In the past few months, the Credi2 team has doubled in size and founders Daniel Strieder, Michael Handler and Jörg Skornscheck have also gained reinforcement: The management team recently welcomed Christian C. Waldheim and Jennifer Isabella Schimanko. Moving forward, Daniel will share the CEO position with Christian and Jennifer, as Chief People & Strategy Officer, will ensure that the company’s teams continue to work well together. In the following interview, Chris and Jenny talk about where they come from and what they have planned in their new roles.
Jenny, you have worked for Allianz CEE for the past 17 years. What was it about Credi2 that made you want to join the team?
I felt like it was time for me to develop further professionally. I was about to start a new position at Allianz, but my gut told me that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I have known Daniel for a long time, we met at a Crossfit gym. We had talked a lot about how Credi2 is growing and about what is important now that the company has entered the scale-up phase. My trust in the three founders was what ultimately made me want to join the team. I feel like there are numerous possibilities for me to help shape the future of Credi2, and that’s exciting to me.
What do you bring to the table from your experience working for a huge corporation?
Having held several positions at Allianz, I have learned that it’s only possible to work flexibly if there is a certain amount of clarity and structure. Contrary to what some might believe, working flexibly does not mean people can do what they want. Agile working has clear structures which is why it’s important to define roles and responsibilities. The right people in the right positions have to take ownership of their work. This is the only way to avoid bottlenecks when it comes to management decisions. This also holds true for Credi2: When the time comes not everyone fits at one table anymore, you need the skills of several people in order to be able to work efficiently and quickly.
In what way will the team change and what is important to you in the recruitment process?
Currently we have 60 permanently employed people and 40 external employees. This year we will continue recruiting new team members. Depending on our projects we will create 30 to 40 new positions. When recruiting we always focus on the person and their attitude first. It is not absolutely necessary for a person to always have the greatest expertise in a field. If their attitude fits Credi2 and they have a strong will to create something together, then there is also the motivation to grow and to acquire more and more know-how in an area.
Why should the best talents join Credi2?
One of the main reasons ist the fun at work that you can have working for a fintech with such potential. Our product has a very promising future. We work together with some very exciting international companies. Our employees have the opportunity to develop their skills and take ownership of their work. We offer even more beyond all that: our employees feel very comfortable and respected at Credi2. We communicate openly and transparently with each other and hierarchies are immaterial in our daily interactions.
Where do you see Credi2 in five years?
There is a new subscription economy market rapidly developing in Europe. We will now position Credi2 strongly to be the number 1 platform for BNPL and subscription models in embedded finance in five years.
Chris, you were an entrepreneur and have worked in start-ups and corporations. Most recently you were managing director at LINK Mobility. What was it about Credi2 that attracted you?
I met the founders and we have just clicked. I was incredibly interested in Credi2’s business model and the enormous growth opportunities it offers. This is unparalleled in the industry. In the end the ultimate motivator for me to become a part of Credi2 were the people that work here and the opportunity to continue the success of the company with the entire team.
What do you bring to the table from your past career experiences?
A deep understanding of data, digitisation and culturally diverse teams in various growth phases. At the core I have always been involved with the digitisation of business models. I have either developed or advanced them. They were all “as-a-service” models in the B2B sector, which kept the consumer of the client in mind, just as it is the case with Credi2.
How will Credi2 benefit from your expertise?
I have gotten to know the pros and cons of both start-ups and corporations. This experience shaped me. Credi2 will benefit from my ability to mesh start-ups and corporations, which means I know how to develop and inspire people, how to grow with products, how to generate revenues and most of all how to achieve ambitious goals together. I have become a big fan of OKRs in recent years to combine measurability, planning and learning curves. And also how to properly develop such a tight-knit team.
Which goals do you want to achieve with Credi2?
We want to be the European enablers that banks, OEMs and retailers go to so they can capitalize on the embedded finance market – we help them to become fintechs, to put it simply. Credi2 thus helps them to cut a big piece of the Klarna cake.
Where will the company be in five years?
In the medium term, we will accelerate the scale-up phase, sharpen our positioning and become the number 1 platform for BNPL and subscription models for embedded finance in Europe.