Empowering and Encouraging Women in Finance:
An interview with 24 year old Anna Tsyupko who heads up the London-based team of engineers, designers, marketers and payments experts behind the Paybase Platform – the end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk. It also powers the company’s own consumer proposition, Payfriendz – a popular P2P app for students and millennials.
Anna’s previous roles have included: Fund Manager at Bellring Capital – a European Family Office; Head of Investor Relations at a German Private Equity Firm; and Executive Director at SeBuT Immobilien.
How did you get into this? Did you attend university, and/or fall straight into a role or was it a more roundabout journey?
Mine was certainly a more roundabout journey. At university I studied Theology and Religious Studies and enjoyed the versatility that the degree offered – it included aspects of languages, history, philosophy, art and sociology.
Through mere coincidence I ended up joining a German Private Equity company where I spent a few years looking after various investments – ranging from vegan fashion to PropTech.
It is in the context of the Private Equity company that I first came into contact with Paybase (then Payfriendz). I was appointed as the investment controller for this project and supervised it for almost three years before being asked to join as part of management.
Can you explain what a typical day for you would be?
My days vary a lot, depending on whether I have external meetings, big deadlines or important events coming up. As a rule, however, I tend to spend the first hour or so of the day prioritising my work to make sure that I use my time as efficiently as possible. I have come to learn that taking the time to pick out high-leverage tasks and put them above all other tasks is crucial for staying focused.
At 10.15 every day my team and I do a 5-10 minute stand-up where we cover what we have been working on the day before, our plans for the day and whether we have any blockers. We have taken this practice over from our tech team (and tech teams more generally) and I find it to be a great way to align and make sure that everyone has what they need to continue with their work.
The hours following this and up until lunch tend to be spent catching-up with a member of the team, interviewing new potential hires, having catch-up calls with our key suppliers, or out talking to potential prospective partners.
In the afternoon I try to spend a few hours getting on with my own tasks – be it working on the latest financial forecast and pricing strategy, or important banking relationships or contract work for our prospective partners.
The last few hours of the day I tend to catch-up with different departments – be it Marketing and Sales, Compliance and Operations, Design or Customer Support – to stay up to date, help prioritize tasks and sign off on future actions.
What’s your experience from a woman’s point of view. Would you say it is a good job for a woman?
As a Tech company, the majority of our team is male even though our CTO and I have been trying to get more women aboard. However, we have been keen to, and I believe successful in making our work environment a place that is collaborative, supportive, inspiring for both women and men.
As for the FinTech, Tech and Payments Industries more generally, they are still fields largely dominated by men. This has both its advantages and disadvantages: on the one hand, it is easier to gain profile as a woman in these industries, but on the other hand it is much more difficult to tap into a predominantly male network.
Ideally, both these disadvantages and advantages will soon disappear making it equally easy or difficult for women and men to succeed in this world. In the meantime, however, I would say that leading a FinTech company is an exciting job for a woman as it allows you to further dismantle the gender stereotypes around different professions.
What would your advice be to someone thinking of entering this profession?
Be passionate about payments or technology or about how technology can help turn industries fraught with legacy on their heads.
What’s your best financial advice for any woman?
If you’re running a business, make sure to get the accounting right from the very beginning – neglecting it at first and then having to sort out the mess will cost you a lot of time, stress and nerves! If you don’t want to deal with it yourself, hire an experienced accountant from the start. I promise it will pay off.