The dream of Colombian Oscar Giraldo (28) was to play professional hockey. That's why in 2005, when he was about to graduate with a Systems Engineering degree from his birth country, he looked for a destination where he could realize his dream. First he thought of Portugal, Spain or Italy, but this was a difficult time for a Colombian to get a visa there. Next, Argentina came to mind, but the country was going through a difficult time economically. It was from this that he ended up in Chile, initially for 3 months.
After arriving, in a few weeks he had found work with a software development company for Fonasa. He spent 3 months there and the Bank of Chile called. ''It was a great experience, but I rapidly ran out of challenges. I wanted more, and before long I came across Citibank'', he says. But, his desire to continue to rapidly grow left him feeling uncomfortable at the bank. He started to look for other alternatives- at that time there was talk of Web 2.0- so he contacted the makers of Needish, who were looking for a developer. The offer wasn't very tempting, less pay and no contract, but without thinking twice he accepted. ''I wanted to learn and see what a Start-up was like from the inside. It was one of the best decisions I've made. There, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and I understood that if they could do it, I could too.'' He says.
After 4 months he resigned to form his own enterprise: Medularis, an application to increase online sales in the call center. There he committed the classic mistakes of a novice entrepreneur, but down the road the issues were resolved and the enterprise started doing well. But in 2010 he decided to sell his share due to differences with his partner.
With that experience under his belt, he armed his next venture joined with Ariel Cordiviola (28): Arcaris, specializing in click-to-call, a tool that permits a person to communicate with a call center from the web. He raised capital from the group Crystalis, built a team and set to work. And while the business began to generate revenue from early on, Giraldo noticed that it didn't have the speed nor global impact he had hoped for.
''We found a big problem with call centers, it has to do with people's motivation which makes for a high employee turnover rate. This can make the difference between a business that sells big and one that sells a small amount'', he says. It was from this that they saw the opportunity to create incentives within the company to promote work. But the idea didn't take shape until they won a contest from Corfo to travel to the Silicon Valley. The click-to-call market in the United States is very mature, so they had to come up with another idea. ''At that time there was a lot of talk about 'gamification', which uses videogame incentives, like rankings at work. I also studied the 'Fun Theory', which says doing something different and fun can make a difference in people's behavior. That was how we came to apply these ideas to the call center'', says Giraldo.
The three months in the Silicon Valley helped them design the product, because they already knew the market. In addition to their stay in California they connected with various call center companies which they would capture as private clients to test a beta version. ''What we offer is a talent management platform for call centers. A platform that generates an internal Facebook-like community, where the people can particpate, know others, share information about what they are doing and share ideas, those that are good get rewarded. What it generates is a cultural change through a virtual tool that's called PlayCall'', Giraldo explains.
That's why they raised capital again with the group Cyrstalis and a third partner joined, Cristián Bobadilla.
The next step is to internationalize the company, which is why on April 15th, Giraldo parted from his family to permanently settle the company in the Silicon Valley, resume contacts from the previous trip and give a final push for globalization.
(Translated from: ''Arcaris, La teoría del juego''. Poder y Negocios April 2012: 61.)