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How $10bn London fintech Wise builds its teams

One of the big reasons to join a fintech is the structure and startup vibe, but what happens when one grows well beyond "startup" status? Payments infrastructure fintech Wise is publicly traded with a market cap of £8bn ($10bn), but tries to keep its teams as autonomous as possible.

Speaking at Fintech Connect Europe 2023, managing director of Wise Platform Steve Naudé describes Wise's teams as "startups within scaleups." Whether its products or regions for expansion, teams at wise are "empowered to set their own roadmap and plans." Naudé says this is to ensure that authority is "closest to the people that have the best context of the problem."

He mentions the APAC team as an example of this. It has the autonomy to chose which area to expand into, be it Singapore, Indonesia or another. They're "empowered to own that region," but are also "responsible for its growth."

Successful teams are rewarded with the opportunity to grow. Naudé likens internally propositioning the Wise finance team for headcount expansions to "talking to investors" as a startup. It's by no means a free ride for teams to grow; Naudé says the 'investors' will ask, "if you're not growing or scaling, why should we further invest?"

Wise must be deeming its teams worth investing in right now. Accounts filed on Companies House in October showed that, between March 2022 and 2023, Wise hired 921 people, growing its headcount 40% to 3192 employees.  Pay per head also rose during that period, from £37.8k to £40.5k

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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