Aron Schwarzkopf, Kushki: Building Latin America’s Payments Infrastructure, Ep 202

Aron Schwarzkopf Crossing Borders

Online payments in Latin America are rapidly growing, creating significant opportunities for businesses and consumers. In 2022, cash only represented 37% of all formal retail payments in LatAm’s top six markets, marking a decline from pre-pandemic when cash represented around 70%.

Aron Schwarzkopf is cofounder and CEO of Kushki, a Latin American digital payments company. Magma invested in Kushki in 2018 to support its mission of providing the infrastructure to develop better payment products.

I sat down with Aron to discuss his journey as an entrepreneur and his experience in the payments industry. We also discuss the challenges of managing a multicultural company and Kushki’s recent acquisition of Billpocket, a Mexican mobile payments company.

Getting Ph.D. in payments and startups

Aron started his entrepreneurial journey in college confounding Leaf, a payments company, alongside Sebastian Castro. After Leaf’s acquisition, Sebastian and Aron shifted their focus to investing in Latin America. 

Despite receiving an offer to become an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) for a major company in New York, Aron declined the offer to focus on launching Kushki with Sebastian. Today, Kushki has a strong presence in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and the US and has recently acquired Billpocket, a leading Mexican payments company..

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about Aron’s journey as an entrepreneur.

Building a multicultural team

After six years of operating in multiple countries, Kushki has built a multicultural team that encourages connections and transparency. The Kushki Nation has become a significant asset in driving the company’s success, enabling them to foster a strong commitment towards their goals, despite the challenges of remote work.

Learn more about how Kushki leads a multicultural remote team in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Outline of this episode:

  • [01:33] – About Kushki
  • [02:04] – Payments in Latin America
  • [07:11] – Ph.D. in payments
  • [10:20] – Starting a company in Latin America instead of the US
  • [12:41] – Building a multicultural company
  • [16:11] – The aha! moment behind Kushki
  • [19:57] – Investment in Latin America
  • [22:17] – Kushki’s use cases and stories 
  • [24:35] – Billpocket’s acquisition
  • [26:41] – Advice to Aron’s younger self
  • [27:53] – Aron’s favorite podcasts and books
  • [29:04] – What’s next for Kushki?

Resources & people mentioned:

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