As one of the chosen start-ups picked by KOMINFO to represent the next batch of unicorns at last weekend’s Nexticorn, COO of Modalku Iwan Kurniawan talks about the challenging landscape in a fintech start-up, especially when it comes to funding, hiring and culture.
Funding and managing funds
Although we had one of the biggest fund-raises in Southeast Asia among existing fintech players, we continued to encourage our team to spend prudently. We placed required money on important initiatives and tried to stay thrifty when it came to regular activities. No matter how big we are as a company, we should always have the mindset of being wise and prudent with our funds.
It is not too difficult to hire good talent based on professional experience, but it is much harder to hire based on cultural fit. There are some very talented individuals who are not suited for a start-up environment, which is an environment that thrives on teamwork (not individualism) and rapid learning.
Start-ups need to grow their teams fast to manage a rapidly growing operation, which makes it extremely challenging to grow and maintain culture. We are trying to build a culture based on the values that our team want so that it becomes a self-reinforcing mechanism, led by the leaders and reinforced by our team.