In the middle of June, I said goodbye to my friends and family and left Bahrain to take up a new job opportunity in Kuwait. This was an amazing city to have a chance to live in, and I was very excited to be making the move! As a foodie, I was especially excited about the food in Kuwait City- which is known to be amazing and varied!
I had just been hired in the growth & business development team for Tap Payments, a prominent fintech startup within the region. This wasn’t my first time working at a startup, since my last job was at an HR-tech startup. However, this was the first time I was working at a fintech company so I was excited to be involved and learn about a whole new sector.
As soon as I arrived in Kuwait, my curiosity took me straight to the office first to see what it looked like. I walked into the office around 9 pm to see everything I’d expect from a tech-y office. An office I’d actually enjoy working at, with an open- space plan and an industrial design, coupled with wooden panels. There was a TV in the office, beanbags lying around, huge plants- it was the ultimate startup vibe. Hooray!
This seemed exactly like the type of environment I wanted to work at and I couldn’t wait to spend my days over here discovering new opportunities, setting and winning challenges and chilling on those beanbags!
Besides the office, what also stood out for me was the number of people who were still at the office at 9 pm, finishing up their tasks and solving issues. One of those people was the CEO of the company, Ali Abulhasan, who I got to meet that night, along with the Head of Growth & Business Development, Ahmed Al Aradi, who was in charge of the team I was in.
I also got to meet some of my colleagues and introduce myself to them, which instantly made me feel like part of the team. It helped how welcoming everyone was and how easy they made it to settle in!
Tap payments is in the business of simplifying and enabling online payment acceptance for businesses of all sizes and types. Accepting online payments was something that most micro businesses and SME’s struggled with in the region since they are not considered the target segments by banks. So Tap proceeded to create an easy solution that catered to these businesses who were being overlooked, which gave the businesses more time to focus on scaling and growing their business.
Considering that cash is still king in the region, these initiatives also help transform the region towards becoming a cashless-society. Businesses benefited the most from this transformation since having an online platform gave them the ability to make sales 24\7 with a global range of consumers.
One week in and I was still figuring out how things work in Kuwait. Weekdays were not mine as I spent most of the day in the office and just went home to sleep. Weekends were all about the food, beach, and exploring the many amazing malls around the city.
I was enjoying living in Kuwait as well. You could go around all of Kuwait in one day, but if it’s a food tour that you’re taking it’ll take a couple of weeks at least. The people here are friendly and love to spend time socializing in cafes, malls, and restaurants.
What I really liked about Kuwait was how easy it was to memorize and recognize the different roads because of the way it was designed. It made it easy for me to get around and by the end of the first week I no longer needed google maps for directions!
The team at Tap Payments is friendly, cheerful, extremely multicultural and passionate about growing the company. In Tap, everyone is aware of the limitations and potential obstacles but they tend to focus on the core strengths and the advantages that we have.
Imagine yourself buying an airplane ticket online. It's easy right? Just a matter of clicking a few buttons and entering your card details. However, what you don’t realize and what I didn’t realize is that there is a lot of effort and technology that goes on behind the screen. This payment cycle was explained to me in my first week since I needed to have a better idea of what we do, before I do anything around the company.
This is what most of my first week comprised of. Understanding the payment industry and the products that we have in detail. This was all brand new to me and the entire week went by far too quickly!
The next few weeks went by in a blur. First, I was focused on the market and the competitive landscape within the region. I was asked to work on a competitive analysis report, which was the quickest way to develop a deeper understanding of the industry we were in and you could tell that it was assigned to me for that sole purpose. I got to understand in detail what our unique selling points were and what made us stand out, from a growth perspective.
I also got a chance to rotate across the different teams within the company. Initially, I got a chance to sit with the customer experience team focusing on our merchant’s needs, looking into their inquiries, developing a deeper understanding of the flow of transactions processing and exploring the different possible issues that our merchants face.
Then, I spent some time with the on-boarding team, understanding what it took to turn a merchant into a paid user and how we collect the documents to make that happen. This rotation allowed me to understand the entire operations flow within the company and how the workflow is divided between the different teams.
Before I knew it, I was making my first pitch with a colleague, selling one of our services to a company looking for a payment gateway on their website. Considering this was my first pitch, it went smoothly and we soon on-boarded them as a client.
This was my first experience with a full sales cycle: pitching the product, answering queries and on-boarding him to our growing list of Tapreneurs.
I have found that the great thing about working for a start-up is the flexible environment that you’re in. It’s a very open and collaborative culture where you are encouraged to communicate with people from different teams and ask questions or share ideas.
I am not saying that working in a startup is the perfect environment for everyone though. The lack of resources does mean that you may have to handle multiple roles and that your day may stretch beyond your official working hours. You may also constantly find yourself not having enough hours in the day to accomplish your tasks on time.
However, believe me when I say, that there is a true sense of accomplishment in the tasks you complete when you enjoy what you do and the environment that you work in. Most startups support learning and have a higher tolerance for mistakes. Both factors enhance the versatility of startup employees.
It is truly inspiring when you see how much of a difference you make to the company and the effect our products have on simplifying daily workflows for our merchants and to hear about the value our products can bring and add to a business.
When I started to engage with the merchants during my time with the customer experience team, I learned a lot from their feedback and comments which pushed me to explore and learn about the industry a lot more.
The reason I wrote this post was because a couple of weeks back I realized that I was already about to complete a month at Tap. This was honestly a shock to me since it felt like I had just joined the team! A true sign of enjoyment ;D.
My first month at Tap has been a month of learning, new experiences and of course meeting new people. Now that my first month is over, It's time to prepare myself for the next rotation and the next challenge.
My job is not easy and I need to give it my everything in terms of effort and energy and it’s truly challenging at times but the fact that I enjoy it helps. These were some of my main highlights during my first month of working at Tap payments. I’ll be sure to write again when I have more exciting things to report.
If this sounds like your kind of work environment, do send your resume to email@example.com to join our ever-growing family!