In a bar in Buenos Aires and with a beer in hand, four friends, Martín Migoya, Guibert Englebienne, Martin Umarán and Néstor Nocetti, decided to start the adventure of doing business in a country full of uncertainty. In 2003, Argentina was going through one of the worst periods in its economic history. It was experiencing negative growth, high unemployment and inflation above 40%.
It was the least propitious time to start a business. However, sometimes in the darkest moments the best ideas emerge, and that day, with beer in hand, they thought they could create a digital transformation company, able to solve software problems to the speed and with the technology companies required. But not happy with the idea, they also thought that Globant, their venture, would serve in foreign markets and that only a very small percentage would stay in Argentina.
Globant is a multinational technology company, created in Argentina. It is now in 12 countries and has established itself in Medellín since 2013. It was attracted to the city because of its innovation, transformation and talent.
In Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, India, UK, Spain, Chile and the United States, more than six thousand employees are dedicated to creating digital transformation strategies. “We call it the digital journey platform that connects users of a brand and generates empathy,” says Esteban Molina, Medellín Site Manager, to explain that Globant is much more than a company that solves software problems today. Within its service portfolio, it offers technologies such as gaming, data, IOT and AI, but primarily works to generate engagement between brands and their customers.
Inside Globant’s DNA there is innovation and the need to find talent everywhere, not only in major cities, but any place in the world where it is available. Although created in Buenos Aires, a capital city, it was clear that talent in Argentina was also dispersed in the interior of the country, near the universities and so, they found themselves soon opening offices in provinces. This same model was extended to the countries where they arrived in.
They landed in Colombia back in 2011, initially in Bogotá, but two and half years later began to search for new options. Procolombia showed them Medellín, Cali and Bucaramanga, then came the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area -ACI Medellín- showcased the city’s reality to them. For Globant, Medellín had been the city of the 1990s, described in films and series. However, ACI Medellín showed them a city undergoing transformation. They found a city with technology environment and innovation, with good universities, adequate urban facilities, continuous social metamorphosis, but especially with human talent, the input they have always focused on.
Besides giving them arguments to open their office in Medellín, the Agency connected them with what they needed. They were introduced to Ruta N and accompanied during the landing and establishment process.
“In 2013, we started in Medellín. We arrived more or less in April and it was a very quick process. We needed to grow and, within a month, we had already solved all these variables. Just a few of us arrived to Ruta N, and then, in just eight months, we were a hundred,” recounts Esteban Molina, now Medellín Site Manager. Back then, when Globant arrived in 2013, he was just an engineer working for an Argentinian company with a name. He was searching for an environment where he could continue growing and creating products for customers worldwide.
When Globant arrived in Medellín, it was one of the first companies to operate with Ruta N’s landing program. They started with two employees and no furniture. Soon staff multiplied. They reached the first one hundred, and in August 2017, the personnel in charge of assisting clients from Medellín had already summed 454. They were at Ruta N during two-and-a-half years, more than enough time to grow and expand and earn a place within the organization. In 2015, they showcased their own headquarters, compared to those of Google in Silicon Valley. Swing chairs, bean bags and nap-worthy seats, massage room, board games, barbecue and coffee areas, along with other benefits that seek to retain engineers, web designers and experienced designers, among other professionals who make up the team today. Every month, the staff is reinforced with the entry of 16 or 18 people on average.
They found not only talent in Medellín, but a favorable environment, explains Esteban Molina, because although the free trade zones can be very attractive for companies looking to expand, industrial parks and spaces such as Ruta N are helpful because they favor a physical area at a good price for those just starting. It also offers a good location. In the case of Ruta N, it is located in the so-called Innovation District and offers the opportunity to share a site with other companies that live similar processes, those who seek new markets and can become potential customers and suppliers. “At Ruta N, we found the opportunity to develop something for someone. We were able to hire people we met there. We also saw stories of failures and learned from all that was happening.”
“What I like about ACI, is that they never forget. They do not just bring companies and feel that their work is done. They maintain the relationship, accompany and follow up hand-in-hand,” explains the head of the Medellín operations. He has already faced the difficulty for some clients to accept the development of projects by the team from this city, but thanks to Globant’s work, their reputation, and with the help of ACI Medellín, these clients have modified the idea they originally had.
Continue to grow
Comparison of Globant with Google is not a coincidence. The British airline that believed in them recommended them to Google and they soon became one of their suppliers. Then came other brands such as Fox, Coca-Cola, American Express, BBVA, Petrobras, Santander, Mercado Libre and Money Gram, among others, who have acquired their services. As such, Medellín’s office has become a fundamental part, because many of the products to some of the most important clients of the company are resolved from here. Even the short-term expectation is to double employees in Medellín and reach 900 to continue meeting the needs of companies around the world.
In 2014, what the four friends never dreamed of for Globant in that bar happened for real. They rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the prestigious Wall Street securities exchange. That day, they became one more technology company in the world’s largest market, but not a company like any other, quite unique. One that has grown in small towns surrounded by universities, where talent is being created, in highly innovative environments and with major interest in technology.