With Brazilian political parents that were exiled during the military dictatorship, Bernardo Carvalho Wertheim was born in the UK and raised in Rio de Janeiro.
He is a former digital nomad (people who use technologies to earn a living and often work remotely from foreign countries).
It was when he was living in Australia that he came up with the idea for his startup, The Bridge Social. “My purpose was to help people get jobs outside their country of origin. [What] I thought was: I know so many people in the United States, Europe, Brazil, and Latin America, looking for opportunities. So I will make the bridge, I will connect talent to international opportunities,” he told LABS.
That was the beginning of The Bridge’s idea, a global network – or a boutique, as the company likes to present itself – for creative and tech professionals.
The Bridge’s founder and CEO, Wertheim calls himself “Chief Happiness Officer.” The startup has a database of more than 230,000 digital professionals.
The network is backed by one of the largest Latin American accelerators, Startup Chile, from which it raised a Seed round. Now, Wertheim runs the startup from there, also working with offices in Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, for clients in all Latin America.
“Today, we do not need investment because our growth is organic, and we are highly profitable; for the time being, we don’t need it. But we have attracted interest from investors, and we are currently evaluating offers from some of them,” he said.
In 2020, the company grew 300%, primarily due to the urgency of hiring digital professionals to work remotely. Last year, the Bridge revenue was $2.5 million, considering Chile, Brazil, and Mexico operations. For Brazilian-only operations, the company earned BRL 7.1 million. Currently, The Bridge has around 100 employees.
“Because of COVID-19, there was a very high demand from customers to hire digital professionals to be able to leverage digital channels, so there was a big boom in technology recruitment, and we are surfing this wave,” he said.
However, The Bridge not only recruits UX, Tech, Agile, and Digital employees but also provides staffing (which is the expansion of these clients’ teams, with the hiring of temporary labor) and outsourcing.
“We had a plan to launch a freelance platform, but honestly, we decided to focus more on staffing, outsourcing, and recruitment for this year. We also have the executive search, which is for recruiting C-level professionals.
We also have a large volume of independent professionals hiring, who are paid monthly with projects of at least two to three months,” explained Wertheim.
In practice, The Bridge delivers a service supported by software and marketing, and inbound recruitment strategies. “This system of ours allows us to evaluate the profile in record time and deliver selected profiles to our clients in 48 hours.”
Irina Bezzan recently took over as managing director of The Bridge in Brazil. According to her, the pandemic helped the firm’s fight to break the market’s mindset for hiring people from other countries. Today, even the most traditional banks in Brazil are looking at workers from neighboring countries, and neighboring countries are also looking for Brazilians.