Employee Airtime with Jed Rose, General Manager for EMEA
What was your first job?
After graduating from Stanford, I was offered two exciting opportunities at Microsoft – one on Bill Gates’ speech writing team and one doing product management for Microsoft Windows. I chose the role in product management as it gave me the opportunity to see how a multi-billion dollar business operates and grows.
Since then, I have been applying this experience to high-growth startups to help them accelerate their impact and realise their global ambitions.
What motivated you to join Airwallex?
First and foremost, the people. In particular, I am really inspired by Jack and the whole management team, and anything is possible with a great team. Management support is particularly important as we build the team here in EMEA.
Working remotely with the leadership team
Secondly, the technology platform. At Airwallex, we are building something truly revolutionary in supporting businesses to operate on a global scale anytime, anywhere. What makes Airwallex super exciting is that we’re changing something that's been broken for decades. The current international bank transfers and cross border payments system is over 50 years old. We have gone back to the whiteboard (in many areas of banking for businesses) to answer the question – how can we make this better for our customers?
Finally, our investors. We are backed by some of the best investors in the world – including Sequoia Capital, DST Global, Salesforce Ventures, and Mastercard. Our recent Series D round allows us to deploy significant capital to our teams, products, and the right strategic priorities to accelerate overall impact.
What are your three biggest focuses for EMEA?
We have very strong growth plans in EMEA so my first focus is building the right team. At this stage we are about 12 people in size and we are tracking towards over 80 people by the end of 2021 – easily doubling our headcount in just the next few months. We are definitely keeping the HR team very busy!
The second area of focus for us is to create the best product experience for our customers. Being at a different stage of growth compared to other Airwallex markets, I see EMEA as a startup within a startup. While we’re focusing on products that are working in other regions, we are also listening to our local customers to understand what tweaks and features they need to grow.
The third key priority for us is accelerating our growth and impact across EMEA by serving and supporting our existing business customers, growing our sales channels, fostering strategic partnerships and building a best-in-class customer experience that continues to improve over time.
What’s your biggest career lesson?
Over my career, the biggest lesson has been the importance of alignment. During my time as CEO at my last startup, Paymentsense, which was rated as one of the top one-hundred fastest growing startups in the UK for three years in a row, alignment was key to this trajectory.
This means ensuring teams are focused on the most important priorities for the long-term growth of the business. For example, having targets that the whole team can get behind, with each person confident in their individual role for supporting our bigger goals. Efforts must move in the same direction to maximise potential impact on what matters most to the business.
What do you do for fun?
I have been an investor in venture capital for eight years and serve as a Venture Partner for Antler, a global early-stage VC that supports entrepreneurs in 10 locations around the world. I have been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of the most exciting startups from across Europe. Professionally, this has provided me with further insights into startup lessons, failures and how to approach growth.
Outside of work, I have been an avid off-piste skier (backcountry skiing) for many years now. I am certified for avalanche rescue training and am always prepared with a beacon, probe, and shovel – I also bring a drone to scout terrain as a safety precaution. During the winter, I head to the Alps. Once you get off the chairlift and hike for a bit, you can go downhill for two hours straight without seeing another person. I find it inspiring to be amongst friends, always challenging the mind and body.
Surveying off-piste terrain by drone
What does success look like to you?
Long-term success for EMEA is living up to our vision to be the global financial cloud to empower businesses to operate anywhere, anytime.
Our EMEA team is playing its own crucial part in our bigger journey to bring Airwallex around the globe to businesses everywhere.
Sounds great – Thank you for your time!
My pleasure. It was great chatting! Looking forward to providing an update on our progress as we grow from here.