Finitas' Practice Director Damian Rhodes, recently sat down (virtually!) with Philipp Schwörbel, Co-founder and CEO of Steady – an innovative business based in Berlin and currently seeking a new COO / CFO, to learn more about the growth of their business and why they are working exclusively with Finitas to identify a new COO/CFO.
Here, we get an insight to their discussion:
Philipp, what is your background and why did you co-found Steady?
“I am a publisher myself, having founded Prenzlauer Berg Nachrichten, a website for hyperlocal news back in 2010 and later, along with Sebastian Esser set up an online magazine called Krautreporter. This online magazine is now funded by more than 15,000 members. We soon faced the problem of how to set up the complicated and cost intensive tech for recurring payments and marketing for paid content. Steady was born out of a desire to solve this problem and share this with the independent media ecosystem: bloggers, online magazine editors, podcasters, YouTubers, musicians and Visual Artist. We enable them to publish, grow their audience and make money through memberships. I co-founded Steady alongside Sebastian to help digital media makers and creatives to claim their independence by connecting them to their audience and to use this to sell memberships in 2017”
How has Steady grown over the last six years?
“We have grown significantly! Just one year after our launch, we had over a million in membership revenue. In 2019, we were awarded the number two European Digital Media Award for Best Paid Content Strategy, alongside The Guardian. By the end of 2020, we had paid out over €10 million in membership fees to publishers. Since March 2021, Steady has offered strong voices the opportunity to start their publishing journey directly with Steady and publish content for free, as well as sending newsletters and collecting subscribers. Steady is available in eight languages and international Steady publishers are from numerous countries including the UK, France, Italy and Romania. We now have 33 employees from 14 countries, including many media makers, and they have made Steady what it is today, together with thousands of publishers.”
Why are you now looking to hire a COO / CFO?
“The short answer is that I only have 24 hours in a day! There is so much to do and I am currently too busy. A new COO and CFO would partner with me, taking over responsibility for the product related payment and payout infrastructure, as well as accounting, finance, budgeting, human resources and legal. This would enable me to focus more on scaling this business.”
What skills and experience are you looking for in your COO / CFO?
“I am looking for someone very smart – tech competence is vital and so someone should be a qualified accountant or have the equivalent experience as well as first class academics such as an MBA. First leadership experience is vital but we are looking for someone who has been part of a startup - perhaps a tech business which has undergone transformation and growth. One of the reasons why we are engaging Finitas is that we know you have a strong relationship with tech start-ups and scale-ups and people with that background could be a good fit for us.”
What values and attitude should someone have, joining Steady at this time?
“Attitude is very important – they should be respectful, humble and have a passion for diversity. We believe that everyone in the business must be respectful and kind to one another regardless of rank or where they stand. Humility is important because everyone must play their part – nothing should be beneath you and they would need to be hands-on. As a business diversity is something that we are passionate about and so we would especially welcome a diverse range of applicants.”
What should someone expect who is joining the business?
“Anyone joining us should be open to a rollercoaster ride! This company is going through change but more transformation is required. Many of us are publishers but not everyone has a strong commercial or strategic mindset and so if you join us now, be prepared for growth pains and a role which will be both hands on and strategic!”
Why is it now a good time to join Steady?
“Now is a great time for someone to join us and grasp this opportunity. Someone can join us, mold this position and make it their own. You can make a massive impact – many of us running this business are publishers and journalists and we would like this business to be scaled and transformed. Anyone joining us now as COO / CFO will be able to impact strategy and play a crucial role in the transformation of Steady into a fast growth fintech. Joining Steady now as COO / CFO will be a time of impact, growth and opportunity!”
If you would like to be considered for this COO / CFO role at Steady, click here to apply or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are open to other senior finance or operations roles within fast growth start-ups and scale-ups within the UK or beyond.