Women well suited to startups, says Anthemis president

Not everyone is suited to work in a startup, but women have personality traits that seem to thrive in such an environment, says Amy Nauiokas

Not everyone is suited to working in a startup, but there are definite personality traits in women that seem to thrive in such an environment, Amy Nauiokas, president of digital financial services investment and advisory firm Anthemis, told Computer Weekly recently.

Nauiokas comes from a background in investment banking, where she carved out a career in technology after spotting an opportunity to get noticed in the corporate environment.

“I wanted to grow inside an investment bank and I thought there had to be a career in tech there instead of jumping ship and doing the startup thing at that time," she said. “I was marketing products to the sales and customer force and got noticed. If you can find a spot that no one else has, you get noticed and if you have the initiative to take it, then hold on to it.

“There are lots of people within a corporate all competing for the same opportunities. For me, I found tech as soon as I understood its impact on the industry. I stood out as I was passionate about the future of tech in financial services. I had something to prove, so I didn’t jump ship as that was a risk, too.”

Nauiokas eventually chose to leave the corporate world after gaining the experience she felt she needed, but wanted to leave because of several frustrations of working in a big company.

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“The link between startups and women has a ton to do with certain personality traits that are more suited for the corporate world,” she said. “It’s the reason why I left. I did everything I needed, but I didn’t want a future in a system where I had no say.

“There is a definite trend now of starting your own business and fulfilling your own dreams. When you start your own company, your environment is your own responsibility to change the culture and put your money where your mouth is.”

Anthemis has grown to a workforce of 26 over the past five years and it will continue to grow, said Nauiokas. “We’ve gone from 0-26 staff in five years and we’ll be taking the next steps for hiring and changing positions and responsibilities, to focus on how we’re going to look in the next five years. I want ideas in my staff room that don’t all agree with me. I don’t want a team that all looks like Amy.

“To work at a startup, you have to be flexible with your job description – there are a lot of folks who do not suit startups. If you’re a self-starter and have a good work ethic, then you have the personality trait for a startup. It’s about what business makes sense for you and where you can add the most value – believing in the mission of whatever company you work at.”

Nauiokas added: “The beauty of the current environment for startups is that there is an equal need for graduates and those who have the experience and real life under their belts to get the job done.”

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