How TangoCode’s Founders Created a Custom Software Company in a SaaS-Dominated Industry

August 31, 2022 | Digital Marketing Technology, Innovation, Strategy

When TangoCode co-founder Veronica Buitron failed three science classes her sophomore year of high school, she took it as a challenge. “If I have to study over the summer on this, I’m going full in,” she said of her thought process at the time.

Buitron’s summer school endeavors were so inspiring that the following year, when she, like other Uruguayan juniors, had to choose a professional track, she chose science. And at university, where students specialize further within their fields, she went with computers. “I really just have a curiosity, and I like to solve problems,” she said.  

Meanwhile, TangoCode co-founder Dane Drotts was growing up on a dairy farm in western Kansas. His interest in technology came through at a young age, first with a console that he would use to program games at eight or nine years old.

A few years later, Drotts got one of Apple’s earliest desktop computers as a gift from his dad. Before long, he had taught himself enough computer coding to build a custom software program that helped manage his family farm’s milk deliveries. “I like a challenge,” he said.  

Decades later, when Drotts and Buitron founded the custom software development firm TangoCode in Chicago, it was their shared love for challenges, especially technical ones, that shaped the company into a client-first solutions provider.

Two software developers determined to build something new

Buitron first came stateside as a consultant for the Uruguayan software development firm ARTech Consultores, soon to be renamed GeneXus, where she met then-co-worker Drotts. The two eventually started GeneXus USA, an American iteration of their former employer’s business model, selling the GeneXus software product exclusively to American clients.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there. As proprietary low-code software that generates native code, GeneXus is very accessible for users, but it’s harder to customize. “GeneXus was extremely difficult to sell to in the US,” Drotts said. “It wasn’t a known brand and as a no code generator, it didn’t apply to all the situations we were being presented with” he said. “It still created applications fast, but we wanted to give our clients more and ensure they weren’t limited by our technology.”  

So, Drotts and Buitron started a second joint business venture. Designing their own company, the duo agreed to focus on cutting-edge, custom software solutions and consulting services designed to fit the singular needs of each client. They also wanted to foster a work environment where everyone felt valued.  

“The motivation of TangoCode was to build a company where it was a collection of individuals being our best selves, where we have fun at work,” Buitron said. TangoCode’s founders are committed to fostering a collaborative culture across team members in the US, Uruguay, and Ecuador.

Informed by her own experiences as a female business leader and an immigrant, Buitron believes in cultural diversity as a catalyst for collaboration. “I really wanted to build a company that had the best of both worlds, being able to bring together what is the best of all these different cultures,” she said.

Today, with Buitron as CEO and Drotts as president and CFO, TangoCode continues evolving to meet the industry’s changing needs, arming businesses and marketers with the agile software solutions they need to scale across digital platforms. The company is focused on bringing out the singular talents of its employees to meet the singular needs of its customers.

Breaking it down for clients, even if they don’t speak the language of coding  

As a custom development firm providing solutions primarily in digital marketing, TangoCode’s overarching goal is “empowering clients to make informed decisions in the software development process,” Buitron said.

Over the course of her career, Buitron came to recognize what she called a “black magic” phenomenon, where clients would think of software as opaque and unknowable, powered by the near-supernatural. “I wanted to take that away completely,” she said.

From the very beginning, “TangoCode had the DNA of empowering our clients so they could feel more in charge, even if they were not tech-oriented,” she said. The goal is to “take the magic out of development. At the end of the day, you want your client to be in charge.”

Inspiring confidence starts with TangoCode’s first step for every new client, a process they call inception. “It’s a workshop driven to build confidence for a product to move forward,” Drotts said.  

“We give them the business case as a deliverable, the product release plan, and any risk mitigation based on that. That’s our inception,” Drotts said. Presenting a clear roadmap helps clients know what to expect from the process as well as what they stand to get out of it. This demystifies development and turns the creation of a custom solution into a business process that everyone understands.

Enabling efficiency and scale for digital marketers with custom solutions

Working closely with clients, TangoCode develops automated adtech solutions for companies across industries, from real estate and healthcare to automotive and sports. Custom software streamlines marketing efforts and optimizes a scalable digital strategy that drives brand engagement across web and mobile. This empowers agencies and adtech providers to offer better services to their clients.

“We want to make sure that we not only build what they want, but we help them build what they don’t know they want,” Drotts said.

By automating repetitive tasks and implementing intelligent templates for campaign creation and management, TangoCode’s solutions leave marketers more time to focus on creative and tasks requiring human ingenuity instead of getting bogged down with menial labor. When hurdles like data integration and inventory calibration can be automated with software, marketing gets more efficient, making employees’ jobs more enjoyable and boosting revenue.

For two veteran software developers who have been eagerly taking on challenges their whole lives — from summer school to the family farm — that’s what makes continuing to grow TangoCode worthwhile. “The digital marketing space changes every month, every week, every day,” Drotts said. “And that’s what excites us.”