Three years ago, when I was working as a freelance motion graphics designer, I started making videos for clients, most were young Argentines leading their own companies. The more people like them I met, the harder it was to avoid feeling seduced by the crazy idea of creating something from zero to solve a particular pain, by creating a company and making that your living.
It was in that moment that I first grappled with the concept of “entrepreneurship,” even though I was already somewhat of an entrepreneur running my own small business.
A few months later, as I was called to co-found Wideo.co with my close friend, Agu De Marco, I understood that I had met those other up-and-coming entrepreneurs for a reason and that Buenos Aires was already fertile ground for developing globally successful companies.
With Wideo, we were able to take advantage of some contests and subsidies our city government was offering for startups like us. A political interest in promoting entrepreneurship was beginning to grow, and luckily still is. Of those contests, we won a paid “Mission to Silicon Valley” to present our project to Techcrunch, which was invaluable in terms of gaining exposure and making contacts outside Argentina.
Right now, the government is promoting new measures to help entrepreneurs start new businesses, like the “S&M’s Law” (a series of benefits that help those type of companies); the Entrepreneur Law Project (a law that accelerates the process of creating a company so it only takes 24 hours instead of months, as well as special funding programs); and the elimination of foreign currency restrictions, plus a unique exchange rate.
We have also been incubated and invested in by the most important startup accelerator program in Argentina: NXTPLabs. This is where we took our first steps as a company and gained access to a lot of valuable opportunities.
One of the most important things we’ve learned from NXTPLabs is that even the best idea has no value if there’s not a great team there to execute it. That’s another significant factor that makes Argentina a great place for startups to emerge: there’s plenty of talent.
Successful and globally-known companies based in Argentina like Mercadolibre.com, Despegar.com, and Globant, among others, are producing a lot of talent within software and product development, so finding local talent to start a tech company is not an issue.
In fact, many of our awesome developers have worked in those kinds of companies before but left them to get new experiences.
In terms of education, there are also some great projects that incubate new ideas from high schools and universities.
Agu, the other co-founder of Wideo, also created an official open subject at the University of Buenos Aires called Emprending. This program is designed to get engineering students thinking about developing their own projects and has hundreds of attendees each year.
Even though there are a lot of reasons to start a company here in Buenos Aires, I also believe there is no ideal scenario for starting a company — not even Silicon Valley.
Today, anyone anywhere in the world can think globally, just like we did from Buenos Aires, and create something amazing by contacting investors and hiring great talent.
With Wideo, for example, we’ve always wanted to be a project based in Argentina but known worldwide. That’s why we launched 3 years ago in English, then in Spanish, then in Portuguese. We’ve even created subsidiary companies in Korea and Chile.
We were recently influenced by the book “REMOTE” (by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried from 37signals, founders of Basecamp and other products). We’ve since decided to close our office. Now, all of our collaborators work from wherever they want.
Some of us have continued working in Buenos Aires either at home or in a co-working space, while others work from different cities in Argentina or even Spain, the United States, Korea, and Canada.
So we can say any place in the world is the best place to start. You just need to have a great idea that solves a real problem, recruit the right people, and execute it with effort, vision, and consistency. Luckily, I can still do just that 6 blocks from home.