We started early in 2020 which was an interesting time to launch. But lockdown meant everyone was at home so we could get hold of them, and we worked very hard to get it off the ground. Our first employee was a guy I met locally, playing tennis. He was a student and was interested in trading but he didn’t have experience. He had a great attitude and wanted to learn and, to me, that’s more important.
He came to work with us and, honestly, at first I wondered if we would make a loss by hiring him. English is his second language and there’s a lot of very specialist communication in fintech. You’ve got to get it right.
But we helped him learn and he was very keen. He worked really hard. Eventually, it all came together and now he brings in a lot of our business. We put him through his professional accreditation and he leads on some of our African markets. He is known in the sector, and other companies see him as a benchmark. We’re very proud of him.
Management consultancies and MBAs will teach you a lot of jargon about feedback mechanisms and inclusive meritocracies which sounds boring but, in our experience, it actually works. We give and receive feedback promptly, rather than waiting three months for an appraisal, and help each other find ways of doing things that works well. Colleagues come to me with ideas they’ve seen work elsewhere and I think, why not? Let’s try it. And in the last three years, we’ve gone from starting from scratch to operating in London, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Dubai and India.
Many of our team have come from different careers. They’re not all experienced in fintech. To me, their attitude and willingness to learn is more important. There’s no one size fits all, so we have people working here who don’t have classic educational backgrounds. They’re talented, they are keen and, together, we all work hard. We believe in each other.