Karina Zambrano grew up in the ATM business. “My father immigrated us to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. And started his business in our garage in California when I was 15,” Zambrano remembers. “It was a very small business, at first, but my father worked very hard to make it successful.”
The company he founded, known today as Eurotechzam, began by providing parts and repairs for ATMs in California and, eventually, expanded on the West Coast. But, more than a form of financial support for the family, Cesar Zambrano’s garage-based business became an important learning space for his daughters.
“I was happy to help out whenever I had time,” said Zambrano, “weekends and school breaks, especially.”
The business continued to be a family affair, even after Karina left for University. The California office – now no longer in the garage – began servicing the entirety of the U.S. and, eventually, Canada. However, seeing the opportunity to grow further, Cesar contacted his sister back in Mexico and worked with her to open a Latin America branch of the business.
“I graduated with a degree in electronic engineering,” Zambrano said. “But I did not immediately go back to the family business. It was the tech boom of the late 90’s and I ended up working as a consultant for about four years. I worked with mostly start-up companies and learned a lot about what it takes to launch a business.”
At 24, Karina saw that it was time to make a change. She spoke to her father about rejoining the family business and applying what she learned as a consultant. “I had only been to Spain as a tourist but I thought that, if we were going to try expanding to Europe, it would be a good place to start. My father was very supportive of the idea and contacted his friend Jean-Pierre to help me start the business,” she laughed. “He was actually more worried about our expansion into Asia later on…but it has worked out well.”
Now operating as the General Manager, Spain and Corporate Marketing Director, Karina continues to oversee the European division of the business – which works with Europe and Russia. Today the company specializes in multi-vendor ATM parts, repairs and integrated logistics support as well as quality re-manufactured equipment solutions for ATMs. They have sales and service encompassing every continent with branches in Spain, Mexico, the United States, France and Hong Kong, and a manufacturer in China.
While Karina and her father are now oceans apart, they remain very close. “Running a business requires strength and can be very lonely,” said Zambrano. “But we can draw on each other’s strengths because we are in this together.”
Help ATMIA celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ATM and the 20th anniversary of the association by sharing your stories. Contact Sharon Lane, ATMIA Global Director of Member Services, at +001-605-271-7371.