Nelson was born and raised in Italy and moved to Switzerland after his Bachelor’s degree to finalize his studies, which included exchange trips to the US. After graduating with his Master’s, he began working in consulting at Accenture and spent almost five years in the strategy department working in many different industries and projects.

Eventually, Nelson decided to have a break from the consulting world and take an educational leave to do an MBA at IE Business School in Madrid, where he met Henrik Gebbing and Christopher May who started Finoa. “It made a lot of sense to take this opportunity and be in the entrepreneurial part of the crypto industry. That’s how, during my MBA, my Finoa journey started.”

Naturally, the very early days of the Finoa were challenging. “It was a rollercoaster. Very often, especially in the early days, it feels like you are stuck, and then, one day you look back and realize how many things the team has accomplished. It was a special feeling just to look back and say ‘we are doing something that really works’. But, regardless of what you are building, what makes the true difference is the people, because those are the ones who push things forward and make them happen.”

Today, Nelson leads the Customer Operations team as the Head of Customer Operations. “We take care of everything that has to do with customers, from onboarding through to the customer support. We want to make sure that the onboarding process is smooth and that we provide the best experience. Especially in the financial sector, onboarding is a challenging process due to regulation. Plus, startups have limited resources and tools, so you need to find the right balance between the two. Our Customer Operations team needs to have deep knowledge around the blockchain protocols we support and our product and services as well as the entire crypto and financial world. We don’t expect our client to have this knowledge, so we need to have the ability to troubleshoot and communicate well, to make sure that we are assisting customers in a way that is easy for them to understand.”

After more than three years at Finoa, Nelson still finds it difficult to describe a typical day. “My days are very dynamic. I could have one day in which I have to focus solely on one task, and there are other days where I have time to take a breath and reflect on how my department should grow. Generally speaking, I try to split my days into two main activities: operational tasks — which is getting things done — and I also keep some time to think a bit ahead. There’s always room for improvement, especially when you’re growing, and it’s important to regularly spend time thinking ahead to avoid facing problems at a later stage.”

When Nelson joined the founding team he had little previous exposure to digital assets. “I discovered crypto in a deeper way only when I was doing myMBA at IE, and even now I wouldn’t consider myself an expert.”

According to him, it’s not mandatory to be crypto savvy to join the space. “There are people working in crypto coming from many different backgrounds and industries. Surely, there are also people who are much deeper into the technical aspect, but crypto is an big industry and you can also look at it from an industry-wide level, which is how I prefer to think about it.”

After more than three years, Nelson is just as motivated as he was on day one. Trying to pinpoint the reasons, he explains that “one aspect is the learning curve, both in terms of crypto industry knowledge and also personal knowledge. At Finoa it happens very often that you’re faced with a situation that you haven’t dealt with before, and you have to quickly come up with an idea or a plan to manage it. The second aspect is working in a very dynamic industry. Basically, you always have something new to do and you’re never going to get bored here. Finally, there’s the team. There’s somebody new joining the company almost every day now, which means that not only you are meeting new people but also that there are new things happening which could affect what you do. Mostly, I really enjoy becoming friends with the people I work with, which is important to build trust. You need to put a lot of trust in other people, and you have to be trusted by others to make things work at Finoa.”

Finally, we asked Nelson to describe Finoa’s culture to potential candidates. “Firstly, you’d join a great team of talented people that is very important for both your professional and personal life. Then, to be a person that fits within Finoa’s culture, you need to take a lot of initiative. It’s a very entrepreneurial culture, which means you have a lot of space to do things and propose new ideas. People are really free to test, learn and say their opinion.”

Interested in joining Finoa? Check out our open positions