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Growing Teams for Scaling Fintech Businesses

Dominique Adams


Modulr Edinburgh Fintech

To celebrate the launch of Modulr’s Edinburgh office, the firm hosted an event to bring together Fintech entrepreneurs to share their experiences of scaling-up and insights on how to build the right team.

Digital payments account firm, Modulr, headquartered in London, has just opened a new office in Edinburgh, which is expected to create 30 new jobs before the end of the year.

The new Edinburgh team will work to extend the company’s current offering to existing and new customers. It will also work to develop a software team to enhances its B2B payments platform.

Modulr chose to locate in Edinburgh because of the city’s large talent pool, renowned universities,  supportive government bodies such as Fintech Scotland, and for its thriving Fintech ecosystem. With these benefits to hand, Modulr says it expects to double the size of its team over the coming six months.

Building the Right Team to Scale-Up

In celebration of the move, the company hosted an event at Edinburgh’s prestigious Caledonian Hotel, which brought together a panel of Fintech entrepreneurs.

The panel discussed and shared their experiences and insights on how best to grow, manage and nurture a team through the journey of scaling up a business. The speakers also highlighted the importance and need to invest in the talent of the future.

Facilitated by Lisa Thomson, Founder Purpose HR; Director for Scotland of Startup Grind, and Ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, panelists included:

  • Rob Devey: Chairman Modulr; Advisory Partner at Blenheim Chalcot, NED Octopus.
  • Jude Cook: CEO and co-founder, ShareIn.
  • Jennifer Houston: Partner, Financial Services Advisory, IT Risk and Assurance at EY.
  • Stephen Ingledew: CEO, Fintech Scotland. Previously MD Marketing and Customers, Standard Life.
  • Myles Stephenson: CEO and founder, Modulr. Previously MD Europe WEX Inc.

Roles Within Startups Evolve as Companies Scale

In terms of scaling-up, every panel member affirmed that getting and retaining the right talent was crucial. As a company scales, inevitably roles within the company will evolve and change.

Often what will happen is that workers go from being a general member of the team, “all hands on deck” – common in startups – to a specialist. As the company grows and takes on more staff, that need for everyone to be involved in all aspects will fade away.

There was a consensus among the speakers that management should ensure that staff are happy with this evolution or risk losing their best people. This can be done by through good communication and getting staff enthused about the coming changes.

One way to generate this enthusiasm and goodwill would be to offer incumbent employees the opportunity to retrain or up-skill in order to progress to the next stage of their career.

Attracting Top Talent is Extremely Competitive

To attract top talent, panel members all agreed that the company must offer incentives above and beyond their competitors for example company perks such as flexible working, health care benefits, better working spaces or a positive work environment.

Another key point the speaker highlighted was that companies both start-ups and larger organisations should expand beyond traditional recruitment pipelines. While universities do produce a stream of qualified candidates, companies that ignore other talent channels do so to their own detriment.

Go Beyond Recent Graduates for Talent

Apprenticeship schemes, internship programmes and outreach to school leavers, returner programmes are increasingly producing good alternative talent streams. By doing this, firms are fostering a wider talent pool and building the skills of the next generation. Not only that, they are adding to the diversity of their team which will help nurture innovation from within the company.

Those returning to work, such as mothers, should be made to feel welcome and supported as they rejoin the workforce. These workers bring experience, maturity and a new perspective to a team.

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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