Payment Expert’s ID Check: Payments Professionals offers insight from industry leaders and experts on how they got their start in the financial industry, from their early years in education, to how they have been able to climb the corporate ladder.

This week, Brad Hyett revealed how he was able to become the CEO of software POS company phos, how he learned how to change the approach and the keys to building a successful fintech company. 

Brad Hyett, CEO of phos

Where did you go to university and what did you study? What impact did this have on your current journey?

I went to Oxford Brookes and studied music and publishing. It actually taught me that I didn’t want to be in full-time education any more, or be a professional musician either, and pushed me into the job market after I completed my first year of university.

Were you part of any sports clubs or societies at university and has this influenced your educational and professional development?

When I arrived at university, my big passion in life was playing the saxophone. Disappointingly, none of the groups that I met at the time needed a saxophone player. This taught me an important lesson – that if there isn’t anyone out there looking for your skills, you need to go out there and set up an opportunity for yourself. 

As a result, I learned that hard work and hours of practice can lead to great results, regardless of natural talent.

Did you have any jobs outside of the industry before making your start in it and was this experience a motivation to get into the industry you aspired to be in?

I worked as a bouncer for a few years before moving into media monitoring and distribution, before moving into tax-free shopping. It may seem like an atypical path but being a bouncer really gave me the experience of negotiating with people at some level – it was also a time where the internet was in its infancy, which gave me endless ideas around how this tech could be applied into all areas of life. 

The media monitoring gave me insights into all sorts of businesses but most importantly, the role of PR, online and print influence in business growth and messaging. It was by a matter of complete chance I landed into tax-free shopping, which was the first fintech-type business I worked in.

What was the first job you had in the industry and are there any lessons from this you still draw on?

Global Blue is a tax-free shopping provider – a value-added service that can be stand-alone or added to a payment terminal.  It was a niche business that I hadn’t even thought about before, but I saw how profitable it could be. 

It also showed me how a holistic approach to a core service can build value, open distribution channels, and lead to increased revenue. I also learned another important lesson – that if you pay good people poorly, they will leave.

Who was your biggest role model outside of the payments industry who continues to inspire you in your current career?

My wife – although she is now also in the industry. She was the one who prompted me to make the move, and has championed me throughout my career. She has an incredible work ethic and self-belief. Her belief in me inspires me and continues to motivate me to push myself to be my best self.

When was your first big break in the payments industry? Why was this such a significant moment for you?

I joined Global Blue on the very same day that they had rebranded from Global Refund. The business was going through a transformation, with the workforce being re-trained to consultatively sell a value proposition, and I wasn’t carrying any historic baggage on “how things had always been done”. I embraced their approach to client engagement and reaped the rewards. 

It also came with a significant investment in value-based sales training, and this jump-started a career for me in sales and management.

Was there a moment you faced in the industry that really challenged you? How did you overcome this? 

Fundraising for phos at a time when the whole VC world rolled up its gates was excruciating. I could barely sleep and was under a lot of stress. Ultimately though, it was a very rewarding process and experience.

Lastly, what is some advice you would give to an aspiring person looking to get a start in your respective industry?

Network. Learn. Work hard. 

Networking in the payments space is key because it’s quite tightly knit, and everyone is looking for opportunities to accelerate. There is always another level of understanding you can reach in this industry, be it compliance, regulatory, or technical. 

Working hard is a baseline ignored by too many, but it’s so easy to recognise the performance differential of people really putting their all into what they do – and it will yield personal, mental and professional returns in spades.