Who was your childhood hero, and why?
A difficult one. However, I think it has to be Warren Buffet. Having known from a very young age, I knew I wanted to be entrepreneurial, I learned of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and then further realised he had dyslexia as I did. He became someone for me to aspire to be. Then my respect developed as his strategy and investment principles evolved then further demonstrated a fantastic method of only investing in industries he knows about that may look prohibitive in the current tech climate. Yet, you can't argue with his success.
What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
A fantastic CFO told me that I was too busy solving problems for other departments and colleagues. He believed (probably rightly) that I was distracted with this and wanted to be linear focused on my tasks. He told me, "Guus, everybody is entitled to have his problems, and so have you". Since then, I have used this sentence many times.
What was the last book you read - and when?
I recently finished ' Covid-19 the Great reset' by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret. The principles of his talk at WEF were recently publicly judged negatively by people not understanding his vision or hadn't even read the book. I wanted to understand more about the author's WEF vision & their principles. But I could not make an informed judgement without reading the book.
Name one piece of technology you couldn't live without and tell us why?
I love "the useless box" - it has me completely addicted to the complete uselessness of a switch turning itself off after you turn it on. It makes me laugh, and it reminds me to do something meaningful.
Who do you look up to in terms of leadership and mentorship?
I do not look up to someone. I did in the past, and every time I was disappointed. People get my respect. I learned to believe in me/myself and try to be and become the best I can be. Believe in yourself; try to make your own history instead of walking in the path of others. You can only be authentic if you are yourself, rather than an imitation of others.
What's the most significant challenge/advantage you've encountered in the fintech industry?
In essence, the biggest challenge for ' Fintech' is that it is so big and spans such a large ecosystem. We invest in fintech companies, So we are constantly challenged to understand the solution's scalability and technology. These then throw up questions; 'How to price an idea early?' and 'how do you build a fantastic team in the market? So, it is a challenge as a 'group' to drive forward with the belief that is made up of a combination of confidence and passion.
Then, with all these ingredients, you must drive forward with the belief the market is looking for this service or product. It's a challenge that we are now used to. And the upside is worth it, and that drives the market.
Is there a personal achievement you are particularly proud of from the past 12 months?
I'm proud that Axiom is slowly getting recognised in market activity over the last 12 months. We have a great team. Walking into the office, working with fantastic companies, and making a change makes me proud.
What inspires you in fintech today?
The possibility of developing the solution for today's and tomorrow's challenges. Quite simple.