Calipso's expansion in Colombia slower than expected

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stiff domestic competition threw a wrench in Argentine software developer Grupo Calipso's plans to close deals in Colombia last year, company president Pablo Iacub told BNamericas.

Calipso saw overall sales increase 28% in 2010, with significant advances being recorded in Argentina and in international markets such as Ecuador, Mexico and Panama. Still, the company recognized that it has its work cut out in terms of breaking into Colombia's software market, Iacub said.

"It's a country that has a lot of internal offerings and also has a tradition of looking inward," he said. "Colombian demand prefers Colombian supply. They are a little bit reserved."

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Despite those challenges, Calipso expects to rebound and close several deals in the country this year, the executive said.

Meanwhile, overall plans for 2011 include pushing ahead with Linux software solutions, as well as software for mobile devices.

Last year, Calipso banked a deal with the Central American division of Claro - part of the America Movil (NYSE: AMX) group - whereby its travelling sales team adopted Calipso's mobile ERP solution, as well as an additional deal with mobile telecommunications solutions company Motorola (NYSE: MOT) in Argentina. Iacub said those contracts represent just the tip of the iceberg.

"Today with mobile devices, you can use solutions for logistics, delivery [and] to invoice," he said. "We have solutions tailored to six or seven vertical markets."

The company expects revenues to increase 20-25% this year, the executive added.

Founded in 1993, Calipso is headquartered in Buenos Aires and has strategic distribution alliances throughout Latin America. The firm provides a range of services, including software development and consulting, and now has more than 600 clients around the region.

New customers gained last year include the comptroller of Mexico's Jalisco state, Argentine construction goods provider Sica Electricidad and Ecuadorian construction and mining goods distributor Diteca.