What makes a LinkedIn Top Startup? The employees, of course.
2019 marks three years since we started out, and this year has seen us reach scale-up phase.
As we’ve rolled out more products and services, and onboarded new customers, we’ve had to hire just as quickly. We’ve almost doubled our head count between now and 2018 and we’re set to double it again in 2020.
But what is it actually like to work at a fast-growing scaleup? Are you suited to a fast paced environment? Is a skyrocketing scaleup great for personal growth and your CV?
Here, four employees tell us their experiences of working at Modulr. Follow #HowIGotHere on LinkedIn.
Where were you before joining Modulr?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - I’m formerly a trade journalist having reported for Bobsguide, PaymentEye and Accountancy Age.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - Prior to joining Modulr, I was working within the Commercial Banking Know-Your-Customer (KYC) department of a big five bank conducting Customer Due Diligence and anti-money laundering (AML) checks on existing clients. Before then, I worked within a far smaller entity within the cheque clearing industry and more specifically cheque fraud monitoring.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - Before joining Modulr I was a Project Manager at Worldpay.
Cerys, sales development representative - I was a branch Manager Designate for the builders’ merchant, Jewson. This role was focussed on sales, operations, transport, business controls and managing a team.
Why did you specifically decide to join Modulr?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - As a journalist, it was my job to stay on top of developing trends in the fast-moving industry that is fintech. This was great, but I wanted to be at the heart of the fintech revolution rather than commentating from the side lines.
Modulr had the role open and I leapt at the opportunity having followed the company’s rise and having met both the CMO and CEO in the field. I was impressed by their experience and energy and decided Modulr was doing something very special.
Do I regret leaving journalism behind? I miss the thrill of chasing stories, but ultimately, getting stories out there is far more challenging than finding them – that is the far greater thrill.
In terms of personal career development, joining at a time of early high-growth with many roles advertised is a great move for me. It means I can experience one of the most challenging times in a company’s life and have a tangible impact on its success. It also means I’m trusted to step up and have responsibility for delivering that success.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - I soon realised after joining a traditional big five bank that the decision making, change management and process improvement aspects of work are still very much left to management and senior management.
Processes are stagnant at times and enhancements are bogged down in red tape. I saw Modulr as a chance to change sector to somewhere that takes ideas and inputs seriously from all levels. The challenge of being part of building a team within a new company was also a massive draw.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - I joined Modulr because it was a small and exciting FinTech and I wanted to escape a big corporate.
Cerys, sales development representative -I wanted to transition into a fast-paced sector. Fintech is an intriguing area due to the growth of the industry and the pace that it is evolving. Modulr seemed like an exciting opportunity to be part of a company that was growing particularly quickly with substantial backing. It also had a gut feeling after the interview process that it was a company with ambition for growth and drive to help its employees’ succeed.
What does your job title actually mean at Modulr?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - I am the head of content, comms and press. The role effectively means that wherever there’s a message leaving Modulr, I’m there to ensure it’s consistent, accurate and constant. I straddle public relations, internal comms and marketing, meaning I get to experience quite a few different areas of the business which is excellent for my own personal set of skills.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - Currently, I am a risk and compliance analyst working on improving our transaction monitoring procedures and tools and working on our strategy for monitoring our now millions of transaction month on month.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - I head up projects and implementation, onboarding all our clients and managing large client integrations, such as our two big projects, Sage and Virtual Cards.
Cerys, sales development representative - I am a sales development representative (SDR) focussing on the lending sector. This involves prospecting, talking to companies about their payment challenges and seeing how Modulr can align with their roadmap to help them achieve their goals.
What was your interview process like?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - After applying, I had a phone interview with the CMO (line manager) and we talked about how I liked to work. I then had a face to face interview with the CMO where I walked him through a presentation on how I’d take Modulr’s content strategy forward. I had a final interview to discuss other aspects of the role.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - My interview consisted of a phone interview, a face to face interview with the team lead, a second face to face interview followed by a presentation on money laundering regulations with the team lead and compliance manager, with a short interview with our talent manager Rebecca to finish. I can say without doubt this was the most stringent interview process I had experienced and was a cut above the screening I had experienced from larger institutions which speaks volumes for the level of talent within Modulr.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - I had four interviews, one of which included a presentation and panel interview. It gave me a chance to meet a wide collection of staff including Myles Stephenson, the CEO, and ensure Modulr was the right fit for me too.
Cerys, sales development representative - My interview was informative, I was given plenty of time to ask questions and given extensive answers to help me make an informed decision about whether the company was a good fit. It seemed that they tried to get to know me as a person rather than just a CV interrogation. I also had a call with a member of the team to get an impartial view of the culture of the company. This really helped my decision-making process.
What were your first impressions of a fast-growth fintech?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - I was used to the 100m sprint to get a news story out but coming to Modulr has been like stepping into a 1500m race – just as fast and over a sustained period. I joined in July 2019, just before Modulr hired 40 people in one month. I had to become comfortable with my new environment in two weeks and it honestly couldn’t have been made easier for me by my colleagues and wider team.
There’s a can-do, all hands-on deck approach to Modulr. This sort of growth is unchartered territory for the company, so everyone is heavily invested in helping new starters get acclimatised quickly. It means it’s a very friendly and helpful workplace and everyone has time for you, even if they are sprinting flat out.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - When I first joined, I was shocked at the rate of growth within the company and how quickly processes had to evolve.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - I arrived a few months before the big Sage partnership project began so it gave me a chance to become involved in other areas of the business, working on GDPR and alongside marketing on a website revamp. Once the Sage project began, Virtual Cards was a fast follower, meaning I definitely wasn’t short of things to do. The projects touched all areas of the business giving me great insight into the whole organisation even if we were only about 30 people then; it has been great seeing the enormous expansion over the last 18 months.
Cerys, sales development representative - I think what struck me the most is how quickly things evolve. Especially as an SDR, you need to be able to understand developments within the industry and where those developments align with our organisation so that you can effectively talk to prospects about the issues that concern them. For example, Open banking/PSD2/SCA.
What do you love most about working at Modulr?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR – There’s a real energy to the company. Everyone is buoyed by the momentum the scaleup is enjoying and that results in people wanting to work harder and concentrate on doing the best they can. It’s good to be busy.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - I love the trust which the management and leadership team have in its staff to independently drive change and new initiatives. I was very used to a micro-management style of leadership before, and so this approach taken within the team has been refreshing.
I was also surprised at the level of expertise the team already possessed in various specific facets of compliance and regulation. This has made for a great environment to develop my own skills and knowledge.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - It’s a great size, everyone is incredibly friendly and welcoming, and I find there is no game playing or politics. Everyone is approachable and always open to helping out in any way they can. I’ve seen examples of working groups being formed to help out teams that are stretched, working together to find greater efficiencies and process improvements.
For me personally, I love being able to influence things at Modulr, I can involve myself in all aspects of the business and share my opinions without being shot down. It’s so refreshing to work somewhere where you know you can speak your mind. I feel it’s the people that really make Modulr, making it an enjoyable place to work.
Cerys, sales development representative - The weekly smarketing breakfast on a Thursday is a worthy mention, but the main thing is that everyone is keen to learn and succeed. There’s no one in my team that I don’t think is giving 100%. That really encourages tenacity when you are having a bad day. This combined with our CMO’s ‘Daily-motivation’ makes it easy to keep grafting and push forward.
What has been your favourite moment?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - Letting everyone know they worked for a LinkedIn Top Startup was special.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - My favourite moment with Modulr is actually the entire experience of embedding and enhancing our automated Transaction Monitoring tool (Trapets). It has and continues to be a challenge, especially with monthly transaction volumes now over 1,000,000 and growing.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - Too many to choose from but I think up there would be getting the go decision to go live with the Virtual Cards project because there had been so many dependencies, including sign offs from external parties. Everyone worked hard to reach that point, so it was very satisfying to see the first few transactions come through.
Cerys, sales development representative - I really liked seeing us named as one of 25 LinkedIn Top Startups to work for. I think that gave everyone an immense sense of pride.
What is the one thing you’d tell someone who is thinking of joining or about to join?
Dave, head of content, comms and PR - Modulr is going places, so if you want to get into fintech in whatever department, now is the time to apply. Get in while we have open spaces and take full advantage of the responsibility and impact you’ll have in a skyrocketing scaleup.
Danny, risk and compliance analyst - If you’re thinking of joining Modulr, I can assure you the opportunities available and investment in colleagues is exceptional.
Natasha, head of projects and implementation - Do it! Come and get involved, there are so many opportunities for career progression and the chance to experience all areas of the business but most of all the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a lovely place to work.
Cerys, sales development representative - No day is the same and you will be perpetually confused and thirsting to learn new things. If you are resilient, with a good work ethic and eager to constantly learn, Modulr will be the perfect fit for you.
Would you like to join Dave, Danny, Cerys and Natasha? Check out our careers page.
Want to learn about the sort of employees the chief people officer likes to hire? Click here.
Want to hear what the head of talent thinks makes a great interviewee? Look out on the blog next week, or subscribe to our newsletter.