Doménica Obando, Talently: Empowering Latin American tech talent, Ep 165


Doménica Obando, CEO and co-founder of Talently, is helping build Latin America into the next tech talent hub while offering better jobs to skilled developers and data scientists. 

Originally from Peru, Domenica worked in an NGO and the public sector before becoming a full-time entrepreneur. First, she founded Andi, a learning platform, which afterward she decided to pivot into Talently.

Talently is a talent accelerator for tech professionals in Latin America. Software developers and data scientists who feel stuck in their careers apply to Talently to upgrade their skills and land better jobs in return. 

Talently diagnoses the skills tech professionals need to improve their careers and also provides courses to develop soft skills such as employability, interview prep, and more. The company has a heavy focus on improving their English fluency, which is a limiting factor that prevents their career growth.

So far, Talently has helped 800 engineers land better jobs at companies such as Paypal, Nubank, and Mercado Libre. And this year, the startup is set to help 4,000-5,000 professionals. According to Doménica, Talently is looking forward to becoming Latin America’s largest talent marketplace.

In this episode, I sat down with Doménica to talk about the experiences that helped her become the entrepreneur she is today. She shares how families in Latin America can improve their economy with education, and her experience pivoting her startup.

Doménica’s path across private, nonprofit, and public sectors

Doménica fell in love with startups while in university but took a different path. She worked at the Ministry of Education and then joined a friend to start an educational-focused NGO. She spent three years leading a team of 50 volunteers, as they taught digital skills to school teachers. Doménica decided to move on after realizing that working in the public sector and in an NGO didn’t fit her fast-paced personality and hunger for impact.

Learn more about why Doménica chose to become an entrepreneur in the Edtech industry in this Crossing Borders episode.

A startup as a vehicle to deliver outsized impact

Andi, an English learning platform, was Doménica’s first startup. However, when she found that most of Andi’s customers were trying to improve their English in order to get international positions and that half of them were software developers, she decided Andi would pivot into Talently, a platform that could take advantage of the tech boom in Latin America. In just 8 hours after launch, Talently received 100 applications. 

Listen to this Crossing Borders episode to understand how Doménica’s primary goal was to build a product that created the most impact.

Developing skills in tech professionals to upgrade their reality

Talently’s participants finish the program earning 2X more on average than before. In many cases, they end up multiplying their earnings up to 10x. This increase in their income causes a huge impact on families and communities of Talently’s graduates. Sometimes,  they earn more money than all of their family combined. Before, Doménica felt that her lack of English proficiency prevented her from achieving professional success. Once she mastered the English language, she found the drive to advance her career as she had always wanted. 

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders and learn why Doménica thinks it is essential to build tools for tech professionals to become confident about their careers, so they can change their lives.

Outline of this episode:

  • [01:30] – About Talently .
  • [01:54] – Talently’s value proposition.
  • [03:27] – Improving the income of tech professionals.
  • [05:40] – Latin America as a tech talent hub.
  • [06:41] – Doménica’s background.
  • [09:53] – The importance of English proficiency.
  • [11:37] – Pros and cons of working in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
  • [15:00] – Lessons learned from past working experiences.
  • [16:40] – The path to product-market fit.
  • [19:14] – Pivoting, from  Andi to Talently.
  • [21:27] – A multi-country startup.
  • [24:32] – Talently’s impact in Latam.
  • [26:25] – Advice for her younger self.
  • [27:10] – Doménica’s book recommendations.
  • [27:45] – What’s next for Talently?

Resources & people mentioned:

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