“I saw an opportunity to improve systems for educating corporate employees.”
- Business/Professional Services
- Year selected
- Santiago Subotovsky
When they were just 21, Armando and Santiago set out to build a company to create virtual Internet communities. In the process, they became captivated by e-learning solutions. Today their company, AXG Tecnonexo, offers solutions for education and online training, and has become the largest e-learning vendor in Latin America. Their main clients consist of corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola, and UBS. Tecnonexo generates solutions for their clients by helping them customize training solutions oriented to solve business problems.
Shortly after selection, Armando and Santiago sold their shares in AXG and enrolled at Harvard Business School. Armando has gone on to join Google.
Armando, an industrial engineer, and Santiago, an economist, attended the same high school in Buenos Aires. Even as teenagers, they constantly pushed each other to create their own business. In 1999, they created a company called AldeaX with the goal of building virtual internet communities. Soon after, the entrepreneurs started to focus on the e-learning business as they recognized its market potential and adapted the virtual community concept to learning communities. As a result, AXG Tecnonexo was created. Santiago and Armando had been teacher assistants and had amateur experience programming, yet they sought out partners who could bring most of the technology knowledge to the company. In 2001, the shortage of the Internet market in Argentina pushed them to attack the e-learning sector in the United States where the market accounts for 50% of the global sector (Latin America accounts for less than 5%). Armando and Santiago moved to Miami and tried to break into the market for e-learning solutions. Despite their efforts, they generated sales mostly to Latin American companies located in Miami. They found that their target US market and client base existed in other cities, such as Washington DC, Boston, and Silicon Valley. They opened an office in Washington DC—one of the most active e-learning communities—and began to grow based on referrals and repetitive sales to the same clients year after year.
Despite their youth and limited prior experience, Armando and Santiago survived three key challenges with the company: 1) the NASDAQ collapse caused the loss of their technological clients, 2) The Argentine crisis triggered the loss of existing clients and an increase in accounts receivables, and 3) In 2004, AXG Tecnonexo achieved growth without external credit.
The company achieved a leading position in the corporate Latin American market as a result of its more than 200 implementations for clients such as Repsol YPF, Price Waterhouse & Coopers, Nestlé, HSBC, Officenet, among others. Since 2002, the company has written two books, and has edited an e-magazine called e-learning America Latina through which entrepreneurs share industry knowledge, new technologies, and real cases within the community of e-learning stakeholders.
Endeavor and AXG Tecnonexo
In addition to local mentorship and legal advice, the Entrepreneurs have benefited from several Immersion Tours and Entrepreneur Summit, along with support from an MIT G-Lab team and Stanford MBA student.
Armando and Santiago have demonstrated commitment to Endeavor Argentina by helping with its website.