EveryMundo, a technology company who creates products and services to drive qualified traffic directly to airlines’ websites, has experienced tremendous growth in the last five years. Despite employing 45 people and partnering with 20 international airlines, U.S. immigration policy continues to frustrate its founders, Seth Cassel and Anton Diego, who employ international employees to assist them in running and expanding their Miami-based business as a global enterprise.
“The airline business is a global and multilingual business with customers all over the world,” says Cassel. Together, EveryMundo’s employees speak 10 different languages. “We are partnering with global customers and need to be a business full of international, multilingual employees,” he explains. And access to immigrants has paid off. Since 2011, Cassel and Diego have transformed EveryMundo from a bilingual digital marketing platform to a multilingual marketing powerhouse that provides advisory services, technology products, and bespoke service solutions designed specifically for the airline industry.
Yet employing a workforce that blends both U.S. citizens and immigrants is only possible because the cofounders have what Cassel wryly calls a “strong stomach” when it comes to grappling with the U.S. immigration system. “It’s just a process,” he says. “The strong stomach comes in here: you have to be comfortable with rejection. You have to be somewhat relentless, and optimistic at all times. We’ve had situations where employees have had a rejection and then we need to reapply [for their visas].”
Anton Diego himself is an immigrant, born in Russia, raised in Cuba, and in possession of various citizenships, including American. Diego’s Cuban roots were especially helpful in getting the company off the ground. “Many of our developers are Cuban developers, and Cubans have a unique situation where simply by setting foot on U.S. soil, it automatically begins the process of residency,” says Cassel. “Within a matter of a few months a Cuban immigrant has the right to work in the United States, that’s something that has been helpful for us.”
The company also draws staff from Mexico, using special permits for workers from NAFTA countries. “From there, if we identify permanent opportunities, we can elevate their visa status,” Cassel explains. “We found that being able to provide an employment opportunity to an immigrant, in addition to helping them secure status in the country they want to be in, just creates a deeper level of appreciation and loyalty.
There’s a very, very strong economic argument tied to patriotism about what makes America special and what makes America the leading nation of the world, and the leading economy in the world. It’s our openness to immigrants.
Immigration policy matters to both founders. Cassel and Diego are the founding co-chairs of the Miami chapter of Fwd.us, a nonprofit founded by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to advance the issue of immigration reform among the tech community. “My partner and I have always had very strong opinions about the immigration reform debate,” Cassel says. “We think that the sensationalism around undocumented immigrants takes away from the completely complimentary, but equally important discussion around immigration to fill economic needs, especially where the United States has a shortage of workers.” In fact, a 2015 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the country will need approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the United States will produce over the next ten years, if the country is to remain competitive globally.
Further, Cassel thinks it’s downright patriotic to try to bring more global professionals to the United States. “You should be encouraging the talent of the world to come to the United States to thrive,” Cassel says. “It’s a win-win for everybody. I think that there’s a very, very strong economic argument tied to patriotism about what makes America special and what makes America the leading nation of the world, and the leading economy in the world. It’s our openness to immigrants, I don’t see how we’d succeed otherwise.”