May 4, 2022

Time for experts with Juha Ristolainen

Juha Ristolainen
CTO & Co-Founder

1. What is your role as a CTO?

As the CTO, I am responsible for making sure we build all the technology and tooling that we need to run and operate our investment firm and API-platform. To me that consists of five things: building the right thing, building the thing right, ensuring we have all the right people in place, ensuring that we have the right structure for them to work in, and empowering and giving them all the support they need. Besides the day to day my job is to look ahead and see how our technology can enable our future growth, what kind of things we need to focus on to ensure that.  As in any growth company that "ensuring we have all the right people" takes a lot of my time and is also the trickiest in the current market conditions.

2. What would you say is most special about your team at Upvest?

We are a tech company first and foremost as two thirds of the company are focused on building the product. We have managed to build a great empowering product mindset and engineering culture in the organisation which is great. It all starts with "why?" Always thinking about what is the problem we are solving, why it is important to our clients and us, and only then going and designing and building it. Because of this we have a very open and collaborative culture where we have a lot of ideas, we validate them and only the right ones make it to the product.

3. What makes Upvest special from an engineering perspective?

We have a lot of challenges in building a global scale distributed core banking system for investments which is exciting to a lot of engineers.  Per our core value "Learn and Grow" every day we learn something new about the domain, how we want to tackle problems and build systems. This is a super rewarding environment in that sense. The autonomy teams have also allows people to have a lot of impact on how we do things.

4. What thrilled you the most in the last couple of months?

It is amazing to see the milestones we are hitting right now after this just being an idea two years ago, validating the product/market fit to designing and starting to build the system 18 months ago to opening up our sandbox at the end of last year for clients to test on to doing first real money test in live production environment earlier this year and now being close to going live with our first customers. And at the same time receiving all our licenses to enable us to operate as an investment institution. It is a super exciting time to join our journey which is just beginning. We are firing or should I say hiring on all cylinders. Check out our open roles.

5. Where do you see Upvest’s tech stack in the next few years?

I think our tech stack (Go, Kafka, K8S, GCP) is quite a good fit to the problem we are solving and I see it remaining largely the same. We have built quite a flexible and decoupled event-driven architecture allowing us to extend easily in all areas like new asset classes, new integrations etc. but evolving our event-driven architecture to a more mature one, distilling our own best practices to problems, starting to really leverage the power of data with event streams and Kafka for real-time view on everything are things that will keep us busy for sure. Also focusing a lot on Developer Experience and making sure we provide a best in class experience for all clients integrating with our platform is primary focus.