In this series of new interviews, we explore some the people behind Fortumo, also known as Fortumons. First up is Faris who joined the team in November last year, after moving to Estonia from Bosnia & Herzegovina.
As the Head of Sales, Faris manages the sales team that helps merchants launch new payment methods globally on our platform. Read about his thoughts on moving to Estonia, the team & the payments business below. If you’re looking for a new challenge, head over to our Careers Portal.
When and why did you decide to join Fortumo?
I am sure that none will believe me but one day in September 2020 (while I was actively looking for a job) I woke up and somehow the whole morning I was thinking about Estonia. It is not a country that people in Bosnia are talking about daily, however, how and why it was on my mind I have no idea.
I randomly googled “jobs in Estonia”, saw a job ad for a BDM position at Fortumo (I knew about Fortumo from before as it has a reputation of a very successful small company with a cool working vibe in this industry) and I just applied without literally any expectation. Especially not that I will move to Estonia.
How would you describe Fortumo’s work culture?
Work together as one. Fortumo is a unique workplace where people have complete ownership of their tasks, relying on their own organizational skills. The culture of open feedback (that is quite related to Estonian mentality as well) is something that impacts the quality of the work.
People at Fortumo are dedicated, professional, adventurous, and know how to have fun while working. What I like the most is that teamwork comes to the first place where no matter what role you have you can make a huge impact internally but externally as well and it will be highly recognized and appreciated.
Do you feel your work is global? How?
Oh, absolutely! Look at our Sales team – 4 countries and 5 team members! Not to mention that we are covering the whole world in terms of the target verticals and merchants. Every day we have a unique chance to talk with people from all over the world, USA, India, China… We were even thinking that for the next year everyone can start learning some other foreign language.
On the other hand, working in sales and covering the whole world means that you must be ready sometimes to pick up the call at 5AM or 11PM. But the feeling after that call that your scope of the work doesn’t have borders is unbelievable. At Fortumo you really feel like a citizen of the world!
Why have you picked fintech as a sector to work in?
Personally, I am not a huge fan of online payments. I have a lot of doubts about the security nowadays and I am still a very conservative buyer – I never ordered anything online besides food.
However, considering the whole globalization and the rapid changes of the trends in the world, I have realized that the payments industry is growing rapidly, and that people care about the payment methods the same way as they are picky about the quality of the food they are eating.
Going through different fintech companies I realized that somehow my principles are mostly in sync with what Fortumo provides – and as a salesperson, to pitch something to someone, you must believe in it first. That’s why Fortumo and fintech were kind of a logical choice for me.
What are the key elements in building a successful team?
Open communication and mutual goal. People love being surrounded with people but mostly if they can learn from each other. At Fortumo we have very strong personalities as members of the sales team. And each one of us has a strong personal and professional story. We try to utilize all these stories and experiences so we can mutually learn from each other and grow.
That’s why I have very open communication with all team members, being very transparent in terms of sharing information, providing feedback (almost every day if it is needed) but also encouraging them to do the same. Anytime someone doesn’t feel well or satisfied he/she should be vocal about that.
On the other hand, every time we achieve some small victory, we should celebrate it as small steps lead to big results and nothing big happens over the night. Having said that – we must be aligned on what is our mutual goal – that must be the result of our personal goals where each one of us has to be aware that we are all equally important in achieving that mutual goal. We are still a “young” team and I believe the loudest one in the company but to be honest, that is also a key element of our success in future I believe
How has your experience working in Estonia differed from working abroad? How have the experiences been similar?
Estonia is my 4th country where I live during my professional career. Keeping in mind that I lived previously in Bosnia, Bangladesh and Malaysia, I would say that Estonia is a totally different country in terms of everything, especially in terms of working.
People are very prompt with their tasks, appreciating the time (if you have a scheduled meeting for 60 minutes, it can take 60 and less but not 61 minutes for sure). People will very openly say if they don’t like some idea but also anytime they have some blocker they will analyze it and provide their call to action steps suggestion.
What is my personal challenge in Estonia is work-life balance. I have a huge problem with that while Estonians are doing it quite well. And it is very important to dedicate time for yourself and family. Such a small country with so many opportunities for personal growth.
What makes Estonia a really great place to live is that in one day you can easily have two breakfasts, lunch and dinner, do gym, do your regular work, attend language courses, meet your friends for a beer and read at least 20 pages of a book. Estonia supports a healthy lifestyle if you can manage your time. Estonia is a convenient place to live in – well organized, well connected and a chill spirit.
Tell us your craziest or funniest Fortumo story so far?
In Bosnia, whenever you see someone in the morning you will ask them: “Hey, how are you?” and you won’t expect that someone will reply to that. Basically, it is just a phrase that we use to be polite.
In Estonia, everyone will openly say that they slept badly, they have problems with muscles, didn’t have enough coffee, and the weather is not great.
So once our colleague Vahur in the Tartu office was sitting next to me while I was greeting people and listening to their problems and then he looked at me and said: “Yeah, you didn’t expect this. Well, you got what you asked for!”
If you want to join the team, peek at our open positions.