Developers were the unsung heroes of 2020. But companies struggle to find and retain in-demand developers. Husband-and-wife team Joaquin and Eugenia stepped in to fill this gap with Coderio, a staff augmentation and software development company. Coderio is three years old and has tripled revenue every year since its inception. They’re expecting to close this year with $9 million – and aim to triple that again in 2022.
Coderio “shares” its developers so that clients have enough manpower to create anything from websites and apps to integrations and middleware. In other words, if a business needs to grow their development team, it turns to Coderio to supply coding talent – instead of relying on a generic staffing company.
Coderio started in Latin America and is now headquartered in Miami, with offices in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Clients from all over the world, including Europe, South America, and North America, rely on Coderio to help them build remote engineering teams and tackle any project that comes their way.
Couples Who Code Together, Stay Together
Joaquin Quintas, a software engineer from Argentina, always wanted to start his own business. But when he was younger, he didn’t have access to a lot of information about entrepreneurship. It was hard to unravel the enigma of starting a company and how to take it from zero to one.
Joaquin was fortunate enough to work at a venture capitalist company, on the tech side, that taught him the ins and outs of building a business. On top of that, he met his wife Eugenia Kessler while they were both employed there. “When we worked at the VC firm, we didn’t necessarily learn the technical aspects of running a business. However, we learned a much more important lesson: anyone can build a startup. As long as you have enough enthusiasm and truly believe in what you are creating, you can make it happen,” Joaquin says.
With those lessons learned, Joaquin and Eugenia founded Coderio together. With Eugenia as the UX/UI designer and Joaquin as the developer, they made the perfect team. “We saw an opportunity to bring good service, software development expertise, and strong technology to the market. It’s not easy for companies to get in touch with elite developers,” says Joaquin.
Why is it so hard to find good developers? Digital Ocean attributes it to the limited pool of candidates with formal engineering education, relevant job and technical capabilities, and soft skills and workplace competencies. Developers that do have all of the above are often scooped up by a company with a more competitive offer.
Startups and big companies alike face difficulties finding highly-skilled developers. Small companies often don’t have the resources to hire full-time developers that have the right skillset. Larger corporations build big products that require a lot of developers. In both scenarios, they can turn to Coderio for an extra set of coding hands.
“While it can be hard to create a startup with your partner because you’re always talking about work, you’re there to support each other through all the tough times that come with being a founder. If we didn’t have each other, Coderio wouldn’t have been a reality today,” Joaquin says.
Taking it Global During a Pandemic
Coderio started with a focus on Latin America because Joaquin had built up an extensive network in the tech industry during previous jobs. “We started in our apartment in Buenos Aires and did all the work ourselves. We delivered small projects for our clients and any revenue that we made we reinvested back into the company, including a new logo and website,” says Joaquin.
With no budget for paid marketing, getting clients was one of the biggest challenges in the beginning. But once they delivered a great experience and exceptional results to their first clients, word got out. Joaquin explains, “Every time we finished a project, we would ask the client to recommend us to someone they knew. That helped us grow organically and solely through word of mouth.” They had to hire freelancers to keep up with the growing demand.
Joaquin and Eugenia decided it was time to move the company out of their apartment and into a co-working space. Joaquin says, “We were growing so fast, we ended up hiring all the other developers who were also working in that co-working space. At one point, all the developers there were working for Coderio. It basically became our office.” When they reached 50 employees, they moved into their own office in Palermo.
And then the pandemic hit. Coderio had to close its office and go 100 percent remote. With all the uncertainty at the beginning of COVID-19, a lot of clients froze their contract with Coderio, because they weren’t sure how to proceed. As a result, Coderio suddenly had a lot of developers that lost projects and didn’t have any work but still had to get paid.
Joaquin then decided to pivot the company’s strategy to resolve their crisis. Coderio moved to a more global approach, reaching out to companies in America and Europe. As their Latin American offices share a close time zone with North America, their developers can be part of US clients’ agile squads. They also hired a Chief Business Developer in Miami to look after their American clients.
That shift from local to global business helped them bounce back and Coderio grew exponentially during the pandemic. They started with 50 employees before the pandemic and now they have almost 300. Joaquin says he spends all of his time trying to expand their business across different continents.
“We are still figuring out how to advance even further in the United States as part of our growth strategy. Small companies in the US are like mid-size companies in Latin America, budget-wise. The landscape is so different – it’s not easy to break into that market.”
As well as expanding geographically, they also try to anticipate what the market wants. “We focus on current and future niches and trends. Right now, a lot of companies are looking for help with data engineering. We became a specialist in data engineering to be able to offer that service to our clients,” says Joaquin. Coderio has a wide range of knowledge across individual business units within the company, each with its expertise.
“As the CEO, I have to be hyper-aware of what is going on in the world and where it’s going to be in a couple of months or years. I need to be prepared for that moment by training our engineers to be specialists in that market trend. Coderio needs to know how to do things today that companies don’t even know they will need in the future.”
Coders Care About Culture
Coderio has to attract two different groups of people. “On the one hand, it’s the clients who are going to hire us and, on the other hand, it’s the people who are going to work for us. We are in the middle of these two groups, adding value,” Joaquin says.
Coderio has created its own methodology to pick out the best developers and retain that talent within the company. Alongside software developers, Coderio also hires a whole host of technical experts like designers, development operations, and quality assurance needed to complete a project from beginning to end.
So, why would software developers and other technical experts prefer to work at Coderio rather than go directly to one of the companies they do projects for? According to Digital Ocean, when developers are evaluating jobs they “prioritize opportunities for internal growth and development (39 percent), competitive salaries (39 percent), a culture that fits their personality (38 percent), the ability to work remotely (27 percent), and freedom to use certain technologies (23 percent).”
Coderio prides itself on hitting all of the above, making it an attractive workplace for top engineers. Joaquin says, “We retain developers at our company with a lot of great benefits and a strong career plan.” Many companies aren’t able to offer developers the same type of benefits. Especially if they aren’t heavily tech-focused, developers don’t get the same opportunities to develop their career.
“We also have a great culture. Our employees love working here. From the beginning, Eugenia and I were very picky about the culture of our company and what it was like to work for Coderio. Our engineers often tell their friends: “If you have an idea, the founders at Coderio actually listen to you.” In fact, we’ve experienced a lot of success with ideas that came straight from our developers. That is the type of thing that is appealing to people who are used to working at big companies where they don’t have a voice,” says Joaquin.
“On top of that, we are a tech company. We don’t just supply other companies with developers, but we also create our own products and libraries that we share with the community. Developers are part of this big community where they share a lot of knowledge with each other, a lot of open-source code. We’re very present in the developer community and try to give back by hosting events and presenting at conferences – which, in turn, brings more people in.”
Coderio continues to grow on both the customer and developer side. With their focus on providing hands-on expertise and a strong sense of culture, they have managed to be successful even amid a pandemic. What started as a husband-and-wife team has grown into a 300-employee company making $9 million in revenue.
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