Soledad Huespe: Tell me, Cecilia. What does Darwoft do?
Cecilia Mariani: Darwoft is a software solutions company that makes software products capable of giving users the best experience together with the highest quality.
SH: Are you specialized in a particular industry?
CM: First, I would like to explain what kind of software products we are developing right now because our main focus is on giving our best when we create these products. They are called MVPs (Minimum Viable Products). Our team is interested in developing them in a short period of time. If we have our product available within 3-5 months, we largely exceed our quality standards and processes. Now, going back to your question, we have actually collaborated with diverse sectors, such as Logistics and Healthcare. We get involved in projects especially related to Digital Transformation, IoT (the Internet of Things), Machine Learning, Blockchain, and Drupal services.
SH: Well, you may know that for some people, including me, it is hard to understand why the software industry is so successful and, above all, profitable. It is said that companies like Darwoft have an advantage because of the law of supply and demand that this market enforces. Plus, you export your products and services. However, it still seems a complex business to dive into. Tell me more about it, please.
CM: We build apps, web or mobile apps, and now we offer a new experience concerning mobility with PWAs (Progressive Web Apps). These are our products or MVPs. It means applications you can use on your desktop or on your mobile device. For instance, we developed a gamification mobile app for a leading Portland-based company. What can people do with this app? Every time a person goes shopping, he/she can use it to gain points. What is even better, if the person goes to the same store twice, he/she can accumulate points and have benefits.
SH: For some time now, we have seen that there has been a recent boom in the software industry and there are several startups. But, we know Darwoft was founded a long time ago, right? Could you tell us about its history?
CM: That’s right. Darwoft was founded ten years ago, to be exact. Anyway, in the software industry, you need to be receptive and adapt to changes. Luckily, this year there are 100+ devs divided into groups that are making diverse products. We all need to be super concentrated on building what’s on-demand with the proper technology to reach users. We have even broadened our horizons this year and become global. We used to sell our products and services within Argentina. But we are aware that some of our clients live in the USA. so, having gained some years of experience with them, we decided we were ready to export what we produce to more places. During the last months, I have been visiting clients within the Pacific Northwest (PNW), meeting their culture and attending very interesting business events. What encouraged us most to take this further step was to be consecutively chosen by really distinguished clients.
SH: For example?
CM: Claro or Coca Cola are two of our main clients in South America, just to mention some. Why do we like working with them? Apart from being large leading companies in the region, they always give us new tech challenges which allow our teams to grow. In the USA, we started to partner with small and medium sized companies, known as SMEs, to test the waters. On top of that, those companies are related to the hardware world, for instance, to sensors, which are somehow still close to us.
SH: Are you a sort of "accelerator force"?
CM: No, definitely, we’re not. We are not looking for accelerating processes but what we do try is to launch a software product within a short period of time. Sometimes, ideas are hard to bring to life because they are thought of as part of a long-term and final goal. But, first, you need to start with something achievable yet scalable later. When you keep it simple, it is easier for you to have your product available on Google or Apple store, ready to be used by your audience within 3-5 months. So, you can see it “in the streets,” let’s say.
SH: Darwoft opened its doors in Córdoba but now it has opened its borders to land in the USA.
CM: That’s partly correct. I mean, as I said before, we have had American clients for a long time. The difference this time is that we set foot in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, we carried out market research to choose the ideal place. Our clients are based there, for example, in Portland, Oregon, or Seattle. As everybody knows, because this is one of our main values, we like working in teams and that’s the way we tend to look for new collaborations. When we establish our first contact with the client, we are focused on creating a good bond with him/her. The dynamics of the group determines the rest. We strongly believe that long-lasting partnerships and the company’s growth are primarily based on genuine human interactions. We can prove it: the majority of our clients heard of us largely by word of mouth. Intel has a lot to do with that since they usually introduce us to clients who are amazed when they discover the high quality Argentine software products have. They say that we don’t develop “spaghetti code.” On the contrary, we develop scalable products. If you code something simple smartly, you achieve a product that can be used and, later, scaled whether you need it. But you are sure of one thing, it is alive and works properly.
SH: Well, actually, you even worked for Intel. Then you founded your own startup, what is its name?
SH: It already exists, doesn’t it?
CM: Yes, it does.
SH: Sounds impressive! And talking about admirable events, you are Darwoft’s CEO. What is your perspective on gender equality at work? I ask because I notice that there aren’t too many women in this field and, in particular, in leadership positions. What are the key factors that might contribute to change?
CM: Well, it’s true that there are fewer women than men working in this industry. It’s hard to find women that know how to code or that would like to learn how. We foster diversity. In fact, we try to participate in debates or talks to share ideas on this topic. Encouraging women to study any kind of engineering university plan is key. We should get rid of that bias that makes us think that engineering is only for men. Apart from that, anyone who likes engineering knows that job offers in this area are highly competitive. There are plenty of opportunities and recruiters find it difficult to hunt devs. Sometimes, women who have kids don’t think they could have time to learn about software but it is a matter of organization and willingness. We are in charge of creating special opportunities for those who are brave to break into this world.
SH: How many women work for Darwoft?
CM: Approximately, 15-20%
SH: It can be said that you are above the average.
CM: That’s right. However, turnover is an everyday occurrence in this sector. Then again, we are talking about supply and demand and, luckily, there are a lot of vacants which end up being beneficial for women because they have access to higher salaries, more interesting challenges, and newer technologies. In brief, they have the chance to negotiate a better future.
SH: And, while we are at it, let’s talk about the future. Once you told me you set 3 or 4 important objectives you would like to meet every year. What objectives would you like to highlight on your agenda in the near future?
CM: We are learning how to be global. I picture offices in the USA, especially for Sales. Another goal is to grow our team and count on 500 crew members. But, let’s go step by step. At least, before that, we would like to have hired 200 by the end of 2022. The pandemic is another factor to consider when planning. Anyway, we try to plan 3 months ahead to obtain more efficient results we could analyze and make crucial changes on-the-go. That’s what helps us continue moving forward even if the market may be unstable from time to time. We are optimistic!