Our underwriter Ivana joined Spotcap in 2015, moving to Berlin from the picturesque town of Brno in Czech Republic. She tells us about her transition from professional athlete to fintech underwriter and her life in the German capital.
What’s the best thing about working at Spotcap?
It’s the great working atmosphere and the drive. Spotcap really cares about its people and the management is always open to our ideas and suggestions. As we’re operating in a very dynamic industry, there’s constant change and innovation. And it’s a good feeling, of course, to work for a growing company. When I started working here in our Berlin office in 2015, we were about 45 people – now this number has grown to 70 and across the globe we’re more than 120 people.
Can you tell us a bit about your role as an underwriter?
When SMEs apply for a loan with us, our credit algorithm assesses the application by analysing data from a number of alternative data sources. At that point I step in to determine creditworthiness and make a final decision. All this needs to happen within a short time frame as we’re committed to giving clients an answer within 24 hours. I really enjoy the analytical side of the job and that it requires a keen eye for detail. In addition, I also get involved in business development. We’re constantly looking at ways to offer our clients an even better product and everyone on the team is encouraged to contribute their ideas. There are always interesting tasks to get involved in. Some of my underwriter colleagues, for example, recently worked on a very exciting project with our risk analytics team to help develop text mining tools which further enhance our credit assessment process.
Have you always worked in fintech?
No, I’ve been a professional table tennis player for many years. However, I wanted to have something to fall back on, so I studied Finance at Mendel University in Brno. When I saw the internship role for underwriter at Spotcap back in 2015, I decided to apply and I’m glad I did. It’s been a steep learning curve but everyone has been really helpful and made me feel very welcome when I joined. Thanks to the flat hierarchies and a very supportive team, I’ve been able to progress my career and move from my role as an intern to become an underwriter for Spain and now the UK.
How did you find the move to Berlin?
I already knew Berlin fairly well so I didn’t find it too difficult to settle in. Also, most people speak English which helps a lot, especially in the beginning. Berlin has a great cultural atmosphere and there’s always something interesting to do. I love to watch a good movie, so in my spare time I often visit one of the many cinemas here.
Any advice to women who want to join a fintech company?
Don’t be afraid of technology, see it as a positive challenge! Financial services and technology have both been historically dominated by men but it doesn’t need to stay that way. At Spotcap, we’re passionate about attracting more women to the fintech industry because we believe that they bring unique talents to the table.
Originally published January 25 2018 , updated January 22 2020