Press Start expanding its horizons in Uruguay
Those who know us are aware that at Press Start, we have been working remotely for 13 years, which has given us the freedom to move around and made us a team of digital nomads. Throughout our journey, we have established the company in Colombia, the United States, Australia, and now, in the early months of 2023, we have decided to continue our path of entrepreneurial innovation by establishing the company in Uruguay.
But how did Press Start come to Uruguay? What has been our experience creating a software development, video game, and digital product company in this country? What advantages and disadvantages have we faced during this process? What are the main differences between establishing the company in Uruguay compared to the processes we went through in Colombia, the United States, and Australia? These are some of the questions we will address in this blog post.
To begin with, in March 2020, the founding partners of Press Start Evolution arrived in Montevideo from Australia (where we shared a bit about that experience on the other side of the world in another blog post (https://www.pressstartevolution.com/blog/press-start-extending-its-horizons-in-australia/). Luck was on our side, as the day after we landed in Uruguay, the country closed its borders.
Between March 2020 and January 2023, we had the opportunity to get to know the country. We decided to live in the paradise of Punta del Este, immersed ourselves in the culture, and got involved with the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. On a personal level, we went through the legal migration process, and in February 2023, we began the process of establishing the company. We were surprised to find that as Colombians, the process of obtaining legal residence was quite straightforward. However, the biggest challenge was opening a bank account, not only for personal purposes (or as individuals, as they say in Uruguay) but also for the company.
It’s worth noting that Uruguay is known for its political, economic, and social stability, and beyond being a marketing claim, it is a reality. This creates a stable and favorable business environment for investment. Moreover, Uruguay has favorable policies for business development, providing security and confidence to entrepreneurs. Specifically in the technology sector, it offers a range of fiscal and regulatory incentives to encourage investment, including tax exemptions and benefits for software companies. In terms of the banking sector, despite the official currency being the Uruguayan peso, it is possible to open accounts in US dollars, which is a significant advantage for software companies that invoice in dollars both locally and internationally (60% of Uruguay’s technology sector revenue comes from the United States, according to Uruguayan Chamber of Information Technology Cuti).
On the other hand, Uruguay is a relatively bureaucratic country, not to mention the excessive administrative procedures involved in any process, especially when it comes to creating a company. Although since mid-2022, the country has offered the option of digitally creating a Sociedad Anónima por Acciones (SAS) (a type of limited liability company), the process is quite tedious, as it requires numerous procedures that, when compared to the digital processes in other countries, make the company establishment process in Uruguay complex, when it should be the opposite, given the available technology. Additionally, labor costs and social charges are relatively high, increasing the operational costs for companies, especially in terms of hiring and maintaining personnel. The certifications required, whether from accountants or notaries (similar to a notary public in Colombia), are quite expensive compared to Colombia. Furthermore, Uruguay does not accept Adobe’s advanced digital signature for the different documents that need to be completed digitally. Instead, another signature system must be used, requiring different types of digital signature certificates and electronic devices for signature recognition (in this case, notaries have digital ID card readers).
In general comparison with first-world countries like the United States and Australia, where the digital company establishment processes were quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive, Colombia also stands out as one of the countries, at least to our knowledge, where virtual processes for company incorporation are genuinely user-friendly, utilizing technology for the benefit of entrepreneurs and business owners.
Finally, while we encountered many challenges in legally creating the company in Uruguay, we already had clients in the country, which further motivated us to endure the incorporation process, in addition to our international clients, primarily from the United States and Australia. In the medium term, we hope to expand our market presence in the Mercosur region and contribute with our international experience and expertise to the local software, video game, and information technology ecosystem.