How did you come to work with Taller Negócios Digitais?
I was given the responsibility of finding a company, so I started contacting several. We're using a web framework called Drupal, which is popular, has a huge community and a lot of companies working with it. A fairly mature community has been built up around Drupal. I first went to the Drupal website. I was looking for certified companies, companies that had some formal relation to the Drupal platform. Because it's open source, companies are constantly contributing to either the core of Drupal or to modules that extend the platform.
I went online and collected the names of maybe six Drupal companies. I contacted them all, and I received estimates from them. Even though now we have received more money for development, at that time we had only $40,000 to do a lot of things. I got estimates from different companies, and they were all too high – in the $50,000 to $60,000 range. The rate per hour is $150 for companies in the United States, but Taller offered us a much better rate.
I have some friends who are in the IT [information technology] business, and I asked them for companies in Latin America that I might contact. They told me that Taller was expensive by Brazilian standards, but that they were professional and would be able to respond to our needs. We chose Taller because of their good rate per hour. They seemed professional and were willing to work with us.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
We're planning to spend around $40,000 with Taller for this part of the project, which is to build distribution around the platform and have something that can be adapted for different research groups. We are estimating that we will need to put most of that money into this to have the distribution ready. After that, we are going to start extending the distribution in four areas, but we don't know how much that will cost because we have to get more funding.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them about three months ago, and we are still working with them. We did 100 hours so far with them, and we are now starting a contract for another 160 hours. We may continue working with them for another 200 hours or so until we are at a point that we can continue developing the platform ourselves.