We recently attended the Latin American Tech Day and Edge Awards at the Science Museum in London. While there we spoke to Juan Pablo Tripodi (Executive President, Argentine Investment and Trade Promotion Agency) about Argentina and what opportunities there are now for European companies and startups seeking to expand to the LATAM region.
For more developed startups looking to expand to LATAM, why should they consider Argentina as a base?
Buenos Aires is very well connected from a travel and network perspective. The entrepreneurial and business network you find in Argentina is developed and growing consistently. A recent change in the law providing tax incentives on certain investments has also increased the access/interest from international Seed/VC investors in Argentina.
Argentina also has an amazing pool of technical talent that many companies, particularly in Europe, are unaware of. One of our keys focuses now is to make it known by the rest of the world that Argentina has this high level of technical talent.
In addition, over the last ten years, the software industry has been heavily promoted and grow significantly, with Argentina now having over 100,000 developers and exporting $1.7 billion in digital services each, with 50% of this export going to the United States. As Argentina continues to expand, we are looking to grow this export by creating further awareness of Argentina in Europe.
How has the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Argentina developed in recent years?
Firstly, the culture of Argentina is very entrepreneurial, maybe because of all the difficulties Argentinian people have faced recently and in the past. This has lead to the creation of many resilient and creative Argentinian entrepreneurs now seeking to solve problems as cheaply and quickly as possible.
The Argentinian people are also now very technologically orientated. This has lead to a high level of mobile device/service penetration (similar to China), there has been much development around companies providing mobile/App-based products (Todo Pago, Mercardo Libre).
How do you see Argentina developing in terms of its other resources such as Lithium?
Between Brazil, Argentina and Chile there’s 80% of the world’s lithium reserves and it is much easier to extract as opposed to Australia. A lot of traditional mining companies and specialist lithium companies are now investing in the exploration and development of lithium mines in the north-west of Argentina (Salta). Long term was hoping to see more investment in this area as the worlds demand for Lithium increases.
Lithium is a massive opportunity for Argentina. There is a huge opportunity. Beyond extraction, long term at the very least what we want is that the carbonates are made in Argentina. All of the above means there are huge opportunities for companies internationally and from within Argentina who want to or are involved in the Lithium industry.