Globant’s story could be that of any Silicon Valley company. Only the company was not born in the North American technological sanctuary, but in La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires, in a country too used to crises and to live thinking about inflation. It was in 2003, and its founders, Martín Migoya, Guibert Englebienne, Martín Umarán and Néstor Nocetti, had this romantic idea that technology would change the world. Migoya, who is also CEO, recently told in an interview that at the time he was the one who configured the computers for those who started working at Globant: “You had to number the computers in some way, so the first time I put GLOB, that today is ours ticker on the Stock Market, followed by 0001. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was already thinking about four-digit things. This idea of starting from the bottom, but always thinking that one wants to be in a high place”.
Almost 20 years later, the company can see the horizon from those heights. It has become a global technology company listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of 7,226 million euros and 16,251 employees in 16 countries. Its revenues grew by 25% —668 million euros— in the year of the pandemic and in the first quarter of 2021 they advanced another 40%, with profit margins in recent years that did not fall below 10% of turnover.
Federico Pienovi, director for Europe and Asia and architect of much of Globant’s expansion, where it has been for more than a decade, review that these months have received a barrage of customers. “People not only began to think about how to digitize their analog processes, but to go much further. What is my business strategy in this context of a pandemic? They ask. When we talk about digital transformation, we talk about how we think about our business in the future, with customers in digital only. We think about how to bring these strategies closer to a changing world where consumers expect a much more personalized relationship with brands. Globant comes to occupy that place that few companies are occupying ”, he sums up.
Unlike other tech companies that consume huge amounts of cash before starting to show their first results, Pienovi recalls that they always made a profit, although they never paid out dividends. “We never lost money. In 2014 we went public and it went very well ”. They were released at a price of 10 dollars per title and today they reach 213 dollars with a potential, according to several analysts, of reaching 235 dollars.
Although their first big leap was in 2006 after a phone call. “We had worked in the UK with Lastminute on something that seemed very simple, but was very complex at the time: putting together offers for flights, cars and hotels in a single package. One of their executives moved to Google shortly after and told them about us. They were choosing developers outside of googleplex [la sede en Mountain View] and got us into the process. Martin [Migoya] He always tells me that they called him and said: ‘They have won’. He replied that it couldn’t be because they had never discussed price. ‘We will agree on the price’, they answered in the search engine ”. That contract opened doors and windows. Coca-Cola, National Geographic, Unilever or American Express are loyal customers. Globant has also developed products such as the FIFA Electronic Arts football simulator; many Disney applications (he is his biggest customer) or the bracelet they use in their theme parks. They are the parents of the LinkedIn application and they work with banks such as JPMorgan, Openbank and, in Spain, with Santander, and with companies such as Cabify or Glovo.
Its revenue soared 25% last year, to 668 million
Since 2018 they have tried to have a more intense strategy in Europe, a market that, as Pienovi acknowledges, they had neglected “with the whirlwind of US growth. [de donde proviene el 70% de sus ingresos]”. In the Old Continent, the executive believes, there are large companies that promise their clients to transform their industries, “but those same suppliers do not transform theirs.” And he contrasts it with what he considers to be one of the great values of his company: understanding the consumer. “You are the same person when you enter your banking application as when you are on Instagram. For a long time we got used to the fact that everything was different, but today consumers demand the same experience from Google, Facebook or Instagram as in their bank or their platform to buy food or clothes ”.
Globant has invested heavily and launched with Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, a service applying artificial intelligence (AI) to functions and processes to improve a company’s interactions with its customers, its supply chain or in the data collection. “Developers write code, which is like a cryptographic language. We are trying to break that barrier of complexity using AI ”.
Regarding the ethical debates on the use of technology, he believes that consumers will have the last word. “Technology allows you to be much more open and honest to use the data. I don’t see a company growing that uses the data for something evil. “
In Europe they want their income to be at the level of what they currently invoice in the North American market (about 450 million) with a growing weight of companies in the health sector, in addition to technology companies. After announcing 2,500 hires in Argentina, they defend that they are looking for talent wherever it is. “We are a scattered and online company, but with a very strong culture.” In Spain, the consulting firms Bluecap and Habitant have been acquired in recent months. To which is added the opening of an innovation center in Malaga and the announcement that they will hire 200 people.
On taxation and how elusive technology multinationals are – Globant has its European headquarters in Luxembourg – Pienovi excuses himself: “I am not an expert on taxes and it has not been a topic of conversation in the company, I cannot go into many details; we pay salaries in all markets, it may be different than other companies, but I can’t give you more details about that. ” Nor does he talk about investors, a myriad of 330 companies with small packages, from BlackRock, the Wasatch Advisors fund or Wells Fargo. He is more interested in projecting himself into the future, where he hopes to grow throughout the continent. “Today they know us little, in five years we will be one of the most recognized in the market.”