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A TECH INNOVATOR

Sebastian Castro came to Boston, MA 10 years ago to pursue university studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Sebastian had the intention of returning to Ecuador to work on what he studied, renewable energy, but fate had other plans and instead, the Ecuadorian, along with partner Aron Schwarzkopf, ended up founding the innovative company, Leaf.

Through friends in Boston, Sebastian met Aron, who is also Ecuadorian and was studying at Babson College in the same city. According to Sebastian, the original idea was written on napkins and was very theoretical. “While we were looking for work and interviewing elsewhere we were taking an idea and understanding how it could become a practical business,” he explained. “I was talking to my friend Aron and he convinced me it was an important challenge and an adventure to start the company.”

The idea originated by discussing what to do with commercial transaction information. “When you make a purchase, you swipe your card and a receipt is printed and usually thrown away,” said Sebastian. “It was important for us to capture that information found on the receipt. From there it evolved to how small and medium businesses could use digital tools in their business to capture that information.”

Sebastian and Aron had an interesting challenge on their hands and its innovative product prompted them to pursue it. “We created a platform that did not exist. The payment platform in the way that we do it, the specialized hardware, nor the application ecosystem that we provide exited at the time, ” said Sebastian. “It was a transformative idea and we decided to risk it.”

Thanks to the contacts that had been established through their studies at MIT and Babson, the duo decided that the ideal place to create the company it was Boston. “Also, it made sense because Boston is a technology hub,” said Sebastian.

Leaf officially began in early 2011. The company distinguishes itself in the market by providing businesses a digital tablet and a number of applications and digital tools they can use to boost business.

In addition, Leaf hopes to launch to the public this year an app store. “We want to create a platform and an ecosystem where those businesses can access not only our applications but also third party applications that have to do with the business, ” said Sebastian.

The Ecuadorian also tells us that he looks excitedly at the heyday of interesting technology that is developing in Latin America and Ecuador. “I think our countries are starting to take in technology in a way we’ve never seen before and that is something in which I would like to participate and contribute. We would also like to take Leaf to Ecuador and other Latin American countries.”

Finally, Sebastian added that representing Ecuadorians abroad is extremely important to him and his partner, Aron. “We strongly believe in the potential of Ecuadorian entrepreneurship and innovation. It is important for us to communicate [this message abroad].”