Co-Founder | Customily
What’s your home country and what brought you to the US?
I’m from Uruguay, a very small country in South America. I came to the US with my partner because of our business. We founded our startup Customily 3 years ago, and have been working with US customers since day one, but always remotely. We always felt that the US was a great place to be for our business, so last year we applied to the Arch Grants competition in hopes of relocating. We were lucky and got selected, so that’s what brought us to St. Louis.
What have you done over the last 5 years? Where have you worked and where are you currently working?
In the last 5 years we’ve lived and worked from Uruguay, our home country, Chile, South Korea, and now the US. We are lucky enough to work in the software industry, with a remote team, which means we can live almost anywhere and work without any issue.
In the past 3 years we’ve been intensely working on our startup Customily, and before that we worked on our previous startup (both me and my partner) Sur 3D.
How has being here changed you? What values have you imbibed?
We got here in February of this year, so just a month before Covid hit hard. I’m afraid that has impacted our experience here a lot, and is what has changed how we live the most. So, I’m not entirely sure if this is because of the country or the situation we are currently living in this country, but we started finding value in small things, and being much more thankful for what we have. The everyday hectic life of the past doesn’t give you much time to stop and think about what you have, and this is something that we’ve been doing a lot recently.
We are so grateful to have been able to move to a city [St. Louis] that received us with arms wide open. The help we received to be able to relocate here was amazing, from choosing a neighborhood, getting an apartment, guiding us through the crazy world of healthcare.
Besides being your home, why else is the US special to you?
I was 7 months pregnant when we arrived in the US, so besides being our home, this is the birthplace of our first child. This makes the US and especially St. Louis a more than special place for us. And, we also got married here (lot’s of life changing events!) during the pandemic. We had a simple wedding in the Forest Park, that we broadcasted through facebook live to all our family and friends across the world.
Apart from that, where we come from we always think of the US as the “land of opportunities” especially for startups like ours. We had wanted to relocate to the US for a while, so finally being here makes it kind of special as well.
Besides work, how else are you involved in the local community?
We still haven’t had the chance to get involved in much, because of Covid 😟
Luckily, the startup community built around Arch Grants, has been of great support even if it’s digitally.
We are hoping for this to end soon so we can be more involved with our city, and get to experience life here the proper way.
Can you share an example of something you absolutely love about U.S. & St. Louis and believe you can’t get anywhere else? For example, food, a place, a saying, an experience etc.
When it comes to St. Louis, I would say that one of my favorite things is Forest Park. We live just across it, so I get to enjoy strolls with our baby there almost every day, a much needed escape into nature while in quarantine! What I love the most is the multicultural aspect of it, especially when it comes to food!
Even if we are in a flyover city (which are not the most multicultural cities in the country), you can tell that there are influences from almost everywhere in the world. I’m a big fan of ethnic food, so having cuisines from all around is amazing!! Although food is great in Uruguay (the meat is a-maze-ing, you should try our barbecues!), people are quite conservative when it comes to flavors (nothing too spicy, or too strong) so the change of scenery food wise is great. Both in restaurants and the supermarket. I really enjoy cooking, so it’s great here to go to the supermarket and be able to find any kind of ingredient from anywhere in the world.
Another thing I love about the US is it’s geography. There are so many different places and landscapes to see without leaving the country, it’s breathtaking. I had the opportunity to travel around the country in the past and it never ceases to amaze. I can’t wait to be able to get in a car and travel around the country again!!