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How to Build Out a Product Team From Scratch
The fin-tech industry is full of exceptionally innovative companies that tackle problems facing modern bank consumers, in both the private and corporate sectors. Last year, we got a chance to start a long-term collaboration with solarisBank — a startup that enables businesses to offer their very own financial services.
Hiring for solarisBank was one of our most intensive in-house projects. In total, we had four of our strongest, tech-focused Talent Partners working with the company — Viola (who kicked-off the project), Joyce, and currently Gia and Andre.
SolarisBank isn’t a typical bank service that you may be familiar with as a consumer. Instead, they are focused on allowing other companies to develop their own financial products like financing plans, debit cards, and more. They offer a variety of APIs that partners can use depending on what kind of financial services they would like to offer. SolarisBank’s partner portfolio includes companies like Kontist, that offers bank accounts for freelancers, and Tomorrow, that builds a sustainable banking service.
The platform created by solarisBank quickly proved that such a product was more than welcomed in the fast-growing European fin-tech market. After three funding rounds from 2016 to 2018, they raised close to €100 million that enabled them to grow their team from 70 people to over 240 in little more than a year. Within this time, they have partnered up with ACELR8 to support them in achieving that goal.
Most of their current hiring efforts go into recruiting engineers within a highly competitive market for programming languages such as Elixir, Golang, and Ruby. While growing the engineering teams also the company structure was brought to the next level: focusing on product-centred, cross-functional, and agile business units made it necessary to hire for manager-level roles and technical experts to lead the newly shaped company’s environment. All of that with the concise of keeping the solarisBank culture, which was always a priority for them.
Our collaboration with solarisBank is definitely one of the biggest projects we had in terms of hiring demand. Over the past year, Viola, Joyce, Andre, and Gia worked closely with the company to hire the most talented people in the market that further developed the company’s platform.
The first thing we did after joining was to restructure the hiring process together with Ali Eid, solarisBank’s Head of Talent Acquisition. He presented us the requirements and goals that the company had regarding hiring, and based on that, we were able to create the interview process together. We were also adjusting the processes throughout the whole collaboration based on feedback that we got during regular meetings with Hiring Managers as well as with Engineering Managers. As Andre, our Talent Partner, describes:
We have worked with solarisBank for over a year. This put us in a privileged position to understand the business model and, most importantly, the company culture. We worked together with the Hiring Managers to understand the obstacles the teams were facing and find solutions together. Other than the ordinary weekly meetings, we sat with crucial team members to learn more about their daily business.
Building personal relationships with the team is always the most crucial point of our Inhouse model. Working in solarisBank’s offices allowed us to feel like a part of their team. It also improved the overall collaboration, making it much easier to gain stakeholders’ trust and speed up some processes. Berlin’s tech market is highly competitive and finding developers who use Elixir, Golang, and Ruby is quite challenging. Having close connections with the team really helped us in getting candidates through referrals, too.
This is what Vikramjit Lahiri, also praised the great cultural fit with ACLER8:
The biggest benefit of having multiple people from ACELR8 actually joining the team was that 1) they were all a perfect cultural fit, 2) they set a really good tone. Processes for tech hiring that we had in place got a boost from ACELR8's expertise. That really helped us hire the number of people we needed. They were instrumental in building talent acquisition.
Our collaboration with solarisBank was definitely a great opportunity to get more insights into the fin-tech industry and improve in recruitment itself:
We are glad to be helping solarisBank in disrupting the banking industry! If you want us to help your startup too, contact us today.