So you’ve got a lawyer or a notary and you’re ready to start the fun process of setting up a local Mexican business. One of the first steps that you’ll need to take is to choose a name for your business. My lawyer asked me to provide 5 possible names. Supposedly names get rejected if they’re offensive or could possibly be confused with other names of businesses that already existed. So I provided
- EasyBroker Mexico
- Easy Software Solutions
Unfortunately every one of them was rejected so I submitted
- EasyBroker Solutions
- EasyBroker Software
- EasyBroker Soft
- EasyBroker Soluciones
- EB Solutions
- EB Software
- EB Soft
- EB Soluciones
And all of those were rejected so I then tried
- EZ Software
- EZ Software Solutions
- EZ Solutions
- EZ Soluciones
And finally the Secretary of Economy authorized EZ Software as our business name. Fortunately I like the final result but it’s frustrating that you’re given no reason why names are rejected. Also the names have to be submitted by a notary with a turn around time of about two to three days so it took about almost 2 weeks to just have the name of the business authorized.
What’s the point of this? In Mexico, as in most places, the name of the business has nothing to do with trademarks so it’s not an infringement issue. I’m also positive that no business exists with the name EasyBroker Solutions in Mexico but there is probably just one other business with the word easy in it. It’s just one gringo bitching but these frivolous matters add to the complexity of doing business and ultimately just waste time and resources.
A few weeks ago I arrived in Mexico City to research moving most of EasyBroker‘s operations from Buenos Aires. It’s always daunting to get starting in any new city but here are some resources I’ve come across that should help you hit the ground running.
Office and Co-Working Spaces
- El 3er Espacio
Decently priced co-working space where I’ve met some cool freelancers and other entrepreneurs. There is a $500 peso membership fee to start and a month membership runs around $950 pesos.
- Sach Corporativos
I didn’t end up going with these guys but for around $15k pesos you get a secretary to answer your calls and a room for up to 3 people. They have some very interesting part-time options if you’re looking for a virtual office with a secretary to forward your calls.
A friend passed me this link but they’re located in Del Valle so I didn’t bother to check them out.
Entrepreneur and Networking Events
- Founder Friday
First Friday of every month. Free and includes drinks and snacks. Great for networking with other entrepreneurs.
- Tech Startup Nights
The third Thursday of every month. You hear two entrepreneurs talk about their startups and then network. Free event and even includes a drink.
- OP4U (Opportunities For You)
The fourth Thursday of every month. Lame name but a worthwhile event to do a bit of networking. Much smaller than Tech Startup Nights but had some high profile people and free drinks and snacks when I went. Speakers talk for an hour or so and then you have a little bit of time to network.
Not my favorite event but it is a great place to network to meet expats and Mexicans that want to meet expats. I get the feeling it’s a place where people want to go to speak English. Entry is around $150 with a drink included.
- Startup Drinks
I’ve only been once and showed a bit late but I liked the atmosphere and found it easy to meet people. Free entry with drink included.
Useful Online Resources
Angel Investors and Venture Capital Firms
I haven’t actually raised any capital here but just in case you’re looking you might find these useful
Telephone and Cell Phones
I’ve looked around but haven’t found any good VOIP services to recommend. If you need a landline you should checkout Movistar’s cell phones that act like land lines. I ended up buying a new ZTE WP650 for $400 pesos delivered off of Mercado Libre. It was cheaper than at the Movistar store and at Movistar they were out of stock.
I tend to use my cell phone for only data and messages. For me the best prepaid plan I found was at Iusacell where $300 pesos gives you 1GB that lasts a month plus some credit for calls and messages. $500 gets you 3GB. Telcel is the most popular provider here but I’ve heard several people complain about data being slow and the plan wasn’t as good as Iusacell so the decision was a no-brainer for me. If you’re going to make a lot of calls Telcel might be the better option for you since calls from Telcel to Telcel customers are cheaper.
Make sure you live close to where you work because the worst thing about the city is commuting. The traffic is just horrendous pretty much during all working hours.
Great option for getting around by bike in la Condesa and Roma. After signing up you’re given a card where you can rent bikes for less than an hour and check them in at any Ecobici station. Unfortunately you need a local credit card to sign up.
The Zipcar of Mexico City. After signing up you can rent Carrot cars that are parked in various parts of the cities. My recommendation though is don’t drive unless you absolutely have to as the traffic is horrendous.
Finding a Place to Live
Craigslist worked well for me for finding short term places. I recommend living with a roommate to get started. It’s fairly easy to find places with private bedrooms and baths and you’ll also save money and immediately meet someone who knows the city better than you. Many places seem to have problems with water pressure so I highly recommend you test the water in the shower and the sink to your bathroom before making a decision.
Where to Live?
There are apparently lots of great places to live in the city but most everything happens in Polanco, Roma Norte and La Condesa. So far I would choose La Condesa or Roma Norte over Polanco but I hardly know Polanco which might be why I’m biased.
That’s all for now but let me know if you find any other good resources I should add here. I’ll try to keep this entry updated as I come across any new useful resources.
Wednesday the 18th from 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm I’ll be hosting another Start-Ups Buenos Aires After Office. The goal of the event is to meet people and make connections. If you’re looking for a job, to hire someone, find a business partner or just make some new friends this is the place to be. As always the event is free and this time there is a happy hour until midnight. Carnal also serves food in case you want to stay around for dinner or order something to snack on. If you show up within the first half hour or so I’ll even provide you with some free beer provided by our host Carnal.
Here are the event details
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
7:30pm – 10:30pm
Niceto Vega 5511 (corner Humboldt)
You can see who is attending and more details on the Facebook event and don’t forget to join our Facebook group to receive announcements on future events.
So you’ve recently moved to Buenos Aires or your thinking about it and you want to get connected with the local expat scene. Getting to know people and building your network of friends and colleagues is one of the most important things you’ll need to do. Here are some resources to help get you started.
Entrepreneur and Startup Related Groups/Events
Start-Ups Buenos Aires – I host this free networking event every few months which is a great place to meet other foreign and local entrepreneurs as well as people looking to network, find jobs or just grab some drinks for friends.
Lean Startups Buenos Aires – If you haven’t heard about the Lean Startup you should definitely do some research. This local group meets about once a month with the goal of discussing Lean Startups. The meetings often are in English and are also limited to 30 people which gives you a chance to get to meet all the attendees and many plenty of opportunities to ask questions. After every meeting they head out to a local bar for drinks.
Palermo Valley – Is by far the biggest event I know of that meets regularly; about every two months. Often times they have speakers or host elevator pitches with a panel that provides feedback. They’ve recently starting hosting smaller morning events which I haven’t had the opportunity to attend yet. The events usually attract about 200 people and there are free drinks for an added bonus. It’s only in Spanish but you’ll meet plenty of expats or English speakers there.
Temporary Office Space
Areatres – Has desks and private offices for rent in Palermo Soho and Hollywood.
Urban Station – Also provides desks and I believe even rent them by the hour. Located in Palermo Soho.
General Expat Resources
The following are some good resources to network or find information related to living as an expat in Buenos Aires.
Internations – They host events every month or so and attract a large expat crowd.
BA Life – Also events every month or so. Gatherings tend to be a bit smaller with more mature attendees mixed between English speaking Argentines and expats.
BA Newcomers – Fairly active Yahoo! Group. Sometimes it gets bogged down in petty political fights or flames but in general it’s a great resource. If you search the archives you can also find a wealth of information.
BAExpats – Online forum dedicated to expats in Buenos Aires.
I intentionally left out blogs on living or relocating to Buenos Aires just because there are so many and this page would quickly become outdated. Please let me know if you know of any good general resources or recurring events that would useful for entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires.