How did I end up here? From consultant to founding Wirex

Pavel Matveev
Dec 13, 2018 · 3 min read

It’s been four years since my Wirex journey began, and during this time, it’s been a roller coaster ride of frustration, elation, disappointments and victories. There are many stories around the anatomy of a Fintech start-up and while the competition is fierce to be first to market, we are all in it for the same reasons — creating efficient financial products aligned with the future — a borderless and cashless society.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the value of transparency. By adopting a collaborative approach, Fintech companies can learn from one another and we are able to collectively learn from our consumers and provide them with banking and payment solutions that match the 21st-century lifestyle. This is why we see challenger banks having a higher satisfaction rate than traditional institutions.

When I began my career as a consultant for the likes of Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse, the world of finance was very different. Senior managers were found in corner offices, shielded from view by overprotective assistants and only emerged at big events or for quarterly updates. In contrast, in most Fintech start-ups you’ll find the founders in the ring with the developers, marketers and product warriors. For me, there is enormous value in collaboration with the entire team. I can confidently say that Wirex is the company it is because of this flat company structure. In fact, it is how we came up with the world’s first Cryptoback offering. It was the result of an informal discussion over beers in the office one Friday afternoon and developed by the team outside of the standard working hours.

My co-founder, Dmitry, and I didn’t originally set out to run a company of over 300 people, in fact, we didn’t even set out to be entrepreneurs. We simply believed in the potential of cryptocurrency, what it represented and its potential to reshape outdated, slow and expensive payment systems. But even for me, a self-confessed tech-geek, the process of actually using cryptocurrencies was far too complex. It struck us both that if cryptocurrencies were to fulfil their potential, this gap between buying and using crypto needed to be bridged. With this idea in mind, Wirex was born.

It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure

These words from Bill Gates have always resonated with me, as I imagine they do for most founders. And while I’ve previously applied them to my work within Wirex, increasingly I can see the value of adopting this ethos in a more open manner.

While the corporate world lives and dies by secrecy and confidentiality, transparency speaks to a new breed of Fintech company; one that has such confidence in its ideas that they don’t worry too much about the competition knowing about them. After all, success comes from the implementation of those ideas, and I wholeheartedly believe in the saying that

it’s not people stealing your ideas that you need to worry about, it’s when they stop stealing them that you have to worry

This leads to why you’ll find me spending more time on Medium. I want to give people a glimpse behind the Wirex curtain and the ups and downs of a developing company changing the face of a traditional industry. I’ll be sharing insights into where we’ve been and where we’re heading, the challenges we face as a company and my own opinion on all thing’s Fintech, cryptocurrency and blockchain.

From cryptocurrency to company culture: Insights, lessons and learnings from the Wirex team

Pavel Matveev

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