a ridiculously expensive healthcare burden full of non-caregiving middlemen doing little more than rent-seeking profit-taking. So you can focus on your business. And yes, you do have a choice of health care providers. In fact, a very competitive marketplace, including an option of totally private, individualized healthcare with the state paying part of your premium. Or the very good mutualista system, with your social security withholding (or as business owner, pay-into) paying for all of it!

Or, like I’m about to do down by the beach at my mutualista’s polyclinic, while picking up my cheap prescriptions, pay my $85 USD monthly premium. Then come back and get back to work for my author client’s deliverable this week, and pitch a hotel owner on a social media and website upgrade project.

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Mark Mercer

Site co-owner Mark Mercer. AKA Marcos Cristoforo Mercer, AKA the Fuzzy Wanderer. Expat from USA living in Uruguay as of mid-2012, after "test-driving" it for a few months in 2011 and early 2012. Married to Lisamaria, AKA well-known travel and fitness writer Lisa Marie Mercer. Follow Mark on Twitter @mcmxs and his many other sites, which you can find at http://about.me/MarkMercer. I write and engage about many of my other interests, on Google+ at https://google.com/+MarkMercer