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The #KoyoLife Series: Jennifer

Written byPeter Kent
First published17th October 2019
  • How did you first hear about Koyo?  
  • Growing up, what did you want to be? 
  • What does a typical working day at Koyo look like, for you? 
  • Describe the culture at Koyo 
  • What do you do outside of Koyo? 
  • What are your colleagues like at Koyo? 

At Koyo, we place significant focus on mission, vision and values – and hire accordingly. In our #KoyoLife series, we explore what it’s really like to work at Koyo. 

Introducing Jennifer, our Risk Manager, on her life and experience of Koyo so far. 

How did you first hear about Koyo?  

I’d not heard about Koyo until Thomas, our CEO, handed over his business card! I had previously written an article on LinkedIn about the benefits that Open Banking can bring (to lenders wanting to mitigate risk, and also to borrowers, who’ll benefit from competitively priced credit).  

Thomas’ story and his frustration with the current credit space resonated with my own family’s experiences when they emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the US, in the 1990s.  

Growing up, what did you want to be? 

A ballerina. That was until I joined a ballet school that followed the demanding Agrippina Vaganova teaching method. While boys are encouraged to play rugby to toughen up, this was the boot camp equivalent for girls. Ultimately, not at all what I expected as a naive 5 year-old dreaming of becoming a famous dancer. 

What does a typical working day at Koyo look like, for you? 

I start every day listening to a range of industry-related podcasts (Peter Renton’s weekly podcast, and NPR’s ‘How I Built This’ are my favourite) as well as reading newsletters on the latest industry developments (namely Chris Skinner’s). After catching up on emails, I dedicate my mornings to testing the application process as well as our risk assessment tools. These tools enable us to interpret Open Banking data. One of our tools is our bespoke categorisation engine, which we continuously improve by feeding in more data, this in turn helps us determine whether or not we decide to approve a borrower for a Koyo loan. Most recently I have been spending more time in product development. 

Describe the culture at Koyo 

Balanced and accommodating. Whilst we are focused during the day, we leave the office at reasonable times and never eat at our desks – it’s good to have space to break up the day. We all have our various commutes and arrive at different times. Sometimes we work from home, and it’s nice to work somewhere that gives us a choice. We rely heavily on Slack, which is a great alternative to having a busy inbox. Whilst we work very hard, we also host regular socials – we’re spoilt for choice here in Soho, and it typically ends up being a pub crawl! 

What do you do outside of Koyo? 

I spend as much time ‘off screen’ as possible. Before heading to work, I go to a morning class, which can range from barre to spinning. I also challenge myself to an annual half marathon, which is great as I try to do them in parts of London I don’t know. The rest of my time is spent catching up with family and friends over dinner or brunch, checking out the latest exhibit at the V&A, and more recently, planning my favourite holiday of the year: the ski tour! 

What are your colleagues like at Koyo? 

Bright, dynamic and fun. They’re genuinely a pleasure to work with – which can be rare. We are all open to new ideas, which evolve into even better ones after discussing them together. While we are very passionate and dedicated to making Koyo a success, we are also very grounded. Despite the widening gulf between the UK and Europe, we all have relatives on the other side of the Channel. Many of us have ourselves experienced what it feels like to move to a foreign country – which is what unites us, above all.  

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