We're thrilled to welcome Louis who has joined the team as Chief Product Officer. We caught up with him in his first few weeks to find out more about his story, from his passion for technology-driven growth to what excited him about joining Runa.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, I’m Louis 👋 I’ve been working in the technology space for over twenty years and I'm passionate about building technology that customers love and grows businesses.
How has your previous experience helped shape your career in product leadership?
My route into Product was unusual. For the first 6 or 7 years of my career I was a software engineer which I really enjoyed, especially the problem solving and creativity that is integral to that role. However, I was always very interested in the user experience and giving customers the best possible experience we could, so I pivoted into a career in UX for a number of years before finally ending up in Product which is where I’ve been ever since.
I love working in Product because it’s at the heart of your customer experience, your business and your technology; it’s a difficult space to get right but when you do and you deliver real results, it's immensely rewarding. And to bring it back to your question, I think having an engineer and a UX perspective have proved invaluable when building modern technology products. Finally, working in a plethora of different industries - retail, groceries, insurance and automotive - has really helped me learn from different sectors and apply them in novel ways to different industries.
Before joining Runa you were at Cazoo, one of the UK's fastest ever growing startups. Can you tell us a bit about how you scaled your team there?
I joined Cazoo before we had gone live to the public and there were only 50 people in the company. In under 3 years the company had scaled to 4.5k people, and my team went from 0 to over 100 across Product and UX - the sheer speed and scale of that was incredible. As the company grew, we expanded the product teams we had and went from initially just covering the directly consumer-facing parts of our business like the website, to eventually covering everything from transport to finance. The great thing about all that growth was it enabled many of my team to grow their careers at Cazoo.
What excited you about joining Runa?
Two key things: vision and people.
Firstly, Runa’s vision is bold and inspiring:To create a first-of-its-kind infrastructure for transferring and exchanging digital value, enabling people to pay and get paid by anyone, anywhere, instantly.
The reason this is so exciting is that much of the technology we use to pay today is surprisingly based on infrastructure that was invented before the internet; even more modern services like PayPal and Apple Pay rely on legacy payment technologies that might seem quick and easy for consumers, but behind the scenes for the businesses that use them, they are slow and relatively expensive. Runa’s vision to build an internet-first payment platform that allows customers to send any type of digital value - be it gift cards, subscriptions, crypto, NFTs, virtual currencies, etc - instantly without the multiple third parties charging businesses behind the scenes is unique. It meets a totally unmet need in a payout market worth $20 trillion. Being able to seamlessly use and exchange digital currencies today is difficult for businesses and consumers alike, and it’s only going to get harder as more and more of these digital currencies get created. At Runa, we will solve this and make it simple and effortless for everyone.
The second thing that excited me, but is equally important to our vision, is the people and culture. The team at Runa are experts in what they do and work fast. There’s a real sense of all being in this together and being united in striving to solve this amazing challenge. And everyone is super friendly and welcoming; genuinely there are no a*******s here!
What do you enjoy most about being a product leader and working at a start-up?
The ability to make a real impact - to our customers and our business, and to do that very quickly. When you build technology that meets a need and works well, you enable new things that weren’t possible before. Doing this in a startup environment, free from red tape, bureaucracy, and politics means you can move a lot faster than you could in a larger corporate. While this comes with many challenges, there are always more things to fix than you have time - it is extremely rewarding when you do see the results and grow a business fast.
We're continuing to grow our team across the UK, US and Bulgaria. If you're interested in joining us on our mission to unlock digital value for everyone, check out our open roles on the careers page.