Where it all started
After I finished my MSc in Software Engineering, having invested so much time (and money) in uni, it was time for me to step up the career ladder in London.
Knowing that London is one of the top financial centers in the world and having the urge to be part of the FinTech revolution I decided to join a large financial institution.
Working at one of the largest well-known banks was pleasant. I felt really lucky to be part of their digital transformation and it was great to see a large company trying to compete with new challenger banks such as Monzo and Revolut. But still, something was missing...
I was feeling slow and siloed. I was restricted by slow processes that would take weeks or even months to try new things, and it had to be only within my role description. All the stories I heard about a corporate environment were true, you are expected to do just what you are asked to, nothing more, nothing less.
Making a move
So after working there for almost a year, I was ready to try my luck in an early stage startup, so I ended up joining Marshmallow as their fourth employee.
Marshmallow is a neo insurer with a vision to allow people to get fairer access to insurance and financial services.
Currently, we are working on providing expats car insurance which takes into account their previous driving experience wherever that was, not only in the UK as other insurers usually do.
While working at a startup is not for everyone, here are some of the changes I found that motivate me the most:
Using latest technologies and tools, following best practices, shouldering responsibilities and getting out of your comfort zone, it is only natural to accelerate your career by picking up so many new skills and improving existing ones so fast.
Consider it as your free education, as you will be doing and achieving more than you ever have before.
Wearing multiple hats
Learning and growth don't stop only in your main profession. You will have the opportunity to be involved from software development, system design and DevOps to marketing, design and product development.
Taking into account that people work together, without the need for middle management, and the fact that startups tend to attract brilliant people, you are learning from the best.
Seeing your contribution having a strong and immediate impact, not only to the business but also to individuals' lives, is really rewarding.
Feeling you have a mission, belong somewhere special and be proud of your work, are some strong emotions that motivate you to perform well.
How often can you propose something in the morning, the team agrees, you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty and see your idea in production by the end of the day?
Not only you are not feeling stagnated but you are empowered to innovate, take initiatives and have a say in how things are shaped.
While the work may be demanding, being in the office is fun. The environment is really relaxed, people are super friendly, and happy to disseminate their knowledge with you. And with all the social events you really feel you are working with your friends.
In a nutshell
There is nowhere else you can develop a novel and adaptive mindset as well as transdisciplinary skills like a startup.
While there is still more way for us to go from Zero to Unicorn, I am really proud to be part of the Marshmallow family.