Working at a Startup in the FinTech World

Mandy from EY at Yoyo

 

I’m less than 2 months into my 3 month secondment at Yoyo Wallet, which I keep finding myself describing as Apple Pay (only Yoyo is much better). After applying to EY’s FinTech talent programme, I got matched with Yoyo, who were looking for help with some regulatory projects.

Having only really worked with large banking organisations before, working with a FinTech is a fascinating experience.

Yoyo are in many ways a typical start-up in terms of culture (energetic, informal and personal), communication (mostly face-to-face or over ‘Slack’ – fun Twitter style messaging), and people (young, self-motivated with a real sense of personal affiliation for Yoyo).

However, what I found most astounding in reality is the pace.

At my first town hall meeting the team announced:

– the launch of their first retail facing product
– that they’d turned a profit for the first time, and
– the on-boarding of a load of new clients.

Significant milestones for a 2 week period!

And this has only continued. Since then they’ve launched in two places outside of the UK, signed a significant deal (more on that in the coming weeks) and continued to on-board large and varied clients at speed. They also have in-depth knowledge of their data and can manipulate it at the drop of a hat (unlike a previous nameless client…).

It’s also really eye-opening how much Yoyo collaborates with other firms; start-ups and big corporates alike. Yoyo operates a real knowledge sharing mentality; they have numerous calls/meetings and team-wide “Lunch and Learns” with other FinTechs to share their experiences in overcoming similar challenges. Having worked with large corporates previously, it’s clear from my placement here alone that they recognise the value in working closely with large organisations.

Why?

Yoyo gets insight into a broad range of knowledge/skills. But it doesn’t make sense for them to hold all of that ‘in house’ – in fact they’re able to strengthen new relationships/sales/investments/other business opportunities with this.

 

Mandy from EY using Yoyo

 

On the flip side, large corporates such as EY get the benefit of learning how to think differently about old challenges and question “the way we’ve always done things”. Despite their size, this helps them to become more flexible and agile – be it through learning by example or actually employing the business ideas being generated by the FinTech world.

Of course, there’s a sales angle for these too (and for EY in particular). If FinTechs are the future of the financial industry, how should we position ourselves to be a sought after business advisor for this very new and different client type? A client who will critically assess the true value in each and every expenditure?

Working closely with companies like Yoyo at this stage will allow us the best chance of success as the industry develops.

As for similarities – they too have governance (steering groups, structure charts, policies), contractors and consultants (albeit rationalised to core needs and specialist services, typically not at big 4 prices!) and regulatory challenges to overcome (however, their challenge is more in the interpretation rather than implementation, given the uniqueness of their model).

 

My own personal learning curve has been a steep one, not only trying to adapt to this new culture (it took me a good few weeks to start wearing jeans in the office!) but particularly the range of business areas I’ve been involved in.

Typically at EY, I will work on projects with a very narrow content focus (e.g. complaint handling, consumer credit act etc.), however, due to the size and coverage of Yoyo, I’ve already found myself getting to grips with several areas that are entirely new to me! And I’m expecting more of the same in my remaining time here.

It’s been a great lesson in seeing the importance of what I’m doing and how this can fit into the bigger picture for a business like Yoyo.

 

Want to join the Yoyo Wallet team? Check out all the great internships we’re currently recruiting for here :)