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The complete guide
to hire technical talent

Learn all the ins and outs of hiring remote developers in Latin America


  • Latin America is an excellent source for your team to find skilled technical talent due to the high level of qualified and well-educated professionals in the region and timezone and cultural similarities. 

  • As in the rest of the world, there is a gap between supply and demand for technical talent in the region; however, companies can attract top-tier talent with the proper compensation and benefits.

  • As a result of the high demand for technical talent in Latin America, the compensation for these professionals is at an all-time high, with an average salary of USD 72,000 per year. 

  • It is necessary to localize the hiring process when recruiting in Latin America. Paying attention to the difference in the educational and technological ecosystem, engineering backgrounds, resumes, interview styles, and preparation.

  • It is recommended to have a strategy that fosters an excellent remote or hybrid workplace culture where everyone in the team feels an integral part of the company regardless if they are in the headquarters or a completely different country.

The surge in demand for tech talent has affected the way companies approach their hiring strategies. It is no longer necessary to have an office near the mythical tech hubs and cities to attract top-tier talent. As we come to a post-pandemic society, the shift towards distributed teams is levelling the playing field between developed and emerging countries and giving way to a surge in demand for Latin American technical talent. 

However, when hiring talent in LATAM, companies must understand the cultural differences and embrace diversity to attract and retain top-tier talent in a quick, cost-effective manner.

1. The Need

Technology is in everything we have, do, or buy, and as a result, the need for technical talent to develop it has increased rapidly. Not only is it an expensive talent to hire but also it isn't an easy one to find. The many disciplines, specializations, and technologies a company needs to function make it difficult to quickly assess and hire the right team member for the job.
The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the eyes of many companies to the remote world. They found that their shortage of qualified engineers, developers, and other technical talents could be supplied beyond their country’s borders. We are not talking about outsourcing repetitive low complexity technical roles but full-on top-class engineering jobs. This trend has opened up the world to exceptional job opportunities and has allowed companies to fulfill their technical talent needs faster than in a pre-pandemic world. 
Engaging talent from different regions of the world brings much-needed cultural diversity to the workforce. Culturally diverse workers bring in a novel approach to tasks and ideas, with the ability to think outside the box in solving problems. 

2. The Feasibility

Latin America is the perfect region to look for qualified technical talent if you are a US-based tech company. It opens up the pipeline to a sizable talent pool with the perks of equal or fairly similar time zones and talent with knowledge about the American culture and high English level. However, based on the societal diversities of both regions, different factors should be considered.
Different analyses on the LATAM demographic suggest the same thing – an increased influx in tech venture capital, with Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile leading the way. In recent years, some of the best technological innovations have come from these countries, leading to a massive wave of investment in the tech sector and their workforce training. A recent report from Sling Hub has shown that the region has gone from having two unicorns in 2015 - Argentina’s MercadoLibre and Decolar - to 34 in 2021. As it currently stands, Brazil and Argentina hold the lead producing 60% and 17% of the region’s unicorns. 
With a predicted rise in LATAM talent actively working in the tech-related market, hiring from this region is now a norm. It should be considered by every tech startup aspiring to build a world-class engineering team.

3. Why LATAM?

The tech market has seen steady growth worldwide, especially in the developer talent pool. According to a study conducted by Evans Data Corporation, the worldwide population of professional developers is expected to grow from 23.9 million to 28.7 million over the next three years, with Latin America being the second region with the fastest growth. For the US, this is fantastic news as the near-shoring model allows them to find technology talent in similar time zones and close to their headquarters.
IT no longer supports business operations, but it is at the core of it delivering business value. Gartner forecasts worldwide spending of USD 4.1 trillion in 2021. However, there is a significant shift in this spending. In 2020, this spending was triggered by having to accommodate a remote or hybrid workforce in a matter of weeks. 2021 this spending focuses on innovation, with the highest growth coming from the devices and enterprise software sectors. 
To keep up with this pace, it is crucial to expand your development capabilities in a sustainable yet rapid way. That’s why the sheer volume of technical professionals and venture capital poured into the region make Latin America a smart option to expand your team. 

4. Advantages and Challenges of Hiring in Latin America

Technology is an ever-evolving field, and start-ups are the ones spearheading the constant innovation in their areas. People from different regions and with varying cultural backgrounds offer a new perspective when it comes to problem-solving. Hence, including foreign talents in your workforce provides a novel approach to carrying out tasks and solving problems.
As mentioned before, LATAM offers largely untapped markets consisting of qualified, experienced, and English-speaking technical talent. These professionals bring cultural diversity to the workforce while also offering new and unorthodox ways of doing things. Below are some advantages of hiring in Latin America.

4.1. Qualified Workforce

Latin America has a plethora of skilful talent and a well-educated workforce. Recent studies have highlighted a 400% increase in the popularity of Latin American developers in the last five years, with Mexico, a significant exporter of LATAM talent, producing an estimated 85,000 tech graduates each year. This means there is a steady flow of qualified graduates from LATAM to fill several roles in the tech industry.
Additionally, Latin American countries' standards and quality of education have improved greatly, thanks to educational programs and initiatives. These improvements have enabled students to attain the proper skill set and technical knowledge to excel.

4.2. Time Difference

With more American companies looking to work with qualified foreign talent, the time difference between the two countries is an important consideration to take into account. Hiring talent in locations with significant time differences, like Asia and some parts of Europe, negatively impacts the reliable exchange of information and work-life balance. 
However, the time difference between the United States and LATAM countries is usually within a 5-hour range, offering at least a 4-hour overlap in standard working hours. No need to have zoom calls at crazy hours of the day! Working with Latam talent gives companies the freedom and convenience to work in real-time with remote talent for most of the day. 

4.3. Communication

Another major reason to hire remote talent in Latin America is the English literacy of most LATAM countries. A significant portion of potential developers and engineers from this region are fluent in the language and can communicate effectively. 
However, regardless of how appealing hiring in Latin America might feel, as the head of a tech start-up, you must consider some of the challenges you likely face when working with talent from this region.
As a start-up, considering the following challenges helps weigh up the balance of cost and skill when hiring LATAM talents.

4.4. Language and Cultural Barriers

Tech talent must have good communication skills; anything less than upper-middle proficiency in the language would make it difficult for them to perform effectively and establish a good relationship with co-workers.

Latin American talent is quite proficient in English. A survey carried out on selected LATAM countries ranked the average English Proficiency Index in the region as 492 on a scale of 1 – 800, with countries like Argentina (566) and Chile (523) ranking higher than other popular offshoring markets like India (496).

4.5. Local Regulations and Labour Law

With most LATAM countries considered developing countries, the increase in remote jobs has positively impacted the region. Countries can now settle on a future where more citizens working remotely can access top-tier challenging work opportunities, obtain better income and standard of living. Hiring remote team members in LATAM is a win-win situation for everyone. 

4.6. Gender Diversity

Latin America continues to lack defining and implementing its vision for gender diversification. Although the literacy rate of women in the region stands at 93.9%, they still represent a significant minority of IT professionals. In Latin America, less than 10% of software developers are women. This number shrinks even more when talking about senior talent. 
According to UNESCO, while more Latin American women have joined certain scientific fields like mathematics and biology, the number of female computer science graduates has declined. 
To be completely unbiased in hiring great talent, the best possible person for each role has to be selected, regardless of gender, age range, and demographic background.

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5. Finding Technical Talent in Latin America

Recent times have seen the demand for highly skilled tech talent increase exponentially worldwide. As a result of the pandemic, more companies became comfortable with people working from home, which led companies in the US and Europe to source IT talent from nearshore markets like Latin America. 
Technology is similar everywhere, with skills and roles being similar in different geographical locations. Like in most regions, these are some of the most common tech roles you can find in LATAM.
  • Full Stack Developers: Full-stack developers are heavily in demand across the tech industry, with about 13,000 open positions for this role in the US alone. LATAM region has plenty of competent web developers or engineers specialized in working with the front-end and back-end of a website or application.

  • Front-end developers: LATAM countries host an increasing talent pool of well-versed front-end developers that create effective, user-friendly websites and web applications. They can combine design, technology, and programming to create a website's appearance and fix bugs. 

  • Back-end developers: A study by Stack Overflow showed that over 60% of LATAM software developers specialize as back-end developers. There's a ton of qualified talent capable of building and maintaining the technology that powers all the components serving as the foundation of your company.

  • Data Scientists: Talent from Latin America also specialize in data science. They find trends in datasets and develop algorithms to obtain useful information in a company's raw data. Talent in this field possesses a deep knowledge of database design and multiple programming languages.

6. Filling the Gap Between Supply and Demand

According to Monster’s Future of Work 2021 report, 49% of IT services companies worldwide are planning to open new positions this year. However, about 25% of employers still have issues filling their roles due to skill gaps.
The most common reason for this issue is down to lack of applicants. The high demand for these professionals makes them more selective of the company they want to work for; therefore, competition is fierce. Your company must understand the key elements to attract great technical talent.
  • Be Part of A Great Company: From an engineer's perspective, a company is considered good if it offers a good salary, bonuses, benefits, or incentives. Benefits like PTO, national or US holidays, co-working stipend, and most importantly, stock options are becoming the norm when hiring talent in the region. The company should also create an excellent work environment and culture, regardless of their work style (hybrid or fully remote).

  • Challenging and Innovative work: As more companies are starting to hire technical talent in LATAM, candidates look for more exciting and challenging opportunities that will allow them to learn new skills and grow professionally. Long gone are the days when boring or irrelevant work was sent to the remote team. Engineers and developers are looking to be part of the core team. 

  • Job Assurance: It takes a lot for engineers to join and establish themselves in a company. Also, the job description of engineers involves tasks that are complex and technical. This is the major reason why engineers put into consideration the level of job security in a company. Long-term employment provides a steady income to improve quality of life while also giving peace of mind, allowing for a more relaxed environment.

7. Current Salaries

Hiring top-quality engineers to work remotely from LATAM is an investment of almost equal proportions to hiring a US engineer to work from your local office. Based on the 2023 Latin America Tech Recruiting Insights conducted by Nexton, the salary of a remote LATAM tech talent typically ranges from USD 72,000 a year to USD 108,000 a year before any benefits. 
The report surveyed over 2000 top remote developers in LATAM with more than three years of professional experience (Mid to Sr level). Each candidate also had an excellent grasp of the English language and was also compensated in USD. 
It's evident that LATAM compensation values for technical roles are at an all-time high, and everything indicates that values will continue to improve over the next few months as demand for the best talent continues to surpass supply.
With LATAM talent being in high demand right now, candidates are getting more selective and reaching bigger offers, including benefits and stock options. Most candidates have been reported to request benefits in stock options or equity, paid time off (1 or 2 weeks yearly) and holidays.

8. Differences Between Hiring in LATAM And Hiring Locally

Localizing and accommodating your hiring strategy to the region's cultural differences is essential to attract and hire technical talent in Latin America. Here are some of the differences when hiring local versus remote talent in LATAM:

8.1. Local Knowledge About Companies and Universities

With limited familiarity with the region, it isn't easy to understand the tech landscape. As a foreign company, understanding which schools have the best engineering programs and which companies and start-ups use the latest technologies or the highest number of talented candidates can be difficult. 

Higher Education in LATAM countries has grown in the past 40 years. Over 17 million students take different courses in over 3,000 higher education institutions. Based on the academic reputation score awarded by the QS World University Rankings in 2021, the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) ranked as the first in LATAM for engineering and technology studies. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC), and Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico make up the top 3 spots.

Similarly, the influx of venture capital funding in the region has grown in the past years. According to research by CB Insights, some of the most well-funded tech start-ups in Latin America includes Colombia's Rappi (with $1.75B total equity funding), Brazil's Nubank (with $1.52B total equity fund), and Uruguay's dLocal (with $200M total equity funding) among others.

Understanding the LATAM educational and start-up ecosystem will allow you to pick suitable candidates for your company.

8.2. The Difference in Engineering Backgrounds

The career path of an engineer in the USA is quite different from that taken by technical talent from Latin America. This has to do with the difference of opportunity accessible to engineers from both regions.
While a US developer will probably have a BS in computer science or engineering, a couple of summer internships, followed by a series of jobs in corporate America or Silicon Valley startups, the career path for an engineer in LATAM might look completely different. The talent pool from Latin America comprises formal university degrees, coding academies, and boot camps, followed by diverse experiences obtained from freelance work, a mix of SMB and corporate jobs in tech and outsourcing firms. 
The not traditional path taken by Latin American talent creates an entrepreneurial mindset that will be beneficial for the company they end up working for.

8.3. Interview Preparation

By now, it's established that remote software developer jobs in Latin America are growing by the minute. Nevertheless, before hiring remote software developers in this region, an interview process must be carried out to ensure only the best talent is hired. Ultimately, you are hiring a team member.
Here are some tips to help prepare for an interview process as a technology start-up founder, CEO, CTO, or VP:
  • Establish What Exactly You Are Looking For: As an executive at a start-up, you should have a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. It helps to understand the areas that might be short-staffed or inefficient in your company and hire talent adequately to fill in those areas. It also helps to have a list of traits, skills, and qualities that future employees must possess to succeed at the company.

  • Go Through Resumes Carefully: Before any interview happens, companies must be sure that the talent they are inviting to their recruiting process has a chance of being hired. That's why it is crucial to understand the difference between US and Latin American CVs or resumes. Apart from the obvious formatting and photo, LATAM resumes tend to be more modest. It won't necessarily feature highly recognized companies or directly tell you the personal achievements of the candidates. As a culture, LATAM tends to lean towards collectivism, as seen in the candidates' resumes or CVs. Taking all of the before into consideration is vital to ensure you don't waste time interviewing the wrong candidate.

  • Prepare Questions: The best format for hiring candidates is by following a structured interview. Remember, interviewing styles vary between regions, so it is essential to create a process that will accommodate cultural differences. Typically US interview questions like "tell me about yourself" or "tell me about a project you are proud of" are not common for LATAM talent, and they might make them feel self-conscious or nervous.  

  • Build A Comfortable Atmosphere: Most people don't thrive under stress, and this shouldn't invalidate what a candidate can offer. Think of some ways to create a relaxed and open environment during the interview process. Also, remember that interviews are a two-way street. You need to sell the company to the candidate as much as they need you to select them for the job. 

  • Prepare an Offer: Finally, after the interview, run through each applicant's information and decide how to present your job offer strategically. Take into consideration the candidate's salary expectations, benefits, and other relevant information they might have talked about during the interviews.

9. Resume Differences

When tapping into the Latin American market, it's vital to appreciate distinctions in the professional culture in the region.
First off, in Latin America, a resume is referred to as CV, coined from the Latin term 'curriculum vitae.' The personal information included in the resume is also different in both regions. Personal information in a US resume is generally limited to town, postal code, phone number, email, and link to relevant social media accounts. Latin American resumes cover more extensive personal data like identification number, marital status, and age.
Another significant resume difference is the presence of a CV photo. This is discouraged in the US and other countries. However, it is expected for a photograph to be included on your CV in LATAM countries except for Brazil.
A CV in LATAM might also be longer. While many technology professionals adapt their resumes to the American standards, you will encounter many resumes with extensive academic and professional history breaking the common single-page best practice in the US.

10. Nexton Can Make the Journey Easier for You

Most organizations invest in recruiters who take care of initial interviewing and scheduling to get the candidate through the interview process, allowing managers to focus solely on the most qualified candidates. However, a good recruiting company should work closely with the hiring managers to understand the company's hiring needs for each position and source only the best talent for the company. 
With so many considerations to make when interviewing remote professionals from Latin America, hiring talent can become overwhelming and could quickly go wrong. As head of a tech start-up, it's necessary to get help from the right recruitment agency when going through this process.
Nexton helps connect remote technical talent in LATAM with the best global opportunities. We break every cultural and language barrier in finding, screening, and attracting great quality applicants for your company.
At Nexton, VC-backed Founders and CTOs are assisted throughout the whole process of recruiting remote Latin American technical talent. Our engineering-led team is agile and sophisticated and can significantly improve recruiting funnel metrics, saving time and money in the recruiting process with a typical screening-to-hire ratio of 4:1.
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11. The Local Office Vs. Distributed Team

When exploring the possibility of extending activities abroad, a local office is one of the most streamlined business structures a company has at its disposal. There are many benefits of opening a local office in a different region.

11.1. Benefits Of Opening a Local Office

When exploring the possibility of extending activities abroad, a local office is one of the most streamlined business structures a company has at its disposal. There are many benefits of opening a local office in a different region.

Face to face Interaction
One of the apparent benefits of opening an office abroad is the possibility of face-to-face interaction between the team. It fosters company culture, camaraderie, and great dynamics between team members. However, technology allows us to be equally efficient when working remotely. 

Brand Exposure to New Markets
When opening a local office, there is also the possibility of increasing brand exposure (both as a product/service and employer brand) through new markets. While this might seem great, it is essential to check the company objectives and see if international presence is down in the roadmap. 

As exciting as the benefits of setting up a local office might be, it's also crucial to consider the possible challenges you could face. 

11.2. Challenges Of Opening a Local Office

Fiscal Obligation
No matter where you are in the world, opening a business means bureaucracy, taxes, and a lot of paperwork. You have to consider the legal implications of just creating the company in a new country and the financial obligations associated with running operations and having full-time employees. Furthermore, in many Latin American countries, technical talent isn’t interested in working as an employee for a local company.

New Costs
In opening a local office, a company needs to adjust its budget to accommodate new costs. These expenses, from paying rent for the office space to the cups of coffee your workers will consume during office hours, quickly add up.

Talent Pool Limitations
When opening an office, companies usually pick the main cities to locate themselves. However, great talent is everywhere, and your company might be passing on the right engineers just because they don’t live close to the office. 

Distributed teams are the solution to these challenges. Here, teams consist of a group of remote workers in different locations. Sometimes, distributed teams include collaboration with full-time employees in a local office and remote team members.

11.3. Benefits Of a Distributed Team

A distributed workforce is not a new concept; however, dynamic technology has seen the concept gain popularity for entrepreneurs. Here are some of the benefits associated with it. 
Cost Reduction
Compared with a local office's productivity, having a distributed team enables you to achieve the same level of productivity for less cost, sometimes a lot less. Also, having a distributed team keeps the cost down in regions where office space is premium. However, it's worth noting that cost reduction shouldn't be the sole reason for having a distributed team.
Speed And Efficiency
Often, a distributed team includes team members that spread across different time zones, allowing for better, faster, and more efficient coverage in an increasingly global environment. Rather than having shifts to provide efficient coverage, a distributed team spread across different time zones solves the problem naturally.
Having a distributed team makes it very easy to change the size or scale of the team. If the need arises, new employees could be seamlessly included.   

11.4. Challenges of a Distributed Team

While distributed teams have their benefits, they're not without their challenges as well. Some of these challenges include the following:

Socio-Cultural Differences
More often than none, distributed teams include members from different nations, belonging to different cultures, and having different opinions. Other differences might also come in the form of language, communication practice, and skills.
These factors increase the risk of miscommunication among members, leading to conflicts, bad team relationships, and a product quality downturn.
Time Zone Mismatch
Globally, employees in a distributed team are staged in different locations that span multiple time zones. The time zone mismatch makes scheduling a team meeting difficult as it might not be possible to get a quick response from team members. Inadequate communication between teammates makes simple tasks look much more challenging, hampering speedy and efficient workflow.
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While hiring a remote team keeps gaining popularity among start-ups and other tech companies, it is important to address certain legal details to keep in mind when deciding to move forward on this path. 

12. Contractor Vs. Employee: The Difference

There is always a range of legal requirements for new businesses and start-ups, including employment laws, tax obligations, and financial regulations.
Employment laws are most important as they mediate the relationship between employers and their employees. Every talent hired into your start-up is automatically under the employment law. It dictates when an employer can hire and when employees can work. The law also covers what an employer must pay staff for their work.
As the founders, CEO, CTOs, and VPs of a technology start-up, you could also get work done by involving the services of a contractor. An independent contractor could be an individual or business performing services for another company with a contracted understanding between two parties. 
Contractors are not employees; they get paid for their services; hence, they are under no employment laws. With different countries enforcing employee rights or labor laws, most companies prefer hiring remote independent contractors to avoid opening a legal business or entity in another country and bypass most of the stiff labour laws of some countries.
Payment Methods
How to pay your remote engineers might seem like a difficult task when deciding to look for talent outside of your company’s home country. However, the technical talent in Latin America has a deep understanding of the different payment options available to them, and many even have US bank accounts to help simplify the payment process. Here are some of the most common payment methods across the region:
  • International Wire Transfer: This is the most traditional payment method; however, it is not as popular among remote workers as they usually incur high transaction fees and unfavourable exchange rates. 

  • Multi-Currency Wallets and Platforms: Some of the most frequently used are PayPal, Wise, and Payoneer. They provide the users with a US account to receive money wherever they are in the world. 

  • Cryptocurrency: A rising number of companies across different industries have begun to embrace cryptocurrency. These companies now allow customers to use them as an official payment method for goods and services while also paying employees via this method. Employing this method of payment has its benefits. Cryptocurrency transactions do not incur banking fees, and they have low transaction fees for international payments. Crypto transactions are also mobile and very secure.
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13. Cultural & Workplace Best Practices for Remote Teams with LATAM Talent

In leading a remote team, certain workplace practices are needed to ensure team members are happy and comfortable working for you. As a head leading a project, here are some tips on managing a team with LATAM talent from anywhere in the world.

13.1. Foster And Embrace Diversity

In managing remote teams, cultural diversity should be a priority. It is necessary to learn and understand how each team member receives feedback to avoid miscommunication and conflict. Managers in charge of teams with LATAM talent should ensure they encourage an inclusive outlook, respect LATAM holidays when possible, and respect LATAM's cultural diversity.

13.2. Set Clear Expectations

Transparency is key here. Every project has an expectation; thus, being open about project expectations to your team helps keep them focused and work towards the same objectives. Some topics you should set clear expectations regarding working hours meetings, project deadlines, and communication systems.

13.3. Give Out Expected Benefits and Perks

When a project is completed, or a milestone is reached, it's good to reward talent with benefits and perks. These benefits could come in the form of paid time off, equity, performance bonuses, co-working stipend, etc. These rewards create a competitive package for the potential employee and motivate talent to do more when the need arises.

14. Remote or Hybrid Workplace Culture 

Workplace culture defines the proper way to behave in an organization consisting of leaders' shared beliefs, attitudes, and values. A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale of staff, and increases productivity and efficiency. Job collaboration, satisfaction, and performance are also enhanced, while stress is reduced.
One of the best ways to promote a positive workplace culture is integrating every member, but how can this be done?
  • Emphasize on team-building activities: Regardless of how frequently it might occur, fly in as many remote team members as possible for an all-hands meeting in your physical office or plan a company-wide retreat or offsite. This is great for organization, communication, and productivity. A low-budget alternative to this could be setting up remote team activities. Activities like virtual meetups, multiplayer gaming, team quizzes, among others, could be remotely set up to integrate team members.

  • Use Video Group Calls: Creating video group calls where everyone can chat, message, and carry out video conferencing helps communication. This essentially converts the challenges of a remote team into advantages.

  • Engage In Fun Non-Work Activities: Work shouldn't always be too tense; fun activities should be introduced as ice-breakers. Some ideas for this could be playing video games together or scheduling time for weekly storytelling.

  • Schedule Meeting Times: Unscheduled phone calls should be kept at their barest minimum for just emergencies. Video meetings and teleconferences should be set with each staff in attendance. New points can be addressed, and problems can be analyzed and solved. Scheduling helps prioritize tasks, which gives team members a clear purpose and keeps everyone on the same page.

15. Conclusion

The LATAM region is growing at a rapid pace tech-wise, and this is evident in the number of companies building remote teams in this region. Latin American talent is sufficiently qualified to engage efficiently in tech-related roles. Regardless of some challenges hiring from this region, your tech startup stands to gain a lot from hiring a competent LATAM talent. Hiring engineers in Latin America has been a well kept secret by a few adventurous companies for many years. But now, with remote work being the new normal, many more companies are unveiling the potential of this plan.
Are you looking to expand your team beyond borders? Nexton is here to guide you through the whole process. From finding the right talent, all the way to the best options to contract your team, we have got you covered. Nexton has the best talent network in Latin America, making your company's recruiting process quick and efficient. 


Founder & CEO

Diego is a Stanford GSB graduate with a passion for breaking down borders and connecting technical talent with purposeful startups around the world