3rd August 2020
Since March, the pandemic has ground global travel to a near standstill and only now are borders starting to re-open. International businesses that operate across territories needed to adapt at pace. In the face of significant disruption, many start-ups turned to technology to ensure they remained outward facing.
Bambu, a FinTech providing financial businesses with robo-advisory technology has done just this. We spoke with Nick Wakefield, its Managing Director for Europe, and Level39 member, to discuss the steps he has taken to operate from home, as well the flurry of new custom they experienced at the start of lockdown.
Nick explains how the team have always had to work remotely to some extent with the business spread across the globe. “We have a team in Africa, we have people in the US, our headquarters are in Singapore, as well as staff in Indonesia and Malaysia. We are very used to working remotely as a business. We don’t work off big servers sitting in an office and we’ve always used laptops and the cloud. Therefore, working from home suddenly has been very straight forward and has not disrupted our day to day operations”.
Whilst video conferencing technologies have meant the team can still talk with each other and interact with their clients, it will never replace meeting in person, especially when it comes to pursuing new leads.
“One of the biggest challenges we have faced is not being able to jump on planes to go and meet with clients. This is a big part of what we do and every other week I would be somewhere different in Europe, meeting with different financial institutions to talk about and demo our platforms.
Nick adds, “Another big thing we are not able to do at the moment is go to networking events and conferences. This has been a big loss, and whilst there are stop-gaps with virtual events, sales is still very much a people business. Most of our products are not something you can buy off the shelf so a consultative approach and sitting down with executive staff is really important. The companies we work with are also spending considerable amounts of money, so they have to be confident that we are the right people to work with”.
The pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for scaling businesses like Bambu. Whilst the company has faced barriers to overcome, it has also been presented with the chance to take advantage of the digital transformation the pandemic has catalysed.
“Without a doubt, the crisis has sped up and fast-tracked people’s adoption of digital technology. With lockdown shutting banks, people have been forced to do their banking online. This means banks have been fast tracking very large projects that normally would have taken between six and twelve months in order to move their services online.
“Within the first couple of weeks of lockdown, we had a flurry of new business come out of nowhere with organisations seeking our services to pivot through the crisis. Companies came to us as they needed the systems and platforms in place to operate remotely whilst their advisors were sat at home, and they needed our help to provide this. Bambu was well placed to speed up the provision of these services having built a lot of the solution already”.
The last few months also taught Nick the value of the Level39 community and how important it is to take the steps required to gradually return to work.
“A really big part of Level39 is the community aspect, bumping into someone and having a random chat and finding out they are doing something very similar to you. As well as this, Level39 provides the flexible working environment people desire right now, especially with many only wanting to go into the office a few times a week. I imagine in the future a lot of businesses may gravitate here rather than having a fixed office space”.