#FintechProductDiaries: From Marketing to Product With Sam Boboev of Stormpay
In our “Fintech Product Diaries” interview series, we’ll meet you with some of the most experienced and inspiring product and UX professionals in the fintech sector and their unique product stories and lessons learned.
In today’s edition of #FintechProductDiaries, we’re meeting you with Sam Boboev, Head of Product at StormPay — a London-based fintech company that provides embedded financial services for both business and personal customers. Founded in 2020, StormPay is on a mission to remove the boundaries between finance and the digital lifestyle of people by creating the ultimate finance as a lifestyle customer experience.
Sam has been with StormPay right from the start of the company. He was employee #1 and was initially responsible for managing StormPay’s product and marketing efforts. At the beginning of this year, Sam moved away from marketing and took full control over StormPay’s product roadmap becoming its new Head of Product. About his move, Sam explained that it was driven by his passion for innovation and “desire to create new products and experiences.”
Before StormPay, Sam held various product and marketing roles in more traditional and heavily-regulated industries like pharmaceutical and tobacco.
In addition to his day-to-day job at StormPay, Sam is a popular fintech influencer and publishes his own weekly LinkedIn newsletter, Fintech Wrap Up, which currently has nearly 3,500 subscribers.
How has Sam’s previous experience shaped his career journey, what are some of the key challenges to creating a successful fintech product in 2022 and what are his overall expectations and predictions for the sector in the coming months? Find the answers to these questions and more, in Sam’s complete Q&A below.
Tell us about your career start and your journey before joining the fintech world?
I believe education is important but the experience is priceless, therefore, if you look at my resume you can see that I have started to put the knowledge I gained at university to work immediately.
I have started my career in marketing in more traditional industries such as pharmaceutical and then tobacco businesses. It was the beginning of my career; therefore, I was very keen to learn and explore. These industries are heavily regulated, it requires the marketing team to be very creative and think out of the box. Also, these industries have several types of marketing departments such as trade marketing, brand and product marketing and as an intern, I had to communicate with all of them.
This in turn taught me how different marketing departments work and are different from one another. Even though I started my career in more traditional industries, I was always passionate about the tech world and startups. Hence, I decided to move to the tech industry.
My career in the technology industry started at a mobility startup (taxi and delivery) and then I moved to health tech in parallel with my friends we tried to start our own tech startups. Some of those startups were successful to a certain level and some were not but I would say all of these experiences helped me to reach where I am now.
You recently transitioned your career from marketing to product. Why the move?
This move came from my desire to create new products and experiences. I always try to learn new skills and then start implementing them to build products. On the other hand, I can see the patterns and problems that require unique solutions and when I see nobody working on them, I want to take the initiative and do it myself.
The product skills are best suited if you (the person) like to create and innovate. I want to build products and services which would create lasting experience.
What’s your typical day like?
First thing first; my day starts with checking my inbox and replying to emails. After that I spend most of my day writing PRDs or other types of documents Confluence, tracking progress on Jira or other task trackers we use and communicating with the team on Slack.
I have at least one meeting a day and our meetings mainly happen online because our team is located in different countries.
As Head of Product, I constantly have to communicate with people across different teams and departments because the product team is the link between the company and its customers.
What’s StormPay all about? What’s unique about StormPay’s value proposition?
In one word StormPay is all about “Experience”.
Covid19 and socio-economic events around the world have negatively impacted all aspects of well-being of young individuals. No company is offering an all-in-one solution that would address the financial and personal happiness of younger people. Our goal at StormPay is to build a Financial Lifestyle app that combines financial and non-financial lifestyle services in one place to address general wellness and happiness of GenZ and young millennials.
Our unique value proposition is the hyper-personalised experience our services and product will create. It means we want to be present in our customers’ lifestyle at right time, at the right place and with the right services without them asking for it. And we know our multinational team has the right experience and skills to bring this vision into reality.
What are the key challenges of creating a successful fintech product in 2022?
I would say the key challenge for fintechs in 2022 is to keep the focus on important products for the company and its customers.
We all can see that technology is advancing fast. Open Banking, Banking as a Service and Embedded Finance enable companies of any type to quickly launch their financial services.
On the other hand, crypto and DeFi are also disrupting the established financial services industry at an unprecedented rate. In this context, it could be tempting for companies to jump into one of these industries or try to integrate new services at a scale without proper analyses. However, I would recommend fintechs and their product teams not forget the focus on what’s important.
And how can they be tackled?
You might ask how do we know what is important.
Constant communication with the customers and collecting feedback determine the most important products that need to be developed.
Having those on your product roadmap and following them will keep you focused. Thinking about new trending technologies and how you can incorporate them could be tricky and you could end up wasting resources and time.
What are you expecting to see more in the sector in 2022?
Embedded finance has already become blurred lines between the worlds of financial and non-financial companies. In 2022 I am expecting this trend to accelerate and one of the main drivers of this growth will be super apps.
Every major company in the world is already thinking about building their ecosystem of products and integrated deeper into customers’ lifestyle. Banking as a Service and open API enabled non-financial companies to offer their payment accounts, cards, etc., however, embedded finance is much more than cards and accounts.
We have to understand it is not only non-financial companies that are benefiting from embedded finance services but fintechs too. They understand that success comes from leveraging the strengths of others to amplify their own and embedded finance is the key enabler of this amplification.