Just another day at a Fintech startup
We’ve all heard stories of working in a startup: constantly balancing on a fine line between proactively seizing opportunities and chaos. I guess startup entrepreneurs are busy working 80-hour weeks while trying to avoid a 40-hour grind. Sometimes it makes me think that there would be much easier and secure ways to earn a living, but at the end of the day, it’s that vision of enabling real innovations – and to be honest, making some money while changing the world – that keeps us going.
I am a customer-first type of guy, so I guess it’s just second nature but most mornings my work starts well before breakfast. The first thing I do when I open my eyes is check my email and any support tickets that came in overnight. I handle all questions from customers and partners as I drink my coffee and eat a hearty breakfast. Then I kiss my wife and kids goodbye and head to the office for another day of onboarding new clients and partners, demoing our product for prospective customers and collaborating with our CTO Reggie and dev team with the aim of creating the most enjoyable user experience for entrepreneurs doing the ‘boring corporate stuff’, and preparing for due diligence.
I am not even on the metro yet when a call from our CEO turns my schedule upside down with the regular stuff; onboarding a new partner (‘Can we do it within next 48 hours?’), a bunch of ideas for new system features (‘We should have these done by the time the pilot begins.’) and demoing the system to a potential investor (‘This is a priority”).
By the time I reach the office, I’m ready for my normal juggling of scheduling interviews for a new Partnership Excellence Manager for our booming MENA operations (and sifting out the best candidates from among 350+ applicants), pushing customer care tools while setting up calls for onboarding and demos, in addition to altering my workflow to suit remote work for the time being. In between these I’ll need to have regular technical meetings, convey user feedback on product development and feature testing, as well as follow-up with existing clients and partners.
As a company we were not “born yesterday… “ seriously! In a startup’s “run or die” environment three years may as well be a light years’ worth, at least in terms of technical development, building business structures – and of course money to keep doing the work we’re doing. In summer 2017, DD-Ready was nothing more than two co-founders, a pitch deck and a rough (but operational!) PHP model of what would become DD-Ready. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of this journey almost from the beginning, so I’ve seen the tough parts as well; ‘the valley of death’ as they say. Struggling with the tech team and trying to roll out the MVP in time, while our co-founders drummed up the support of countless investors – and returning home with ‘definite maybes’ while spending the night staring at the bank account that was emptying with a frightening pace.
We really believed in our vision so after a while we found other people who did too. Now we are a team of seven (soon to be eight!) people with a fully functional due diligence ecosystem of several global partners and hundreds of users!
But still, our journey has just begun; we’ve just launched another funding round, and our seed round is so different from pre-seed: we now have a real, live product, actual users, top-notch partners – and strong traction to show.
Still it’s not easy. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right? Fortunately we are ready for due diligence a.k.a. DD-Ready!
– Kim, Head of Customer Ops @DD-Ready