Fintech Alliance interview with Moorwand CCO Luc Gueriane
Moorwand is a payments solution provider offering issuing, digital banking and acquiring services. Founded in 2013 in London, over the past three years the business has been working with challenger banks and FinTechs, offering support in bringing digital banking experiences to life.
Chief Commercial Officer Luc Gueriane has been at Moorwand for two years. We caught up with him to find out how he spends a typical day.
How do you start your day?
Our Marketing Manager says I should say I start the day with half an hour of yoga and a smoothie to portray the right image… but I’m afraid it starts with a few espressos. It’s a slow process to waking up and getting into work.
Working from home over the past year has brought a new dynamic to the routine. It would have been getting out of the house as quickly as possible, but these days I can usually catch up with a few emails and then have 20 minutes to play with my son before he heads off to school… then back to the emails.
What’s your working setup like?
I’ve got a fairly bog-standard study that’s my permanent base, but I do tend to move around the house a lot.
Even in the office I’m never stuck to a desk – I always move into call booths and meeting rooms – so it’s the same at home. When the weather’s good enough I do some calls out in the sun if nobody minds birds chirping in the background.
I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen since we got a puppy who lives in there.
What’s something in your workspace you couldn’t live without?
Coffee is the first thing that springs to mind – it’s probably not what I should be saying when I have a six year old son, but it’s the good coffee machine, no doubt.
Especially in lockdown when we’ve not been able to go out for coffee. You realise that when it breaks down and you have to call the repair man out.
How do you divide your time between parenting and work?
The first lockdown when schools were completely closed and there weren’t even childcare bubbles was a bit of a challenge, but the school has been really supportive so there’s not been too much interruption, apart from maybe after school clubs closing.
When the weather’s been good in lockdown there’s been the opportunity to take breaks away from work to kick a football around the garden.
Unfortunately as a six year old he doesn’t take too much of an interest in payments technology! Except when he wanted to buy something with his birthday money and told me to pay for it with my card so he could keep the cash…
What takes up the most time in your working day?
When I first joined, I had the luxury of being very focused on sales activity because that was my background. Over the past 12 months, there’s been less sales activity in terms of events, conferences and meeting clients to pitch to them.
Equally I took on a directorship which brought a whole other area of the admin alongside more commercial activities.
Overall, though, most of my day is still taken up by back to back calls. That’s a combination of clients, colleagues, partners and suppliers. We’re very reliant on our payments partners, so those conversations take up the lion’s share.
With that comes the joy of the inbox getting bigger and bigger throughout the day and having to catch up in the evening.
Has maintaining all those relationships been a challenge in lockdown?
Each partner has a different approach to communicating. Some, you would have caught up with at regular events or you’d put a coffee or lunch in the diary periodically. I think when Covid hit they felt forced to maintain these touch points so sometimes you have a bit of a strained call which isn’t very productive.
We used to attend events where there would be 20 or 30 partners in the same room and you could literally get 10 minutes with each of them to cover things off. Having to replace that with a direct catch up is certainly more time consuming.
I’ve found it challenging enough with a pretty good network already built up – so I think it’s probably been a lot harder for those trying to build new relationships.
I think some topics would be a lot easier to thrash out if you could get the right people around the table for a two or three hour session. If it was a particularly difficult topic you could combine it with a few beers afterwards and put that difficult conversation in context knowing that you can shake on it afterward. I worry that dynamic is missing.
Is there anything you spend a lot of your day worrying about?
Internally, we’ve hired a few people in lockdown and we’re growing really quickly so we’re conscious that they still feel part of the team. At a time of growth we’ve had to make sure there’s enough structure in place, everyone knows escalation points and has regular one-to-ones.
We’re spread across three offices. We’ve hired two or three people in Newcastle who used to work for Wirecard there and then somebody in Edinburgh. We also have a few people working from Lithuania and Moldova, so we need to make sure we’re able to operate remotely regardless of lockdown.
Who do you go to for support when you need it?
Our Head of Marketing, Philippa, has been the main driver for maintaining lots of internal contact, especially with the structure I just mentioned.
We’re a very tightly knit senior management team, so we have a video call almost daily – not usually planned but it just seems easier to dial in whoever needs to be there.
During lockdown we also added a non-executive director to our board, so that’s somebody else we can lean on and pick their brains on various topics.
How do you wind down at the end of the day?
One thing I’ve learned to enjoy during lockdown is cooking. I never really liked cooking – I saw it as a chore and anyway, I prefer my wife’s – but I’ve found it really helps break up the day when you’ve been locked into calls.
I’ve also started to value walking a bit more. I don’t think my son would have had any interest in that if we hadn’t been forced into it.
Is there anything you’ve been reading recently that’s inspired you?
If there’s one thing I’ve taken a lot from and keep going back to, it’s a book called Strengths Finder. It’s based on research by Gallup about an online psychometric test you can do, and the book talks about some of the most successful people in the world – not just in business, but more broadly.
Our default is to spend all our time addressing weaknesses, so everyone ends up as a mediocre all-rounder – but Strengths Finder means you can ignore what you’re poor at and just focus on what you’re good at. If you’re doing what you enjoy, you’re more motivated.
So I’ve given up being polite and diplomatic.