Jun 09, 2023

Find out how Fabian spends his days


min read

Find out how Fabian spends his days

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Original interview here.

Fabian Platzen is the General Manager at iwoca Germany and joined in March 2023. He previously worked at various banks for 15 years and has been working in the FinTech industry since 2018. 

1. What does a typical day look like for you?

I'm not an early riser, so I will usually start my working day with my first coffee at around 9 am. There is no such thing as a "typical" day for me; my days are always shaped by the topics that our clients and my teams are concerned with at the moment. After work, I try to do sports at least 2 - 3 times a week, currently I really enjoy swimming and cycling. I also spend a lot of time with friends and I love music events, especially electronic music.

2. What excites you about your job? 

A key point for choosing iwoca  was that we have a product with which we can support an important part of the German economy, solo Entrepreneurs and small businesses. Therefore my work hopefully not only has an effect within iwoca, but also helps improving the situation of many others out there. I also find the breadth of topics that come up in my role extremely exciting and motivating. From Product & Tech to Credit Analysis, Customer Service, Marketing and Strategy; all with a full focus on Germany.

3. Have you always wanted to work in fintech? 

I don’t think this term actually existed yet when I started working. I did a banking apprenticeship at Dresdner Bank a good 20 years ago, and it was already clear then that no bank could be successful in the long term without strong software and systems. Many of these software systems still looked very similar 10 or 15 years later. During my time at NIBC Bank, I was able to work a lot with fintechs and quickly became enthusiastic about the much higher dynamics and the will to change things for the better. 

4. How do you get other people excited about your job?

One of the reasons why I’m so excited about my new role as GM is that through our product, we can provide thousands of businesses in Germany with better access to capital and thus better opportunities for growth. I want to get partners on board with this mission, and work with people who want to make a real difference.

5. How do you define success? 

When I finish a working day and see that we have made a real difference to our customers. As a consequence, if our teams have then learnt something new and  become a small step better, I am very happy. 

6. What skills in the payments and banking industry do you consider to be particularly important? 

The constant willingness to question things and the drive to want to make very good things even better. Our industry has become so fast paced that you can have a "legacy system" after just a few years and could quickly be overtaken by a new provider. A good understanding of "make or buy" is also essential, as complex systems today often work best by integrating multiple good solutions via API. 

7. What can people learn from you? 

I tend to remain calm in stressful situations. In such situations I focus on finding practical solutions and will keep getting things done until the problem is solved. This attitude is something I try to pass on to the people around me and thereby strive to create a feeling of security.

8. Are you #teamWFH or #teamoffice? 

Definitely "Team Hybrid". I really appreciate flexibility and we live it very much at iwoca. At the same time, I believe in the significant benefits of in-person collaboration in the office; this is extremely important for creativity and social interaction.

9. In which company outside our industry would you like to be a fly on the wall? 

The German football club Borussia Dortmund, I have been a fan for years. Not only are they a great football club, but also an incredibly successful multinational company with a turnover of several 100 million euros. I would find it really exciting to see how a day in the life of the board around Hans-Joachim Watzke (CEO) runs the company and what goes on behind the scenes. 

10. If you were able to go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself to be successful in your career? 

"Just do it!" I took a lot of time moving out of the banking industry, doing it a bit sooner would definitely have been even more exciting. Living by the motto “just do it”, has generally been very beneficial for me over the past few years. 

11. Thinking about the economy, what advice would you give to the government?

I’d focus more on digitalisation for small and medium sized businesses. I have two small businesses with friends and I’ve seen first hand the challenges that come with registrations, taxes and applications. These hurdles can be extremely discouraging. 

12. What do you always have in your pocket?

Unfortunately my phone. I think my family and my girlfriend would be happy if I had it with me less often, but it is my little "control centre". My nephew counted last week and said that I have about 300 apps on my phone. 

13. If I won a significant amount of money in the lottery, I would… 

I’ve always said that I’d love to open a small Italian restaurant. I wouldn’t cook myself, but I enjoy being a host and bringing people together. However, gastronomy is hard work, so I probably would really need to win the lottery in order to build up a good team right from the start.  

14. If I had to eat the same thing every day, it would be… 

Good question, actually I love eating a variety of food. If I had to choose, it would probably be pasta - in all its variations of course. 

15. If I were allowed to live permanently in another country, that would be… 

Probably Spain, specifically Ibiza. The atmosphere on the whole island and the beautiful nature inspire me every time I'm there. 

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Article updated on:
June 9, 2023

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