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The secret payments fintech that already has 574 million users is growing

Anita Liu Harvey (Bottom Right) spoke on a panel with senior employees at Stripe and River Island

If you want to work on budding financial technology, you don't have to do it at a fintech startup, or even a financial services firm. Spotify has been expanding in the payments space, and the team's strategy director has indicated now is a good time to jump aboard.

Speaking at the Money20/20 event in London last night, Anita Liu Harvey, formerly of PayPal and Visa, said Spotify is "investing very heavily in payments." She says the team has "quite a lot of maturing to do" and that it's going to be a "hell of a ride."

Life can be hard for B2C fintech startups right now, as funding overwhelmingly favors B2B companies. If you make the wrong choice, you could be in for a rude awakening in a year or so when the company runs out of money. Opting for a fintech team at a non-fintech company (Uber, for example, has lots of payments people too) can be a bit of a safer option. Of course, Spotify did lay off 17% of staff back in December, so 'safe' is still a relative term.

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Harvey suggests the startup mentality is still there at Spotify. She says the payments team is "keeping the lights on in 180 markets. Payments never stand still, so there's always a fire that needs putting out." She also notes that Spotify has "a lot of AI expertise" and is using it to "reduce some of the payment operations manual work."

The key reason to join Spotify seems to be its culture, and the layoffs seem to have only partially affected that. Spotify has a 4 star all time average rating on Glassdoor, and reviews in 2024 average at 3.94 stars. One five-star review left by a laid off employee says Spotify has "incredible benefits" (he was treated to a private T-Pain concert in Brooklyn) but warns not to get too comfortable: "don't expect to be able to retire at Spotify."

Spotify has been tempting away bankers in the past, and fintech employees are not exempt from its charms. In January, it hired Pierre Fauquet-Lemaitre as a client partner from Klarna in France. Also from Klarna, it hired data engineer Carlos Gaitan back in October. One review said the company has a "Swedish mentality" regarding its work-life balance, which may explain all the Klarna moves.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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