Newlab’s annual Presentation of Results took place in Montevideo on November 1st, with over 80 attendees, including representatives from the local government, corporations, startups, and investors including Uruguay’s Minister of Industry, Omar Paganini. The conference showcased the innovation programs and pilots across Energy, Materials, and Mobility that Newlab is working on with leading Latin American multinationals and startups in the region.
Newlab Uruguay was launched two years ago with the support of the Ministry of Industry, the Investigation and Innovation Agency (ANII), the National Technological Laboratories (LATU), Mercado Libre and Globant in order to foster innovation in this promising country. Uruguay is known for its political and economic stability and commitment to environmental policies - making it a perfect hub for innovation in Latin America. Almost 100% of Uruguay’s energy comes from renewable sources. This is Newlab’s first expansion outside of the United States.
Newlab is working to grow the local startup ecosystem and connect startups with industry leaders to develop pilots for global challenges. These pilots derisk technology, identify critical investments for a sustainable future, help create blueprints to solve big-scale problems, and ultimately help founders get their technology to market faster.
Sabrina Sauksteliskis, Executive Director of Uruguay Innovation Hub, took the stage to shed light on the government’s strategy to transform Uruguay into a world class technological hub and Newlab’s essential role in this.
We heard from 4 of Newlab’s Industry partners in LatAm on their projects and pilots.
Ariel Katz, Environmental Head at Mercado Libre, gave details on the Sustainable Mobility Program Newlab is working on with Mercado Libre, the largest e-commerce, fintech, and logistics company in Latin America. Patricia Blanco, Country Lead at Mercado Libre Uruguay also spoke. The innovation program and pilots focus on decarbonizing Mercado Libre’s last mile delivery fleet, which operates from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. In a recent open call to entrepreneurs working on electrical vehicles and charging devices, Newlab received 120 proposals, 60% from startups in South America.
Juan Urthiague, CFO at Globant, one of the world’s leading technology companies with clients such as Google and Disney, presented the Ethical AI Program they are working on with Newlab. Pilots with multiple startups are already under way.
Rafael Staricco, CEO of Quantik, a Uruguayan technology company, spoke about why he chose Newlab Uruguay to help accelerate the transition to EV motorcycles in quick commerce deliveries that must get to clients in less than 30 minutes. Quantik wants to create a business model that will allow independent drivers in Uruguay to purchase or rent imported electric motorcycles with battery swapping devices and maintenance facilities. Once it proves the model in Uruguay with PediosYa, the largest delivery company in Latin America, Quantik hopes to scale it to the rest of the region.
Alvaro Pardo, co-founder and CEO of Digital Sense, a Uruguayan deep tech company, took the stage to illustrate the benefits of Newlab’s ecosystem for startups. Pardo found a major opportunity through Newlab when he answered an open call for an Applied Innovation Program with Newlab partner Orsted, a global renewable energy company. Digital Sense’s pilot proposal was selected as the best solution to scan and map seabed obstacles with computer vision and other advanced technologies, ultimately to be installed in an offshore wind park.
Another entrepreneur in Newlab’s ecosystem, Martín Sartori, co-founder and CEO at Genba, a robotics and industrial automation startup, worked with Newlab Uruguay on pilots that will automate deliveries and distribution of products in warehouses, increasing efficiency and lowering carbon footprint together with Grupo RAS (a multinational logistics company).
These collaborations with industry leaders and deep tech founders showcased real progress in addressing global challenges, promoting ethical AI, enhancing logistics, and advancing electric mobility.