What makes us IT Team of the Year?
ClearScore's CTO, Klaus, reflects on ClearScore being named IT Team of the Year at the FS Tech Awards 2016
On the 17th March, ClearScore were awarded IT Team of the Year at the FS Tech Awards. The awards celebrate excellence and innovation in tech, and we were thrilled to receive this recognition.
As a fintech disruptor business, it’s really important to us that our IT team is fast and agile. Constant innovation is at the heart of our business. But how do you achieve speed whilst maintaining an analytical approach? And how do you create an open, supportive team? We talk to Klaus, our CTO, about what makes ClearScore different and what’s in store for the future.
1. Congratulations Klaus! How does it feel to win?
Amazing. This time last year we were half a dozen guys sitting in a small room in Hammersmith trying to work out whether it was even possible to create a product like ours.
A year later we are a diverse and thriving team of more than 30 people, in our own new offices in Lambeth, delivering close to 100 product updates every quarter across web, Android and iOS to more than a million customers. It’s been a hell of a ride and one that I am truly proud to be be part of.
2. What do you think makes ClearScore different from other startups?
The ClearScore family and the awesome product we have created. We spend a lot of time getting our hiring right, so when someone new joins the team we expect great things from them. This helps creates a culture that is proud and willing to fight for ensuring the best product ends up in the hands of our customers.
It’s not always the easiest environment to work in, but the rewards are great in terms of learning, passion and being part of something that directly influences people’s lives in a positive way.
3. How do you achieve speed and responsiveness?
We avoid process for the sake of process and automate everything we can. This means that it’s not uncommon for someone to pitch an idea in the morning, to get working on at lunchtime and to release it in the afternoon.
In larger companies it’s much harder to deliver at this pace because there are too many people to convince, too much red tape and too much manual intervention along the way.
4. How do you keep the team motivated and cohesive?
We offer an empowering environment where open communication is actively encouraged. The technology team has been broken down into a series of smaller product teams (between 2-4 people) that can independently deliver and have specific goals that help achieve the company vision and everything is visible. We are all making this together, but each have our specific parts that we own and craft.
5. What have you learnt from working at ClearScore?
That analytics are a key asset. ClearScore is so data-driven that it sometimes feels like working in a chemistry lab. We track just about everything we can and have AB and Beta testing baked into our workflow. This makes it so much easier to choose between multiple viable options: pick the best of them and then rapidly react to how your customers respond.
6. What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered? How did you overcome them?
There have been many challenges along the way. At the beginning it was all about getting a certified product to market quickly. We were fortunate that one of our major investors, Blenheim Chalcot, were a venture builder that gave access to numerous resources including other technical resources and compliance experts. Following launch, it was all about keeping momentum and putting together an automated pipeline that allows us to deploy every day without downtime has allowed us to scale up.
More recently, it has been hiring and I am pleased that around 20% of our company is now made up of interns and juniors who we are training up and bring a renewed sense of energy into the team. The average age of our company is just 32.
We are also actively pushing initiatives to continue increase diversity within the technology team in what has predominantly been a male-centric environment.
7. What’s your vision for the future, technology wise?
Our customer base is growing faster than Facebook and Twitter did in the early days, so the platform needs to take on another few million this year alone. We have set ourselves the target of never having legacy technology, so we are constantly experimenting with the latest tech which will allow us to scale quickly.
This means that we are looking at micro-services, software containers, ReactJS v Angular2 as well as taking our mobile apps to the next level. The approach still remains the same: we experiment, we review the data and we aren’t afraid to fail.
8. What’s next for ClearScore?
To continue to grow, delight our customers, exceed our own expectations and all of this without losing the awesome culture that we have.
In order to do this, we want to expand our amazing tech team. So if you’re a super talented front-end or back-end developer looking for a challenge, take a look at the positions available on our job site.