Lessons from an Entrepreneur: An interview with Yann Spottiswood, Director of Storm2 & 3

April 11, 2023

Tell us about yourself?

I am 24 years old born in Haarlem, near Amsterdam. I studied at Loughborough university in the UK during which time I started a fashion e-commerce business aimed at up and coming, sustainable streetwear fashion. After having run this business for 3 years, I decided to join Storm2 as a consultant.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

The biggest lesson I learned is that nobody has all the answers. Generally, the most successful people are those who are most adaptable and able to consume new data and new information fast, rather than those with the highest ‘IQ’. The reason for this is as an entrepreneur you are consistently faced with situations that you have never faced before, and that likely most people you know haven’t faced before. Being able to adapt to these situations, fail, and grow are the keys to success in the entrepreneurship business.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

To not overcomplicate things – Sometimes you try and build the most perfect, and most intricate product whereas sometimes speed of delivery is just as important. Find a minimum viable product, get it to market and start testing.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

Extremely difficult – when start your own business or indeed you have ownership in a business it is like your baby. Therefore, it is so hard to not spend your entire life focused on it. I believe that committing to hobbies and tasks that require 100% of your attention can be very useful.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

Our relationships – In recruitment you must know everyone in the market. Our ability to forge strong relationships with both clients and candidates sets us apart.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

Amazing – I love sales I think it is a very difficult art to master but when you do, you use it in every aspect of your life. My advice? Listen! Many people think sales is about speaking, but at its core it is about listening and understanding the person you are selling to.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
🇪🇺 Europe is increasingly becoming a centre for innovation. Have you noticed a growth in the startup ecosystem in your country?

Absolutely – Amsterdam has become somewhat of a hub for innovation in tech. If you look at Fintech specifically you can see huge companies like Adyen and Mollie which are very important in the payments space coming from here.

What do you view as the role of the EU in boosting innovation and helping startups grow? Have you benefited at all from the EU?

The rules and regulations around start ups / scale ups are very important. As an example, how much an entrepreneur will have to pay in tax if they sell their equity. Or for an example Spain has just reduced the barrier for entry for start-ups, making it much easier to start a business. This of course will hugely promote new business being opened in this region. These are the types of things the EU can do to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in EU.

What do you view as the role of your local countries government in boosting innovation and helping startups grow? Have you benefited at all from the your governments support of startups?’

The EU is a big family of countries. Has being a member of the EU (or simply being in Europe), opened up opportunities for your company to sell cross-border?

As a business we work the entire EU market quite easily as we have easy access to travel throughout each country, additionally the forms of communication are very similar across the region. There are many people from different countries however because we are all so close to each other we are able to network with all of these individuals. This includes easy access to conferences and networking events.

What excites me the most is the actual speed of innovation.  The industry can help so many different people. Whether it be banking options, or lending applications, or innovation into blockchain and Web3 which will revolutionize the way we use the internet.

There are many changemaker sectors in tech however at the core of it, none of those are possible without Fintech. This is what makes it so exciting. 

What are some of the biggest challenges in fintech that innovators and other startups often face?

Regulations and compliance -> This is a typical challenge for businesses that are growing and hyper speeds. However, when dealing with financial solutions this is even more important as you are often dealing with other people’s money and at quite substantial amounts. So, keeping up with regulations and compliance is the biggest challenge.

Tell us a bit about your culture. What makes your companies culture unique?

We are a proper sales culture which enjoys hard work but also to have a lot of fun together. Our culture is where we never accept anything below the highest standards, which is necessary at the speed that we are growing. We reward heavily high performance, but we also nurture hard work and turn it into high performance.

In your opinion, what are the most exciting trends in FinTech right now?

Embedded finance and the introduction of AI into Fintech.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

Check out our spotify podcasts – I would say this is the best idea to get an idea of our business

Also checking out the Storm2 website and Levin Website if you need help connecting talent

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