The United States and Mexico have a long history of developing technology together. Since the Silicon Valley IT boom of the 1960s, Mexico has been the kingpin of the sector’s profitability by delocalizing the production of hardware South of the border. This move enabled US technology companies to dramatically grow their profit margins, and also to develop a more affordable yet highly-skilled labor in a foreign neighboring country. The Monterrey Institute of Technology, founded in 1943, experienced an exponential growth during the 1970s and 1980s, and many more schools of technology were created since then. This Mexican labor force has been essential to sustain the growth of the US IT market, as most Mexican engineers work for US companies, or for Mexican companies contracted by US companies.
Technology from the “outer Mexico”
Today, as technology became global, the demand for IT outsourcing to Mexico is exploding, almost reaching saturation point. It has become very difficult to recruit quality, experienced developers in major Mexican Metropolitan areas. Many Mexican technology development companies have seen their revenues increase at 3-digit rates in the last decade, yet the Google of Mexico doesn’t exist yet… We cannot identify one Mexican IT company that sets the example for their market peers and where all the top notch developers dream to work for one day. The market lacks a major player with a unique Mexican IT culture that would materialize the importance of technology in the country. While looking for a valid runner up to this title, we ran across Blue Trail Software, a contestant to become the next Mexican IT company. We called Rosalba Reynoso, CEO of the company, who kindly accepted to submit to an interview.
Founded a decade ago in San Francisco, California, Blue Trail Software now ranks among the top upcoming outsourcers of technology to Mexico. It inked deals with Samsung, Ring, Call Potential, Bloom, Legion, .. US companies ranging from startups to global leaders. Yet Blue Trail Software didn’t set its Mexican headquarters in a major Mexican city like DF, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, … Instead the company chose Los Altos de Jalisco, the rural region where the Mexican cheese Navarro is produced. Rosalba Reynoso, CEO of the company, explains:
We knew from the start that we would not be able to compete against the big guns offering dementially high salaries to win the recruitment war in large Metropolitan areas. Instead, we focused on the authenticity of the “outer” Mexico to attract great developers more keen on living in the quieter traditional lifestyle offered by the country’s smaller cities.Rosalba Reynoso
This approach makes sense with Mexico, as the country’s inhabitants are very family-driven and often prefer to stay close to their relatives. Those developers may not get the high-rolling pays that big city employers offer to compete for recruitment, but they get a way cheaper and healthier lifestyle than they would in the big cities, so all-in-all, working for Blue Trail Software remains a pretty competitive offer.
That was our point exactly. We wanted to recruit smart individuals looking for a different experience. Being outside of the big city helped Blue Trail become the unique company it is today. We’re just an hour away from the center of Guadalajara, and an even shorter distance to the city’s international airport. Standing at the periphery of Metropolitan Guadalajara suits us like a glove.Rosalba Reynoso
Mexico, cornerstone between US and Latam
In its first years of inception, Blue Trail Software rapidly opened offices in Argentina and Uruguay, a multishoring strategy that enabled the company to quickly diversify its pool of talents, and rely on each country’s strength to provide solid development solutions to its clients. Rosalba Reynoso explains : «At first we thought that our offices in each country would behave independently from each other. Over time, it became obvious that American companies mainly wanted to work with neighboring companies in Mexico.»
Facing North, the Mexican culture is the closest to the lifestyle of the USA: The presence of Mexicans northbound of the country’s frontier is notoriously massive and likewise, Americans love to spend their holidays in Mexico. Where many Mexicans speak English, a lot of Americans can at least blabber some Spanish words. Bilateral trading between the two countries is intensive, most Mexican banks are aligned with international standards, and the Mexican peso is just as stable as the US dollar.
Mexico shares many cultural features with other Latin American countries that contribute to build a common Latam culture: the Native American roots still imprinted in the culture today, the common language inherited from the Spanish colonial period, the geographic proximity, the dominance of the Catholic Church, etc. Though each culture composing Latin America is unique, those common traits allow easier communication, enhanced collaboration, and almost no cultural barriers in problem-solving scenarios.
Multi-shoring to different Latam countries is key for us, but secondary in our clients’ list of expectations. They just want a job well done with someone they can easily interact with and meet in person when necessaryRosalba Reynoso
Located between the United States and Latin America, Mexico is the natural middleman to connect American companies with their Latin counterparts.
The Blue Trail of confidence
Last year, Blue Trail Software’s revenue grew by 30%, but the company’s CEO gets grinding teeth when mentioning those numbers: «It was a challenging year» admits Rosalba Reynoso «but we crossed the chasm and became a fully-fledged “midsize” technology company. We appointed a world-class Board of Directors to help us transition towards a stage of accelerated growth. We are now looking at developing our presence in Mexico, organically and through acquisitions. Changing the company’s structure was a resource-intensive process. I have very high expectations for 2019.»
Blue Trail Software was developed by Rémi Vespa, a French computer veteran who launched successful ventures in Europe before settling in California in the midst of the dotcom boom to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. He met Rosalba Reynoso, and together, they developed the Latam-wide technology company Blue Trail Software. Rosalba Reynoso prides herself when she admits that she had no previous significant experience in IT before launching Blue Trail Software:
I am an entrepreneur at heart. When the opportunity to launch Blue Trail Software emerged, the thrill to build a novel, pan-American company drove me into it. Beyond producing technology, we seek to develop a company with a purpose to fulfill and a meaningful raison d’être.Rosalba Reynoso
Rosalba Reynoso knew that if she succeeded in launching Blue Trail Software, that would create an exemplary trail for the company’s employees to follow: «Strong personalities attract each others.» With Rosalba Reynoso acting as CEO, the company is sending the message that more women are also invited to join the tech force. From entry-level to top management, Blue Trail Software aims to make the Mexican IT industry more attractive to women. With 1/3 of the employees being women, Blue Trail Software is aligned with the average of women in tech in the USA, but clearly outperforms the 1/5 average of women in tech in Mexico.
Blue Trail Software developed a proprietary free mobile application, Luna Nueva, for women going through menopause. It also sponsors various charities and NGOs across the continent. The company’s contributions usually span from supporting local football clubs to providing computer training programs to people with no IT background.
Triptic Teach-Empower-Evolve Strategy
Growing bigger in a fast-paced industry usually leads to 2 major issues for HR: retaining good employees targeted by the competition with very attractive job opportunities, and competing against the sector’s top players to recruit new talents.
Retaining our employees has been our primary concern since day 1. We have a policy of educating and nurturing our employees to enable them to the fullest, and that requires a lot of investment. We just can’t afford to lose too many at once, our employees are the pillars of our management paradigm. Growing rapidly and attracting even more bright minds to join us stands in the continuity of our policy of empowering our employees, as it creates a virtuous circle around Blue Trail Software that appeals to the best.Rosalba Reynoso
Like all major IT companies, Blue Trail Software flirts with technology universities to recruit young talents and develop education programs geared towards industry efficiency and innovation. It also looks into the resumes of senior managers to find seasoned minds showing more wisdom regarding IT at large. Thanks to its list of clients and its innovative development model, Blue Trail Software is a multi-generation magnet: the youngsters experience the newtech rush, which is nothing more than the legacy left by the tech veterans who’ve been driving the global tech boom since the 1980s.
«We don’t have rules, we have values» said Rosalba Reynoso to emphasize on the progressive approach of her company. «Empowerment starts with freedom, keeping talents on a leash doesn’t make sense, we let them set the rhythm, we trust them to further develop what we created on a millimetric scale.»