Growing Miami start-up says its diverse workforce is one of its greatest strengths

YellowPepper is red hot.

Last year, the Miami-based company that helps people make cashless transactions closed $12.5 million in Series D financing, growing its total investments from Visa and other partners to $50 million in funding.

The exponentially growing start-up helps bridge the tech gap for payments between retailers and banks to digital platforms like Facebook and Google. As a leader of digital transactions in Latin America — with a recent expansion into Brazil — YellowPepper has more than 60 clients in six countries.

“Now that we have become one of the leaders in the region, we’re looking at expanding beyond the region itself,” said Serge Elkiner, co-founder and CEO of the company.

Elkiner came to the U.S. in 1999 to study finance and accounting at Boston University. He started YellowPepper in Boston and in 2012, moved its headquarters to Miami.

Elkiner comes from a family of immigrants. After his grandfather was liberated from a concentration camp during WWII, he restarted his life in Belgium, which is where Elkiner was born.

Now a U.S. citizen, he finds common threads between his family’s journey and those of other colleagues. YellowPepper estimates that 80% of its Miami-based employees are immigrants. And they like to highlight their ethos, as seen in a recent FWD.US #IAmAnImmigrant campaign that celebrated the contributions immigrants have made.  

#IAmAnImmigrant: YellowPepper, powered by #immigrants

YellowPepper, headquartered in Miami, is a pioneering company in Latin America's mobile banking sector. Members of their team originate from diverse countries across the world and have made the U.S. their home. In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, they share their #IAmAnImmigrant stories – their American stories – and what that means to them. Thanks for celebrating #IHM2016!

Posted by FWD.us on Thursday, June 30, 2016

The cultural differences between employees means they have to find ways to work with each other on different styles of leadership and problem solving, and that diversity is a competitive advantage for the company, says Cornelia Fernandez-Salvador, communications manager at YellowPepper.

As this Harvard Business Journal article highlights, research increasingly shows that “firms with more diverse people on staff have healthier financial performance, largely because non-homogenous teams tend to outperform teams with lots of similar people.”

Elkiner adds, “I think it’s a beautiful community and vibe that we’re creating in the company, bringing together all of these different cultures and then creating a product that enables banks and retailers to offer digital products to consumers.”

To learn more about YellowPepper, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

By The New Tropic Creative Studio
The WhereBy.Us Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.