Blog Artículo 1925
5 lessons learned by a Costa Rican SME while working with a foreign company

Jairo Barahona, founding partner of StartX, tells us about the lessons learned from working with a North American company based in Miami.

He shares his experiences regarding how a firm that manages clients such as NFL, Marriott and Starwood Hotels, Disney, among others, trusts in a Costa Rican SME to aid in the development of its specialized platform. The latter allows the monitoring of activity on social media as well as the interaction with people found in specified geographical areas in real time.

Who is Hyper?

Hyper is a Start-up located in Miami Beach, with collaborators in different parts of the United States and America. Its business goal is to facilitate the connection of influential clients at specific locations and at a personal level, in real time.

“A greatly innovative firm, very much ahead in its work, and even though it is a recently established Start-Up, its reach has been greater than any other firm I have known.”  – Jairo Barahona, StartX

Hyper was looking for the support of an established firm

Jairo tells us that StartX provides outsourcing services (Near Shore Outsourcing) to support Hyper. The Start-Up needed a lot of backing at the beginning in order to advance in the platform’s development. StartX’s work focuses on three main points:

  • The expansion of its main web platform.
  • Development of mobile apps in iOS.
  • New tool development and research.

“They needed to hire someone who they could trust, someone who two months later wouldn’t come up and say ‘Sorry, I got a better project offer somewhere else!’ They were looking for a firm they could rely on or an entity that could provide the resources and expand their capability without worrying about things turning out wrong.” Jairo Barahona, StartX

StartX strengthens Hyper’s Research and Development

A third of StartX’s team is now working on the platform of the North Americans. Nonetheless, some of them are focusing on the search of new alternatives so that Hyper can continue innovating.

“I was working directly on the Research and Development part of the work, evaluating new alternatives that Hyper wished to innovate, developing prototypes, coming up with solutions and tools they needed for their operation, and for it to be super aggressive in terms of time and impact regarding their clients.” – Jairo Barahona, StartX

StartX is very familiar with working with foreign clients and this has helped the commercial relationship between the two companies. StartX already knows how firms in the USA work. They know what the best ways of aligning goals and working cooperatively are, as well as being familiar with the management of deadlines and other factors. StartX’s team already knows the best ways to coordinate and organize in tandem.


A very Ad Hoc solution for Hyper

StartX came up with a customized solution for Hyper. It was practically made-to-measure in order to support the objectives the firm was trying to achieve.

At the beginning of their collaborative work, two of the team’s full-time developers focused on the project. Once the Research and Development phase began, Hyper’s team would send the list of requirements and StartX would estimate time and cost.

They would say ‘let’s go with this, we need this to be done by this or that date’ and we would move our pieces thinking they would accept our proposals as well as those small or mini projects.” – Jairo Barahona, StartX

What do StartX, a Costa Rican SME, and Hyper have in common?

We asked StartX’s Software Architect & Partner a question: what do StartX, a Costa Rican SME, and Hyper have in common? This is what he replied:

Well, they are alike in that they are both visionary firms. That is to say, they are always looking for ways to improve the work, without limiting themselves by saying ‘we are going do things this or that way only,’ without squeezing ourselves into a box. Instead, we are always looking for the best ways to make things work; this is why we go so well together. Also, the size of the team, the language – the majority of Hyper’s team is from Latin American o has been in contact without our culture, so we identify a lot.”  Jairo Barahona, StartX

What value does Hyper perceive by working with StartX versus working with another firm in the USA?

It is common knowledge that Costa Rica harbors high professional levels when it comes to software engineering. The export percentages regarding this service are evidence of this fact: according to El Financiero, the total production will equal ¢39,000 million in 2016, a 22% increase compared to 2015.

For this reason, we wished to learn an SME’s point for view. Why is this happening? Jairo says it is because:

  • Experience is a factor that is greatly valued.

  • The reputation of doing things well translates to references.

  • Having a team with low desertion is a foundation that generates a lot of confidence.

  • The swiftness with which you must work.

  • The quality of the work.

“The challenge is always the speed; they are a development firm with a very high pace, very aggressive in their work. Moreover, the quality is critical, so it is not just getting things done quickly but doing them well. Under their standards and controls, the challenge is keeping up the rhythm and maintaining top quality so that they see that our business relationship is really effective.” – Jairo Barahona, StartX


During our interview, at StartX’s headquarters located in Belen, he let us know that the team had to sleep at the office and work extra hours as well as weekends in order to meet the set objectives.

“They see us as part of the team. They inherently know we are committed to achieving objectives, no matter if we have to work extra hours or work weekends, we manage our internal organization in order to provide support and they know it is so. Afterwards, when objectives are achieved, when they hand out the margaritas and the congratulations, they also include us,” says Jairo Barahona, CTO StartX.

What advice would you give a Costa Rican software company aiming to work with other countries?

StartX’s CTO gave some pointers for any Costa Rican company desiring to export their work as they have done.

“My first piece of advice would be to believe it. In Costa Rica, I have seen many firms and many colleagues with excellent standards of work. In comparison to other countries and other regions, our work is very high quality and sometimes people do not realize this. This includes the commitment we have as workers, of doing a job well done in the face of a challenge. The ‘I’m not going to do this because I do not know how’ attitude does not cut it. I am going to do this because I am going to learn, because I am going to do it better than any other person and I am going to make it happen, here, in Costa Rica.”

Five lessons learned by a Costa Rican SME when it comes to working with a foreign firm

During the interview, we summed up five lessons Jairo Barahona has learned throughout his experience of working with firms outside national territory. These are the same lessons he shares with all entrepreneurs:

  1. Keep in mind that you are capable of taking on the project.

  2. Be aware if the company understands the value technology brings to its objectives and visions.

  3. Make sure you have the specialization skills that the client requires.

  4. Clearly establish the development requirements of the project from the very start.

  5. Allocate your time suitably regarding the workload brought on by the project.

You can watch the full interview here: