As Director of Marketing & Communications at Starling, I’m often the one being asked the questions – by journalists curious about our proposition, by the regulators about our launch plans, by future customers about when they will be able to open an account, and by Anne about anything and everything!
For once I decided to do the questioning, and give Mark Hipperson, our CTO a good grilling. See how he did…
What is the toughest decision that you had to make in 2015?
Taking the decision to join Starling. It is not for the faint hearted, Starling has an audacious plan to transform banking. I had been following the story since early 2014 and knew the vision to create to a bank that would not just challenge a business model but change banking forever. I was previously a technology executive at Barclays and had exited my own start-up Internet banking company and then ran one of the largest software businesses in the UK. But I couldn’t resist it – this is a once in a life time opportunity.
What was the biggest success?
Putting the final piece of the jigsaw in place. We didn’t know whether we could pull this off the way we planned. Was it possible to build a bank that looked more like a Netflix than NatWest? Would there be lots of obstacles to stop us using cloud technologies and open source products? Would we really be able to deliver the open source technology that would allow us to deliver systems that were resilient, reliable and redundant?
We are now building this out and hiring some of the most talented people in the industry to help us. Take a look at our careers page.
What do you look for in people you hire?
Being ultra smart is a given but our people also need a combination of creativity, passion and rigour. There is no truth in the rumour that I only hire Chelsea supporters… (but it helps!).
But seriously, what sort of people make a success of it here at Starling?
Well we are going to be a bank, but are at our heart, a technology company and we move quickly. This is not for everyone. This energy and pace is not for all and, unlike, most start-ups we need very high standards of performance and resilience from our architecture and solution set as we are safeguarding people’s money.
The rumour around the office is that you would spent all the money we had on technology if you have your way?
Is that a dig about the size of the marketing budget? Well we raised a funding round of $70m earlier in the year and yes we are a technology company with a banking licence (to be). A fair bit of that will be spent on building the best current account in the world. What is more relevant is that we have an investor who really appreciates technology and the opportunity to use data to empower our customers.
So what sort of people are you hiring?
We are all ambitious at Starling. We know that we have the opportunity to change banking for ever building a bank how it should be built, therefore, we attract the very best. In return, we are offering the opportunity to work on some of the most interesting problems facing people today.
If you would like to apply for a role at Starling please take a look at our careers page and apply. We look forward to meeting you.