Insider Interview: Maria Samayoa


Eleanor Montgomery

Maria is from Madrid, Spain, and is now based in London, where she works full time for White Label Crowdfunding as a Production and Account Manager. She studied Economics at the Universidad Complutense in Spain’s capital, and speaks English fluently.

Maria-2Maria joined the WLCF team in February 2014, and has been key in the creation and account management of key partner sites. Maria’s multitasking skills are second to none, making her an expert in simultaneously liaising with clients, leading demos, setting up and demonstrating prototypes, and undertaking pre-, during and post-launch tasks.

She told us more about her role, her views on the world of FinTech, and how she thinks WLCF will evolve in the future.

Maria, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a bit about what you do for WLCF.

I started in the company when the WLCF projects department was in its initial stages. I helped to create what we have now: a solid department with multiple projects with different kinds of products.

This experience gave me the chance to then continue with the development of new projects, which is what I do now. I’m involved in various stages of the project process.

I organise demos for potential clients with Nick, our Business Development Manager, to show them the technology we offer and explain how we can adapt our services to their business. Following the demo, I set up the prototypes for platforms, which the client can use to show their product to investors and raise funds. When the prototype is at the conversion stage, ready to become a full platform, I organise meetings with the client’s team, to clarify and create the requirements and specifications for the development of the platform. Then I coordinate this process with the project managers, developers and the client, to make sure we deliver the project efficiently, organising resources, budgets and timelines. I have weekly meetings with clients to show the progression of the development work and I demonstrate the testing to the client at the end of the process to make sure we meet their standards. At the end of the process, I lead the go-live stage, give ongoing support and consultancy to the operations manager of the new platform, and manage future improvements of their business.

Can you tell us a bit about the project process, how it works from beginning to end?

The stages of a project are usually:

– Set up the platform: with the collaboration of our admin server, we create the development environment with the domains created by the client and set up the databases. Then our developers implement the basic functionality based on the financial requirements while we add the branding of the product. We have our own designer, who contacts the client to collaborate on the design of the site pages.

– Develop the full site: the project manager creates the task on our internal project tool system to organise the milestones and give time estimations and deadlines according to the specifications given by the client.

– Create the beta testing version: the project manager organises a demo with the client’s team to show the functionality of the different processes and gives them access to the site so that they can test it, and give feedback about the usability and any potential modifications they would like to be implemented.

– Apply fixes: the project manager collaborates with developers to adjust the final MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version.

– Launch stage: the admin server creates the live site in collaboration with the client and the project manager allocates a go live date with the client to release the platform.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am in constant contact with our clients and developers, managing tasks and coordinating feedback. I test processes, create tasks, supervise development work and give support and consultancy to the clients to find the best way to convert their requirements into features for the site.

How do you find working with freelance developers based in other countries?

I am based in London; the rest of the team is either in Leeds or in other parts of the world. This has lots of advantages, as flexibility is very important for us. Working with freelancers is very efficient; we work with them on a task-by-task basis, rather than employing them full time. We employ different people to cover different areas of expertise, and have teams in various time zones, which gives us the opportunity to cover any emergency that may arise, 24 hours a day.

What happens once a platform is launched?

Once a platform is launched, we give monthly support to the client; we are available for them in case they choose to make modifications or want to incorporate new features into the site. They can continue to improve the platform to adapt their product to market changes.

Maria-4What aspects of your job do you most enjoy?

The most exciting part of my job is seeing how we can take a business idea and convert it into a real platform with real transactions. After a lot of hard work and team effort, I really enjoy seeing how the client makes a success of their business.

Do you enjoy working in the FinTech field?

I do, I think we are in an era of FinTech, I am very proud to be part of this industry that is in constant expansion.

Why do you think technology tends to be a male-dominated industry?

I believe this is the natural process of any young industry. Women only became part of the working world a couple of centuries ago, and while we have made huge advances and demonstrated that we are equally as capable and able as men, most new industries tend to be led by men; whether we’re talking about technology or other sectors. With time, this will hopefully level out. It is possible that some women don’t see themselves forming part of the technology field in particular – that’s not the case for me, but perhaps because I have had the opportunity to see it from the inside.

What measures do you think can be taken to change this trend?

I think that new generations are not as influenced by whether something is a male or female arena; we are all people and, more and more, we have access to the same opportunities, regardless of gender. Technology is the future, and women are part of that change.

Finally, what do you think and/or hope the future holds for WLCF?

I hope we keep helping new businesses to achieve their goals, and I think they should give us the opportunity to collaborate on the expansion of the whole industry.

Would you like to speak a member of our team to find out more about what we do? Get in touch at hello@whitelabelcrowd.fund or call us on 0207 193 0441.