Some people say there’s not enough technical talent in Miami. Anton Diego disagrees.
“It’s just a matter of how you leverage that talent and how you position that talent to be successful,” he said. “You have to invest in people differently if they come from different countries. You have to invest a lot in culture.”
And that’s what Anton has done with EveryMundo, a Miami-based company that works with more than 30 airlines across the world to acquire more customers through digital platforms. The 12-year-old company has 84 employees, with offices in Hong Kong and Ecuador.
EveryMundo started as a digital marketing agency helping U.S. companies target the Latin-speaking market. After getting their first airline customer, it started opening doors to other opportunities. Today, EveryMundo helps airlines compete with sites like Expedia and Kayak so airlines can acquire more customers themselves, rather than through third-party platforms.
Just under 70 percent of the company’s workforce was born outside the United States, including Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and other South American countries. Anton says the company prides itself on employing immigrants who don’t speak much English to start, and taking the time and effort to teach them. In their experience, most of them become productive contributors to the company very quickly, they just need a different onramp to success.
“It’s a privilege to bring people on board here in Miami and see them grow– to see them from literally moving here with their families to sending their kids to college,” Anton said. He cited one example of an employee who moved to Miami from Brazil six years ago with his daughter and wife, and now his daughter has a scholarship to University of Florida in computer science.
It’s a story similar to his own. Anton was born in Moscow, raised in Cuba, and then returned to Moscow just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Eventually he moved to Miami in 1995, when he was 15 years old. After attending high school here, he went to the University of Michigan for college, before returning to build his career. Why return?
“Miami, outside of it being home, is a city where you can really make a difference,” he said. “You feel Miami moving… and Miami needs companies to be born here and provide more jobs and bring more people in and bring more education in. It’s critical.”
Anton says he appreciates all the opportunities he has been given as an immigrant and, more recently, as a founder and CEO. He takes pride in the fact that his company is Miami-based and tries not to take for granted the American dream he feels he’s achieved.
“The immigrant story is about the grind,” he said. “It’s nothing easy. You come here to this country without knowing a word of English and you have to learn everything from zero. And nothing’s handing to you. You just gotta earn everything.”