About a year ago, I was on a holiday in Israel; I had planned to attend a wedding. I was standing in the middle of Arlozorov bus station in Tel Aviv, gazing around to spot the 480 bus that would take me to Jerusalem. There, it was. I started walking towards it when I heard someone calling my name. Instinctively, I turned my head and I saw a familiar face. Kevin (our co-founder) was waving and smiling at me, with his partner. They too, were spending a holiday in Israel.
3 years before, I had volunteered in a summer camp in the English countryside where Kevin was the Chair. Now, we were on this bus platform in Tel Aviv. How funny and unexpected.
About 5 months ago, Kevin sent me a link to upload the untied app on my phone. I was looking for a new job, I was also looking (a bit!) for myself. I did download the app.
And about 3 months ago, I decided to join the team.
These past three months have been full of adventures; from a partnership project with Deloitte that brought us into a workshop with inktrap, a digital product user experience specialist agency, to a full week back in Tel Aviv, as part of the Barclay’s Accelerator program in Israel – where untied was one of ten start ups selected to take part, waking up at 5.45am to be present at 7am at the Fintech Junction start up competition for a 4 min long pitch. I experienced an instable though energising environment.
Kevin and Marcus, our co-founders, and Rich, Paul, and now Chris are a ‘crème’ to work with, as we say in French. It’s not a given to be part of a team of gentlemen filled with openness, trust and most importantly a good sense of humour. That’s exactly what Olaf Jacobi of Capnamic Ventures tells us in this podcast when he talks about the winning ingredients a start-up needs to meet the road of success.
I tried to bring structure, putting together the so called SoWs (statements of work), the recaps and follow-up emails, the timelines and all what I have learnt in the corporate world to map the path out to project success. untied did not have an office 3 months ago, now we do. I also learnt to expect random calls from Kevin, just to check in that I was fine or to feedback and process after an investor’s call…I even had Marmite with crumpets at the Tea Party we hosted in Tel Aviv during the last week of the Techstars program. Well, on that I’m still not convinced.
I was looking to fill a specific position, but I realised that sometimes it’s ok to let go of the frame and the best contribution you can make is your personality, skills and heart.
Over the past 3 months, I developed a new (and weird) vocabulary: open banking, APIs, FCA, MTD, seed round, exiting…in fact, I discovered a new planet merging technology and taxes. And how these two fields can now interact to help us make sense of our ‘tax’ life (yeah, up until today it’s never been a fun thing to do your accounts, right?). I thought I had left my audit and accounting background at KPMG several years before, but it did catch up with me!
Over the past 3 months, I got a taste of the journey to launch an innovative product ahead of competition and with flair. I saw how much sweat and common sense it takes to stay on top of the game and at the same time still meet your customers and your opportunity in the market.
And this is how we do tea …