Should Start-up Founders Hire Bankers?

Several Founders, Co-Founders, CXO Bankers, CXO Fintech professional & people who participated in the ePanel discussions:

  • Mr. Rahul Dayal, Head- Information Technology, Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund
  • Mr. Probir Roy, Co-founder, Paymate
  • Mr. Mukesh Bubna, Founder, Monexo FinTech Pvt. Limited
  • Mr. Parthesh Shah, Co-founder, Knight Fintech
  • Mr. Hemal Shah, former Technical Product Manager, Mastercard
  • Mr. Ishan Vaish, India Partnership Manager- Worldwide Developer Relations, Apple
  • Mr. Kamonasish Aayush Mazumdar, Founder & CEO at Foodieverse
  • Mr. Aishwarya Jaishankar, Co-Founder Hyperface Technologies
  • Mr. Vikas R Panditrao, Co-Founder, Forum of Industry and Academic Knowledge Sharing (FIAKS)
  • Many other CEO/CXO Bankers & Fintech professionals on FIAKS Forum requested to remain anonymous

Here’s a compelling question that’s been the topic of discussion amongst the FIAKS community; should founders of fintech startups hire bankers? Well, instead of asking “should”, it’s better asked “for what should bankers be hired for startups”?

Hiring a banker and integrating them into a startup is something that needs to be done intentionally;

  • Being a banker is not a disqualification. While hiring, it’s important to evaluate for mindset and not just for the experience. Many bankers feel they are caught in an old system and there are many who want to break out. Just like any other industry, those who have the itch to move into a different culture and take some risk will be willing to try a startup career. Oftentimes there would be younger people who are not held back by a large pension or stock option.
  • Creating the right onboarding for a banker with experience is important. Their assimilation into the startup will be very different and one has to be intentional about working through this to ensure the way of operating, goal setting, reporting, the more informal culture, and especially the fast pace of changes at the startup would be very different from what happens at a bank.
  • Member states, When bringing in team members from any non-startup background (eg a great hire from IBM may be), a big part for the startup is integrating this traditional experience person and coach them. The “will thrive at a startup” needs to be actively managed, in my limited experience.

Then came in views of a banker who is now a fintech co-founder;

  • This is a different world, the ones who survive are the ones who come in with the mindset to flow and not have rigid expectations
  • Please throw out the business model thinking, as the old saying goes, larger organizations execute a business model, startups create a business model so nothing is set in stone.
  • Responsibility for the regulator as I see it is actually higher – in a bank you have the cushion of multiple people interpreting regulations for you, while in the startup world there is no such support.
  • The advantages I feel bankers bring in are a strong understanding of regulations, business models, and P&L. Now if you read it with the above 3 points above, you will realize none of it matters.

Here are some viewpoints of members who really think hiring bankers is a value-addition;

  • Actually, we already have few (ex) bankers with our firm, joining the startup bandwagon. The survival rate for bankers in a startup environment for us is still 100%. And trust me – They are a definite value-add. You can’t beat their experience and relationships.
  • Fintechs have great technology skills and understand customer journeys, but for domain knowledge, domain tech, regulatory/compliance, someone from the domain is required – this is where bankers add a lot of value
  • If there are bankers who have turned themselves as SMEs within their domain (for e.g. cards, accounts, loans, retain, b2b, etc) they would be a perfect fit for startups.
  • Bankers bring a lot of value for startups – Statutory audit, & compliance-related knowledge, practical difficulties faced during execution, contacts of customers. After all, a startup needs this most importantly.
  • The most important is the role-person fitment as well for both to succeed. For eg; bankers have very deep regulatory frameworks and risk knowledge and thus their value in such roles is almost indispensable.

Whilst, on the contrary, some opine it’s a risk:

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2021-07-01T19:25:21+05:30June 26th, 2021|Categories: FIAKS bespoke|Tags: |Comments Off on Should Start-up Founders Hire Bankers?
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