What's it like to work at Freetrade?
We take a holistic and collaborative approach to developing products at Freetrade; combining product managers, designers and user researchers into a cross-functional product team.
In this blog post, we’ll be lifting the lid on that mixing-pot of specialisms by speaking with some of the team, and giving you a flavour of what it’s like to work here.
So whether you’re looking to join us, or maybe just interested in the people and processes behind the product at Freetrade; keep reading to find out more about our Freetrade highlights, past experiences and adapting to working from home.
I joined Freetrade back in 2018 when we had just launched our app to a limited number of people on the waitlist and the main thing we were sure about was that we had product/market fit. We’ve since grown the team by about 10-times, and our user base from our first few customers to half a million.
The biggest change caused by this growth has been the wide range of people, backgrounds and knowledge that have joined us along the way, contributing towards personal and company growth.
It’s been amazing to learn and work side by side with people from entirely different industries; including people who have such specific knowledge around investing that you could talk to them for days and keep learning. It’s the variety of backgrounds, in my opinion, that has shaped Freetrade and makes us stand-out as a product and a company in the investment space.
I’d have to say ‘How to own the world’ by Andrew Craig. Viktor, our co-founder, recommended this book as a must read and it did not disappoint. The book paints a clear picture of the benefits of investing and how investing fits into the modern world.
Finance is often seen as overly complicated, and many people never learn the basics of investing because of how inaccessible it seems. Similar to our mission at Freetrade, Andrew Craig simplifies the financial world and investing into actionable points that anyone can follow, and provides the tools to make your money, make more money.
I joined Freetrade as a product designer at the beginning of December 2020, so my whole time here including my interview process has been remote.
Starting a new job remotely, in the middle of a pandemic initially felt like a really scary idea. Most people are nervous starting new in “normal” times, so what was it going to be like not being to actually meet anyone face to face or be in an office environment?
Thankfully, as soon as I signed-on and began my onboarding process, everything ran so smoothly; from getting my laptop delivered before my first day, to getting all set up on internal systems extremely easily. All my worries I had were immediately forgotten. I feel like I know everyone in the team, what they are up to, and can reach out to them when I need to.
When it comes to the design team specifically, we use Figma as our main tool for designing and all of the product and engineering teams have access to our files, so we all have full visibility and can easily share and comment on anything we are working on.
We also run bi-weekly usability testing sessions which can sometimes have its technical challenges when doing so remotely, but we have been able to make it work, and we are able to easily test designs and get user feedback to make sure we’re building the best product possible.
This question, as well as how to land a product job is actually something I hear a lot of people asking across the industry, so much so I’ve recently written a blog post on this topic - How to land a role in Product Management. In the blog I discuss techniques such as free and low-cost online classes to learn essential product management skills, getting a mentor and finding out what it takes to be a good Product person. I’d encourage anyone looking to come into a Product team or just starting out in Product to give it a read.
Investing can be scary. Complicated, often full of jargon and until recently it’s been reserved for only a small slice of society. We’ve seen all of this change over the past few years. A whole new wave of customers want to take control of their finances and are becoming increasingly savvy with their money, they just needed a service like Freetrade to support them. At Freetrade our mission is to get everyone investing, this doesn’t just stop at general investment accounts and ISAs, also with the ultimate long term investment - a pension.
My highlight so far has been to take Freetrade from not just a stock broker but to a stock broker and pension provider with our new Freetrade SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension). I’ve been able to work across all departments of Freetrade, from Finance and Compliance to Operations and Engineering to put a stamp on the product and launch our new proposition into the wild.
Before joining Freetrade I worked at a design software product called InVision where I was a senior designer for around four years. When I started, the design team consisted of two us and while I was there, it grew to around 30 or 40 members and the company itself grew from one hundred to around 1,500. Although in a very different market to Freetrade, there were a lot of similarities between the two at the time I joined; around the same number of employees, a design team of two (now three and going strong), a humble and very effective product team of a similar size and team with huge ambitions for the future.
At any effective company with a product team that likes to move fast, there will always be moments where you have to adapt and prioritise things that need urgent attention. You're required to come up with a range of product solutions for customers on the fly. I'd definitely say this is a challenging part of the job, but also my favourite.
One of the first projects I've worked on here at Freetrade has been our referral programme, Free Shares, and it's been a really exciting process.
We've made referring a friend accessible for all users and we've given people unlimited access and the opportunity to send and receive as many free shares as they'd like to.
Through the process of testing and developing the product we noticed very quickly that it was something people were really excited about, and since initial release, it’s exceeded expectations. As a designer there's no better feeling than seeing people get value out of projects you've been a part of, and knowing how much more we have to come is exciting.