1. What aspect of being a CFO are you passionate about?
Partnering with all the other functions on a wide range of financially/strategically important topics. That's the beauty of working in Finance, that you can get involved in and exposed to so many things, you "just" need to focus on the most impactful ones! 😁 Secondly, helping my team members (also others across the org) grow. To be honest, there are only so many financial, accounting or business problems that are truly new and challenging after 18 years of working, so helping others grow tends to feel much more rewarding at this point of my career.
2. What were you doing before joining Upvest?
I was joking at my intro that everything I did up to now led me to Upvest: When I finished high school, I actually had a side hustle running a stock recommendation website. So investing has been a passion of mine for a long time. After studying I truly learned Finance working 10 years at General Electric in various roles, both in Europe and the US.
I then joined an early stage startup as Finance person number 1 to really learn all aspects of Finance (e.g. also systems, treasury, fundraising,...). The company's a direct-to-consumer online food business called Marley Spoon, which we grew from zero to €250m in sales, over 1,000 employees on three continents, and even listed the company successfully in 2018. When I left at the end of 2020, the company was profitable and our shares trading at twice the IPO price 💪 So I was looking for a new challenge and decided software was the way to go: I joined Aiven, a Finnish cloud data infrastructure provider, at the start of 2021 and helped lead them to 3-4x growth on all major metrics (revenue, employees, valuation), culminating in a $3B Series-D in spring 2022.
3. Why did you decide to join Upvest?
Upvest is one of those unique infrastructure software opportunities: something that is technically hard, has massive potential, and with a great mission (make investing more easily accessible to everyone). To make it in our business, you need an amazing team with a lot of experience in a range of topics from trading/banking (as we are also a regulated entity) to technology to all the other important pieces of the puzzle (incl. People and Finance). We have this at Upvest, I'm convinced, and in addition to that also some of the best European and US investors.
4. What is your team’s biggest challenge in 2023?
At Upvest we're about to go live with a few more (large) clients, which will truly test our platform and all our processes. This is the same in Finance, so whatever worked for us up to now, may not be good enough anymore very soon. This is an exciting time for everyone here, phases like these are usually the most stressful but also most rewarding in a startup's journey. Personally, since I only joined 3 months ago, I look forward to come up to speed in yet another industry that I don't know so much about from my past.
5. How will the world have changed by this time next year?
Not sure about the world, but Upvest will be on everyone's radar as the category winner for core banking systems for investing. We'll have much higher revenues after successful go-lives with some of the biggest names in fintech. And we'll employ at least 50% more people than today, so come join us!