In this part 2, our London trio gives an honest insider view of what to expect when working in Fintech, with the facilitation of Alex Wood, Editor-in-Chief of The Memo.
Why should anyone leave their cushy job to work in Fintech?
Now is the beginning of this industry where you will be part of a wide scale and dramatic change says Damian Kimmelman of DueDil.
“We have an opportunity to change the way value is transported around the world,” he says.
That value which for him is so fundamental to businesses and every human being has been broken for quite a while and the use of new technologies allows to recreate it.
Working in Fintech has its pros and cons. It’s messy and difficult when you have 1001 things to do, Damian says. You need to make a lot of sacrifice and constantly have to choose between two good options.
“But people who work in Fintech get their dream actualise,” he adds. You do what you are passionate about, do things quickly and have the opportunity to take ownership of your role by getting involved in all aspects of the organisation and see ideas transform from the inception, to become product and distribution.
“If you like order, then you probably shouldn’t work in a start-up,” Duedil boss warns. But if you like to create order through disorder then you should.
“Working in Fintech right now is probably one of the most exciting spaces you can work in the Tech scene,” Anil Stocker of MarketInvoice says.
Real innovation is coming from start-ups and putting the client first. You get to listen to what customers want, what drive them and give it to them. Your mindset has to change and you need to be fast to adapt.
For Hiroki Takeuchi of Gocardless, working in a start-up means that you have the opportunity to do something that you really care about and grow. In Fintech, there is the opportunity to work at the heart of a business i.e. money, and make a real impact but you need to be able to deal with ambiguity.
Is Fintech more female friendly than its big brother?
The panel have to admit that like other tech, engineering and scientific careers, Fintech is struggling to attract female talent.
Damian says that at Duedil, they try to hire as many women as possible but the lack of female pool needs to be tackled from the education.
For Anil, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy: “If you don’t have women in the office, then when they come in the office they are a little bit scared that there’s no other women there.”
Hiroki wants to see the issue addressed at an industry level and even at a cultural level. He thinks that action needs to be taken to encourage women to get into Fintech. Out of the 1000 engineers’ recruitment interviews they’ve conducted at GoCardless, they hired 20 engineers but less than 5 of them are women.
“When they are not applying there is only so much you can do,” he says.
How people coming from corporate can best transition to work in a start-up?
Don’t expect any structured training, Damian says. Just jump in, try out, get your hand dirty and get involved. You have to deal with change and do the job as it comes.
Peer learning is the best way of learning as well as lunch learning, attending events, reading and finding a mentor.
As the start-up grows, some budget becomes available to attend conferences but you shouldn’t rely on that.
“It’s silly to try to prepare for things, either you are cut out for this or you are not,” he says. “People we bring in from corporate have a shock in the first weeks.”
If you don’t have a finance background, no problem. For the boss of GoCardless, FinTech is all about making a great product.
MarketInvoice however recruits people both from finance and other industries even fashion and Duedil hires people from top financial institutions like Morgan Stanley but the boss says: “We find people more than CVs.”
A key advantage of working in a Fintech backed venture for Damian is that the investors want the founders to do dramatic things and take bold decision. “We are not too good to fail,” he says.
Fintech is a growing and large market with a lot of small tech and should continue to grow as more customers adopt a new way of getting their financial products. The three start-ups Duedil, Gocardless and MarketInvoice are all recruiting for a range of roles in Sales, Marketing, Developers, Engineers, Data scientists, etc. and are also happy to hear from speculative applicants.
Here is a summary of the 10 top skills and qualities needed to work in FinTech:
- Passion : you got to love what you do
- Adaptability: the roles change all the time and you need to go with the flow
- Resilience: be realistic, don’t be a blind optimist or a pessimist. Know how to get around obstacles
- Self-learning: be good at motivating yourself
- Self-starter: be ready to solve problems without having someone to ask you so
- Attitude: have a can do and positive attitude, be able to deal with conflict and other viewpoints effectively
- Team player: don’t work selfishly, help others and give constructive feedback
- Honesty: say where you are strong and where you are weak and seek help
- Self-learning is a must with the ability to motivate yourself to do so
- Transferable skills: all your previous experience can be useful
Watch the full event below
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