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Launching this past summer, the company based in the United States and Peru provides work-placement and English training to senior software developers from Latin America.
Keeping this in mind, Domenica Obando and Roxana Kern founded Talently in July 2019 as a career accelerator. I recently chatted with Obando and learned more about the origins of this program for Latin American techies.
According to Obando, her counterpart Kern worked as a talent recruiter for multinational companies, specifically focusing on finding the best tech profiles from the region.
“We both had a lot of experience in the technical side but not the tech profiles,” said Obando, who moved to Silicon Valley from Peru to launch her own startup.
During this time, however, Kern noticed that 80 percent of them failed in terms of the necessary English proficiency for the position. Based on Obando’s experience leading tech teams and operating her own companies, the two entrepreneurs launched Talently this past July.
Nearly 300 applicants from over 10 countries applied for this first program. In the end, they chose six participants from Peru.
“We wanted a short and blended pilot to really understand how the program adds value to them,” said Obando.
It has steadily grown since then, expecting 20 participants for the upcoming program with applicants from Peru, Mexico, and Colombia.
While startups like Hola Code and Laboratoria also incubate tech talent, Talently delves more into the English communication and remote collaboration training. Moreover, it’s English is particularly tailored to remote software jobs with global companies.
Not only does this involve brushing up on conversation skills but also enhancing writing and reading comprehension needed to thrive in a global remote role.
The online training provided includes the participation of employees from some well-known companies including Automattic, Amazon, and AmigoCloud. Firms such as these are especially famous for recruiting the best tech talent, regardless of the programmer’s native language.
Partnerships with various organizations provide in-depth one-on-one mentoring and workshops to participants for an immersive learning experience. Part of this also involves developing their soft skills to succeed in remote-team positions.
Not only does this entail designing the perfect resume, but also whiteboarding, behavioral interview practices, communication, time management, etc. That’s not what makes the company stand out, though.
“What we want to show to Latin American entrepreneurs and investors is that what we’re doing is a unique model of education and finance based on our Income Shared Agreement,” said Obando.
“Students pay a low upfront and only finish to pay for this training and placement once they’re placed.”
This means that Talently doesn’t truly monetize until after the candidate lands a job with a yearly salary of US$30,000. For Obando, she hopes that this arrangement eventually gains momentum in Latin America.
“We should promote this because it aligns with incentives,” said Obando. “For example, our primary metric is to get our students placed. That’s not what usually happens with education when the goal is to get more people. In our case, it’s about getting more people placed after the program. It’s a model based on results.”
How to qualify
As of today, the two-month immersion program only accepts applicants from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. For the Talently admission committee, they are particularly evaluating candidates’ professional expeirence. Not only do you need an impressive portfolio but also over five years of experience.
Much of the program entails teaching participants the essential English and career skills to thrive in their prospective positions. Therefore, Talently evaluates applicated based on English, technical, as well as soft skills.
Although the application cycle for the second cohort ended September 14, results for this upcoming cohort will be announced on October 1. Programing begins on October 12 with about 20 expected participants. Be on the lookout for the future application cycle for the third cohort in January.