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A Coffee with Sergio Restrepo

After several years working for a leading Dutch bank, Sergio Restrepo joined FinTech startup, 2Gears, as Head of Business Support. One year on, Silicon asks Sergio about his corporate-to-startup transition experience. (Featured Image: Sergio Restrepo / Image Credit: Anna Katina)

What motivated you to join a startup?

It was a no-brainer really. When I first worked with Bert Boerman (co-founder of 2Gears) at the bank, our team launched a new department from scratch. Through Bert’s mentorship and observing how he approaches challenges, I had no doubt that joining 2Gears was going to be an adventure. Whatever happened, I was sure I was going to get a lot out of the experience.

So you’re not the risk averse type then?

No pain, no gain – that is my philosophy. Not to say that this has been a painful experience of course! For me, this new venture is worth the risk in terms of everything I am learning on the way.

What is it like working for a startup?

Imagine a straight line from A to B. Now imagine taking a roller-coaster to get from A to B! It’s exciting, and everyday brings new challenges and achievements. Working for a startup means that you get to be creative in all aspects of the business and not only in your area of expertise. I’m happiest when I’m working in a place where ideas and creativity are an integral part of the culture. It’s not just about product development and client support, but also about coming up with ways to build an efficient working environment and infrastructure.

Are you ever tempted to go back to working for a bank or large corporation?

Not yet (laughs). So far so good, and I’m really happy with the choice I made. And I definitely don’t miss the endless rounds of meetings and calls to take decisions; things move at a much faster pace in the startup world.

Do you feel inspired to set up your own business?

Absolutely. I actually had my own company a few years back which was a real eye-opener, and I also custom-designed specific software for the fund industry in a joint venture with my father’s company. Working for a startup like 2Gears, and for entrepreneurs like Bert and Rob Boerman, inspires me to follow my own creativity and intuition. Perhaps one day I’ll launch my own business again, but right now I’m embracing this experience as I strongly believe in the vision of the company. I’m proud to be part of it.

What has been the best moment so far?

That’s a tough question. When you work for a startup, everyday brings a new milestone and “best moment”, but if I had to choose then it would be

winning the award for Luxembourg FinTech of the Year 2016. It meant a lot to everyone in the team to get recognition for the work we do, and it proves that we are on the right track.

What question should people contemplating joining a startup ask themselves?

“How much do I believe in the project, company vision and founders?”

Believing in these three things made my decision to join 2Gears very easy.

What is it like working for twins?

I can tell them apart now, but it’s funny to see people who are meeting them for the first time do a double-take! And then the “aha moment” when the name of the company takes on greater meaning! Per se, it doesn’t make any difference as they bring very different expertise to the table: Bert is the business guru, and Rob the high-tech wizard.

Three words to describe the journey so far?

I love Mondays!

This article was first published in SILICON

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