Pismo’s Co-Founder and CTO, Daniela Binatti, featured as a speaker at Latam Fintech CTO Fellowship, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) online event designed to provide a mentoring program to fintech CTOs in Latin America.
Daniela joined the event on 23 February in a panel with Carlos Adrés Toro, CTO at the Colombian fintech Addi, and Jorge Gutiérrez, Head of Fintech Business Development at AWS. They talked about the challenges in hiring and managing engineering teams in startups.
First steps to hire
During the chat, Daniela told how Pismo was founded and the first steps she and the other co-founders took to hire people, especially engineering squads. They took more than a year to implement the first version of the Pismo platform for banking and payments and then made the first hiring move.
“The time we decided to hire the first engineer was at the point that we were not able anymore to take care of everything that was going on. The first one we hired was a full-stack software engineer”, she explains.
Daniela also says the process depends on the nature of the company. In Pismo’s case, the founders already had a technical background. “It’s a matter of thinking about not only the business but also the strengths of the founders.”
One of the main challenges a company faces when in the early stage is attracting talent and competing with big companies. According to Daniela, one of the most important things is to show people will have the opportunity to grow together with the company.
“There’s also another aspect when we think about having a more authorial work. When you join a big company, you already have patterns, standards, and things defined most of the time. And some people are motivated by building, defining the best technology and so on”.
The more a company grows, the more challenging it becomes to manage people and think about infrastructure. Daniela says that at this point, the best thing to do to grow into a better manager is to have other good managers who can gather strengths to make things happen.
“Self-awareness is everything. When you understand what your strengths are, you have to bring people that complement them so you can do an excellent job”.
Hiring and working remotely
The pandemic scenario has also changed the way companies hire and prepare the onboarding process for new employees. At Pismo, it was more than 200 people joining the company remotely since the beginning of 2020.
Although it might be challenging, Daniela explains that it helped Pismo find talents across Brazil and other countries in which we have offices, such as the UK, the United States, and Singapore. The biggest challenge, however, was about setting communication patterns.
“Once you establish a way of working and a guideline to onboard people, it becomes a much easier process. At this point, we have established an onboarding process with a lot of resources online, so people can understand where they can find help and what kind of support they will have along the journey”.
The importance of the CTO figure
At the end of the event, they discussed how important it is to have CTOs acting as a public person for the companies. According to Daniela, not only the CEO figure but also the CTO’s presence is crucial to attracting talent.
“This is something we discussed a lot since the very first beginning of the company. I think having a public person is important to spread your word, to let the community know how you work”.
She also explains how Pismo provides this to candidates during the hiring process: “We not only build something to train and to spread the culture internally. We do the same during the hiring process so people can understand what kind of culture they’ll find when they join the company”.
About the event
Latam Fintech CTO Fellowship is a closed event intended for fellows accepted into the AWS-led program. It consists of 1-hour weekly online sessions, including fireside chats, roundtables, networking, and technical office hours.
This cohort counts 120 fintech CTOs from more than ten countries in Latin America. All fellows are from seed-stage fintech startups and will have the opportunity to learn from CTOs at top late-stage startups, like Pismo, topics from technical resources to management guidance.