Anna Tsyupko is the 24-year-old CEO of London-based FinTech company Paybase, and as a young fintech CEO, here lists 5 ways young directors can have a standing chance of winning the fintech game.
My story is a rather unusual one in that for three years, before joining the company full-time, I had been representing the main investor, attending board meetings and managing the investment in Paybase (then Payfriendz).
My involvement with the company led me to understand just how antiquated the payments ecosystem is and how difficult it is for FinTechs to fulfil users’ expectations of usability and ingenuity whilst being constrained by legacy technology, high costs and regulatory compliance.
The vision to solve these problems with the latest technology and to thus democratise access to payments infrastructure is what drove our CTO Chris Wessels and I to evolve the business from Payfriendz into Paybase.
Here are some of the things I have learned on my journey so far.
- Your employees are your experts
At Paybase we are a team of 15 and growing. I am one of the youngest people in our team, which has meant mostly managing people who are older than I am and who have been working for more years than I have.
I believe the key to being a good leader is to acknowledge that your employees are experts in their fields and are best equipped to make recommendations, which is why micro-managing people and being overly prescriptive makes no sense. Instead, it is important to focus on the bigger picture and to set your employees the right tasks – not to worry about the minute details of their processes.
Taking this approach has certainly helped me to establish good working relationships with my team members. When employees have autonomy and the opportunity to be heard, they have the space to prosper regardless of any age difference between themselves and their leader.
- Jumping in at the deep end is the fastest way to learn
Sometimes I wish that I’d had a chance to learn all the important lessons of the last year gradually rather than all at once. Then again, being thrown into the deep end is what truly and most effectively teaches you how to run a business. I believe that starting young and jumping in at the deep end gives you a chance to build a foundation of experience early on in life and the chance to continuously improve.
- Don’t regret mistakes – learn from them
There are many things I know now that I didn’t know when I first started out and that, had I known them, would have changed some of the decisions I made. Could we have done things better? Absolutely! Do I believe that the decisions we took were the right ones at the time? Yes. I have no regrets and wouldn’t have done anything differently, but I am grateful for all the things I have learnt.
- Look at the industry as a whole when you’re planning for the future
For the foreseeable future, my focus is Paybase and its development, growth and expansion. I believe that we are building something truly innovative and I am excited about launching the Platform this September, onboarding our first clients and eventually expanding our offering into new territories. I hope we will play an important part in shaping and changing the future of payments by democratising access to payments infrastructure and opening this industry up for more innovators.
- Be passionate in everything you do
To succeed you need passion. Be passionate about the problem you’re trying to solve and genuinely interested in the sector and market you’re in. This excitement and enthusiasm will give you the strength and ability to keep going and to push even harder when things get difficult. It is almost impossible to perform to the best of your ability if you’re not 100% committed.