Thanks to the famous legal mention “made in …”, we usually know the country of origin of our consumer goods. When it comes to software, there is actually no way to know what’s the country of origin of a code. Until a tool exists to identify where a code was developed, we have to do the work ourselves. With all the fuss around Latin America becoming the new software outsourcing leader, we were curious to know what projects the USA were developing south of the 28th parallel.
We traced back the stories of many top US companies and looked if they outsourced the development of their technology to Latin America. We found many that do. We followed the trail of Fox, Ring and OpenTable, and found three technology companies where those US companies outsource key technology components: Nearsoft, Tonic 3, and Blue Trail Software. We investigated on these three Latam-driven technology firms that grow big and strong in the Southern horizon, and what type of projects they worked on.
OpenTable signing up at seafood hotspot Hermosillo in Mexico
The 20-year-old restaurant-reservation company OpenTable is a reference in the US food industry and abroad. Once threatened by Yelp and other emerging players, it got back on its feet after being acquired by Priceline (owner of Booking since 2005 and Kayak since 2013) for $2.6 billion in 2014. Today, it handles reservations for 40,000 restaurants worldwide, and aims for further growth.
There’s a fundamental issue OpenTable faces as it grows : the user signup process is complicated. When users are businesses and based in different countries, keeping things simple for non-technical users is quite a pickle. But in a fast-paced competitive environment, OpenTable cannot afford to lose new users because of a clunky signup process. This responsibility has been assigned to Nearsoft, a software development company that chose Hermosillo in Sonora, Mexico, as its base of operations. Nearsoft specializes in providing remote development teams to technology leaders. The company calls its employees Nearsoftians and puts forward its Great Place to Work badge to publicize its work environment. It remains to be seen if Nearsoft will indeed help OpenTable accelerate its signups rate, but this exemplifies how top US companies trust the Latam software industry to handle the core of their technology.
Ring at Argentina’s doors to create smart home gadgets
Ring ranks among the pioneers in the connected doorbell ecosystem. The company started as Doorbot and gained publicity on the TV show Shark Tank. Richard Branson got onboard as an investor and product angel, and this led to Amazon acquiring Ring in early 2018 for $1 billion. This success story was also made possible thanks to Ring’s choice to develop with Blue Trail Software Argentina. With a core focus on talent acquisition and technology disruption, Blue Trail Software has been working in the background of Ring since day 1.
Ring’s technology partner in Argentina faced increasing challenges as the connected doorbell company climbed up the ladder of startup success. In the early days, Blue Trail Software had to develop Ring in a tech ecosystem that was not fully ready for connected objects. Then competitors eventually appeared and challenged Ring on key product issues such as video rendering, product autonomy, user-friendly UX, … Those issues were tackled by Blue Trail Software one-by-one in a time-efficient fashion to secure Ring’s market lift-off.
Fox International defies Brazil for its accounting software
When TV broadcaster FOX International came to realize that its accounting instruments were not solid enough to provide a thorough follow-up on payments and currency management, it addressed this issue to the Brazilian design agency Tonic 3. With offices in Dallas, Buenos Aires and São Paulo, Tonic 3 prides itself in offering an effective design process that easily captures its clients’ expectations, and code accordingly. Tonic 3 is the design agency of W3, a 20-year-old Brazil-based software development company. Tonic 3 mainly focuses on design, W3 steps in when it’s time to code.
To address FOX’ accounting and invoicing concerns, Tonic 3 started with a “Design studio”, a workshop organized with FOX’ accountants from Latin America. During this workshop, attendees were given a tool to visually sketch their digital habits. This client-driven process led to the elaboration of the specs and the development of a perfectly adjusted accounting tool built on consensus. Considering it was all developed in Brazil, the accountants over at FOX International also appreciated the cost-efficient operation.