Santiago de PeakU of PeakU tells us about working from home during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Santiago de PeakU: We are doing very well. We are lucky enough to be healthy during these times; hopefully, everything is getting back to normal soon.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded PeakU.
Santiago de PeakU: My partner and I met in college while studying engineering. We took different paths, I became a serial entrepreneur, and my partner went the CTO route, working with different startups in Latin America. I am a serial entrepreneur who enjoys problem-solving, building, and scaling products. I love technology and have seen first-hand the impact it can bring to developing countries and the world. I think we humans have a natural bias that is very difficult to avoid, which is why we are building PeakU, an artificial intelligence platform that allows companies to find the most talented people (usually hidden gems) by bringing objectivity to the selection process.
How does PeakU innovate?
Santiago de PeakU: We have 3 main differentiators vs. the industry:
1. Our platform makes a selection process created for us 100% online with cognitive, technical, and cultural fit tests
2. We connect US companies with Latam full-time employees (not freelancers or outsourcing of projects)
3. Our software uses machine learning and has a UX to help companies focus on talent rather than CV
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Santiago de PeakU: Initially, the uncertainty made all companies stop their hiring processes for around 2 months, as IT companies saw the effect was not as high for the industry they continued as before the pandemic, and I don’t believe there was a strong effect. We saw traditional companies that did not have an innovation team start hiring new talent, and online services became more normal in the traditional Latam countries, therefore bringing new players into the IT industry.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Santiago de PeakU: We never doubted the initial reaction of the market was due to uncertainty. Anyway, some investments in the commercial side had to be postponed, and we figured any effort in sales during the beginning of the pandemic would be 10x harder, not even worth it. We were patient and took the time to improve processes and solve problems internally, then went out and took advantage of the new opening opportunities.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Santiago de PeakU: Our team has always been tech-savvy, and before the crisis, we were working with some team members, so we just used more often tools that we were using before we have our own platform for recruiting, testing, and selection. And use google suite for our team communication. We also use Scrum tools and CRM depending on the area.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Santiago de PeakU: The US market is highly saturated with Outsourcing companies from India, but most companies now want to manage their IT projects in-house, as is a core part of the business. We are different from Outsource companies. We allow our clients to hire a top 1% international developer as a full-time employee, without the hassle and the risk that it usually brings. We can do this very well as we really understand this industry and what it means to have a good candidate both from a technical abilities and for his personality
Your final thoughts?
Santiago de PeakU: The job market around the world is migrating to a remote tech-enabled one. The pandemic makes this transition faster, and companies who won’t accept these changes will be left behind. This also means that the location of the companies and employees is increasingly less important; this is good as access to international talent allows companies and candidates to have more and better options.