Anna Tsyupko is the CEO and co-founder of the B2B payments company, Paybase.
They provide the most flexible payment solution for platform businesses – such as online marketplaces and gig/sharing economy platforms. Their goal is to ensure that all businesses have the freedom to build the exact business they want!
Anna manages the overall direction and strategy at Paybase, working closely with clients and suppliers whilst overseeing all aspects of the business. Before founding Paybase she held positions in private equity, after receiving her BA from the University of Oxford and Masters from the University of Cambridge.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No – if I had, I think I probably would have planned something different! The old adage that “life is what happens when you’re making other plans” certainly resonates with me. After university I went straight into the world of work so didn’t really have time to set out a plan.
However, this is not to say that I just stumbled into my career unknowingly, it was a case of recognising opportunities and reacting quickly. To me that is far more important than planning – being able to identify opportunities and then being ready to act on those that appeal to you.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Many! I don’t think you will find someone that has started a business and not faced challenges – but that’s no bad thing! Challenges are how you learn. When attempting to redefine the payments industry, the challenges are going to be numerous and varied.
You have to approach things creatively and that act of constant problem-solving is very rewarding.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I’m not currently mentoring anyone but it is something that I’d love to get into at some point – I strongly believe in mentoring as a concept. I have a mentor who is fantastic. We don’t see each other that often, but when we do the interaction is invaluable.
What is so useful about a mentor is that they know you, where you are in your journey and your strengths and weaknesses, but they are far enough away from your business to offer a fresh perspective on it. Sometimes you can miss things by being too close to them, a mentor provides that top level clarity.
What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?
We could speak about precise figures and percentages now, but what it ultimately boils down to is an equality of opportunities between men and women. Whether this can be achieved in five years, I don’t know, but the sooner it happens the better.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I think one thing to examine would be the maternity/paternity leave situation. Obviously having a baby affects both parents, but most would agree it is far more disruptive for a woman’s career. If maternity and paternity leave was awarded equally, we would alleviate this issue of men being chosen for positions ahead of women due to the “risk” women pose of needing to take maternity leave.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Paybase, without question. In the financial space there is a very high barrier to entry due to the large amount of regulation involved and the power of incumbent financial institutions, such as banks. For me and my co-founder to take Paybase from the idea stage to
a live product which is now onboarding its first clients and beginning to generate revenue is something I’m very proud of. This progression has taken time, but we are now beginning to reap the rewards of our efforts – it’s an exciting time for us.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Our next challenge is to scale to Europe, which is a big but exciting challenge. It will be the first time I have taken on international expansion and there will be challenges that we are not even aware of yet. But as I’ve mentioned, challenges are necessary for
you to grow as a business and as a person – it will be a positive step for us and I’m looking forward to it!
On a more personal level I of course look to the future and hope to establish myself as an excellent leader with a track record of successful businesses!