In 2001, a group of ten recently titled Computer Engineers founded Igalia, a company specialised in the development of free software that, from the beginning, have had an international perspective and strong social implication. Ten years have passed since then during which the company head-quartered in A Coruña were able to specialise in the technological sector and internationalise a good part of the fruits of their work.


Euros in the first year to 1.8 million at the end of the 2010 period. The more than 70 agreements established with the Finnish multinational Nokia had a lot to do with the take-off of the company in this period.

The Web Co­ordinator who is one of the founding Partners of the company, Xavier Castaño, explained the evolution of Igalia since its activity began. Today, there are two lines of business: the mobile desktop area, with great penetration in the exterior market, and the Web area. In addition, Igalia have an innovation area with long-range objectives based on investment and specialisation in key technologies that will permit opening more avenues of business in the future.

The knowledge and development of Igalia using GNU/Linux and Gnome platforms allows the development of software for the Maemo and Moblin platforms driven by Nokia and Intel, respectively. The company have collaborated on the improvement of the latest version of Meego, the platform used in N-900, one of the latest generation Nokia cell phones. The mobile desktop was responsible for 75% of the company’s billing thanks to agreements signed with small businesses as well as multinationals in countries such as Finland, the U.S.A., and the United Kingdom.

The international contacts and the world level experience changed Igalia into a company of reference in the emerging IT sector in Galicia thanks to its high capacity to lead projects at the international level. On the other hand, at the local level, the Web area developed the ‘Naval Plan’ project that was financed with 500,000 Euros from the Foundation for the Promotion of Industrial Quality and Technological Development of Galicia. The experience that was initially centred in the naval sector demonstrated to them that this Web application for project planning could be useful for other sectors and companies interested in free software applications. Therefore, they bet on continuing investing in the project that, from this point, will be called ‘Libre Plan.’

Since 2010, Igalia dedicate an average of ten employees to collaboration on the development of the ‘WebKit’ that is a Web motor used today as a base for the Google Chrome and Safari navigators. Castaño highlighted that the principal advantage offered by the company is having wagered for high specialisation. “We offer very advanced technologies within the free software for a market niche in which the offer is low.”

After conducting various projects with the University of Santiago (USC) and the Technological Centre of Telecommunications of Galicia (Gradiant), the people of Igalia believe that the challenge of the future concerns European projects where, they mantain, they find "the true opportunities.” The philosophy with which the company has managed to imbue itself is that computer programs can be used, copied, distributed, and improved in a way that is completely without cost, licenses, nor requirements.

To innovate is as important as seeing the world as a market and wagering on internationalisation. Not to do so implies making a mistake because the money here is limited. Igalia decided to attract wealth to Galicia by means of human capital with which we also collaborate in order to avoid a brain drain”. Xavier Castaño


Beyond the agreements with international companies, having almost no competitors in the global market, and with a continued growth in billing volume, Igalia assumed a business philosophy since its inception that is based on cooperation, an innovative formula in its sector that they have managed to maintain over time. This is so much so that the number of partners has doubled to 20 thanks to a business policy that allows any worker to achieve this status in four years, a moment when they will be completely equal to any other partner in rights and obligations by means of a symbolic contribution. Before this and from the beginning of the second year with the company, each employee must form part of the General Assembly, the strategic decision organ of Igalia.

The Assembly is celebrated every two months and, during those meetings, the challenges and the markets toward which the company’s activities should be directed and continually redefined. Xavier Castaño explained that in 2005 they saw the necessity to specialise in technology and to internationalise. “We made the relationship with working at home more flexible and we completely changed the philosophy. We moved from being a company whose motto was ‘from Galicia for the world’ to promoting a global company where working at home became a natural type of relationship with the company,” he indicated. Since then, there are workers who perform their duties in San Francisco, Finland, Belgium, Madrid, and Barcelona. We have a multidisciplinary team that is completed with twenty persons working in A Coruña and eight in Pontevedra.

Assembly management, cooperative spirit, and internationalisation have been key for the incorporation of English, the language in which the Igalia workers communicate among themselves, independent of the place of work or the speaker. They know that the combination of innovation, specialisation, and internationalisation is their greatest strength. R&D&I absorbs 25% of the billing.

Igalia also dedicate part of their budget to development activities in order to improve the quality of life and the balance between family life and work, or continual training. Schedule flexibility working at home, and the promotion of the study of languages are only small examples of this philosophy for which the company reinvest an important part of its billing to the improvement of work conditions and the professional capacities of its workers.

The innovation process is so tied to the work model that many of the employees reject important offers from international companies in exchange for developing projects for which they were hired by Igalia. The company has become a social and personal wager. A good example is that 0.7% of the billing is dedicated each year to ONG financing.