Ex-Citi associate: founding a fintech is the peak of exhaustion
Young bankers pulling 90-hour weeks might think they've got the most difficult job in the world, but there's always a bigger fish. One person who's found that out firsthand is Alec Beasley, who, after three and a half years at Citi in London, left to found his own fintech, Investa.
Unlike the young bankers who left to found fintechs in the fintech golden age, Beasley chose to leave at a difficult time. “I haven’t seen too many people leave banking this year, especially for fintech," he tells us. "This was a leap of faith." Nonetheless, his experience in equity derivatives sales is what inspired the idea for Investa, a fintech that aims to open up the options market to retail investors.
Beasley and his co-founder Ross Lynch are non-technical founders, having no background in software development. This made the 'tech' side of fintech an immediate issue. "It was all new to us, a massive learning experience," says Beasley. Hiring a fractional CTO and a pair of software engineers with experience in both financial services and startups helped get the ball rolling.
At Citi, Beasley was used to being in the office five days per week. At Investa, things are a bit more hybrid but he still wants staff in the office more often than not. Three days are good because "it's so much easier to get ideas across in person than typing on slack. There can be a bit of miscommunication sometimes.”
Beasley is fussy about who he hires. He says an available role for a software engineer consists of a six stage interview process featuring conversations with both founders, then the CTO, then multiple technical exams, then an interview with HR, and then finally a meal with the successful candidate. "We don’t want to make the same mistakes I know that quite a lot of other companies did," he says, "we're not going to be cutting corners."
These kinds of lengthy processes might be contributing to Beasley's tiredness. “I used to think working in banking was the peak of mental and physical exhaustion," he says, "now I see it’s running your own startup.”
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