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This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

16 must-have Latin American tech products

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – Inspired by TechCrunch’s post series about Web 2.0 companies that Michael Arrington couldn’t live without, now I’m happy to share my own list of essential apps and sites.

Since we’re a blog covering Latin American entrepreneurship and startups, though, I’ll focus exclusively on regional apps. Some of them are for business, some for fun, while others are just all-around useful.

Besides praising my favorite apps, I will also be compiling a list of products that I’d like to use but don’t for one reason or another. Meaning, if they made some adjustments, maybe I’ll start using them.

So, let’s get right into it!

Rappi (Colombia)

So, after discussing this food delivery app with various people, my consensus is that not everybody is a fan. One of the biggest complaints is the unicorn’s subpar customer service. Nonetheless, I use it every day and have yet to experience any real inconveniences.

True life: I almost never have breakfast at home. Whenever I arrive at the office, I normally request Rappi for a morning burrito. The only bad experience I’ve had involved the delivery guy not having enough change for my cash payment, but the number of times they’ve saved me certainly outweighs the inconvenience.

Grin (Mexico)

My favorite part of the day is definitely grabbing a Grin scooter and traveling across the city. I love their service, and compared to other brands, I honestly think it’s the best one out there.

Not just because it’s a Mexican brand, but because I love the app’s UX and scooter usability. Also, I’m not sure about the actual number of units for each scooter company, but I found Grin to have the most across Mexico City. This means that it may be easier just to download their scooter app instead of having multiple others.

albo (Mexico)

Ever since our last podcast episode featuring albo premiered, I’ve been curious about trying this service out. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to use it that much since I could fulfill all my banking needs with my traditional debit card.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, though. albo has allowed me to start carrying less cash, spend less, and in general, identify where my money goes. On top of that, I’m a huge minimal design freak, therefore albo just makes perfect sense to me.

Swap (Mexico)

I have wondered for quite some time why Latin American startups haven’t done what Wechat did in China. The company turned its messaging app into a payment and money transfer platform. Once upon a time, going to convenience stores or banks to deposit money or send someone money was a huge ordeal. Then, I found Swap.

At first, I was skeptical but then I did a careful analysis of its website and read the company’s security protocols. It seems to be using blockchain technology to protect the user’s financial and personal data, although they call it “encrypted token.”

For added security, Swap also requires users to approve payments through fingerprint activation, and in extreme cases, selfie verification.

Kezmo (Uruguay)

Considering that I previously published a startup profile on Kezmo, let me repeat by saying that it’s one of my favorite business collaboration and messaging tools out there.

Kezmo combines both task management (just like Trello) and chatting (Slack) in the same platform. Even though we returned to using Workplace and Trello after I published the profile, I still very much recommend it despite missing some key features.

Prey (Chile)

Sometimes people lose their iPhones or computer to petty theft. For preventative action, though, I use Prey to track my gadgets and devices in case they get stolen. It lets users track up to three devices for free, not to mention unlimited gadgets with the paid version.

Prey helps people recover their technology thanks to three key actions: evidence gathering, counterattacking and active monitoring. Plus, I just love the control panel since it’s so intuitive to use.

Platzi (Colombia)

Blogs and startups require certain skills I’m sometimes not familiar with. Therefore, I need to be in a constant learning mode. To accomplish this, Platzi is my go-to site for learning the business and technical side of all-things startups.

For my own professional development, recently I enrolled in a basic coding skills course, and I’m quite excited.

Yotepresto.com (Mexico)

I have a finance degree, so I like investing. However, since Contxto takes up most of my time, what do I do to remain active in the investment world? The answer is easy; I diversify my portfolio and take a more buy and hold, long-term approach.

Take peer to peer loans, for example. One platform that I love the most is Yotepresto. It allows me to earn a decent return on my invested capital. Users can also invest as little as US$10 to get the ball rolling.

Bitso (Mexico)

This is a great way to add some cryptocurrencies to your portfolio. To be fair, I’m not an active crypto trader, but I think it’s beneficial to diversify across several assets, including cryptos. Bitso now has a user-friendly app that allows you to buy, sell and transfer crypto money with an extremely intuitive and appealing UI.

Duolingo (Guatemala)

I have enjoyed foreign languages ever since I was a little kid. I even started learning German before starting English. That’s why I enjoy the super useful Guatemalan app, Duolingo.

Although it will never replace authentic human interactions or professional courses, Duolingo helps me review and refresh my language skills. I feel as though I can retain my knowledge simply by practicing for five to 10 minutes a day.

Trivia Crack (Argentina)

To be honest, I don’t play many games. Sometimes I find them to be an utter waste of time. I much rather read interesting blogs, listen to cool podcasts or just chat with friends instead of playing Candy Crush for hours on end.

However, Trivia Crack isn’t your typical game. It actually helps me learn new facts, review the previous information and prove my buddies I’m the smartest of the pack. Be it science, history or even sports and pop culture, I find this game worth playing from time to time.

Viajala (Colombia)

I love traveling abroad. Keeping that in mind, Viajala certainly eases the process of planning a trip. It’s a travel search engine that squashes all the hassle in finding flight deals.

It doesn’t provide info on every location or airport out there, but the most important ones in Latin America and some other locations are covered. I also appreciate its UX and the fact that it analyzes the most prominent websites to compare prices.

MercadoLibre (Argentina)

There’s no way you’re from Latin America if you’ve never interacted with the region’s largest marketplace. Personally, I have both bought and sold stuff through the platform. Although there are some inefficiencies and processes I’m not crazy over, I believe they’re gradually improving and will only get better over time.

Restorando (Argentina)

I’m always happy to use it when I travel to cities I’m not familiar with, in need of recommendations. There are some great options that eliminate the hassle of having to ask people for great dining places. Filter, explore and go!

DogHero (Brazil)

I love my dog, an adorable Lhasa Apso. Whenever I have to leave home for an extended amount of time, though, I prefer to hire somebody (who knows what they’re doing) to watch her.

So far, DogHero has been the greatest option. There are many hosts, the so-called “heroes,” who offer different rates and live close by. The peer review feature also gives you an idea of who will be potentially supervising your canine friend. Win-win.

Youper (Brazil)

Taking care of your mental health is one of the wisest decisions anyone could ever make. Personally, I love daily morning meditation as it declutters my mind and allows me to tackle the day with more confidence and purpose.

Youper is basically a portable therapist. I used to write down my thoughts every time I’m feeling blue or anxious. Now, I just open the app and have a quick nice chat with Youper’s artificial assistant who honestly has more social skills than many humans I’ve ever met. It really makes a difference.

Honorable mentions

Obviously, not all of my favorite applications could make the list for one reason or another. Goonder from Chile, for example, isn’t available at my current brokerage house, so I only have the paper version for the time being.

Cuonda, the podcast platform also from Chile, is another awesome app but it isn’t available in Mexico’s app store yet, either. As a result, I can only listen to it on my desktop, which isn’t very practical.

Mural, the design collaboration tool from Argentina, is another awesome platform. However, our team isn’t big enough for us to require a paid collaboration tool. Eventually, we will definitely consider using it

Happinss is a VR mindfulness product, nonetheless, it has a B2B approach. If it had a B2C modality, though, I’m sure I’d be using it instead of my current product, Headspace.

Chilean startup, Postedin, outsources content creation. This is definitely something we’d definitely benefit from. Once we start scaling, Postedin is going to be a must for us.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to finding more cool startups for next year’s list!

-VC

Victor Cortéshttps://www.contxto.com/
CEO & Co-Founder of Contxto. Passionate about tech, startups and venture capital. I eat sushi five times a week.

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