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Kushki becomes Ecuador’s first-ever unicorn following $100M raise, aims to connect LatAm region through payments

Kushki-Payments-cofounders-Aron-Schwarzkopf-and-Sebastián-Castro
Image credits: Kushki

The Ecuadorian fintech Kushki which offers its clients an integrated payments platform, as well as omnichannel solutions for e-commerce, m-commerce and physical stores, has just recently raised $100M in an extension of its Series B funding. This funding pushes Kushki’s valuation to the north of $1B and brings the total amount raised the Series B to $186M.

“Connecting Latam with payments, the potential growth of the company and the digitalisation of citizens,” a representative of the Quito-headquartered fintech explained toTFN on what necessitated the funding. A raise was inevitable as the company’s 200% growth in 2021 is setting it up as a key player in the region.

The financing was supported by new and existing heavyweight investors Kaszek Ventures, Clocktower Ventures, SoftBank Latin America Fund and DILA Capital, just to highlight a few.

Becoming Ecuador’s first unicorn

The payment platform tailormade for Latin America was founded by the team comprising Aron Schwarzkopf, Daniela Espinosa, Jose Santacruz, Madeleine Clavijo Verjel, Melissa Castro & Sebastian Castro. Several of its founders have quite remarkable backgrounds, beginning with its CEO Aron Schwarzkopf who is an Ecuadorian-American serial entrepreneur. Alongside his co-founding partner & MIT mechanical engineering graduate Sebastián Castro, the duo founded and led Leaf, a fintech that operated out of Cambridge, MA. Leaf was purchased in 2014 by Heartland Payment Systems (now Global Payments NYSE: GPN).

Combining their experiences in Mobile OS for commerce, Mobile PoS apps and consumable APIs, engineering, card acquisition & transaction processing, Kushki was founded. Its mission was to connect Latin America through payments, while helping businesses reduce the cost and complexity of payments online, improving payment acceptance rates and reducing fraud.

The Kushki correspondent elaborated on how the LatAm fintech fits within its ecosystem, stating, “We are the intermediary between large companies, governments and digital payment solutions for citizens in general. We deliver services that, beyond a payment gateway, bring point-to-point technological solutions to digital payments.”

The fintech avails its clients omnichannel solutions for e-commerce, m-commerce and physical stores, on top of an integrated payments platform. The company’s API standardises the ecosystem’s fragmented payments landscape, allowing for credit and debit card use, bank transfers and cash networks with over 300k physical payment points.

Kushki currently employs over 750 people with its operations ongoing in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, USA, and Canada, soon hoping to expand to Brazil & other LatAm countries. Explaining its growth and presence, the company representative responded, “With less than a decade of existence, Kushki has been classified within the Unicorn category by achieving a valuation of $1.5B. Kushki operates locally in 7 countries and leverages local teams to deliver customized solutions for clients in each country.”

Aron Schwarzkopf, Kushki ‘s co-founder and CEO recounts his team’s effort and good fortune expressed by his statement, “Reaching this milestone in times of historical economic uncertainty speaks to the quality and resilience of our entire team and the enormous Latin American talent that exists in the region.”

Growth for Kushki

The newly acquired finances will be used to speed up Kushki’s development of a modern payment infrastructure for Latin America that facilitates all types of payment transactions across all countries. This infrastructure will be of key importance in accelerating digital transformation and economic growth in the region as it enables businesses to grow faster online, driving digital payments adoption by consumers. On top of this, the fintech expects to make more hires in 2022 as supported by the respondent’s citation, “We expect to hire more than 1,000 at the end of 2022.”

“We are excited to continue backing the entire Kushki team. Over the past few years, they have shown an outstanding ability to execute and attract the best customers and talent in the region. We believe Kushki is just getting started in its mission to connect LatAm with efficient digital payments,” commented Hernan Kazah, the Managing Partner at Kaszek and Kushki’s early investor since Q1 of 2020.

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