A headhunter’s view on the current FinTech landscape

Hello,

I am now into my third week in my new role at Jurupa where I have been tasked with building out a brand new FinTech business unit from scratch.

It’s great to be back in the hot seat after an 8-month hiatus on furlough during which I was effectively sat on the ‘subs bench’ itching to get involved once more.

So, what have I observed during my first 2 weeks? A great deal of unpredictability and uncertainty, for sure. The FCA have stated that they are working closely with the Government, the Bank of England, the payment systems regulator and financial services firms to make sure customers that are protected, guidelines are adhered to and that FS businesses survive these difficult times.

There have also been temporary changes to things such as SM&CR, regulatory reporting, onboarding & client identification as well as extended deadlines to ensure that frameworks are up to scratch.

What does this all mean for your business? For many, it has resulted in a veritable labyrinth of complex legislation that cannot be ignored or avoided but which simply must be complied with.

I am currently having numerous conversations across the board with people throughout the industry who want to ensure that they have the right personnel in place to a) ensure full compliance and b) to make certain that their organisations are optimised and able to stay a step ahead of the competition in what is a shifting landscape.

You may book a call with me here for a non-obligatory discussion on how we are helping our customers navigate such obstacles.

Stay safe,

Anthony Dudley

Thoughts on 2021 so far…

We are now almost 3 weeks into 2021, a year that promises a great deal in terms of recovery (both social and economic) in the guise of vaccines, gradual lifting of restrictions and a much longed for return toward normality.

As the race to recovery plays out before us, it’s interesting to take stock of where things stand from a business perspective and where things appear to be headed.

For those of us who work in the high tech industry – or at least in roles that permit us to work from home without any major impact other than on social interaction – we are entitled to feel somewhat fortunate when comparing our employment prospects against those in industries which have been heavily affected, such as events management, travel and hospitality to name a few.

Equally, we can also point to employees who, whilst being fortunate to have maintained their employment, nonetheless are still required to be present in factories, hospitals and on the roads. Perhaps some of us just have it easier than others?

There is almost certainly some truth in that. From where I am sitting, speaking of recruiting for the technology industry in particular, the dreaded hiring freeze and cessation of all efforts in that direction did indeed have a heavy impact and took a significant toll on our industry in 2020, but nowhere near as devastatingly as one might have expected.

Jurupa as a business noted a significant downturn from the point of lockdown here in the UK (late March 2020) which persisted for many months. Signs of respite appeared in August when customers started to talk once again of grand plans to resume their expansion quests although the brakes weren’t to be released with any real meaning for a few months yet. Ultimately, as a business we have been fortunate to have maintained strong relationships with a select number of clients who conduct their operations in extremely robust and in some cases buoyant markets, such as eCommerce, FinTech and Logistics.

Our view is that once it became clear to everyone that the pandemic wasn’t merely a temporary inconvenience to impatient merchants, businesses collectively realised that they had to adapt and simply “keep calm and carry on.” Let’s face it – the technology is already firmly in place and well proven to enable our typical client base to continue running their operations as before albeit without the ability to physically bring people together in person.

So, where does that leave us all? Well, the vaccines that are currently being rolled out will play a decisive role in how and when governments around the world can and will alter the current restrictions in place. What does it mean for commercial landlords who face the serious dilemma of possessing office space which they cannot fill? What about the owners of cafes, restaurants and delis in city centres up and down the country who have no passing trade anymore?

There seems to be a clear appetite from significant numbers of both bosses and employees to retain at least a proportion of the new working from home status quo. The benefits are clear: less crowded trains, buses, tubes, even aeroplanes. Less reliance on expensive season tickets, parking charges and stressful twice daily commutes. I personally don’t believe that office environments are a thing of the past – far from it. However, I do think that the pandemic has revealed one key truth to us. It was stated recently by Sir David Attenborough in an interview with the Daily Telegraph:- “It (the virus) has drawn attention to the fact we aren’t as omnipotent and all-controlling as we think we are.”

Wise words indeed.

Therefore, in my view, we must remain adaptable and open-minded as to creating workable solutions in the future.

Stay safe and good luck, everyone.

Aaron Davies

New Year, New Career

In this 30-minute webinar, learn directly from Aaron Davies, an executive headhunter, and Dr Tuuli Bell, a management consultant:

  • What is a headhunter looking for in a profile when searching for candidates on behalf of technology companies?
  • What behind-the-scenes discussions take place between a recruiter and a potential employer?
  • What changes can you make today, in your current role, to increase your happiness at work whilst looking for a new job?
  • How to get the attention of recruiters/internal HR without being invasive or overly aggressive?
  • The importance of using of compelling language in your CV and communications with target employers
  • Key talking points around interview preparation

Merry Christmas from Jurupa

After an extremely tough year for the whole world, Jurupa would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our valued customers, candidates and your families and very happy Christmas. We look forward to seeing you in 2021.

six sectors proving resilient

  • ONS figures show there are 342,000 fewer jobs from March to May 2020
  • Jobseekers under pressure due to increased competition for fewer jobs 
  • Experts share tips on standing out from the crowd during your job search 

As Britain slowly eases out of lockdown, there is pressure on jobseekers to make a good impression – this is likely to be on interviews conducted online amid increased competition for fewer jobs.

Early indicators suggest that last month, the number of employees on payroll fell by more than 600,000 compared with March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It also shows that the that the UK has experienced the largest quarterly decrease in vacancies with 342,000 fewer jobs in March to May 2020 than in the previous quarter and 365,000 fewer than the year before.

While competition will be tough, it is possible to get hired in this difficult environment and experts have given their top tips to give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

You will have to be prepared to make adjustments to the way in which you apply for roles to stand out from the crowd.

Darain Faraz, careers expert at business network website LinkedIn, says: ‘Many people may be feeling disheartened given the current circumstances, but our data shows that companies are still hiring – albeit with some differences to the recruitment process.

‘Things we previously took for granted, like looking someone in the eye or shaking a hand at the end of an interview are now not possible, but there are still lots of ways to stand out from the crowd and ace a virtual meeting.’

If you’re job hunting or have landed a Zoom interview here are some tips and tricks you can use to help try and land that job:

  1. Identify growth industries and specialisations

A company that’s expanding and looking for investment is more likely to hire than introduce recruitment freezes.

Joe Wiggins, job search expert at Glassdoor, says: ‘Look for companies with growing revenues and maybe even start-ups that have successfully undertaken new financing rounds.’

Amanda Augustine, career expert for TopCV, adds job hunters should consider businesses that have had to ramp-up hiring to meet current Covid-19 related demands.

She says: ‘Many of these national brands, such as Amazon, DPD and Kingfisher (who own B&Q and Screwfix), are looking to fill positions around the world.’

Recently, we looked at six sectors proving resilient in the face of the pandemic – and revealed expert tips to picking a potential new career.

These include: teaching and tutoring, medical and social care, and exercise coaching.

2. Leverage your network

Around 50 per cent of open positions are never publicly published, according to TopCV.

Amanda says: ‘Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to network and conduct informational interviews from the safety of your flat.

‘You can message existing and potential networking contacts via social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter, engage with new people in virtual career expos and other industry events and email, text, video conference, or call your contacts to ask for help with your search.’

This will help expand your search: you might need to get pro-acctive in this new extra-competitive market.

3. Improve your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile

James Innes, founder of the James Innes Group and author of several best-selling career books, says: ‘Getting your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile right can be the difference between getting your foot in the door for an interview or remaining adrift.’

Innes recommends tailoring your CV for the position you’re targeting.

He explains: ‘Most recruiters use applicant tracking systems to do the initial screening of the hundreds of CVs they receive for each advertised job so incorporating the keywords that they are looking for in your CV is vital.’

These keywords are likely to be matched to the job description – this means it’s important not to just punt out the same CV for every role you apply for.

It is also vital that your CV is completely up to date. James adds: ‘This includes details of what you have been up to during lockdown.’

Things to include could be skills learnt and volunteer roles.

4. Check your technology

If you’ve secured a virtual interview on a platform such as Zoom the typical interview rules, such as getting dressed appropriately, still apply.

But there is more you can do to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

James says: ‘You need to make sure that your technology does what you need it to do before the interview.

‘Positioning of the camera and angle of lighting can make a huge difference, so it is really important to make sure that these present you in the most flattering way possible!’

Reduce the likelihood for any interruptions.

James adds: ‘Just as being interrupted by kids or animals can be somewhat distracting during the interview, a mobile phone ringing or an errant Echo device thinking that you said ‘Alexa’ when you were just saying the name of the recruiter, Alex, can all have the same effect.

‘Double check that any technology not required for the virtual interview is switched off.’

Don’t speak to your potential employer in bed: here are eight more secrets to nailing a conference call interview.  

5. Set the scene

James points out that one of the advantages of the virtual interview is that you can control your environment.

He advises: ‘Choose a room that you are comfortable in – not your bedroom as it’s far too personal and intrusive – make sure you remove any clutter from the view of the recruiter and ensure that there is no way you will be interrupted by children or pets.’

6. Should you be more adventurous to get noticed?

In a post-Covid world, preparation and research is key for a successful interview and landing the ideal role.

However, when it comes to CV design, you may feel tempted to try quirkier methods to stand out but James cautions against this.

‘When it comes to CVs I do generally caution against “quirky”. It’s a high-risk strategy and it can work – but, on balance, I think it’s more likely to fail.

‘You do want to stand out – but for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. An exception to this is a creative field, for example, architecture or graphic design.’ 

How can you gauge if your interview went well or not?

If you’re unsure where you stand after the interview concludes, consider these tell-tale signs that you didn’t ace it:

Your interview is cut short 

Amanda says: ‘your video interview was expected to last an hour, but the recruiter dismisses you after the first 20 minutes, chances are you won’t hear back from the organisation.

The interviewer keeps emphasising the qualification you don’t have 

Amanda says: ‘If the interviewer continues to mention the importance of a skill you either don’t possess or have little experience in, then it could be an indication the employer is looking for a different candidate profile.

There’s no talk about your availability

Amanda explains: ‘If the recruiter can’t give you a sense of when they’ll follow up or mentions repeatedly that they plan to ‘interview many others’ for the role before making a decision, this may be a sign that you’re not a top contender.

Trust your gut

Your instinct about how the interview went are often correct. James says: ‘If you are left with a bad feeling or feelings of anxiety, it may be that you didn’t perform your best.

The importance of building talent pools

One of the most common gripes we hear from hiring managers and business leaders alike revolve around the costly and time-consuming delays that ensue from having to replace a departing employee, particularly those with a unique skill set.

More often than not, the time it takes to hire a replacement candidate can be shortened by having a clearly defined plan in place to cover this eventuality. That’s why Jurupa created their Talent Pooling service precisely to pre-empt such eventualities.

By tapping into what makes your most sought after employees tick and the unique value their role brings to your organisation, we are able to gain a crucial understanding into how that person’s role can be filled in the inevitable event that one day, they move on to a new role or employer.

The crucial difference here is that by having an effective talent pooling system in place, Jurupa can help you shorten those frustrating periods of uncertainty and bring clarity to forward planning by having a ready-made shortlist of candidates who are primed and ready to attend interviews with your organisation.

Read more here http://jurupa.co/methodology/ and get in touch with us for a non-obligatory discussion to learn how we go about this.

Jurupa welcome Zilliant, LogDNA, Yordex, Phocas Software and KTSL as new customers

Jurupa Resourcing Limited today hailed their continued impressive growth by welcoming 5 new customers on board, joining an already notable roster of notable tech companies seeking first class support during periods of rapid expansion.

Operating across a diverse range of domains including Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Spend Management, Log Analysis and DevOps, Jurupa’s new tranche of customers fit neatly into their sweet spot, namely vendors who are bringing to market new concepts and ideas which are destined to change established thinking and to solve real world problems.

Managing Director Aaron Davies commented “it is particularly pleasing to observe our hard work paying off with these hard earned new logo wins in what is a very competitive industry indeed. We continue to demonstrate our unique approach to solving the many challenges which rapidly growing tech businesses face on a daily basis and this is the proof that our methodology is working and that our efforts to gain ever greater mindshare are bearing fruit.”

Specialising in full service talent management for tech start-ups and SMEs, Jurupa were established in 2013 and are proud to have played an active role in placing some of the most talented individuals into some of the most successful technology companies in recent years. Their mission is to help their clients get ahead in the war for talent.

Contact them today via info@jurupa.co or +44 203 928 1966 to learn more about what they can do for your business.

Warm congratulations, Jodie Henderson!

Jurupa today announced that our most recent graduate hire, Jodie Henderson, has been promoted from Resourcer to EMEA Recruitment Consultant. The advancement marks continued progression in both Jodie’s professional & personal life and serves as a great example of Jurupa’s commitment to investment in the continued development of our staff.

Recognising Jodie’s hard work and commitment to the cause on her 12 month anniversary with the business, Managing Director Aaron Davies presented her with a bottle of Prosecco and expressed his delight at her rapid progress. “When Jodie came to her first interview back in May 2018, I observed a young lady with levels of professionalism, courtesy and intelligence that were beyond her years. It was clear to me that she would represent an excellent hire for the company given her thirst for knowledge and strong work ethic. The journey is only at the beginning and we are very pleased to have her as part of our team and well into the future.”

Jodie’s new role will see the scope of her role expand beyond research and prospecting into full 360 account management and business development activities.

She can be contacted directly via jhenderson@jurupa.co

How To Stay Broke Forever

Real entrepreneurs vs. those are who are fooling everyone (but mostly themselves).

So, I’ve noticed a pattern (both in myself and other people). The large majority of people who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs are not actually doing what entrepreneurs need to do.

They are acting like entrepreneurs.

But they are not putting in the work to build a real business.

Instead of solving a real problem, they are living in a dreamland that doesn’t exist. Instead of building a real product, they are building a pretty website and business cards. Instead of trying to get real clients, they are establishing their LinkedIn profile while making sure that there is “CEO” written everywhere. Instead of providing value to people, they focus on building pointless social media accounts.

In short, they are doing lots of things that ‘look like’ the kind of things we imagine entrepreneurs to be doing. But they are really just pointless busy-work.

Other people who encounter them might actually believe that they are running this awesome business. In reality, however, this person is only losing money, not making it.

Because of their great acting skills, the most fitting name for people like that is “actor-preneur”.

Here are some typical behaviours of actor-preneurs:

  • Learning how to code
  • Building a website
  • “Researching” and comparing better technology solutions to problem X
  • Printing business cards
  • Hiring a designer to create … [insert anything here: logo, business card, flyer, website etc.]
  • Writing fantastic copy for your LinkedIn Profile
  • Giving yourself the title: “CEO” and making sure it’s written on any marketing material you get your hands on
  • Going to all sorts of ‘hot’ networking events
  • Hiring an accountant (despite having zero revenue)
  • Pitching hundreds of different ideas to different investors and sending out business proposals
  • Buying all different kinds of online courses for hundreds/thousands of dollars

While most of these activities are a part of what businesses do, in themselves they actually don’t form a business. An ‘incorporated entity’ with a pretty website isn’t a business.

If it is not making any money.

If it doesn’t have any customers.

If it doesn’t have a product to sell.

You see, all of these activities are just ‘consumption’ if they don’t contribute to the generation of cash-flow. One could say that you are an incorporated consumer of services and other stuff.

You’re giving plenty of business to other people. So yeah, in a way you’re doing some good in the world. But you yourself have no business at all. You’re just losing money.

Ask yourself:

  • For how long can you keep this up?
  • What’s the point of doing so? To impress other people? To be proud of yourself for being such a great “CEO”?
  • Is this really the most effective use of your time?

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is a person who is building a business. And a business is an automated system that generates cash flow for its owner.

So, what is the task of an entrepreneur?

The task of an entrepreneur is to envision a working system that generates cash flow and turn it into reality. This means that the system needs to be grounded in reality.

That could mean things like:

  • Market realities (i.e. do customers really want this? Are they really willing to pay for this? Am I solving a real problem? Can I realistically compete with these existing competitors?)
  • Feasibility realities (i.e. Is this actually scalable? Can this make enough money to be a viable business? Does the infrastructure exist to turn this into reality?)
  • Personal realities (i.e. can I really build this considering my budget? Do I have the skills to execute on this business? Can I build this before going broke?)

You can come up with great ideas all you want, you can dream up all you want, if it is not possible to turn this idea into a business that generates a reliable (and sufficient) amount of profit, then it’s worthless.

After all, there is only one logical reason to be in business:

To set up a system that automatically generates cash-flow for you without you necessarily having to be involved in it very much. To free up your time so that you can use it in the most useful way possible.

If you then want to use that time in order to do more work on your business and scale it, then that’s fine.

A business is not a business unless it is:

  • Scaleable (i.e. has the potential to either serve a lot of customers or provide extremely deep value for a selected few)
  • Automated (i.e. doesn’t require substantial amounts of time from the owner’s side and can sustain itself in the owner’s absence)
  • Profitable (i.e. makes more money than it costs to maintain AND is financially worthwhile for the owner)

What to do to make the shift from actor-preneur to real entrepreneur?

Again, the real work of an entrepreneur is to envision a business and to take the necessary steps in order to turn that vision into reality. So, the first step is the vision itself.

Not some dream-like la la land kind of vision.

But one that can be scaled, automated and made profitable.

So, the first thing to do is to come up with a proper business model. Not some 150-page long theoretical business plan, but an actual working model (can be shared in a sentence or on a single piece of paper) that is grounded in reality.

You have a working business model only AFTER you’ve already tested your assumptions in the market and made your first profitable sale. Until then, you only have an idea.

Your first priorities in this stage should be:

  • Discovering a feasible target market
  • Discovering a real problem for which your target market is willing to pay if solved
  • Coming up with a product idea that can be automated, scaled and made profitable (the product doesn’t necessarily need to be actually created just yet — a landing page will suffice)
  • Testing your assumptions about the target market by making test offers to your customers
  • Make iterations of your product until people respond to it
  • Making your first profitable sale (that you know is realistically replicable and can be sold to enough people)

For most of these things you won’t need a business card, a website, a social media channel, coding skills, beautifully designed fliers or even landing pages, and especially no accountant.

Oh, and you probably don’t even need a corporate entity (just yet).

The second stage begins once you have validated your assumptions, come up with a product idea that people are actually willing to pay for and made your first few sales.

It is at this stage that you go all-in on the process.

But STILL, you might not need a website, business cards or whatever.

What you need to do is to invest your time into developing an awesome product, slowly building up your customer base and trying to make your existing customers happy.

Only build ‘stuff’ when you really need it.

Only build ‘stuff’ when your business makes you money to pay for that stuff.

Only build ‘stuff’ when it makes your life much easier.

For example, a functioning website and a great sales funnel are fantastic ways to automate part of your business processes. But do you urgently need them if you have zero- or even a handful of sales?

Probably not.

Using a free e-mail automation provider (like MailChimp) to build a landing page might suffice at this stage. It is probably enough for your customers to see what you are offering, make a decision about whether they want it or not, and make a purchase.

Conclusion:

If you want to remain an actor forever, then consider becoming an actual actor. Because then, you might actually have a shot at actually monetizing your skills.

Acting as if you were a CEO won’t do anything for you, though.

It only costs you money to maintain that image of yourself. It only costs you time. It only costs you energy. It only causes you to feel anxious, stressed and useless.

You won’t ever be able to ever make some serious money without a business model that is grounded in reality.

You won’t ever find a working business model without some proper research, testing, iteration and validation.

You won’t ever build a real client base just because you have a pretty website, business card or LinkedIn profile.

No.

What people want is solutions to their problems. Find a real problem that people are willing to pay for, solve it reliably and with profit, and you have a business.

Everything else is just fluff or nice to have.

Unless, of course, you are really dependent on these things right now in order to scale your business, automate it or make it profitable.

Article courtesy of TheStartup

Weirdest. Acquisition. Ever. Broadcom buys CA Technologies

$19bn to meld chipmaker and software museum into mission-critical amalgam

CA Technologies, long a byword for making acquisitions, has been acquired by Broadcom.

The $18.9bn cash purchase of the software company is so distant from Broadcom’s chip business that it will probably not face the same regulatory problems that derailed Broadcom’s takeover offer for Qualcomm.

Announcing the deal, Broadcom said the acquisition was part of its strategy to buy “established mission-critical technology businesses”.

That’s a fair enough description to apply to a company founded in the second half of the 1970s as “Computer Associates” by Charles Wang and Russell Artzt. The pair targeted the then-nascent market for third-party mainframe software and thrived, largely by acquiring other companies.

CA used acquisitions to grow its portfolio into systems management, anti-virus, security, ID management, applications performance monitoring, devops automation and more. Along the way it acquired a reputation as the place decent software goes to die.

CA is so dissimilar to Broadcom that the transaction seems rather odd.

Broadcom’s president and CEO Hock Tan explained the buy by outlining an ambition to create a “leading infrastructure technology” company.

“With its sizeable installed base of customers, CA is uniquely positioned across the growing and fragmented infrastructure software market, and its mainframe and enterprise software franchises will add to our portfolio of mission critical technology businesses. We intend to continue to strengthen these franchises to meet the growing demand for infrastructure software solutions”, Tan said.

Mainframe solutions dominate CA’s income, pulling nearly $2.2bn in the 2017-2018 financial year, followed by its enterprise solutions segment at $1.75bn and services at $311m.

In its most recent earnings call, CFO Kieran McGrath told analysts CA was moving to strengthen the subscription business in its enterprise segment, so rather than perpetual licenses, it would look more like mainframe software sales (which are already subscription-focused).

In 2019, CA expects its shift away from enterprise perpetual licenses to SaaS and cloud models to bear enough fruit to justify reporting them as a discrete line item.

None of which, however, resolves the huge gap between a company which designs and produces silicon, and whose sales and marketing operations are geared towards getting product engineers to recommend their chips rather than those from Qualcomm, Marvell, and the like.

Which returns us to Broadcom’s recent bid for Qualcomm, thwarted by the Trump regime for reasons including the likelihood it would mean a huge number of 5G patents pass beyond US control.

Even without that action, it’s likely that Broadcom is already of such a scale that US regulators will make further acquisitions in the silicon business difficult to complete, on antitrust grounds.

This acquisition doesn’t offer any immediately obvious “commercial synergies” – overlaps that let the new management play The Hunger Games with engineers working on duplicate projects – but rather propels Broadcom into an entirely new market.

The two have this in common: their appetite for acquisitions (at its 2018 financial presentation CA highlighted its latest strategic buys, application security company Veracode and devops automation outfit Automic). Apart from that, enterprise software has nothing much in common than silicon chips.

The stock announcement doesn’t mention management arrangements, but it’s likely that CA will form the basis of a new business unit under Broadcom, since there’s no obvious division to roll it into.

Apart from diversification, CA’s recurring revenue is attractive to Broadcom given the ups and downs of the world’s waxing and waning demand for smartphones and other consumer gadgets can make for fluctuating revenue. CA’s version of the announcement highlighted the makeup of its income: “The majority of CA’s largest customers transact with CA across both its Mainframe and Enterprise Solutions portfolios. CA benefits from predictable and recurring revenues with the average duration of bookings exceeding three years”.

That’s longer than some smartphone product cycles. Just nobody tell the White House about CA’s 1,500-plus patents falling into Broadcom’s hands.

Article courtesy of TheRegister.co.uk