Candidates vs. Companies: Navigating a cautious market

| 5 minutes

The current economic climate is influencing people and businesses the world over, and Fintech is no exception. 

It isn’t just the financial pressures that shape the market, it’s a feeling of uncertainty. Workers are questioning their job security; companies are questioning whether it really is the right time to hire and which roles will add value.

With a decrease in funding and a flurry of high-profile redundancies, on the surface it looks like more candidates competing for a smaller pool of jobs. 

But there’s more to it. Here’s what candidates and hiring companies need to keep in mind in today’s market. 

For Candidates: 

  • Nurture your network

Even if you’re not currently job hunting, think long term and proactively build your network. 

Reach out and connect with peers, leaders, and recruiters. According to LinkedIn, 70% of jobs are never published publicly; new roles are often filled via someone’s network. 

Building those relationships when there’s no “ask” will mean you have a ready-to-go network of people you can turn to and who know you when you are looking for something new. 

  • Explore the level of risk

Everyone has a different risk appetite, particularly when it comes to their job. 

For those who are more cautious, mitigate the risk by focusing your search on the most in-demand areas of Fintech, such as anti-fraud, AI, and ESG. 

It can also pay to look more closely at companies that seem like a “risk”. In Fintech, today’s startup, perhaps offering a smaller package, can be tomorrow’s household name. 

  • Avoid knee-jerk applications 

Avoid playing the numbers game when it comes to applications.

Take the time to reflect on your skills, expertise, and interests. Share those preferences with industry recruiters and tailor your applications to the opportunities you’re most passionate about. 

As the only Fintech sales recruitment specialists, we have the largest network of Fintech talent. We get to know candidates, often placing people multiple times throughout their career. Find out more about joining our talent network. 

For Companies:

  • Communicate the long-term vision 

Uncertainty often stems from a lack of clarity or understanding. Proactively communicate your long-term strategy, including funding, internally and externally; this will help reassure and retain existing sales talent as well as attracting new talent. 

This is especially important if you’ve recently made redundancies; sales leaders and their teams will be looking for reassurance, and staying quiet might encourage otherwise happy employees to look elsewhere. 

  • Dig into motivation 

Though it may seem like there are a lot of candidates around, we’re seeing a rise in the “just-in-case” job hunters who dip their toe in the interview process as a safety net just in case they’re made redundant. 

Many candidates are weighing up a whole range of options, including staying with their current company. 

If a candidate’s main or only reason for leaving their current role is money, they’re unlikely to make the jump and take on the upheaval and risk of a new role. 

Partner with a recruitment firm you trust to make sure candidate motivations are properly explored prior to shortlisting and that you’re only spending time talking to people who are really invested in your business and the role.  

  • Act quickly 

With fewer opportunities around, candidates are often involved in many application processes, and top talent can end up getting snapped up by the competition if you move too slowly. 

According to the Jobvite Employ Quarterly Insights Report, the average time-to-hire is four weeks or less. Be flexible and be prepared to respond quickly when you talk to someone that’s perfect for your firm. 

Finding the right person is hard. Finding the right person at the right time is even harder. It’s why we maintain and nurture a network of top Fintech talent, often drawing passive candidates into the process when we see it’s a great match. 

If you’re getting more quantity than quality applications and want to make sure you’re spending your time on the most promising candidates, get in touch with our team today to tell us about your brief and to start the process of finding your dream candidate. 

 

How to tell if you’ve seen a unicorn

| 5 minutes

Having focused on Fintech for almost 20 years, we’ve seen many ambitious startups grow to become industry-defining leaders and been lucky enough to help them build their teams along the way, including the likes of PayPal

We might not have a crystal ball, but over the years there are a couple of key things that make a startup stand out as having true unicorn potential. 

Killer Concept 

If your first reaction to a new product or service is “how does that not exist already?”, it’s a good sign they’re onto something big. 

Whether it’s something that vastly improves an existing product or service or an innovation that fills a gap in the market, a great concept is the foundational characteristic of any potential unicorn. 

It can’t just be a good idea. To reach household-name status, startups will need a well-defined business model with a clear path to profitability and sustainable revenue generation.

A-Team 

The next thing to look at is the people responsible for turning that great concept into a business: the leadership team

Low turnover at senior levels and a clearly articulated vision are must-haves when spotting future unicorns. 

Dig into the background and experience of those in leadership roles. People with expertise and proven experience in both the sector and a startup environment will be best placed to help businesses navigate challenges and successfully scale. 

Sustained growth

If the idea and the team meet the mark, the next proof of unicorn potential is in the numbers. 

A dazzling balance sheet one financial year might help secure that next funding round, but businesses with true long-term potential will show sustained growth over a number of years

Depending on the product or service, this might be growth in the number of users, the number of markets the business operates in, as well as factors like market share or even an active community on social media. 

Funding 

With sites like PitchBook and Crunchbase, it’s possible to look back and see how much funding a startup has managed to secure and who their backers are. 

Problems with cash flow and funding is one of the main reasons startups fail. 

When a business has managed to secure funding from big-name investors and VCs that know the industry and have a track record of identifying winners, it’s a sign they could be on to something big. 

Reputable funding does more than giving the business a short-term cash boost. Having big-name investors on board acts as a form of social proof, encouraging others to invest and shoring up a startup’s longer-term funding pipeline. 

Time 

It may seem simple, but one of the biggest indications of a startup’s potential is that they’re still around. Surviving year one is a big milestone, but the majority (70%) of businesses fail between years two and five

Passing the five-year mark isn’t a guarantee of long-term success, but it gives you confidence that the business can weather changing conditions and continue to grow. 

Finding your future unicorn

Whether you’re looking for the team to lay the foundations for future unicorn status or you’re on the hunt for the perfect role at the next big name in Fintech, Finiti can help. 

We’re a boutique agency specialising in sales roles within Fintech. Our carefully curated talent network means we match opportunities and people based on much more than CVs and past experience. 

Get in touch with the team today to find out more about Finiti Search, how we work, and the opportunities waiting for you

Unicorns in waiting: 5 Fintech startups to watch

| 5 minutes

The pace of innovation is just one of the many reasons we love working in Fintech; yesterday’s idea can quickly turn into the billion-dollar unicorn of tomorrow. 

There are already more than 300 Fintech unicorns, with four new companies making the cut this year and three previously public companies rejoining the list. With a combined value of $1.55 trillion and counting, there’s no doubt that these giants will continue to shape the Fintech industry.

But who will be next to join their exclusive club? Here’s the top five unicorns-in-waiting that we have our eyes on. 

Codat

Founded in 2017, this software startup has rapidly emerged as a key player in Fintech. 

On a mission to streamline the exchange of financial data between small businesses and financial institutions, Codat has experienced exponential growth. In just six years, their client base has grown to over 10,000 businesses worldwide. 

Fueled by substantial funding, they’ve secured a total of $176.8 million from big names including JP Morgan Growth Equity Partners and Shopify which they’ve invested in enhancing their platform and hiring top talent. 

As they continue to scale, Codat is perfectly poised to revolutionise how businesses interact with their financial data and become a business must-have. 

Clarity AI

Another 2017 startup, Clarity AI leads the way when it comes to sustainable finance. 

Their values-led approach has clients and investors queuing out the door. They’ve secured over $80 million in funding, enabling the company to expand its operations, develop cutting-edge technology, and attract top-notch talent. 

This year, their valuation has skyrocketed to an impressive $450 million. It’s a valuation that’s only set to rise alongside demand for ESG-driven solutions and a more responsible, ethical financial landscape.

SentiLink

SentiLink, an innovative identity verification startup, has rapidly established itself as a leading player in the cybersecurity industry. 

Since 2016, it’s attracted widespread attention earning a place on Forbes’ Fintech 50 list and achieving a valuation of $430 million

Their technology that enables businesses and financial institutions to detect and prevent fraud has been widely adopted. Securing over $85 million in funding, their 300 customers include other major Fintech players and seven of the US’s 15 largest banks. 

As companies look to stay compliant and protect revenue through proactive risk management, we predict it won’t be long before SentiLink become a unicorn. 

Abound

What happens when a former EY director focused on lending and credit analytics and the Global Head of Digital Lending at McKinsey team up? Abound. 

The dynamic duo set about to revolutionise the way individuals access financial assistance with a little help from AI. Focusing on inclusion and responsible lending, Abound wanted to deliver a user-friendly interface with transparent lending options. 

Hugely successful in terms of funding, they recently raised over £500 million which will be used to develop their B2B capabilities and grow their headcount. 

Founders Dr Michelle He and Gerald Chappell predict their balance sheet will hit the $1 billion mark by 2025, but we think these two have the potential to exceed even their own expectations.  

Cleo

Calling Gen Z, your personal financial assistant is here: meet Cleo. Jargon free and powered by AI, this increasingly popular app enables users to take control of their personal finances and make more informed financial decisions.

Named one of the best money saving apps of 2023 by the Metro, the Cleo team have already secured $137.5 million in investments, $80 million of which was in June this year, which they plan to use to grow their team by almost 60%

With their valuation now sitting at the $500 million mark – five times their 2020 valuation and huge potential for B2B integrations, Cleo is set to become the go-to money management tool of the digital banking age. 

Creating unicorns

Achieving this kind of growth doesn’t happen on its own – it needs a great team, and having the right sales leaders in place is a critical hire for any Fintech startup. 

We’re incredibly proud of the role Finiti Search has played in finding the right people to take startups from ideas to unicorns-in-waiting and love watching business grow into household names. 

If you’re looking for the perfect person for an open role or want to chat more about shaping your future sales team, get in touch to find out more about Finiti Search and our talent network and unique approach.

Happy 10th birthday unicorns! What we’ve learnt from a decade of raising unicorns

| 5 minutes

You know what they say: they’re all grown up before you know it! 2023 marks a decade of the so-called unicorn startups.  Rare and valuable, achieving “unicorn” status is a start-up dream-come-true for founders and investors alike. But the unicorns of 2023 are starting to look a little different to their mythical friends from previous years. 

What is a unicorn? 

Venture capitalist and founder of Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee created the term in 2013 to describe billion-dollar software companies. 

Some believe the term only applies to startups, whilst others pin it down more, defining unicorns as VC-backed companies valued at $1 billion or more. 

Companies lose their unicorn status if their valuation drops below $1 billion or they no longer need VC backing due to being acquired or going public. 

How common are unicorns? 

According to PitchBook’s Unicorn bible, there are currently 1323 active unicorns globally, a huge increase from the 39 startups that met Lee’s criteria back in 2013.  

Some of the best known and most valuable include Chinese sensation ByteDance, Stripe, and the now infamous OpenAI

Are they endangered?

Despite the huge increase in billion-dollar valuations over the last ten years, unicorns are starting to become more rare again. 

Companies achieving unicorn status hit a peak in 2021 when 606 startups proudly donned their shiny white coats and placed glittery single horns on their heads. 

That number dropped by 42% YOY with only 349 unicorns crowned in 2022. Now halfway through 2023, only 44 startups have achieved that billion-dollar valuation.

Where can I find a unicorn? 

Much like in Fintech, the US is the place to go if you’re looking for unicorns; just over half (695 companies) call the US home. 

China has around a third of that number (265), with India (66), the UK (45) and Germany (27) below the 100 unicorn threshold. 

But don’t saddle up and head for the US just yet. In 2023’s class of unicorns, less than half are in North America (48%), with the percentage of unicorns in Asia growing to 32%, up from around 20% in 2022. 

What does my unicorn do all day? 

This year’s unicorns are also a little different when it comes to how they make their billions. 

In the 2021 peak, the top industries for unicorns were IT, healthcare and consumer-facing products and services. 

Whilst IT remains first past the post, B2B and energy focused businesses have climbed up the tables, taking second and third place respectively. 

The next decade of unicorns 

In the current economic climate, funding is harder to come by and investors are more wary. 

Startup valuations reflect this. In Q1 2023, only 71% managed to achieve a higher valuation than previous rounds, with almost one in five experiencing a “downround”.  

Unicorns are becoming rarer, and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. But that might not be a bad thing. Unicorns are supposed to be rare. They’re the magical exception to the tough reality of startups. 

Being less focused on racing to the billion-dollar valuation might just give some promising startups the room they need to breathe, reflect, and to build a sustainable business that’s a trusty steed rather than a glamorous myth.

Need your next jockey? 

Whether you’re at the billion-dollar mark or fresh out of the stable, we focus exclusively on putting the right sales team in place to grow your Fintech business. If you’d like to find out more about sales roles in the start-up sector, we’d love to hear from you. And if your business is growing in this industry and is looking to attract some great talent, we think Finiti Search can help. 

Get in touch to find out more about how we can help – no more horse puns, we promise.

Dream job or risky nightmare: How to assess whether that startup leadership role is too much of a risk

| 4 minutes

When you’re a C-suite leader looking for your next challenge, there’s only a small pool of top roles to consider. It’s a shrinking pool too, with the number of CEO roles in the US alone declining by 19% over the past ten years. 

For those in the traditional finance sector, economic instability has led to even fewer options with the number of banking sector employees decreasing for the first time since 2020

With fewer opportunities at familiar names, many C-suite finance leaders are considering making the leap into Fintech and joining a startup. 

The idea of leading a company from rookie to household name is a big pull, but how can you assess whether a startup leadership role is a great opportunity or a huge risk? 

Startup survival odds 

Recent research has put startup failure rates as high as 90%

There’s a common misconception that most fail in the first year, but that only accounts for 1 in 10 failures. Most fledgling businesses fail between years two and five

When researching a potential startup employer, look at how long the business has been operating to get an idea of whether the risk level is at its peak. 

Money, money, money

Understanding how much funding a startup has is key to evaluating the risk. In the UK, 38% of startups fail simply because they run out of cash. 

Websites like Crunchbase and Pitchbook are great for getting an understanding of how much funding an organisation has secured and when. 

Estimate the runway

The amount of funding is only half the story. What may seem like a great level of investment won’t offset the risk for a very cost-heavy business. 

In the startup world, firms often talk about their “runway”: their burn rate minus revenue. 

You won’t be able to calculate this precisely as an outsider, but when you’re researching the company, think about whether it’s a cost-heavy business model and the size of the team. 

Though Fintech startups often have low-cost setup costs, team costs can spiral. Payroll is one of the biggest startup expenses; as a rough guide, payroll costs average $300,500 per five employees in the US. 

Who’s got their back

As well as how much funding they have and how they’re spending it, look into who their investors are. 

More than one investor is reassuring as it reduces dependency and is a positive reflection on the business’s potential. 

Seeing major VCs listed as investors is also a good indication that the business is stable and going in the right direction. 

Meet the team 

In a small business, everyone’s actions influence the company’s success and direction – positively or negatively.

The most important piece of due diligence you can do is to look into the team currently running the business. 

Use LinkedIn to get a feel for whether current business leaders are operating in their area of expertise and whether they’ve had previous successful ventures. 

High team turnover can also be visible on LinkedIn and is an important red flag to consider. 

Further down the recruitment process, be sure to spend time with the founder(s) to get a feel for how involved they are in the day-to-day running of the business and whether they’re someone you could work with. 

Taking the plunge 

Even a well-funded startup led by a great team can go bust, but in today’s uncertain markets, the risk of redundancy is unfortunately just as real in established financial institutions

Leadership roles at startups offer pace, stretch, and the ability to really see the impact of your decisions – your leadership – on the company’s success. 

If you’re interested in leadership roles with some of the most exciting new names in Fintech, get in touch to tell us a bit more about yourself and take the first step to finding that dream startup role. 

ESG: the growing expectations creating a growing sector

| 5 minutes

Almost ten years after the creation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance – has become a key focus area in the business world. 

 

As regulatory requirements and investor expectations increase, finding smarter technology solutions to measuring a firm’s impact has become the must have SaaS product of the 2020s.

 

Growing expectations, growing sector

As the 2030 deadline looms closer, governments are tightening their efforts with a focus on businesses. 

 

There’s been a staggering 74% increase in ESG reporting provisions by governmental bodies in the last four years, and more rules around climate disclosure from the SEC, the UK, and the EU on reporting emissions mean it’s only going to get tougher to remain compliant. 

 

The result was a 42% increase in investment in ESG strategies from 2018 to 2020. 

 

A big opportunity 

As well as environmental and societal benefits, smarter ESG decisions have huge potential business benefits. 

 

A focus on the SDGs throughout global economic strategy could generate 380 million jobs and $12 trillion a year in new opportunities.  

 

Companies that offer smarter tech solutions that help businesses not only meet government and investor expectations but that unlock business benefits will be the ones to watch. 

 

Movers and shakers: Clarity AI

Machine learning is at the heart of Clarity AI’s market-leading sustainability tech, allowing it to regularly analyse more than 2 million data points. 

 

The ability to customise the platform to report on as much or as little as you need as well as being able to breakdown performance against SDGs at a product or service level has seen Clarity AI raise $80 million since 2017

 

We’re excited to have worked with them to build their sales team, most recently with the appointment of a VP of Sales to oversee their next growth chapter. 

 

Ones to watch: Evora Global 

Evora Global’s technology allows real estate investment firms to think long term. 

 

With some of the world’s biggest fund managers as clients, Evora Global combines consultancy and proprietary software to help firms manage climate risks, secure sustainable finance and remain compliant.

 

Acquired by Bridges Fund Management in 2022, the private equity backed firm has grown to employ more than 200 people.  

 

Ready to grow

With only one third of companies saying they currently have an ESG strategy, tech firms that help simplify and automate ESG are set for explosive growth. 

 

From deciding which opportunities to pursue to managing new markets, senior sales leaders are a critical hire for any tech-centred ESG platforms looking to capitalise on a growing market. 

 

Finding the face of your business

In high-growth sectors like ESG, new sales hires will often be the face of the business, managing multiple new market entries or setting up a new regional office. 

 

Getting the right person can make all the difference between a slow start and a thriving team and business. 

 

We’ve helped some of the biggest ESG tech firms design their sales team framework and find the people to bring it to life. 

If you’re an ESG Fintech firm looking for a growth leader or senior sales hire, get in touch with the team today to tell us more about your brief and find out why so many top Fintech firms choose us to find top sales talent globally.

The Top Questions New Clients Ask Us

| 5 minutes

At Finiti we’ve been matching top sales talent to their perfect Fintech roles for over 15 years. No other recruitment firm does what we do, or how we do it. 

 

Here are the most common questions we get from new clients about what makes Finiti unique and why so many Fintech market leaders choose us. 

 

What’s your specialism?  

We’re pretty different from other recruitment agencies. We don’t recruit for all roles. We don’t recruit for all sectors. We’re highly specialised: not just sales, not just Fintech, but sales roles within Fintech. 

 

That level of specialism allows us to deliver a completely unique service. We know the market inside out, we know and have worked with many of the biggest industry names, and we have an extensive talent network.

 

If you’re looking to recruit a general sales role, there are lots of agencies that can help with that. If you’re in Fintech and looking to find your next sales leader, we’re the only specialists in the market. 

 

What’s your set up?

Finiti is a boutique agency. Our tight focus on Fintech sales roles means we have a small team of Fintech experts, not offices full of generalists. 

 

Female founded and run, we’re a small team that’s focused on client delivery and great results. All clients work directly with our Founders, Kate Sharland and Alison Power, benefitting from their expertise and connections throughout the recruitment process. 

 

We might be a small team, but our specialism in Fintech sales mean we’re the go-to recruitment partners for some of the biggest names and most exciting prospects in the industry, who work with us time and time again. 

 

We love seeing our clients grow; from working with PayPal when they were just a handful of people to helping promising startups find their first sales leader, our approach is about building relationships, not just filling a vacancy. 

 

What’s the process? How will you find the right person?  

One of the most common questions any recruitment company gets is about how they’re going to find candidates. The Finiti process is different from other recruiters you may have worked with: we start with the people. 

 

We always meet the hiring manager, and – as we’re specialists in senior appointments – usually sit down with the CEO or Founder to understand their business goals and how they hope this new hire will deliver. It’s about getting a feel for the person they’re looking for as well as the skills. 

 

Because we’re focused solely on Fintech sales roles, we understand the different companies in the industry, how they work, and who is likely to enjoy and succeed in a particular environment. 

 

Our “little black book” is actually a huge network that we proactively maintain and grow. We often place candidates multiple times throughout their careers, getting to know the personalities and motivations behind the CVs. This means that often when we get a new brief, a couple of great candidates spring to mind, including ones that may not currently be actively job hunting. 

 

What’s your reach? Do you recruit internationally? 

New clients often ask about our international reach: how can we find the perfect candidate for a role in San Francisco when we’re based in London? 

 

We recruit for roles all over the world and most of our business last year was in North America – the largest international market for Fintech with over 10,000 Fintech firms

 

We never outsource or use third parties – we don’t need to. Our network is the only Fintech sales talent network and has been carefully curated and grown over several decades. 

 

Whether the role is in London or Paris, New York or Singapore, we have connections all over the world and use that network to find the perfect match. 

 

How do we get started? 

If you’re interested in working with Finiti, get in touch via the contact form on our website or find us on LinkedIn.

Why Fintech Companies Are Still in the Game Despite Banking Crisis

| 5 minutes

Amidst the doom and gloom of major bank collapses, talk of the ‘r’ word (recession) and VC’s not funding like they used to, conversations around a shrinking Fintech market and uncertain future have been buoyant. 

 

However, according to Market Data Forecast’s recent Fintech Report, the global Fintech market is expected to reach $334 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual rate of more than 25% between 2022 and 2027.

 

So why are Fintech companies finding successful growth despite banking collapses?

 

The Fintech market is growing, but where?

 

The pandemic and post pandemic has witnessed a significant surge in the demand for digital payments and various Fintech services. With more people using online banking services, there has been an increase in the use of digital platforms to transfer money and make e-commerce transactions. 

 

Globally, digital payments alone are expected to grow to $8.26 trillion by 2024 from $4.4 trillion in 2022 predicted by a Statista study. That is an estimated 87.7% growth increase in only 4 years. 

Over 60% of banking executives believe that Fintech adds value to banking services.  77% of financial institutions plan to increase innovation to improve value.

Pivoting with the market shift 

 

Digital banks and Fintech platforms are growing at an impressive rate, opening new opportunities for consumers and businesses alike. These new banking technologies have the power to expand access to financial services, streamline processes, and make banking more efficient.

 

Digital banking and Fintech platforms are not just shaking up the industry; they’re also bringing about innovative changes. They provide opportunities for underserved populations to access financial services, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. These advancements are not only transforming the way we bank but also driving financial inclusion and empowerment.

 

Growth in areas that mitigate risks

 

New Fintech companies that are emerging on to the scene and that are seeing large growth meet this new ‘online demand and risk mitigation’ and are making successful profit quickly. Risk mitigation solutions include Balance Sheet, Liquidity and Treasury Management found in traditional banking systems.

 

But it’s not just the Fintech companies that are making waves. Traditional banks are also getting in on the action. They’re investing in these smaller rivals, buying up start-ups or launching their own digital banking platforms to meet the growing demand for convenient and innovative financial services.

 

The Middle East hot spot for $2 BN VC funding

 

The Fintech sector in the Middle East is experiencing a remarkable growth rate of 30% annually. More than 800 Fintech companies are set to make their mark by the end of 2023. The Middle East Institute estimates that these ambitious Fintech ventures will raise a whopping $2 billion in venture capital funding.  

 

In it to win it mentality 

 

As recruitment specialists with a broad range of Fintech clients, one trend we continue to see is that you have to be in it, to win it. New Fintech start-ups that are jumping on market trends and key market opportunities are seeing exponential growth. If we can help you to expand your sales team, hire your first salesperson in a start-up, or to enable expansion into a new region, we’d love to chat. Fill out the contact form on our website or find us on LinkedIn and we will come straight back to you.