“There’s an app for that” is a maxim that has held true for close to a decade now. Digital services have only increased in popularity, and they have become cornerstones of many lives, in both developed and developing countries. But, this also makes it difficult for new apps and new services to stand out. What are some unique digital services that have emerged, and how do they stand out?

Why Latin America?
While digital innovations have been emerging in almost every country around the world, the pace of change differs widely and several regions stand out to us – in particular, the Latin America market. In many circles, focus has been shifting to emerging markets and we find it pertinent to examine the case of Latin America: a developing economy with fledgling digital infrastructure that is experiencing rapid digital development and growth.

Pioneer Consulting Asia-Pacific (PCA)’s LatAm team has identified and analysed several emerging digital innovations that permeate many distinct industries and sectors – these represent a small window into the fast-growing LatAm landscape:

Yapp is a digital pharmaceutical aggregator that finds the cheapest option for a given brand of medication and locates a nearby pharmacy.

> Chile’s medication costs are the second most expensive in LatAm.
> Yapp therefore serves an unfulfilled need – that for lower cost medicines.
> Consumers benefit from cheaper medical costs, while pharmacies get access to another sales channel.
> In June 2020, they had more than 100.000 downloads and 3.000 registered pharmacies

SoSafe is a social-driven security network that helps to improve the safety of neighbourhoods in LatAm.

> The network includes essential services (police, fire departments, hospitals / ambulances), Government authorities, and community members
> Users / community members can report incidents they observe, or seek help in an emergency even when calling emergency services is not possible (e.g. in an active shooter incident)
> When an emergency is reported, the relevant authorities respond.
> >1m users and >1.5M reports to date

Mesa helps reduce idle tables in restaurants by offering variable discounts based on demand.

> Discounted tables are more profitable than empty ones…
> …so Mesa offers discounts during off-peak hours to draw crowds and fill otherwise empty tables
> Discounts also vary based on daily sales levels and targets
> 3 hotel chains and 12 restaurants have taken up the service to date

Parar la Olla
Parar la Olla highlights social / charitable events and organisations near the user.

> Reaches out to those in need, as well as those offering help – e.g. a soup kitchen might draw volunteers as well as those in need of food assistance
> Users can host their own social events through the app

HandTalk is essentially a sign language translator.

> Of the 14M localised Brazilian websites, 99% are not accessible to persons with disabilities.
> HandTalk converts words, text, images, and audio to American Sign Language (ASL)
> Google AI Challenge program nominee

Betterfly is an all-in-one wellness service and benefits platform

> First wellness benefits platform that rewards healthy life and good habits focused on both end users and businesses.
> Wellness platform includes access to telemedicine, physical and virtual gyms, mental health support, mediation, and health education.
> Insurance platform digitises the insurance process: signups are done online and no underwriting is required. Coverage is increased as the user participates in ‘healthy’ activities
> Healthy behaviour is incentivised with BetterCoins, a digital currency that is redeemable for prizes.

Action Industrial
Action Industrial creates EduTech apps centered around VR

> E.g. creation of a virtual world with VR games pitched at different levels – elementary, middle school, and university – and different subjects – mathematics, physics, and chemistry
> Does not require internet access
> Currently used by colleges and students of Mining Engineering

Übank is a white-label digital banking solution that helps banks expand their digital capabilities

> Digital savings solution which allows banks to offer automated savings to their users – with functions like savings goals, rules-based settings based on consumption / events, control and visibility over expenses and income, etc.
> Because of the relatively high unbanked population in developing countries, such solutions are necessary to encourage a culture of saving
> >575K users currently, with coverage in Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, Panama, and Chile

Pioneer Consulting Asia-Pacific is an international management consultancy specializing in the telecoms, media, gaming, ePayments, digital banking, emerging digital ecosystems and other digital developments. We cover emerging trends and developments in major markets around the world, including in Latin America.

All these startups rely on connectivity to operate and also demonstrate some of the opportunities for telco’s to go #BeyondConnectivity in their product offering. This is one of the categories for the 2021 World Communication Awards, find out more at