Not all Fintech start-ups are created alike. As we've noted before, some pay abominably. And as BCG noted in its banking report, many struggle to generate funding. This does not apply to Symphony Communications, the darling of the fintech world.
Backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Blackrock and formerly an internal messaging system used by Goldman, Symphony is as close as it comes to being a member of the fintech establishment. The company's fundamental product is a secure messaging platform, which could soon rival Bloomberg messaging.
We spoke to Kim Tran, Symphony's chief people officer, about what Symphony does and who she likes to hire. This is what she said.
Very succinctly, can you say what's special about your product?
"We are focused on creating a secure and compliant workflow application that brings together communication, community and content in one place, allowing our customers to collaborate more effectively with their ecosystems."
And, how many people do you have working on that...?
"Today, Symphony employs more than 170 people globally. Our team in Silicon Valley has grown and is now in a new office, giving us the room we need to support our current growth projections. And the same for our team in London. We also have offices in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Boston and Chicago. We plan to add other offices to serve regional markets in the near future."
Are you hiring in London?
"We are absolutely growing in London. We are in the process of moving our employees to a new office to accommodate our growing team, which is now 16. We will continue to grow and add critical roles such as sales and business development to serve our clients in the EMEA region, and expect to add ~5 employees by the end of the year."
Which are the key skills you look for?
"Besides the skills on someone’s resume, we look for the soft skills.
Personality is a big one: They have the right mindset, desire, and cultural fit. What we’re building here at Symphony is a game changer, so there is no model to follow. We need everyone on the team to be comfortable with forging uncharted paths. As part of that, we need to see incredible drive. Everyone who works for a fast-paced tech company like Symphony has to be a self-starter, has to be hungry for knowledge and eager to break new technical ground.
Finally, everyone we hire needs to have a high amount of credibility—to have battle scars and beauty marks of what they’ve done in the past to prove to us what they can do now and in the future to pave our way to success."
And, which programming languages do you look for?
Persuade me to work for Symphony....!
"Our motto is work hard, make a difference, and have fun. Working at Symphony means you will be drinking out of a fire hose but your footprints and fingerprints will be part of history and you will be supported by the Symphony family! During long days we eat together, run and cycle and of course, have fun—this is part of our core DNA."
Do you have any interesting perks?
"We offer a host of perks for our employees globally to ensure that they are rewarded for working hard by taking time to have fun, and also accommodating them in their everyday life. For instance, we have catered lunches and fully stocked kitchens. unlimited vacation days, massage days, ice cream socials, onsite yoga/workouts, themed events like summer parties, movie outings and more..."
Do you hire from banks?
"We have quite a few employees across all parts of the firm who have started their career in financial services and are now working for Symphony. Their previous experience has been a great asset to what we’re building here."
And, do you hire graduates?
"This will be our second year offering a global summer internship program. Our interns will have an opportunity to work across various functions such as sales, engineering, support, marketing, finance, human resource, operations and more. This year we will employ 15-20 interns out of 1000+ applications we received this year. We also have several current employees who have joined us full-time following their time as an intern."
Photo credit: Blueberry ice cream cone by m01229 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.