Nigel Verdon the co-founder & CEO of Railsr (formerly RailsBank), the world's leading Embedded Finance Experience platform. Nigel has spent decades learning everything there is to know about payments and foreign exchange, first through his experience as an investment banker and subsequently as an entrepreneur of multiple financial start-ups.
The serial FinTech founder sat down with James and Hector and opened up on the motivation behind launching Railsr so soon after his previous success with the now acquired CurrencyCloud. Nigel went on to explain why founders should always establish some emotional distance between themselves and their ‘baby’. Nigel, a keen rugby fan, also reflected on how sports management informs his approach to being a leader in his business. The trio rounded off the discussion by focusing on the importance of culture and why the role of a CEO centres around knowing when to relinquish control.
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[00:00:00] James: Welcome to riding unicorns, the podcast about growth startups. I'm James Pringle, and I'm a technology entrepreneur and investor and the founder of Pringle Capital. My co-host is Hector Mason from episode one ventures for season three, we are sitting down with some of the most successful founders to better understand what entrepreneurship means to them. The operational processes they have employed on their startup journey and what lessons they've learned along the way.
[00:00:36] Today's guest is Nigel Verdon. Co-founder and CEO at Railsbank, railsbank is a global banking as a service business that enables any company or brand to become a FinTech. Before founding railsbank. Nigel was successful with a few other companies. He founded evolution in 2003, which was acquired by BAE systems. And then.
[00:00:59] nodule is [00:01:00] also the founder of currency cloud, which was acquired for 700 million pounds by visa. So an incredible amount of depth and breadth when it comes to entrepreneurship, so let's find out more about Nigel story
[00:01:11] James: Hi, Nigel. Welcome to riding unicorns.
[00:01:18] Nigel: thank you for the invitation to delighted to be here.
[00:01:21] James: Right? So we're starting all season three episodes with a broad question, which is what does entrepreneurship mean?
[00:01:29] Nigel: to me, it's looking at, problems that, uh, annoy you or you see opportunity. and you have the sinking at, uh, I wish it could be like this and then going and doing something about it, and sometimes quite a lonely space because, as you've probably seen that classic YouTube thing of the first dancer, it's the first crazy dancer getting up on a dance floor.
[00:01:56] I'm trying to figure out, can we solve this problem? what's the economics behind it. [00:02:00] Do people actually want to care about it and that type of thing. And being able to put up with a loss of, we don't care knows and lots of knockdowns. So just got to be fairly robust, uh, to go through that and keep, the division going, but also the, uh, sort of, uh, self introspective enough to be able to say that just doesn't work.
[00:02:24] years ago I used to co-own, with a friend of mine, diamond Hart Davis, when the first web publishing. So, uh, internet service providers the UK, and it was deemed internet, there was Pipex, there was the university of Kenton ourselves, uh, X net. we decided that there was no future in, into that protocol and a dial up.
[00:02:45] So anything like that. So I sold those out for about 7,000 pounds. And demon so low. So I think two years later for 30 million in those days, that was an awful lot of money
[00:02:55] Hector: yeah, I mean, it's not often that we get to speak to guests on riding unicorns. Who've,[00:03:00] set up two hugely successful businesses back to back. We've had Alex Chesterman so he he's another example, but what is it that motivates you, that motivated you to start rails back after currency cloud?
[00:03:11] Nigel: Rosebank was really, again, a problem that, we, in that first wave of FinTech sort of act as an 11,012, but all taking 12 to 18 months before they even sign up a customer. cause they were building infrastructure, everything that's non-value and, uh, that was burning venture money. Just build the infrastructure while I'm building a product on top of your infrastructure.
[00:03:38] So we did it in chemistry, class TransferWise did it every day. Pretty much at that time I had to build all the pipes and the things. So we thought, why don't we go and build the pipes and make them available? And solve all the operational pieces, some of the risk management, simple API seamless integrate to, the same sort of way we did it with FX and, [00:04:00] payments for council cloud.
[00:04:01] Just hide all the, the stuff he does don't need to know. So that's what we ended up with was to help launch a FinTech companies faster where we've evolved. Is this world, we call embedded financial experiences and talking about cars and Alex, for example, embedding the as alone in sort of car-buying experience.
[00:04:25] Consumers, don't wake up in the morning and want to buy a car loan. They want to buy a car. Consumers are all driven by experiences. people don't, wants to just buy headphones. They want to have a music experience. Um, headphones are just part of it. So the real thinking now is, embedded financials experiences within an existing consumer experience. So you don't have to drop out and have to deal with a bank or deal with a financial service provider it's seamless and think auto one in Germany, similar sort of thing to kazoo, you can buy and finance a car in 40 [00:05:00] seconds, which is an amazing experience for the consumer.
[00:05:03] We don't have all those paperwork. Atlanta say also that you can just say, this is what you can afford. Here's the catalog of what you can afford, using open banking and other tech, you can go through the data to make the underwriting of the line, but it stayed within the auto one experience.
[00:05:19] You tend to drop out to the financing company or anything. So that's what was in the world is now VAT and all the infrastructure, to deliver those experiences. That's what we do.
[00:05:29] Hector: It's really interesting that differentiation between like a product business and an infrastructure business. and I guess the, fundraising journey is probably a little bit different those two companies, what are the milestones that investors want to see when you're raising for a business?
[00:05:44] Nigel: I think it's the same, regardless of your product business, or you're a, a, infrastructure business, seed series a and all the different other stages seed, all they really care about the tech deck. And the time and total addressable market. [00:06:00] So if there's a massive addressable market, there's competitors zone, some maybe competitive.
[00:06:05] So maybe not. and you've got a team that you believe in. That's all they're investing in at that time, because ideas are cheap, teams deliver. And so the early stages. So here's our idea. I was lucky to work alongside a guy called John Kopplin, who used to run a Google page, the MEA. And he said he tried to get Citibank to deliver 18 countries to him, within, two years, instead of like three years later, they're done really nothing.
[00:06:36] And so he's seen the pain point. Uh, and so we, we went to that. With John who was on our first money in and various others, Atlanta to raise capital and that cause I, they figured out the problem sort a and they'd back the team cause we've done it before, on series a onwards, uh, that sort of attraction, whether it's downloads on a map or whether people are buying into your vehicle.[00:07:00]
[00:07:00] And so, before building tech one of the big learnings has been, crazy value prop and see if people buy it. I think Dropbox is probably the, best peoples ever do that. I just had a landing page or the store data for free essentially. I got a million signups for their built any tech.
[00:07:18] And so it's the same thing. We have a value prop of access, global bank of five lines of code. Hold on a stop date, API is to say, this is what our API is, would look like They don't do very much, but you can actually play with them and see, who bids, why they've it and understand did they buy your value proposition or not?
[00:07:37] Because you can build as much as you want, but if people don't buy it, you've got no value to give to somebody. So focus on a value proposition, whether it's a retail side or infrastructure side, like to. And then stick that on there as many people noses, as you can and prepare for a lot of nos. And another learning is don't ask people who like you,[00:08:00] feel like your grandmother and stuff like that, because they'll always say, oh, that's amazing.
[00:08:03] That's absolutely amazing. So the skew of your feedback is highly skewed to people who want to say, yeah, We want to find just a good skew of people who've never met you before and say, oh God, yes, I would buy that. That's interesting. One, can I buy it? And then he thought, well, better go and build it that.
[00:08:22] So that's one of the learnings and it's directly influenced by observing, Dropbox and how successfully they did. And that's all based around the lean startup series and everything else. In fact, with.
[00:08:35] James: Yeah, I mean, Hector and I both worked with a lot of pre-seed and seed stage companies. I find myself telling a lot of founders, you can still have traction without a product, which is wait lists or signups, or less has been 10, depending on what your business is. And it's such an important thing for founders to understand that as investors, we're looking for a growth mindset and an ability to communicate [00:09:00] the value proposition to customers and people say, yes, we're willing to pay for that thing.
[00:09:04] So that's great. Great bit of feedback
[00:09:07] Nigel: Yeah, that's very true. It is. because it was found you, really all out there to try and sell the gun industry, they were an engineer, whether you're an operations guy, whether whatever you are. it's one of the, coalitions is that I invest in myself and was also taught in the venture funds.
[00:09:24] that it's that ability to convince people. another observation is, pilot sort of death of all startups. It's always be concerned if you have people sign up to pilots, but have they actually bought the product as pilots are easy. just when I was advising and I was on an investment committee of textiles, Barclays, it was really try and get an exercise.
[00:09:48] or even a less than one attempt to buy, but a pilot, you can be doing it for two years pilots tend to also be in finance world, former chief digital officers, and, innovation people have [00:10:00] zero budget anyway. So it's, a distance thing it's in front of mental people go find a real buyer um, see how, how do they react?
[00:10:08] James: Yeah. And you need some learn where your price point is and stuff, and you're not going to get that from a pilot. So, cause we're here talking about currency, cloud and rails bank, really. I mean, I'm interested to know for you personally. What was the sort of emotional side of selling currency, cloud to visa. And then is that part of the reason why you jumped on the horse so quickly with.
[00:10:32] Nigel: no, I mean, I sold my first company in 2006. We found that at 1999 and that's bad part of, BA systems on the footstool. So, uh, we'd already sold one company and that was, I found it comes to grant back in 2007. So that's more the, the first company journey into currency cloud. and what he learned then is don't be precious about the baby.
[00:10:55] Okay. if somebody is going to give you a price and a good price on it, [00:11:00] it's time to move on if it's a good price and it's going to be a good, Uh, the team are looked after and everything. don't be precious about the baby to me, it's building companies, having great fun doing it.
[00:11:12] if you build a big company, naturally an nexus or flotation or something will come, and don't when you start the company, think about, uh, what's the valuation going to be at this time? What are we going to exit it and who are the experts on any decks on that? build a great company.
[00:11:28] people will come and find you if you build a good company,
[00:11:31] Hector: have you taken learnings from currency? Across to, rails bank. And is that in your mind, is there a sort of blueprint that you've built for building a successful business or have you tried things that rails bank that worked currency cloud, but haven't worked a rails bank, for example.
[00:11:46] Nigel: Well, the first thing is, council cloud was we, weren't retail. We had a retail business, uh, and a direct to a SME business. And when I met these couple of people called Krista and target who found the [00:12:00] tax wise. I was asked to look at their deck, to help them with some much have fun to change actually.
[00:12:06] Because peer to peer never works in foreign exchange. It's always us Sterling you a dollar. I'll always only 10 to 20%. You can cross the rest of it. You've got to find a market maker. So the, uh, the big learning there was when I saw that deck, I thought, well, these guys actually know retail and how to acquire customers because it's really hard to acquire retail in those days for, FX and payments.
[00:12:31] And, uh, they just, we're streets ahead, but what they didn't have was infrastructure. And hence we pivoted a council cloud into the, it was originally called FX capital group is the original name of the company. And we pivoted into, uh, sort of early 2011. We created API APIs, for people to build their business on top of it.
[00:12:53] So we have fetal bankers, our first car. As they wanted Mazi currency deposits and then TransferWise and [00:13:00] poetry, others. And that was the, the real learning moment. if you're not a retail type person, uh, and you have no idea about ditch wheel, digital marketing, like they did, they really did have a good idea about it.
[00:13:11] Get out of that business pretty quickly. And that was, we're learning stick to infrastructure if you know it. And, that's what we did. male's bank is pure infrastructure play from day. we have a rule of not going direct to any of our customers, customers like retail or SMEs. so there's no conflict of interest or channel conflict, which would have been coming to the cloud.
[00:13:33] If we kept our retail business, which we actually sold in January 2000.
[00:13:39] James: Yeah. Nice. And so I'm interested to learn a little bit more about you. I mean, you've had so many multiple successes and we just talked about some of the learnings there and how you look at things. But as a founder yourself, what would you say is your biggest strength that maybe differentiates you or that you just see as like something that you really bring to the post.
[00:13:59] Nigel: it's [00:14:00] probably, uh, within, uh, FinTech or financial services. I think I'm one of few people understands the technology all the way through to trading all the way through to running a balance sheet. And I've done pretty much those jobs all the way through both in the capital markets world and then in, sort of engineering world.
[00:14:18] And so I've been really deeply able to understand if you're solving for something, how it actually operates, how you actually build it with the tech, what the regulatory pieces are. So you can go expensive working with and talking regular. And also how your balance sheet and finances work. So you can get a holistic view of what the product looks like.
[00:14:39] Cause within finance product is not just the technology and I'll want to, cause we're vertically integrated stack for me, central bank, all the way to consumer. You've got to understand all of those pieces, uh, to deliver a simple thing or an API and to the. So it's a, that's [00:15:00] one of the few guys who actually understands that in depth.
[00:15:03] the other piece, is probably, just, being able to see through the problem and say that's a major problem that here's ways of solving it, to look at. So it infrastructure. And, uh, and strip away trying to create world's voices when, uh, a Mondeo is a perfectly good and well-respected car, you can even ask Jeremy Klux and that suits one of his favorite cars.
[00:15:28] Hector: Do you drive a Mondeo or rolls Royce? Nigel.
[00:15:31] Nigel: I used to drive, I drive a land Rover defender and a Porsche. Those are two things advice.
[00:15:36] Hector: Nice
[00:15:37] James: it's not a skill to see through the problem. Is that something you've always had, do you think, or is it something that has kind of been learned from. Launching and running so many countries.
[00:15:47] Nigel: started my career as an engineer. And so mechanical engineers are trained to solve things and not feel wise about things too much. if you get, like physicists, lots of theorize and things, um, [00:16:00] Mechanical engineers. There's a classic woman as aeronautics scholar mentals number and metals number is basically because the math doesn't work.
[00:16:08] You stick the rentals on the wing and the calculations all suddenly start working. So it's generally generated from experimentation. The numbers of the world's moved on there, cause you've got much more computer capabilities. So having the ability to find your rentals number that just gets things. and don't really ask why it works.
[00:16:29] It just does. Okay. And so don't, over-engineer things.
[00:16:33] Hector: And as CEO, what do you at this stage of your business? what do you see as as your key responsibilities? And I'm interested to learn also how you measure those. You know, if, you hold yourself accountable to the standards, you want to set.
[00:16:47] Nigel: Sure my key, I getting out of the way of people and letting them get on with their jobs, because, my main role is to hire phenomenal people, give them the encouragement [00:17:00] and the direction I need. And occasionally the rains, but take the reins off, as soon as you can or stabilized as well as on the lanes, my main role is really about, helping guide their decision-making, trusting them to make decisions liaison between them and raising the capital, for the business and setting the vision of the business and, uh, giving away. much as I'd love to get deep into a product.
[00:17:26] And I got Stewart Gregory six years from TransferWise. who's far better than real product than I've ever been. He now runs that and he runs that extremely well. John Hammond, who used to be chief commercial officer at coinci cloud is extremely good at everything customer from, from the marketing side to the, uh, sales and the onboarding to customer success.
[00:17:47] support and all those pieces, uh, able to run those other women NPS school and motivate sales team and everything correctly and target the right, ideal customer profile. So it's, it's [00:18:00] really initially you got to do everything, and then you've got to give up the bits that you think you're good at and actually art, that still gives the direction and vision of the country. And motivate people to, buy into that
[00:18:14] Hector: it sounds like, uh, to, important chunks of your day is spent hiring and, fundraising, is that right?
[00:18:21] Nigel: it's hiring fundraising and helping solve problems that there's something blocked to. for example, uh, onboarding journey. Wasn't great. because it was split across three decision-makers. So making sure that it's one decision maker and then giving over to the support that they're not losing something they're gaining, because we need to one decision making that for the process can work.
[00:18:47] So it's things like that. So it's a lot of problem solving to, And helping people tell the story in a business that's coaching people that get out of PowerPoint decks, for example,[00:19:00] and into being able to articulate their business, their parts of the business verbally, uh, in front of people and know the detail of the data and the metrics and their okay.
[00:19:12] Ours, without resorting to PowerPoint
[00:19:16] Hector: That's interesting. So do you, give coaching to people beneath you and sort of train them in selling the vision, getting buy-in getting enthusiasm belt, all that.
[00:19:25] Nigel: it's this data they management, so coaching is part of the job because he as a CEO. Really? You're you're not, I applied on the picture. they, they don't want you on the picture anymore. They want you to be the manager, given direction. So it's a similar thing in a sports team.
[00:19:41] It's you sort of coach them, but once they're on the pitch, they've got to play, and everything. So that that's how very much see the role. Now we're going to put beforehand. I was probably too involved. Constant cloud has definitely to involve in an evolution of first one to. and so it's learning how to not be involved [00:20:00] and, act as a sort of a manager coach, uh, as opposed to a player coach,
[00:20:05] James: At two. And I been fascinated by the idea of like sports management and business management as a whole separate topic.
[00:20:12] Nigel: so rugby is a massive passion of mine. I played it for 25 years. so 44, I was eight. So I gave up quite a few. if you look to when England won the world cup and I'm not English either. that was a I'm Amish. So that was a, a real bad thing for me.
[00:20:26] But what sir, Clive Woodward did was he got a diverse team of people and brought them together and they weren't the best, players, but they were the best. And there's no difference in, uh, running a business. And so when he brought that team together, he had various techniques, on how to make sure they all behave as a team.
[00:20:48] They own the team, they own the behaviors and those very much core values. And they produced some amazing epic, and they haven't had some good, good individuals in that, [00:21:00] but the individuals played in the team, when Martin took over, was a phenomenal captain and a phenomenal. and they're still looked up to and all over the world, he created a team of Martin Johnsons just in different shapes and sizes.
[00:21:14] And so there was no diversity in the team to the big learning from that is diversity also wins. and then the incremental things that they've Bibles foot, thing on the, on cycling, incremental things late. And so all those things is whether you're managing a sports team or managing a business, they're all similar things.
[00:21:35] If you're always going forward, you're generally winning. I think McEnroe used to say that too. It's always try. When I was there on the front foot, always is always attacking, always attacking. and that's why everybody else is feeling the pressure from them. If you're always going forward, your competitors feel that absolutely feel it, where they are compared to some business or competitors on the, I think certain rugby if, we, as soon as you get New Zealand on the back [00:22:00] foot, like Garland did just recently, they couldn't be on the front foot. Therefore they couldn't when they did the same to them in, in the stadium, in, in Chicago, too. even the best players in the world on the back foot find it difficult to win.
[00:22:12] So it's all the small steps going forward, incremental, sort of improvements, no big bang stuff. Diversity is a massive thing for them. PayPal is harder to manage because it is a bit like herding cats, but you get better outcomes and you get, I think, better thinking too, with diverse types of people.
[00:22:31] James: Yeah. And there's a, there's a great podcast with, so Clive Woodward on the high performance podcast and the, he gets the team to decide what on time means. And puts them all in a room and says, come back to me. When, what on time means to you and Martin Johnson comes out and says, we've discussed it and on-time means 10 minutes early and say, great.
[00:22:51] If I say 12, o'clock you going to be there at 1150? Right. And then he said, yeah. And so then he never had to tell anyone off for being late because they were never late. And they [00:23:00] were always 10 minutes early and they'd subscribed to that. They came up with that themselves. It was very.
[00:23:06] Nigel: teamship rules.
[00:23:08] James: Yeah, really fascinating. So you've obviously sort of interested in that as a concept like management and team building and everything. So at your business, What's your like number one tip for hiring. How do you go about pulling together? These people? You've obviously got a couple of senior execs that you've known from previous companies and experiences, but when looking at completely new kind of roles, how do you go about that?
[00:23:32] And what's the silver bullet for you when, when making a hiring decision
[00:23:37] Nigel: Within your company, be actually clear on what your core values are and the sort of behaviors that are expected and high on that, skills are secondary. Uh, so you really want to hire people who are super smart, can pick things up. but if they've got the same core values, the same behavior. they'll [00:24:00] fit in lutein.
[00:24:00] We'll figure it out, figure things out. and don't just hire them because they're nice. Okay. there's a whole load of theory and everything around behavior based and values-based hiring as opposed to skills. As well as skills that are secondary, uh, beyond that. Cause I think you'd be better teams with the, if they've all got the same core sets of values and you'll see that in a seam, if you've made a bad hire, for example, or somebody doesn't fit in and may not be, but it's not a bad person, but, uh, they're, they'll self select out quite quickly and suffering, letting them go with their dignity and everything.
[00:24:36] if there's one tip is figuring out what the values are of your company and the values of. And the hard people in, in for that, is also some is experience somebody who's worked in a, and a fairly comfortable sort of bank type position, and then put them into a raging series, a to series B high growth environment, can, they can fulfill a credibility.[00:25:00]
[00:25:01] As well. So there's some experiences that people have gone through, uh, found, uh, this time hiring people like Stuart from TransferWise, David Pratt, the former, the global financial controller translators joined us on Monday as well. They've been through the same story, when they came. I said to him, do you want to do the same thing again?
[00:25:22] Cause he had a lot to check. Cause it was probably quite a bruising journey in though Chris and Todd did a great guys, it's sort of bruising journey again to the growth of the Wentworth. And so it's great having people same core values with deep experience, relevant experience, for the stage at that stage of our company.
[00:25:41] And then the other thing is the type of people. mindsets, different for different stages. Some people go all the way. I met somebody the other day and Lisbon actually, uh, who, uh, was, uh, I think he was the first VP hired into Amazon. So he's like 18 years or something. [00:26:00] And I was in, that's probably a rare person who's gone through all the way through.
[00:26:04] And he's now the, the governance of the, the six pager And so. people move on and different skills or different stages, and people prefer different stages that it's incredibly uncomfortable. or they sort of like pre-revenue you got 55 Pence in the bank account type of environment.
[00:26:24] then you need just believers. Okay. People who just drank the Kool-Aid. and they get frustrated. If they're in a, a big, normal type company, they have different skills and different needs and wants. So it's focusing on the under people and behaviors and values.
[00:26:41] Hector: You said something interesting in there, which, was around not hiring people that you necessarily like. and that's interesting to me because, It makes a lot of sense, but it's also quite hard for some people to do, I would imagine. what does that actually mean to you and how do you set in place kind of measures to [00:27:00] make sure that people aren't just hiring people that.
[00:27:02] Nigel: all, some days, uh, often interview semi's interviewed. I said, what did you think of them? And as soon as they say they were with a nice person, that's a major red flag, because what you should be thinking about is, are they great for the job? Are they core values? And have they got the relevant experience?
[00:27:21] And they haven't been able to when I first, so that, that is one sort of metric or acid test of things and the same sort of thing, uh, after coming out of an interview, if your impression was, that's a really, really nice person. And you weren't thinking through all the other things that you need to be thinking through.
[00:27:40] It's probably a no,
[00:27:41] Hector: Interesting. So perhaps that's, the litmus test is like, you know, do you come out thinking that's a really nice person, but on the flip side, Tell me whether I'm wrong, but presumably if you come out and say, you know, that that person is a really horrible person, you don't want that person in the companies that.
[00:27:59] Nigel: Does it does that [00:28:00] too. And they'll probably be screened out within that five minutes of interview. I've I've cut interviews when somebody has been just highly unpleasant and not listening but absolutely true. So by that, what I mean is don't try and hire highly unpleasant people.
[00:28:14] That's a definite no, no, but it's just saying you don't have to be friends if you said, I mean, you got to be respectful. And you'll see that Simon on, on sports teams are great mates, but they played together as a great team as well.
[00:28:33] James: yeah, if you're coming out on, the first thing you can think of is they're really nice rather than they're going to be amazing and move the needle. And that's the.
[00:28:42] Nigel: If somebody says, yes, I literally had one yesterday, who, uh, my CFO said, yes, basically. Yeah, she will massively move the needle. that's a good thumbs up. He used exactly that comment and that we can tell, uh, is that's the person we [00:29:00] really need, and I'm sure we'll do really well within the.
[00:29:03] Hector: All of this kind of leads to a question around culture and we've kind of covered different aspects of culture with what we've spoken about already, but, how do you guys think about culture and, you know, founders that we've spoken to actually think quite differently about it?
[00:29:16] And some founders are very culture first and believe that the culture is what has led to the success of the business. how do you guys think about it? Is it. A happy byproduct of building a successful business and hiring nice people, not hiring nice people, hiring effective people. or is it something you focused very clearly on?
[00:29:35] Nigel: you've got to give them an environment where people feel safe, have the right core values and everything, and are motivated, to do the right things. for the customer and a classic example is, a bad culture is, people who just do tasks rather than focusing on outcomes. And so everybody finds that sort of thing in part of their business, but if you can have the culture of the [00:30:00] business is focused on outcomes And that's a massive TransferWise thing, actually, focusing on outcomes, you then forget about the task. You've got to do them, but the outcomes are the important piece. And that's an amazing culture because people see results. People feel happy because they got results and they are empowered to generate the outcome because if they're not given the tools.
[00:30:20] and money the, space, and the backing to produce outcomes. They're never going to do that, but if they're just sitting there doing tasks, so let's keep on doing tasks and you don't get outcomes outcomes We've had it in parts of our business, as well. So this is something to, uh, an outcome-based business as much of a health environment.
[00:30:39] uh, so culture is massively important, but I just look at it really, uh, values. And you've got those rights. you get a happier, happy people working in the company. You'll always get some people who aren't happy. Unfortunately, that's the nature of it as you go. So you've got size and people they'll always be some unhappy people.
[00:30:59] [00:31:00] that's the, nature of, population sizes and things. But, uh, another one is very much an empowering people. we were growing fast and we were, we were having some, challenges with our transaction monitoring, side of the business. what, uh, turned out to be is the team wants and power to sort it out themselves.
[00:31:20] And once we figured that out, the, uh, Sinead, you actually let that piece of work. and we had this sort of like, get everything off our chest. It's terrible here, all the problems with it. Here's ways we can go forward. Here's the numbers and stuff that back up. So it gives some insights as to how we should be doing things.
[00:31:38] Okay. This is what we need to go forward. And they've done an amazing job of sorting that out and we, we just leave them. Because their parents. So you'll find this out and grow to suddenly find some things will stop. Cause you haven't had our eyes on the ball on important area of the business. It was just the best step back, empower people, [00:32:00] give them the motivation, give them the backing they need and let them get on with it.
[00:32:04] And that things don't change overnight as well. And so you've got to give them the six to nine months to make the change. He can't get six or nine months work into two after. As well for changes, parts of the day job as well, as well as also instigating change is upon. So, and a lot of scaling companies I've talked to quite a few founders who've built.
[00:32:28] Massive businesses and all quite, uh, now some of them are, uh, investors quite sort of behind the scenes investors. And it's the same thing as that. They've got exactly the same stories of things. They grew too fast things, one working over here, empower them. Given backing, uh, celebrate it, celebrate the death of the old fishermen and, um, move on and just, um, and just be cognizant as nothing's perfect all the time.
[00:32:59] It's [00:33:00] always a, it's always a challenge, but make sure you're going forward all the time.
[00:33:03] James: Yeah, nothing is perfect, especially in scallops. And there's been a lot of success, but what is a moment that you look back on where things just suddenly felt like it was all going wrong? Like. The email that you get in the morning that just sucker punches you and what we're good.
[00:33:19] Decision-making around like trying to get back on.
[00:33:22] Nigel: is one investor. I won't name them. they flew over and we're pretty much looking at our series a. Came all the way from California. So that should narrow it down a bit and we're super pumped about investing in us and stuff instead of, okay, we got our series eight nails and stuff.
[00:33:40] We had some backup, but, they, uh, then two days later on answer, invest in one of our competitors. So that was pretty, pretty poor behavior on that. And then another one was we had a term sheet, which a couple of days later. and we literally, I think around one pound, 77 in the bank account.
[00:33:57] and we turned that time, she time, [00:34:00] because it looked like a private equity term sheets and fabric, your term sheets aren't particularly attractive because when you run it forward, it basically means you've lost complete control and diluted to hell and everything. and so we declined that and, out of luck, uh, another investor flew in from Tel-Aviv, uh, may Rav and, uh, Hanoi and Adam from Vanessa VC.
[00:34:26] And they, uh, gave us a verbal term sheets, after morning's due diligence. So that was quite a few roller coaster with.
[00:34:35] James: So the story there is just to keep going and do what you say, what you know was the right decision.
[00:34:42] Nigel: don't assume like you've got one or two investors go in and talk to tons of them. And it's a, it's like a sales process. It's a funnel. And you go through the target, the white one. So you're not talking to somebody, invested pharmaceuticals only are FinTech. that's a totally stupid idea, but you [00:35:00] got to have a big funnel to come through.
[00:35:02] And that is actually quite learning process too, because he really got to learn to pick. and that's why with what first investor meetings these days, I'd never used a PowerPoint deck, because I, I was pitching and, uh, the previous person's pitching to him. He was just typing on his laptop as the guy was pitching. So that should pass a picture, was a very dear friend of mine. And, uh, they went to pitched a colleague, pushed his laptop top-down we didn't use tap on and this, uh, so it was a learning thing.
[00:35:31] Thanks to all of them on that. Uh, he'll pay attention if you, if you talked and didn't so a pipeline deck.
[00:35:37] Hector: Nigel, it's been fantastic having you and we, as you know, always ask people about a dinner party, guest game or business business lunch game, where you can invite three people and I wonder who those three people would be.
[00:35:50] Nigel: Sure. Uh, the, uh, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Bezos and Edmund Hillary, to me handbooks cause, uh, it's just like he chain I'm [00:36:00] a guitarist and I played, built and collect guitars for whatever 30 years. it's just, he changed the way people played.
[00:36:09] nobody sounded anything like him before. So via just, I saw some question. Uh, did he just do it that way? Or what made him, what influenced him? What, uh, how did he discover his, uh, his new way? It's just because that was a massive change in moments in music, especially in the, in the guitar.
[00:36:30] And how was he. Jeff Bezos, it's really a it's, he's built a massive company that still remains very startup and very customer focused with a total obsession around it. really interesting to hear the stories. I had a colleague of his, who he met her at Lisbon, gave a lot of background stories, but it'd be nice to hear it from, from the horse.
[00:36:52] Edmund Hillary. Um, I, I love the outdoors and the mountains. I used to be a professional sailor, a ski mountain [00:37:00] there, all that side of the things that I've been here is first person I've ever asked. So you can imagine asking what was it like taught from cold windy, and God, I need to get down again and hear some food.
[00:37:11] James: reading really interesting guests who have operates sort of at the extremities is that sectors so very, very fascinating. Yeah. I'm sure it'd be great. Well, thank you so much, Nigel. We've really enjoyed having you on this loads in there for founders and people who are thinking about farming and business to, to chew over.
[00:37:29] Um, so yeah, thanks so much for coming on and telling us you're writing unicorn.
[00:37:33] Nigel: No, thank you. And thanks for the invitation and hope it was helpful and useful to it.
[00:37:39] James: Absolutely.
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