What is a startup? Everyone has their own definition. At Tier One People we have identified distinct phases of growth in a Fintech startup. It is important to make the distinctions as each phase is in effect a completely different business.
We have created some typical profiles to give context.
Usually 1 - 50 people with minimal funding or bootstrapped (self-funded). Generating some revenue but not much. Likely to still be working out of a coworking space or innovation hub. The business is still at a volatile stage and uncertainty remains around long-term success.
Typically 50 - 300 people big. Likely to be well funded or listed and generating significant revenue. Moving out of startup and starting to become an enterprise. A mix of the founding team and new hires coming from more corporate backgrounds. Potential to hit Unicorn status.
300 people plus, going global and hiring at a huge rate. Now way past unicorn status. HUGE investors onboard. Examples Revolut, N26, Klarna, Afterpay.
The secret to success when joining a Fintech is to get on board when your skills and experience can make the most impact. When we do see hiring fail it's usually not because the wrong person was hired. But the right person is hired at the wrong time.
Have a mortgage or family commitments? You may want to think about joining a business in blitz scale mode. There is likely a lot more security and a higher base salary can be offered with some ESOP. But you have probably missed out on the opportunity to become a millionaire!
Can you take one or two risks financially if the role doesn't work out? Maybe you are not quite sure if you can adapt to the demands of a startup. Try a scale up.
If you are slightly bonkers, can handle flexible working ie working 24:7 thrive on uncertainty, fear, challenge and building a legacy while not getting paid much then a startup might be right for you.
Most people think that Fintechs are one huge innovation lab where people ride round on skateboards dreaming up how to use blockchain to solve world hunger.
In reality most Fintech are struggling just to stay alive. If you are dreaming of bringing killer ideas and strategising all day long, forget it. Having ideas and making ideas happen are very different. In a Fintech you need to bring relevant skills to the table and demonstrate where you can execute on the vision with minimal resources.
Most Fintechs started out by hiring mates or mates of mates. It stands to reason that when it is your business you want to hire people you can trust to deliver.
75% of the Tier One People network will find their next role through a direct contact. If you don’t have any friends in Fintech then you need to make some.
I am constantly amazed by people who tell me they are passionate about Fintech, yet know nothing about the sector. At Tier One People we live and breath Fintech. But we have to work hard to keep building our profile and build our knowledge base. Meetups and industry events are a great way to get started if you need to gain knowledge and meet people.
Fintech is a tight-knit community and you will find many members are quite accessible when you contribute to the community in a positive way.