"Career walk" interview with Katie Rosseau of Curve: The creative side of fintech
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
What’s it like to be a fintech marketer? In our “Fintech Career Walks” series, we’re revealing the career stories of some of the most inspiring and successful marketers in the sector. Subscribe to the Fintech Marketing Monthly Digest here so you don’t miss any of our future stories.
“Anyone can learn ‘fintech’, but work ethic is non-negotiable. Finding that balance between drive and creativity is what I focus on when hiring, and it’s what makes our team so special.”
The star of this week’s “Career walk” edition, Katie Rosseau, is not the typical fintech marketer. Creative by heart and craft, Katie’s journey to fintech was non-average. After a brief design career in one of the world’s leading traditional finance organisations, she “vowed to never work in finance again”, and she took the “agency” path instead.
Until the summer of 2019, when she was offered to help an early-stage UK fintech startup with their brand book. Sticking to her “strictly no-finance work” vow, Katie initially said “no” to the opportunity. But, curious and intrigued by this “new version” of finance and following some extra persuasion from the client, she eventually accepted the gig.
A little over 2 years later, Katie is now one of the few in-house creative directors in the fintech sector, and has (without a doubt) built one of the most distinct and controversial fintech brands in the UK; Curve. Bold, raging red, deep black and cheeky, yet friendly tone of voice are just a few of the assets that have turned Curve into a true “over-the-top” challenger brand.
Founded in 2015 by Shachar Bialick, Curve is one of the fastest-growing challengers in the UK who has attracted nearly $180m worth of investments so far. Unlike rival challenger neobanks Monzo and Revolut, Curve is not really a bank and doesn’t provide personal accounts. It instead offers its customers the option to combine and simplify their finances. With an app and a card, Curve lets you connect all of your bank accounts and cards into one convenient place.
Following its massive success in the UK, the company is now seeking to expand its offering to the US market and has just raised over £9.8m in its latest crowdfund campaign on Crowdcube (completely smashing its initial target of £1mn).
So what’s it like to be a Creative Director at a fintech? For Katie, it's a two-way street:
“Full time: I spend most of my time leveraging our brand and our team’s creativity to solve both customer and business needs.
Part time: Winning over the hearts and minds of my colleagues who have never worked with a creative team, showing them the value we can add.”
What’s been pivotal in Katie’s career so far? To find out, read Katie’s complete story below.
Tell us about your career start? How did you end up doing marketing for a fintech?
Right place, right time.
I’ve spent most of my career working at agencies, I attribute most of my professional knowledge to those experiences. But, pre-agency, what seems like a lifetime ago, I had worked at a big traditional bank. After that, I vowed to never work in finance again.
So, when a friend called me up asking me to come do a freelance stint at Curve, I said, “absolutely not”. But, she was persistent, and I was curious. I signed on to build Curve’s brand book over a month. Upon arrival I discovered Curve didn’t need a brand book, they needed an ✨ENTIRE BRAND✨ (and then a brand book).
I worked with Founder/CEO Shachar Bialick to bring his vision to life. He’s one of these rare breed CEOs who believe in the value of the brand, has strong opinions, and preferences, which is my perfect counterpart (there’s nothing worse than indifference). We made a strong team, and the rest is history.
What’s it like to be a Creative Director at a fintech?
Not as oxymoronic as it sounds. Full time: I spend most of my time leveraging our brand and our team’s creativity to solve both customer and business needs. Part time: Winning over the hearts and minds of my colleagues who have never worked with a creative team, showing them the value we can add.
Before Curve, you worked at a marketing agency. How is your previous agency experience helping you in your current fintech marketing role?
One thing you walk away from an agency with is work ethic.
Missing client deadlines isn’t an option, so, agencies need to function like clockwork, finding a perfect balance of process, creativity and drive.
Anyone can learn ‘fintech’, but work ethic is non-negotiable. Finding that balance between drive and creativity is what I focus on when hiring, and it’s what makes our team so special.
Level up your marketing mojo! Subscribe to the Fintech Marketing Monthly Digest and join our growing community of fintech marketers.
What do you love about your current role at Curve?
The team. I’m constantly inspired by them. They’re an incredible group with diverse backgrounds that come together to create beautiful things (and occasionally tackle the impossible).
The mission. I never had creative freedom when I worked at a big bank-- and now I get to challenge that on a daily basis working toward Curve’s mission.
What has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
Pivoting. Quitting an agency job I loved and moving to the UK, where I didn’t know a single soul. You learn a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of when you have nothing.
What’s your favourite fintech marketing campaign?
Lately, it has to be Mastercard bringing their ‘True Name Campaign’ to the fintechs they support. Brands I most enjoy at the moment: Habito & Pleo 👀.
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement in your fintech marketing career so far? What about a failure?
Biggest achievement: Building an incredible team that champions individuality while facilitating a microculture of collaboration, creativity and diverse thought.
Biggest failure: I’m constantly failing. But, every mistake, every misstep, is a chance to learn and grow. I’m learning to embrace and celebrate failure, because what you learn from failing is arguably more valuable than succeeding in the first place.
What advice would you give to anyone considering starting a career in fintech marketing?
Be unapologetically yourself and don’t try to fit a certain mold. Own and leverage your background and experiences in other industries to make ours better.
Also: Call me.