Pop Quiz, Monday with Noel Moran, CEO at PFS

Noel Moran

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Noel Moran

What is your job role?
My role as CEO is to continue to strive to elevate PFS as one of Europe’s leading FinTechs with global ambition.

Tell us about your company?
PFS is an agile FinTech chosen by other FinTechs. We are obsessed with innovation. We rapidly deliver world-class payment technology solutions to the market. The company recently won two of the most prestigious business awards in Europe – the RSM European Business Award for Digital Technology and the European CEO Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Payment Solutions industry. We would be one of the best-known challengers in the prepaid space.

What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy solving problems and creating more alternatives to cash for people, so there is much to love about FinTech. Today, people can open an electronic money account online – without ever needing to visit a traditional bank. You can easily link your account to a mobile and enable your smartphone for digital payments (Contactless). Financial Technology will continue to place innovation at the heart of payments in 2019. This makes it another exciting year for challengers like us pushing the boundaries of what is possible to achieve in a booming sector filled with new possibilities.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I have not worked in 10 years. I don’t see this job as work. I enjoy it so I see it as two things, firstly a hobby and secondly I am endeavouring to build a global business that will be the leader in the market for prepaid products and services. We have an opportunity to help many people via governments, NGOs, mobile phone companies, banks, corporate clients and FinTechs. This, in itself, is a motivating factor. We have a huge amount in the pipeline this year between an IPO, launching innovative new products and seeking licenses to expand into Asia and Africa. Today, we are live in 25 countries. By the end of this year, we hope this figure will be much higher.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My wife Valerie Moran has been by my side from the start as employee No.1 and continues to inspire me. In that time, we embarked on our own adventure going from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife. Lee Britton, our Commercial Director, has been a great friend for many years and has a wealth of experience in the sector. Conor Doyle, our CTO and I go back a long way to our early days in traditional banking. In recent times, we have had to go on a hiring spree to meet the needs of a fast-growing business. My team inspire me in different ways all the time whether it is in the office or through work they get involved with in their communities.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Early December was a great example of this when everyone was gathered together from our 4 offices in 3 countries. It was an excellent weekend of activities in Ireland when all of the UK, Ireland and Malta teams enjoyed quality time together. In Malta, some of our Developers are in a basketball league that PFS sponsors – they keep winning games. Our Maltese colleagues also like to kick back and celebrate the successful completion of sprints at the end of each month with what they call monthly free beer Fridays. In Ireland, we have a sports and social club where regular events are organised throughout the year.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Regulation is a universal challenge for any financial institution. We continue to professionally navigate the many requirements that come with regulation as well as the various directives we must comply with. Brexit is a challenge for many FinTechs including ourselves and we have taken steps to minimise the transition.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
One of the biggest lessons I learned in the business related to outsourcing. Knowing what I now know, we should have had more in-house capabilities in the early days. It also makes sense from a cost savings perspective.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
PFS is ahead of other FinTechs as we have been in business longer and have a long track record of profitability. If at all possible, I would advise founders not to dilute their shareholding too much at the start. This can be a challenge, but it can make a significant difference if their business can survive long-term without running out of money.

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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