WILLDOM: FROM SKI SLOPES TO SILICON HILLS
Javier Ibáñez-Padilla created a bridge between the Silicon Valley and Latin America. In 2010, he founded Willdom, a platform connecting developers from Latin America to leading corporations in the United States. In this article, he explains how he managed to reduce physical distances and to please both sides.
Identifying an opportunity
“I entered the tech world by accident”, says Javier Ibáñez-Padilla. “I was a ski instructor giving lessons in Lake Tahoe, close to San Francisco, every winter”. Living in the Silicon Valley, intuition and observation led him to identify a major opportunity: lots of investment were arriving at startups that had a continuous demand for engineering talents. Javier came back to Argentina with the inspiration he needed for Willdom’s foundation.
The startup offers to American companies the work of developers based all over Latin America. “We work in the same time zone of 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 freelancer group”, explains Ibáñez-Padilla.
Climbing the hills
“The hardest part is to get an idea validated. After, it’s just the same old procedure of legal filing, recruitment and logistics”. How to know that your idea is viable, and eventually, profitable? For him, the answer was making a business plan and looking for feedback.
Javier contacted companies in the San Francisco Bay Area to evaluate the demand for his business. Three questions should be answered: What do you think? Would you buy this product? How much would you pay for it?
Willdom got its first client during the market research and the expansion came naturally. “It is known that news travels fast in San Francisco. Thanks to a strong community of entrepreneurs, the best way to market your business is through word of mouth.”
Pay It Forward
The company 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. Every successful person living here was at least once helped by others. The principle of San Francisco is ‘Pay It Forward’. As you can rarely return a favor, try to help others instead.”
The entrepreneur highlights the importance of value proposition. “You must clearly identify your business offering before establishing any charter. And once it’s ready, review your goals: Are you open to take the hard path? Because without 100% commitment, you are heading nowhere.”
Network is crucial and being surrounded by experienced people is precious. “Build long-term partnerships with people who are better than you. With a strong team, focus on one goal and excel it. We learnt the hard way”.
Willdom will keep its focus on the American market. “North America represents 50% of our total demand. Therefore , we have a lot of room to grow. In the past, we tried to work simultaneously abroad, but it didn’t work out. This experience taught us the importance of staying focused and excelling our chosen path.”