How Eedenbull attracts staff to work at the cutting edge of fintech

The bi-weekly sprint at Eedenbull doesn’t mean work colleagues gathering at an athletics track in their running spikes.

Bisgaard leads from the front in terms of his own passion and enthusiasm
Bisgaard leads from the front in terms of his own passion and enthusiasm

However, it does mean employees are working for a firm in a hurry, and determined to speed up the pace of change in the payments world.

“All our development is based on bi-weekly sprints, on making improvements every fortnight,” says Nicki Bisgaard, CEO of the card payments business, which has its largest global office in Edinburgh where all systems and platforms are developed and maintained.

“It might not always mean new features or functionality but we will always change something, we will keep the pace up.”

Bisgaard says Eedenbull isn’t a typical place to work. The focus is not when or where tasks are completed, but on getting the job done in the best way possible, professionally and enthusiastically.

“We have been pretty much unaffected by having to work from home as we don’t care if someone works from home or a park bench, or on a weekend or in the middle of the night, if they get results and do what we have agreed,” he explains.

“We have seen productivity go up during lockdown - but those informal processes that encourage creativity have been more difficult. We have compensated for that by using every digital communication platform that we can, to keep a cross-fertilisation of ideas happening.

“That might be in a formal way through allowing everyone to access tech management platforms and add ideas and suggestions, or through video-conferencing. We have meetings with the management team in all our offices - Edinburgh, London, Oslo and Singapore - every single day, and the same for project meetings and updates.”

And then there are the rats.

The rats are Rapid Action Teams, set up to address core challenges in the business and identify solutions..

“The RATs are creative problem-solving teams that aren’t based on traditional business hierarchies,” says Bisgaard. “They are made up of developers, payment experts, business development guys and management - but if you are the Chief Financial Officer and the most senior person in the team, that doesn’t mean you will lead it. Everyone has an equal say.”

Attracting talent

EedenBull’s RATs are currently looking at climate change and sustainability issues, new and innovative ways of analysing payment data, what the firm offers to high-net worth customers and its proposition for corporate clients.

“I think the flexibility of our approach to work, lack of hierarchy and encouragement of open creativity strikes a positive chord with the younger tech-savvy generation,” says Bisgaard. “It’s a good way to attract exceptional young tech talent to EedenBull, but we also want the grey hairs with the payment experience and expertise.

“What we have been able to do, quite successfully, is to combine deep payments expertise and experience with that fantastic tech talent. Both sides can learn from the other - and they do. It’s vital to maintain that common purpose and direction. Above all, I want people in the business who constantly challenge us and the way things are done. Only then can we move forward at the pace we need to succeed the way we want.

“It’s also attractive to potential recruits when they find we’re working with some of the world’s largest financial institutions and in dialogue with many others in multiple regions around the world, from Norway and Sweden in the north, to Australia and New Zealand in the south and Canada and the United States in the west.”

That credibility and experience in the payments space is crucial. Bisgaard and some of his colleagues have been in the game a long time.

“I’m not a fan of labels, or the word fintech, but EedenBull is almost like a second-generation fintech,” he says. “We’re not two guys in a garage who have created a mobile app.

“We are licenced by the financial authorities, we are licenced and trusted by Mastercard, Visa and UnionPay to issue their products and services - and we sit in that payments infrastructure previously dominated by the big banks. We’re experts and we know what we are doing, but even more importantly we have a passion and enthusiasm to constantly do things better.”

Bisgaard leads from the front in terms of his own passion and enthusiasm - as well as a clear vision of where the firm is going.

EedenBull currently has around 30 staff in Singapore, Oslo, London and Edinburgh, but has huge ambition for growth. By 2024, it wants to be working in 10 different global markets, employing more than 100 people, working with 150+ partner banks and having close to 1.5 million end user accounts.

The motivation for growth is constant improvement in a rapidly-changing industry. As Bisgaard often says: “New technology, new regulation and new players are forever changing the way consumers and businesses think about payments – changing the way people pay and get paid.”

And he wants to position EedenBull as not just a creative, fast-moving place to work, but a trusted partner and change-maker at the highest level of the payments world. “We are enablers of change for others but we are also an agent of change, a driver of change,” he says.

“We’re all about making payments more efficient, more flexible and more secure. We want to help all businesses understand where they are spending money, who is spending it and why.

“Fundamentally, we want to improve the way businesses pay and get paid - and who doesn’t want that?”