Growing up in the ATM industry
Karina Zambrano grew up in the ATM business. "My father immigrated us to the U.S. [from Mexico] when I was 11 years old, and started his business in our garage in California when I was 15," Zambrano said. "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 across the West Coast. But more than financial support for the family, Cesar Zambrano's garage-based business provided an important learning lab for his daughters.
"I was happy to help out whenever I had time weekends and school breaks, especially," Karina Zambrano said.
|Karina Zambrano, general manager, Spain,|
and corporate marketing director, Techzam
The business continued to be a family affair, even after Karina left for university. The California office — no longer in the garage — began servicing the entire U.S. and, eventually, Canada.
Seeing the opportunity to grow further, Cesar contacted his sister back in Mexico and worked with her to open a Latin American 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 '90s and I ended up working as a consultant for about four years. I worked with mostly startup companies and learned a lot about what it takes to launch a business."
At 24, Karina decided it was time to make a change. She spoke to her father about rejoining the family business and applying what she had 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 said. "He was actually more worried about our expansion into Asia later on … but it has worked out well."
Now working as Techzam General Manager for Spain and Corporate Marketing Director, Karina continues to oversee the European side of the business.
Today, the company specializes in multivendor ATM parts, repairs and integrated logistics support, as well as remanufactured equipment solutions for ATMs. Techzam provides sales and service on every continent and operates branch offices in Spain, Mexico, the United States and France and Hong Kong, and has a manufacturer in China.
While Karina and her father are now oceans apart, they remain close.
"Running a business requires strength and can be very lonely," Zambrano said. "But we can draw on each other's strengths because we are in this together."