Daniela Binatti, Co-Founder and CTO at Pismo, recently featured on Growthaholics, a podcast by the startup accelerator ACE, to discuss the challenges of making a career in tech companies.
During the episode hosted by Pedro Waengertner, CEO at ACE, Daniela joined the conversation with Clara Bidorini, Startup Business Developer Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Bruna Griebeler, Technology Director at Pipefy.
The group discussed how they decided to work with technology and how they made their business grow. The executives also gave some advice for those who want to start their careers in this field.
Falling in love with technology
Daniela revealed how she technology first grabbed her interest. It began when she was 13 years old when her parents enrolled her in a typewriting course, hoping she would get the skills to work in a bank. But what took her attention was a building next to it that offered computer programming courses.
“I completed my typewriting training and, when I was 14 years old, I started studying programming. I was completely in love with it from the very beginning,” she says.
When Daniela was 17 years old, she went to the university to study engineering. When she graduated, she started working with financial services. By the age of 26, she became a technology director, and when she was 40, she co-founded Pismo.
The decision to become an entrepreneur
Our co-founder and CTO said she decided to launch a technology company while studying data architecture at an AWS training session.
“At first, I was aiming to quit my technology director position to work as a consultant. But when I realised what I could do using cloud computing and big data to solve problems in the payments industry, I changed my mind”.
Although entrepreneurship was not something Daniela pursued, she said it was the best decision she had ever made.
Growing a business in technology
More than 40 million people use the Pismo platform. The services help banks, fintechs, and other companies deliver innovative financial products to their users.
“Whether it’s a digital bank account, a prepaid credit or debit card, multifunctional cards, or even marketplace management, we provide the infrastructure. We deliver a solution that allows these players to innovate in financial products”, Daniela says.
But growing a business requires a lot of resilience. The Pismo CTO explained that one of the biggest challenges when she co-founded Pismo was to raise funds. First, she had to deal directly with investors, which was new since she had always worked in technical positions.
“Talking and searching investment in technology is complicated. When you look at startups’ portfolios, most of them are consumer-oriented. Explaining how the business model works is easier for them than for a B2B company like Pismo. That was our first challenge: to convince investors that our solution would be the best in the payments industry”.
Hiring people remotely
Another big challenge was hiring people during the pandemics and maintaining Pismo’s corporate culture while significantly expanding. At the beginning of 2020, Pismo had 40 employees. Now it has more than 300 people in the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Singapore, and India.
“We built a people-centred team and had the challenge of establishing ways of working and communicating. We had to reinvent ourselves. So we created well-being groups with online yoga and workout sessions. We also make online events like a virtual coffee break with the founders. We want people to feel they are part of what we are building,” Daniela says.
Advice for tech lovers
Daniela also gave some advice for those who want to build a career as an entrepreneur in technology. She said it’s essential to be resilient because some ideas won’t be well understood while raising funds.
She also says that success in fundraising depends on the investor’s interest and how the market is going. “It’s not easy. If it were a piece of cake, everyone would be doing it. But I also like to say that the most difficult bound we cross are those we create in our minds.”
She adds that working as a team is crucial to making things happen. Since people have different skills and abilities, everyone needs someone else to create what they want to achieve.
“Focusing on your strengths and bringing people who complement you is a tip I would give for anyone who wants to develop their career in technology.”
You can hear the complete podcast in Portuguese on the Growthaholics website.