Bring Silicon Valley to Latin America? Javier Ibáñez-Padilla did it! In 2010, he and his partners established Willdom, a platform that connects elite developers from Latin America and leading corporations in the US. How did he manage to bridge the physical distance and achieve satisfaction for both ends?
“I was a ski instructor…”
“I entered the tech world by accident”, Javier recalled. “I was a ski instructor who gave lessons in Lake Tahoe, close to San Francisco every winter”. Living in the Silicon Valley, Javier’s keen instinct and observation skills helped him identify a major opportunity: lots of risk capital was poured into start-ups that have continuous demand for engineering talents. Javier then came back to Argentina with his partners to develop a solution, which was eventually given the name Willdom.
Willdom offers companies in the US teams of “Silicon Valley standard” developers based all over Latin America. Javier emphasized: “We work in the same time zone with our clients through a virtual working platform. This information system allows us to closely collaborate throughout the software development process. We approach companies as a software development company, not as a group of freelancer. “
Climbing the Hills…
“The hardest part is to get your idea validated. After that, it’s just the same old procedure of legal filing, recruitment and logistics”. How to know that your idea is realizable, and eventually, profitable? Simple answer: Put together a business plan and seek for feedback.
Javier contacted all the companies he knew in San Francisco to evaluate the actual demand for his proposal. The idea was presented to find the answer to three questions: What do you think? Will you buy this product? How much will you pay for it? His determination was paid off as the first client of Willdom was generated through this process, and then came the followers. “News travels fast in San Francisco. Thanks to its strong community of entrepreneurs, the best way to market your business is through word of mouth.”
“The principle of San Francisco is: Pay It Forward…”
Willdom was born and nurtured by the collaborative startup ecosystem of San Francisco. “If you are genuinely looking for help, help will come, especially in San Francisco. All the successful people here were at least once helped, so they are always willing to do the same. The principle of San Francisco is Pay It Forward. As you can rarely return a favor, try to help others instead.”
Apparently, this has also become a principle for Javier. “What I always want to tell other entrepreneurs is the importance of the value proposition. You must clearly identify your business offering before establishing any charter. And once it’s ready, review your determination: Are you willing to take this hard path? Because without 100% commitment, you are heading nowhere.”
“You’ll need help, too. So always build long-term partnership with people who are better than you. And with a strong team, try to focus on one thing and excel it. We learnt this the hard way”.
Willdom will continue to develop only in the North America market. “For us, North America represents 50% of the global demand, so there’re lots of rooms to grow. We did try to work simultaneously in different countries but it didn’t work out. This experience indeed taught us the importance of staying focus and excelling in your chosen path.”