As Costa Rica begins mass COVID-19 vaccinations in the first half of 2021, the country will look towards economic recovery, with the technology sector set to play an important role. Because while numerous businesses in the country were forced to shut due to restrictions imposed to avoid the spread of the virus, others were well positioned or managed to quickly adapt to the ‘new normal’ in doing business. Here three Costa Rica tech companies that have seen business increase and will likely continue to grow after the pandemic are highlighted.
Costa Rica is the most prosperous of the five nations that make up the Central American Common Market (CACM) — which also includes El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — and the country displays greater economic freedom than its regional partners, as well as a low inflation rate of 2.3 percent, according to the Index of Economic Freedom 2020.
The Central American nation has registered GDP growth every year over the past 38 years, other than during the 2009 global financial crisis, and in 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) stood at $61.77 billion (all figures in USD). The country has also seen consistent growth in gross national income — a strong indicator of prosperity among the population — which more than tripled between 2000 and 2019 to reach $11,700 (all figures in USD).
Costa Rica’s main export commodities include agricultural products such as coffee, bananas, and sugar, while its booming tourism industry accounts for roughly five percent of GDP.
Costa Rica has famously had no standing army since 1948, enjoying decades of political stability since — and today has some of the lowest violence statistics in Latin America. Factors such as these, as well as a business-friendly environment that encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), have contributed to Costa Rica becoming major destination for tourists, investors, and expats.
If you are considering doing business in Costa Rica, learning about the three Costa Rica tech companies that can be expected to continue to grow in the aftermath of the pandemic might provide you with valuable ideas for your own commercial activities in the country. Or you could contact us now.
Table of Contents
The impact of the pandemic on Costa Rican business
With more than 190,000 people infected by COVID-19 as of late January 2021, Costa Rica was the second-most affected country in Central America. As a result of the effects of the virus, a 5% drop in economic output was projected by the end of 2020, while unemployment reached a record low of 24%.
The most affected economic sectors were the tourism and hospitality sectors, with a reduction in sales of 59.9%, followed by the transport and storage sectors, with a decrease in sales of 27.7%, and the automotive sector, with a 16% drop. However, the Costa Rican economy is expected to grow by 4.5% in 2021.
On the other hand, the sectors least affected by the economic crisis generated by Covid-19 were agriculture, fishing, banking, and communications. The restrictions on movement imposed throughout the country to curb the spread of the virus also saw almost 3,000 local entrepreneurs move to e-commerce platforms to continue offering their products and services during the pandemic.
The established players
GBM is the leading IT services company in Costa Rica and the rest of Central America, and it is an exclusive re-seller for IBM products and services throughout the region. In addition, GBM also has partnerships with the likes of Cisco, SAP, Lenovo, VMWare, and Microsoft. It provides various technology solutions for businesses related to software infrastructure, technology consulting, and IT specialized services. During the pandemic, GBM has assisted many companies in Costa Rica that seek to improve their technological infrastructure to adapt to new business conditions. Currently, GBM also has a presence in Belize, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Founded in 1984, El Orbe is one of the main players in Costa Rica’s technology sector. El Orbe is a company that specializes in information systems oriented to the provision of integrated technological solutions for companies from different sectors in Central America. Their services are focused on rack and power infrastructure, moonshot systems, synergy, networking, storage, and servers. They have alliances with major international technology companies such as HP, Intel, Symantec, and Microsoft.
3 Costa Rica tech companies to watch after the pandemic
The following Costa Rica tech companies have grown during the pandemic and should be expected to continue on their upward trajectories in the future:
OMNi — Costa Rica tech company focused on ride hailing and fintech
Founded by a group of Costa Rican investors, OMNi began operations in November 2019 with the launch of an app to rent bicycles in Costa Rica’s capital city, San José. Currently, OMNi is considered one of the ‘super apps’ in Latin America, offering tech-based solutions to daily problems. OMNi is well-known for transportation services that compete with international companies like Uber and Didi, however the company has also branched into financial technology (fintech).
OMNiBici: Mobile application focused on bicycle rental, facilitating the transportation of Costa Ricans, and promoting physical activity.
OMNiTaxi: Mobile application focused on the provision of transportation services through local taxis.
OMNiMoni: Mobile application that works as a digital wallet to manage funds, manage debit cards, make payments, transfer funds, and request loans.
Huli — Costa Rica tech company focused on healthcare
Huli is a healthcare technology company that provides software services for individual healthcare professionals, hospital networks, and insurance companies. Huli’s services are aimed at increasing the efficiency and transparency of communication between doctors, hospitals, and their patients. In 2016, Huli was recognized as the best technology startup in the health industry by the Google for Entrepreneurs program.
Some Huli digital services include:
Hulipractice: seeks to make life easier for medical personnel with online marketing services, and different virtual tools such as a medical appointment calendar and a virtual billing platform.
Hulivida: offers a digital medical directory and facilitates the scheduling medical appointments. It also provides a chronological record of medical visits for patients.
Indigo Drones — Costa Rica tech company focused on agriculture
Indigo Drones provides drones and software for use in the agricultural sector, and has seen significant growth in recent years, with founder Sergio Ballester lauded for the innovation of his company, which he established in his mid-20s. Inspired by drone usage in Chinese agriculture, Indigo Drones is actively used in banana, pineapple, and sugar cane plantations, and in 2019 reported a tripling in sales.
With the agricultural industry remaining strong in the context of the pandemic, and with growing interest in the company from overseas, Indigo Drones can be expected to continue growing during and after the pandemic.
Biz Latin Hub can assist you doing business in Costa Rica
At Biz Latin Hub, our team of experienced company formation agents is equipped to help you enter the Costa Rican market and take advantage of the country’s growing tech scene. With our full portfolio of corporate legal, accounting, and company formation, our multilingual teams are equipped to deliver excellence and ensure the success of your commercial expansion in Costa Rica, and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Get in touch with us today today to discuss the assistance that you need.
Learn more about our team and expert authors.