As The Fintech Times celebrates Women in Fintech this September, we take a moment to hear more from some of the leading females in the industry. Here we meet Sophie Guibaud, Chief Growth Officer at OpenPayd has lived and breathed fintech ever since she joined the industry back in 2012.
Sophie graduated in 2007 and since then, she has enjoyed a global career which has seen her assisting companies with their strategic development, leading international expansion, and advising on growth plans.
In her year at OpenPayd, Sophie has delivered impressive growth and pushed the company into new market sectors including the crypto proposition which was launched in July 2020.
Throughout Sophie’s career, she has been awarded a number of industry accolades, including being named one of Innovate Finance’s Standout 35 for the last two years. She’s also been included in Management Today’s 35 Women under 35, Digital Banking Club’s European Digital Financial Services Power 50, CityAM’s Fintech Most Influential Powerlist and Women in Fintech Powerlist.
Sophie, describe your career journey so far:
It’s been an interesting ride! Fresh from studying Corporate Finance in Canada (where I moved when I was 18 years old), I started my career in investment banking in New York before joining a growth capital fund in Paris.
However, I quickly realised my true passion was in championing the growth of start-up businesses. So I then moved to London where I joined HelloFresh as Chief Marketing Officer and a founding member of its UK team. Later, I would be so proud to have shared in those beginnings that led to the company IPO-ing for €1.7 billion in 2017.
Fast-forward to 2012, I was working at Bankable where I led product strategy and commercialisation. This was the exact moment I fell in love with the idea of transforming banking. My team and I chose to evolve the company’s prepaid corporate card platform into a full BaaS platform which would simplify access to banking and payments. Organisations could then access the services they need themselves and start to offer them to their end customers.
In 2015, I joined Fidor Bank as their Managing Director of UK and VP of European Expansion and was promoted to become Managing Director of Europe of their technology subsidiary in under three years. It’s in this role where I was presented with the biggest challenge of my career at that point – launching Fidor’s retail bank subsidiary in the UK. Within six months, I’d recruited and appointed a UK team, managed the bank’s subsidiary’s launch, and orchestrated the expansion rollout plans across the EEA, completing the launch and beating both budget and timeline projections. I’m still recovering!
That brings us to today. I became OpenPayd’s Chief Growth Officer in 2019 which has me looking after marketing, sales, customer success, banking partnerships as well as corporate development – specifically, honing in on external product-based and territory-based growth opportunities. In that time, we’ve made a raft of incredible hires – including some great people I was fortunate enough to work with in the past – launched a crypto-focused proposition and signed an incredible partnership with Tap Global to boost our customer offering. These developments and the growth we’ve achieved even amid COVID has meant we have seen no slowing in our recognition within the industry. In January this year, we won the Prize of the Jury at Paris Fintech Forum and have recently been named in the top 150 cross-border companies globally by FXCIntelligence.
This year has been tough for fintech. The situation with Wirecard and the pandemic has created pressures that have left the industry reeling. How do you think we can support the continued growth of the sector?
For me, it’s about supporting the fledgeling organisations that will ultimately transform the future of financial services. Beyond the day job, I’ve taken hands-on roles as a mentor and advisor to many early-stage businesses and I sit on the advisory boards of a number of startups that I support on topics ranging from fundraising to business model iteration, go-to-market to international expansion. At PayU, the Fintech arm of Naspers, I am an advisory board member supporting the exec team in their corporate development and diversity efforts. At SuperCharger, I support the founder in the design and implementation of its growth strategy. At YouTrip, an APAC multi-currency solutions provider, I’ve helped with the overall product and geography growth strategy. It’s just a small way I can show my support to the continued growth and innovation of the banking industry.
What’s next for you?
This year has turned everything on its head, including fintech. At OpenPayd, we’re ready to emerge from the disruption of Covid-19 and strive forward with our growth, development and expansion plans. Keeping morale high through this year has not been easy, but I’m fortunate to be part of a team that’s committed to making their mark, embracing the journey and growing together.