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Best fintech jobs in 2024? Try small start-ups

Still hot on joining the fintech industry? It’s no secret that industry is having what can at best be called growing pains, but applying for jobs at the largest companies isn’t the only way to get an in. It may not be the best either…

At the 2023 Sifted Summit in London this week, a panel featuring Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, Latham & Watkins partner Mike Turner, startup OLIO founder and venture partner Tessa Clarke and VC firm Passion Capital partner Eileen Burbidge assessed the startup space. Each seemed unanimously hopeful, particularly when it came to small or new fintech companies.

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“In 2021 the world was a little bit crazy,” said Hinrkus. “Anyone who came from Google would get funding thrown at them.” For many of those companies, he likened their business models to “selling a 100 dollar bill for 95 dollars.” 

Funding may be less crazy now, but Turner said it's not completely arid out there. “There is a veritable wall of capital waiting to be deployed,” he declared. “LPs are back in the game.” However, he's not exactly optimistic about the biggest fintech firms: “There will be some very big and high profile bankruptcies to come in the next six months.”

Instead, the best fintech firms to work for now might the smaller firms, who are best placed to get VC funding. Burbidge, who invests in early stage companies (he was an early investor in Monzo) said investments in startups are “largely insulated from big swings.” If anything, current conditions are better for them, as “the market has come down in terms of entry prices.”

If you're looking for a fintech job, working for a start-up can also be much more lucrative. The eFinancialCareers fintech snapshot revealed that, for fintechs below a headcount of 100, teams of ten or fewer people earned the highest salaries on average.

What's making start-ups so popular with the funding providers? Hinrikus, who also founded and runs VC platform Plural, says “investments are made by people who have scar tissue from building their own companies,” and should be able to learn from their own mistakes when analyzing new companies.

As for the kinds of fintechs you should want to join (or found), AI seems the obvious bet, but it's not a free ride to success. “You cannot not be investing in AI startups,” says Hinrikus, “AI will be deployed in all businesses.” While it’s been seen as a crypto successor to some VCs, he instead likens its impact to what smartphones did across all industries.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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