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Members On Campus

Member Spotlight: Icoms

The team at Icoms has been around for over 15 years and have developed software for international giants like Bridgestone, Nickelodeon & Comcast. Originally from Honduras, Icoms found their way to the States in 2010, and recently called Los Angeles home because of the rich startup culture and hard-working entrepreneurs here. We love having the Icoms team at our Pasadena location and are proud to feature them in this month’s Member Spotlight.

Alejandro Corpeño, CEO

The Q+A

Q. In one sentence, describe who your company is and what you do.
A. Icoms is a design and software development company that creates digital products for startups and large companies.

Q. What is the problem you’re solving?
A. We help our clients take their ideas from abstract concepts to finished products, providing advice and guidance throughout the process. We don’t just give them advice, we actually design, develop, test, launch and maintain our clients’ apps.

Q. What brought your company to Los Angeles, and what do you like about the startup ecosystem here?
A. Part of our organic growth in clients brought us to work with large media companies in New York and then in Los Angeles. As an international company (originally from Honduras) we were looking to open our first US-based office, and decided to set up shop in Los Angeles to expand our client base in the media and entertainment space.

From 2010 – 2014 we were very active in the startup ecosystems of New York, San Francisco and Miami. In 2015 we traveled to LA and found an interesting ecosystem with the right mix of technology, art, design, and specially different industries. We also loved that we found down-to-earth, hard working entrepreneurs and startups focused on creating real money-making business models, being more sustainable and with better chances of success.

Q. How has being a part of the Cross Campus community helped you or your business grow?
A. Being part of Cross Campus has boosted the expansion of our network in California. Through Cross Campus introductions, we have been able to find support for our accounting, finance and legal needs. We have also been referred to new clients, and been able to kick ideas around with other entrepreneurs, test some of our products in the social events; and learned much more about what’s happening in the tech community by participating in Innovate Pasadena events and similar events hosted here.

Icoms Team hard at work in their Pasadena office.

Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. Being a company that was founded in a small country like Honduras, the most satisfying moment was when we were able to open up our presence in the US, expanding our opportunities to work on bigger and better projects in innovative fields.

Q. Tell me about a time you failed at a goal you needed to achieve
A. About 3 years ago we started our game development experiments, and we started working on a 3D-game with a lot of complexity on the story, graphics, puzzles/game mechanics and more. At that moment, we were working with part-time-contractor artists, and our developers were switching from client work to the game – client work always having the top priority. We obviously failed at launching a simple demo at the speed we thought we could (6 months).

We realize now that we underestimated how long it takes to really develop a game, and since, have taken a step back to learn, experiment and not try to launch anything so quickly. With a small but dedicated and passionate multidisciplinary team, we are seeing the difference, and have been able to lay solid foundations for our current Virtual Reality products.

Q. What are some of the characteristics of people that have been successful at your company?
A. They have a good mix of engineering skills and a creative mindset. Most of our developers are not just good at code, but also have a passion and creative talent on fields like music, visual arts, writing or sports.

Q. If your company were a Hogwarts house, which one would it be and why?
A. It would be a joint venture between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. Sometimes you just have to make decisions with incomplete information and take risks (Gryffindor’s courage and nerve) but most of the time, once you have made those decisions you have to execute with hard work and patience (Hufflepuff).

Q. Who do you respect the most, and why?
A. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee). He is an example of how hard work and determination along with patience and keeping your mind open to learning new things all the time are more important than “talent” at any specific field. He has grown his current business from less than 10 employees to more than 700 pretty quickly, in an industry where he was an outsider when he started. He also shares all of his learnings via social media, YouTube videos and books he writes.

Q. Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
A. I see myself still pretty active in Icoms, but probably not on the day-to-day coding. Instead participating more on conferences, representing the company and the products or services our team works on.

I see the company with several successful products of our own, and with an important portfolio of bigger clients in mobile, web, virtual reality and whatever new tech is going to be around in 2027 (robots and flying cars?). Also, experimenting on the cutting edge technologies at the time.