Uruguay has its first unicorn company

The fintech company dLocal was valued at over USD 1 billion, reflecting the potential of Uruguay's digital services sector.
Publication date: 15/10/2020

With a global approach, a vocation for innovation, and young talent as its main distinctive features, the Uruguayan fintech dLocal became the first Uruguayan unicorn company. This is a rating that emerging businesses receive when they exceed a valuation of USD 1 billion. The firm founded in 2016, which has a presence in twenty countries and provides solutions to clients such as Uber, Netflix, and Amazon, illustrates the dynamism of the Uruguayan technology sector and its potential as a provider of digital services to the world.  

On September 15, 2020, dLocal made history by obtaining the valuation of USD 1.2 billion, after collecting the sum of USD 200 million contributed by the firms General Atlantic and Addition Capital. "It is a validation from our partners, who are confident in what we did. (...) It's an international recognition that gives us more visibility," said dLocal's Vice President of Product, Rodrigo Sánchez. 

The firm specializes in developing payment solutions for companies seeking to set up in emerging markets, applying technology, and providing a response tailored to customer needs. In addition to its headquarters in Montevideo - from where it centralizes a large part of its operations - the firm has offices in Israel, China, Malta, Sao Paulo, and San Francisco.    

Initially focused on the Brazilian market, the company has experienced dizzying growth since its inception in 2016, and now has operations throughout South America and Mexico, Africa, and Asia, with a presence in key markets such as Nigeria, India, and Indonesia. Currently, the firm plans to expand its business in Central America and Southeast Asia. 

"To work with Amazon, Uber and Netflix forced us to have very high standards. Every meeting and project they asked us to work in was a challenge for us, and a test of whether we were up to their expectations", Sánchez highlighted. 

In addition to extolling the virtues of Uruguayan talent, the firm's outstanding performance exemplifies the country's potential as an exporter of digital services, one of the most dynamic and innovative sectors of the global economy. 

"dLocal shows that Uruguay is up to the task. What we are looking for is talent, and that talent can be found in Uruguay. The Uruguayan leaders we send to various parts of the world seek to spread the culture of "making things happen" and the idea that everything can be achieved.

With this milestone, dLocal positions itself as a successful emerging firm in the world and exhibits the dynamism of the Uruguayan technology sector. An international approach, innovation, and adaptability are some of the distinctive features that the country offers as a digital services provider, one of the engines of the economy of the future. 

Located in an economically attractive region, Uruguay is one of the most reliable countries in which to do business. Many international technology firms and global companies choose it as a base for their international or regional headquarters. The appropriate ecosystem for the development of this sector has resulted in the strengthening of professional capacities and competitive technology companies such as dLocal. This shows that the advantages offered by the country are truly an incentive for the development of digital and technological services businesses.

Uruguay's competitive advantages include its highly qualified multilingual talent, its beneficial time zone when doing business with major global markets, and its cultural affinity. In addition to these, Uruguay has an advanced telecommunications infrastructure, a widely digitized society, and excellent tax benefits and government incentives. 

Among other milestones, the early internationalization achieved by Uruguay allowed it to become the first software exporter per capita in South America and the third in absolute terms. Uruguayan IT companies export to 52 different markets and the United States is the top of their list of software export destinations, accessing 65% of placements.