We started in 2012, when we noticed a problem: on average, it was taking eight weeks (and a lot of paperwork) for small businesses to apply for a loan. Worse still, more often than not, that process was ending in a ‘no’.
We knew that bakeries, building firms, salons and solicitors deserved better. They deserve to be able to grow – hire more hands, invest in stock, market themselves – without all the hold music and absurdly rigid criteria.
We’ve now been around for a decade and in that time, we’ve:
- grown to a team of 290 iwocans
- worked with over 50,000 small businesses across the UK and Germany
- redesigned the whole business loan process from start to finish – our record is three minutes, 26 seconds.
It’s a good start, but it’s just the beginning. Our mission is help one million businesses who need us, so we still have a long way to go.
Here’s what we’ve learned about lending along the way:
- Technology is the way to change this space
From automated decisions to API integrations, tech has the potential to create the changes small businesses have been waiting for – so we can’t stop innovating.
- Embedded finance is the future
More and more, we’re reaching customers by embedding our loans within the apps and systems they use everyday. Our partners are people like neobanks, online marketplaces and accountancy software companies.
- Payments and credit are converging
Lots of small businesses struggle with cash flow; often getting invoices paid from their customers months after paying their own bills. Loans can help them pay these bills, but we also want to tackle the problem at its root by improving payment terms.
- New products are always possible
We’re working to create new loans of all shapes and sizes, and we’ve recently launched iwocaPay to help with these cash flow conundrums. So what’s next?
We work hard to make iwoca a place where everyone feels welcome - we want everyone to confidently be themselves. For us, diversity isn't an optional add-on. It's the thing that makes us great.
iwoca is looking for a Chief of Staff (CoS) who will work closely with our CEO to help evolve our leadership team and their functions. They’ll be responsible for nurturing a really healthy culture, boosting engagement and driving performance - and through building such brilliance within our teams, our Chief of Staff will help accelerate us on our mission and achieve exceptional results for our small business customers.
Specifically, the Chief of Staff will do the following :-
- Manage the overall performance of the CEO’s leadership team - the CoS will work closely with the CEO to ensure that iwoca’s leadership team is strong, engaged and highly effective. This includes things like helping to identify and fill key resource gaps, thinking about performance management strategies for each team and helping to build effective cross-team relationships that enable better communication and collaboration
- Identify opportunities to improve our People strategy and achieve our People goals - you’ll be curious about every area of People Operations and look for ways in which we can become even more efficient and effective at hiring, retention, learning & development, performance management, etc. across the company. You’ll inherit an exceptional team of People Partners, Talent Partners and our Office Manager - whom you’ll mentor, develop and work closely with to achieve your People goals
The Chief of Staff will work closely with all of the CEO’s direct reports; and will report directly to Christoph (our CEO).
We’re looking for someone who has the following experience:
- You have a strong personal track record of building and managing high performing teams and leading a business function - you’ll have led teams at other companies which set a new performance bar for other teams in the organisation, or provided the blueprint that other functions learnt from or copied. Ideally you’ll have experience of managing teams across different locations, and if you’ve ever worked in Germany then that’s a big plus.
- You have experience of working in other high-growth companies - it doesn’t matter which sector(s) you have worked in previously (no experience of Financial Services? That’s fine); what’s more important is that you have worked at different organisations in terms of size, culture, management challenges, etc., and you thoughtfully distill what you have learnt and apply it to achieve great results at iwoca
- You’ve been part of a senior management team - you’re an established leader, coming not only with experience but also with gravitas and strong leadership qualities
- You’ll likely have a strategy or product background - in this role, you’ll need to be analytical and creative in order to develop and implement a strong People strategy; you’ll need e to engage with different stakeholders from across the business to understand and solve problems effectively together, and also be comfortable digging into data in order to diagnose and solve issues. It’s likely you have a background in strategy consulting - so that you come equipped with frameworks that help you structure your thinking and communicate your ideas really effectively
We’re looking for someone who is:
- Super smart, naturally curious, keen to learn new things and explore ideas - if you already have a preset idea of what you think “a great People strategy” is then you’re probably not the right fit for the role. We’re not after a plug-and-play strategy, but we want someone who will really get under iwoca’s skin, understand us and help to build on our strengths and address any weaknesses that will help us become the best team possible
- Obsessed about people and culture - you read blogs and books on this topic (at iwoca, we love Radical Candor - Kim Scott, Thinking Fast and Slow - Kahneman, Messy - Matthew Syed to name just a few!)
- Has lots of gravitas plus empathy - you can really connect with people at every level of the organisation and across every team
- Passionate about developing themselves and others - you have a growth mindset and you’re continuously curious yourself. Plus you are willing to invest the time and effort to help others to learn and grow - not only your direct reports, but your peers as well
What’s life like as an iwocan?
We all enjoy:
- Bright, modern office spaces in London (Fitzrovia) & Leeds. We have always supported flexible working however during the current pandemic the majority of iwocans are working from home. We have taken every precaution to keep our offices COVID-19 secure for those that need to use them.
- A calendar of ‘remote friendly’ events each week including Bingo, Comedy Nights, Escape Room challenges….
- Two company retreats a year (in places like the French Alps or Spanish seaside)
- Pool, ping pong, foosball tables and tournaments
- Virtual Yoga classes every Tuesday and Thursday morning
- An ever-growing number of clubs including climbing, chess, football and boxing
- Plenty of drinks and snacks in our office kitchen
Just for you:
- Medical insurance from Vitality, including discounted gym membership
- We take your well being incredibly seriously, so you’ll have instant access to emotional and mental health support services via our partner Spill
- Share options
- Enhanced maternity and shared parental leave
- A workplace nursery tax benefit scheme. Save £££ on your nursery costs
- 25 days holiday per year and an extra day off on your birthday
- All the equipment you need to set up your home working space up
- Paid volunteering time for you to support your chosen charity
- Extra leave if you want to travel or study
- Special celebrations for anniversaries and long service including sabbatical
- Flexible working arrangements
- Cycle-to-work scheme
And to make sure we all keep learning, we offer:
- L&D budget including a book budget to encourage you to keep learning
- Company-wide talks with internal and external speakers
- A calendar of meetups we host at our office
- Access to learning platforms like Treehouse if you want to learn to code.