July 31, 2020

096: The Trilogy: Elaine Deehan, Starling Bank and EWPN

096: The Trilogy:  Elaine Deehan, Starling Bank and EWPN

Elaine Deehan is back on the show with Pete Townsend to talk about "the trilogy" of her earlier career as the perfect foundation for her well-timed leap into Starling Bank, analogies to chocolate, startups, the London Underground and big bank tech and the benefit of talking to customers at 2am.

This week, we welcome Elaine Deehan from Starling Bank back to the show with a session recorded as part of a Virtual Meetup organised by FSCom for the European Women’s Payment Network last month.  Elaine was originally on episode 23 when she was the founder of Pocketwire, and we remastered that for episode 76 as it’s one of our most popular episodes.

This episode is kindly sponsored by Ireland’s fintech and financial services recruitment specialists, Top Tier Recruitment.  If you would like an intro to the team at Top Tier Recruitment, please click here.  

For insights delivered to your inbox beyond the spoken word, subscribe to our MoneyNeverSleeps newsletter right here on Substack.

Top soundbites include:

  • Pete's description of "the Trilogy" in the context of Elaine's career:  "Your experience with the innovation lab at Citi, then onto Currency Fair, and then starting PocketWire I likened to someone going from Cadbury, then onto Butler's and then Godiva on the path to a chocolate addiction - you’re spending more of your own money but it just tastes so good."
  • On Elaine's past experience working in an innovation lab: "One thing we did a lot of in the innovation lab was look at startups and the startup ecosystem and the startup mentality and how you can replicate that in a large company, which is really hard to do.  There’s much more to startups and being agile than just saying I’m going to put a scrum or an agile framework around how we do things." 
  • On her move into Starling Bank:  "The trilogy - everything I had built upon with Citi, CurrencyFair and Pocketwire - is what opened the door into Starling for me."
  • On her experience so far with Starling Bank:  "It’s been an absolute baptism by fire.  We’ve gone from writing policy and procedure and designing what the bank would look like in Ireland to just doing it by answering customer queries at two in the morning for the UK business.  This is really helpful to us when we go live because I’m dealing with customers on the front line and getting real issues that are even more compounded by the pandemic. "
  • On her analogy between the London Underground and big bank technology: " The rest of the world above the ground is modernising and the tube is trying to serve passengers and run on this old network of tunnels, and while they’re upgrading it’s hard to make that complete change because it’s just so far down underground and so complex."

Random links include:

  • Pete's opening reference to Lloyd Dobler and a clip from Say Anything as an analogy to the circuitous startup conundrum of product, customers and funding.  

Please visit https://www.moneyneversleeps.ie/ for all of our other episodes.  Also, follow us on Twitter @MNSShow, @PeteTownsendNV and @EoinFitzgerald9 for updates and more information.