One of Latin America’s IT stars, Globant has proved that it can take Nearshore sourcing successfully to Silicon Valley. But what is the plan in coming years? We spoke with CEO Martín Migoya to find out. He tells us how Globant is differentiating itself in software development, and discusses his plans for acquisitions and public offerings. Read on for more.
What are the key areas of innovation in tech services that your customers are looking for in 2011?
Migoya: They’re mainly looking for innovation around mobile applications, and around gaming technology. Those are the areas where we’re seeing massive movement , such as firms expanding the use of gaming technology into other areas like training, etc.
But the area that we’re seeing the most innovation happening these days is in social applications connected with the main social networks, and how those can be replicated efficiently without a massive amount of development effort. Corporations want applications that allow them to access that world, in order to target their customers in a more efficient and specific way – this is the big thing that’s bringing social networks into the news these days.
It’s not that we don’t innovate around more traditional outsourced functions like application testing or creating new applications – that’s the baseline. We look at how to develop software using agile methodologies, leveraging a lot of the open source software and the commercial software available out there. We’re continually innovating in these areas, but the things that are really hot right now are gaming applications and all the things related to social applications. Firms are looking at how to surprise their customers with new applications.
It’s not just about engineering and making sure it works, but also about art and creating a good interface – that’s what makes a successful and innovative software product.
In your experience does Latin American IT sourcing get the respect it deserves from Silicon Valley?
Migoya: I would say that Latin America is increasingly well known in California, and the US in general. There are obvious advantages with the time zone and proximity that can be used in a very dynamic way. We can interact and do a lot of distributed agile work that would be impossible in other geographies.
But the other thing that’s gaining visibility now is Latin America’s capacity to innovate – something that’s very rewarded in Silicon Valley. It’s challenging the attitude that people from the US have about Latin America given the recent crises and other things. The talent and cultural fit also allows our engineers to connect with the engineers there. Being able to create a social media application means we have to know a lot about social networks, and that is true in Latin America. It’s a well developed market for commercial software, and a powerhouse for open source.
Another point is that design is key for successful software products today. It’s not just about engineering and making sure it works, but also about art and creating a good interface – that’s what makes a successful and innovative software product. That artistic approach that we have in Latin America is very compatible with what Silicon Valley is looking for right now. At Globant, we’re trying to create not just a software development company but also a company that resembles the culture of Silicon Valley.
Talking about Globant in particular, when do you plan to take the company public?
Migoya: Well you know that’s an impossible question. We have a general timeframe in which we’re planning to do it, and we still need to do a lot of growing in order to get there. I’d say the plan is in about 18 to 24 months. Maybe a little earlier than that.
(Editor’s note: Globant co-founder Guibert Englebienne said in this TechCrunch article in December 2009 that the plan was to go public on Nasdaq in two years)
Globant is also a prime acquisition target, especially for the large Indian firms looking to solidify their position in Latin America. Is there anything on the table right now?
Migoya: We’ve had many different offers from different companies. But I honestly think that the best way forward is to keep on doing what we’re doing. We’re not looking for anything more than growing the company and making a successful story for all the stakeholders participating in it. So there’s not an acquisition or anything that will happen in the next year.
How does Globant differentiate from farshore locations like India and China?
Migoya: The experience of creating a new software product has changed in the last few years. In the past when you had a product you wanted to create, you’d go to an engineering powerhouse. Once the product was done, if you wanted a cool interface, you’d go to a local digital agency. Today those two things cannot be separated any longer, and at Globant we are combining them.
Software development has evolved into an experience where you need not just engineering, but also design, innovation and the infrastructure that will support the product when millions of customers buy it. Globant is where those things – engineering, design, innovation, infrastructure – meet scale.