Employee Airtime with Ivo Jenni, Product Lead based in Shanghai
Welcome to Employee Airtime! In this content series, we sit down with our talented team to talk about why they're excited to work at Airwallex, their passions and what gets them out of bed in the morning!
Introducing Ivo Jenni, Product Lead based in Shanghai.
How did you get into tech?
As a young boy growing up in a small farmers’ village in Switzerland, I was immediately fascinated when I accessed the Internet for the very first time. It was as if a window had suddenly opened to a bigger world that offered endless things to explore. Soon, I became curious about website development and dabbled in it, and at 16, I started taking on small projects as a freelance developer.
Initially my skill set was very limited and I spent hours searching for ways to solve all sorts of issues. But eventually the hard work paid off and I learned how to build new websites more systematically. I remember building a simple event management system for the local music school in our town and feeling very proud when I saw the first tickets being booked through it.
At that time, I didn’t have any grand ambition and was mainly looking to gain some extra pocket money to attend a music festival. Never did I expect this to be the start of my career path.
Why did you choose Airwallex?
Firstly, I have always been interested in the fintech industry. Every business, big or small, and whatever industry it is in, still has to rely on financial services for its underlying operations – be it receiving money, paying their bills, taking out loans, or paying employees.
Yet, such an essential part of our economy has an incredible amount of unsolved issues and businesses often settle for cumbersome products that charge high and unnecessary fees. While the issues within financial services are incredibly hard to solve, they also create tremendous opportunities for companies that dare to tackle these challenges and build better solutions, such as Airwallex.
Secondly, throughout my career, I’ve found being surrounded by people you can learn from is the number one most important thing for personal development. And that is what stood out at Airwallex – it boasts an incredibly talented team.
Our team is truly global and diverse. Coming from different backgrounds, we each bring our own unique perspective and thinking to a problem, which helps us to continuously push the limits of our industry. We work hard but also have a lot of fun. As an ambitious team in a high-growth startup, we spend a lot of time at work and with colleagues, so having fun together is super important to me!
Team Building in Jixi
What has been your proudest moment at Airwallex?
During my 16 months at Airwallex there have been many achievements worth celebrating. We launched new products, expanded to new countries, won landmark customer deals, and solved many complex problems along the way.
Yet when you ask me about my proudest moments, I immediately think about the future and moments that are yet to come. For example, we are currently building some exciting new products for our customers that are unlike anything in the market. Seeing the customer’s reaction when they use it for the first time will make me extremely proud.
We are also rapidly expanding our team, and I'm looking forward to seeing our new team members thrive in their roles and grow roots in the company. Seeing them realise their own ideas at Airwallex will fill me with even more pride than for my own achievements. I can’t wait for that!
What is your advice for anyone looking to join a high-growth startup?
First of all, I encourage everyone to make the jump! Working at a fast growing startup is one of the most exciting things you will do in your career.
When looking at startups, many tend to look for positions with trendy job titles. As a result, the complicated and detailed work behind executing a bold idea and building a great product is often overlooked - but this is where the magic happens!
I highly recommend you also explore opportunities in the many behind-the-scenes areas of a startup, like operations, infrastructure, risk management and others. They are the backbone of any great user experience a startup is looking to build. Additionally, these areas are where we find the biggest unsolved issues that help to provide a better service and experience for the customer. These areas often have a very steep learning curve, presenting many opportunities for personal growth and to make a significant impact to the company’s success.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to spend time with friends and to get out of the city to clear my mind.
Last year, I discovered mountaineering and fell in love with it. To me, mountaineering is both an exciting challenge and a peaceful retreat at the same time.
So far, I have climbed two mountains above 5,000m in China – Nama Feng in Sichuan and Yuzhu Feng in Qinghai. At Nama Feng, we spent four days hiking and climbing, and three days going back down. The summit seemed impossibly far at first, but with the support of a great team, we focused on taking one step after the other and eventually we made it to the peak!
Climbing Nama Feng, 5588m above sea level
Tell us about your experience learning Chinese over the past six years.
Chinese is hard and I still have so much to learn! I find that learning a language has a lot of similarities with building a great career. At the end of the day, it comes down to:
Taking it one step at a time and never giving up
Finding an environment where you are not afraid to make mistakes and can learn from the people around you
And of course, having fun along the way!
Working in Lijiang
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