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In Profile: Ryta Zasiekina, CEO, FYST

Originally from Ukraine, Ryta Zasiekina spent a decade consulting in the payments and banking industries, before being forced to flee her homeland for Riga, Latvia, in spring 2022, where she started FYST — a one-stop payments consultancy for e-commerce and fintech businesses.

With the value of cross-border payments anticipated to hit a whopping $250trillion by 2027, the launch of FYST was timely, as e-commerce businesses began to move beyond merely offering digital payment capabilities to seek full 360-degree advice, support, and first-hand market insights to help them unlock new opportunities in the fast-evolving e-commerce space.

In this week’s In Profile, we learn more from Zasiekina about her unwavering passion for empowering e-commerce and fintech businesses. 

Ryta Zasiekina, CEO, FYST
Ryta Zasiekina, CEO, FYST
Tell us more about your company and its purpose

FYST was born from a desire to help merchants across all sectors make quantifiable impacts in the online space, combining unrivalled sector knowledge and experience to create a sustainable, heavyweight, efficient global payments business.

With the pandemic driving many merchants online, the past few years have been a whirlwind. E-commerce businesses reached a point of inflection – they recognised the need to have digital payment services in place. Now, they want to expand revenues, broaden their offerings and increase the value on offer from cross-border payment capabilities – which is where FYST comes in. At each step of that journey, we stand beside our merchant partners, providing an unparalleled level of personalised support.

What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?

Over the past 12 months, we have assembled a diverse team of industry innovators who understand the importance of payments and who are at the heart of business growth. As a consultancy, FYST brings together payment, banking and fintech experts at the top of their game, providing an unmatched wealth of knowledge, responsive, practical advice and first-hand scaling experience. Subsequently, we’re able to help businesses go beyond just offering payments; we help our clients reimagine money to make it flow seamlessly.

At FYST, we are young, bold and ambitious, we thrive on challenges, and have equipped ourselves with the skills and expertise to tackle anything that comes our way — we’re not afraid to take on tasks, however complex they may be, and that is something I take pride in.

How did you get into the fintech industry?

After I completed university, like many young graduates, I was unsure of my place in the world. I studied the biographies of many successful people in business and politics — the institutions from which they graduated and the level of education they received. From this, I compiled a checklist of the skills, competencies and traits that I would need to prioritise to reach my goals.

I tried my hand at several different companies across various industries, and in time, I uncovered a new area of e-commerce that instantly captivated me. The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s the best thing about working in the fintech industry?

In a fast-moving space such as fintech, you are always meeting and collaborating with interesting people, partners and clients while the rapidly changing industry trends constantly keep you on your toes. There are also many challenges to overcome, which means there’s never a dull moment. The sheer scale of the payments world and the emerging technologies are a huge inspiration to me.

What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?

I think the fintech industry is an inspiring industry to be in but sometimes I think having a good business idea is not enough. Your technology can be amazing but sometimes you need to lean on industry experts to help solve your problems. I think because fintech businesses are there to solve problems, their leaders sometimes struggle to ask for help. FYST strives to offer the kind of help they need.

How have your previous roles influenced your career?

As a qualified engineer, I spent around a decade in the payments and banking industry working as an independent consultant and business advisor, specialising in e-commerce and fintech, payment processing, alternative payment methods, risk management and anti-fraud.

During this time, I earned a reputation as a dynamic decision-maker, and quickly became regarded as a skilled negotiator within the industry.

In 2022, having obtained an MBA focusing on AI and cybersecurity in fighting fraud, due to the war in Ukraine I was forced to leave my homeland and settle in Riga, where I started FYST.

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?

In my younger years, I was extremely impatient and in something of a hurry to scale the career ladder — I exuded self-confidence but had nothing concrete by way of experience to back it up. When I think back, it all seems ludicrous to me now, and I struggle to understand how my colleagues and superiors put up with me!

On the plus side, when I recognise that same ambition in young people today, I have a better understanding of what motivates them and how to channel their ambition – so I like to think that the lessons I have learned from my own mistakes are now benefiting others.

What has the future got in store for your company?

We recognise that the key to any successful business is to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers. We work tirelessly to identify and understand our clients’ requirements and pain points, and invest heavily in the development of new software and products that can deliver on those needs.

While there are existing products that meet some of these needs in isolation, our aim is to bring a truly one-stop solution to market, and that is something we will continue to strive towards.

What are the next key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?

Towards the end of 2022, we began to witness mass layoffs and restructuring across tech. Many of Europe’s fastest growing fintech startups, including Klarna, Uncapped and Zego, announced staggering levels of redundancies. Investors remain cautious about where they are deploying capital, which means fundraising will without doubt be especially challenging over the next 12 months.

Mergers and acquisitions are likely to feature strongly in the coming months as valuations drop and larger players acquire smaller competitors and snap up their innovations at lower cost. Of course, everyone is going to be talking about AI. I am not sure any of us truly knows how big an impact AI will have on the world, but everyone is watching and waiting.


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