Cultural Evolution at Finaxar — Data Science meets Aikido

Posted by Rakesh Bhatia on Dec 15, 2017 4:52:00 PM
Rakesh Bhatia


The team that is bigger on the inside. As I celebrate almost a year of Finaxar with my colleagues, I reflect on its cultural evolution:

From a small cramped conference room at a borrowed office at Ayer Rajah Crescent to a bustling but still cramped office at Central Clark Quay with home offices dotted around Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Manila, our Finaxar — data science based SME lending company, has come a long way in this year.

My journey started with the initial three-way discussions I had with our PhD Global linguistic Dr Tan and the geeky adventurous Vihang. The vision painted by these two on why and how they want to build Finaxar seemed audacious but their confidence was infectious. Since then, person by person, brick by brick and byte by byte these two have set their painting awash with beautiful colours and hues.

It has been fascinating to see the ups and downs as the company goes through it’s growth : The jubilation of the first deal, the nervousness and excitement of the first offsite when the virtual scrum happened live: the first live demo of the tech product.
It has its shares of arguments — why is this not ready, why is that customer not responding, who is chasing whom etc and the usual late night calls to deal with an emergency but that provides the adrenalin. And then go back to the gentle hum of building the company.

The interesting hybrid culture stems from a richly varied team — raw energy of the tech team, mostly from India, who keep doing strange sprints under Vihang to the German discipline espoused by Dr Tan who is also a Master of Aikido — a Japanese martial art.

Every new & interesting software for a startup is experimented by Vihang and it is then challenged, tempered and made suitable for Finaxar by Sian (Dr Tan I mean).
From Vihang championing “The Business of the Future” to Dr Tan fighting back with the “Voice of the Customer” — there is an interesting and productive duel. I sit there as a nervous digital non-native trying to judge how we are going to adapt to these experiments but then we do what we do best and accomplish a great deal.

So experiment, temper, fail, learn, adapt and grow is the playbook. Quite unfazed by all this excitement, sitting at the center, is our Risk Master CK who brings an old world charm in this new age approach to business. His Zen style approach to all the excitement provides the right anchor to the serious business of lending which is our core. I vacillate between cutting edge startup adrenalin and the reflective conservative style — am learning to time it right but it is an ongoing process…

I am amazed by these varying and conflicting influences coming together at Finaxar but even more grateful that they come together in a harmonious way. Wish us luck!