Growing a Design Company For Startups in Argentina with Agustín Linenberg, CEO & Co-Founder of Aerolab

Agustín Linenberg, CEO & Co-Founder of Aerolab, one of the leading graphic design company’s for startups in Argentina.

Agustín, lease introduce yourself…

I’m Agustín Linenberg, CEO & Co-Founder of Aerolab. I’m a Graphic Designer who studied in Argentina, and self-taught for everything related to technology.

What’s the story behind creating Aerolab?

A couple years ago, we noticed that most agencies and design studios weren’t really working on digital design and interfaces, being mostly just another service that was provided by a team focused on print, and the results tended to be lacking in quality.

There weren’t any companies that delivered applications and interfaces with a very high level of polish, those you can tell from a mile away they were built by a team that breathes technology.

Seeing that underserved market, we bet that we could create a business around that need, and we started growing from there. Apparently, we were not wrong.

In your view, what makes a great, polished design?

A great design is not just echoing a current trend (like flat design or skeuomorphism). It must have its own personality and identity to truly stand out. Of course, working with pixel-perfect quality is something that helps a lot 😉

What are some of the tools and resources you use on a regular basis to work?

Some of the tools we use daily are Basecamp for Project Management, Highrise for Contacts, Bidsketch for Proposals, and finally Dropbox for keeping revisions of every file we change or share with our team.

What advice can you give to entrepreneurs with regards to the design of their website/app?

Don’t skimp on UX Design. You can get some pretty decent traction with an app that looks a bit ugly (your fans won’t care as long as you are actually solving a problem effectively), but if the app is unintuitive or hard to use, your customers will end up getting frustrated and the app probably won’t go anywhere.

What advice can you share for aspiring designers out there?

The best advice I can give is to think that there are no limits and that everything is possible.

That is the great thing about design, you can become highly skilled just by experimenting with different graphic techniques, or even trying to replicate the style of people you really admire while you find your own graphic style.

But remember, that as a designer you must mutate and be versatile to make each product different and unique, and not otherwise.

What were the primary challenges of running a design and development company in Argentina?

One of the main challenges – and this is something most entrepreneurs will agree with – is finding the right people to work with.

Most universities in Argentina don’t pay a lot of attention to digital design and technology, choosing instead to focus on print – a mostly obsolete industry, so most of the people that join our team are self-taught.

While this shows a lot of motivation, a formal education tends to provide the theoretical framework necessary to work on interesting projects, so we invest a lot of time on training.

Building a great team is a slow, challenging process, but it’s greatly appreciated by our customers when they see the value our team generates.

What’s the best way to find talented designers in Argentina?

The best way to get talented people to work with you (in general, not just designers) is to inspire them to work on great projects and get involved in the local communities.

What are the benefits of being based in Argentina over other countries in the region?

One of the benefits is that we are one of the few companies in the region that offer these services, so by doing great work we quickly became known in the local community as one of the best companies to work with.

How do you see the startup (and investment) ecosystem developing in Argentina?

Argentina has always had an entrepreneurial culture, but entrepreneurs tend to be self-funded, since access to capital is quite restricted. However, in the last few years (specially in Buenos Aires), we have seen a few government projects to help start new companies, and private accelerators have started to build momentum, giving people access to local and foreign investors.

What advice can you share with entrepreneurs wanting to start or expand their business into Argentina?

Go for it. This is a country with a lot of talented people and great ideas and starting a business, while enormously challenging, is an unparalleled experience.

What startup opportunities do you see emerging in Argentina right now?

Many local startups tend to be local versions of foreign companies, but there are quite a few that successfully took innovative ideas to international markets, which are usually the most renowned.

What’s next for Aerolab?

We are currently working on a product we’re looking to release during 2014 and creating a huge digital campaign for an international soccer star.

We’re undoubtedly improving and trying to become the best at what we do, working with the best startups and companies to improve their products.

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