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Lockdown Q&A: Leighton Roberts, Sharesies

Peter Griffin, contributor. 02 April 2020, 8:08 am

Here at ITP Tech Blog we are asking people in the tech sector about how they are approaching business during the lockdown and the technology they are using to stay productive while working remotely.

Today, we talk to Leighton Roberts, co-founder, Director - Opportunities and Operations, and acting co-CEO of Sharesies.

What is your organisation?

Online investment platform, Sharesies. 

How many people does your organisation employ?

39 people

In one sentence please explain what your business/organisation does?

"Sharesies has a simple purpose, to give people with five dollars, the same investment opportunities as someone with $500,000. We thought in today's environment with the technology available, you should absolutely be able to have the same opportunities."

Is remote working new to your organisation, or are you old hands?

"We've a flexible working policy anyway, so most people will have worked from home at some point." 

What apps/tech are you using to enable remote working?

"We are cloud-based on the AWS platform. We use Slack and Google Hangouts, which is being used a lot more now than previously. 

"We are only a three-year-old platform so we are built on some really great tech. It's much easier to scale than some of the legacy platforms would have been. Two weeks ago we made a change which moved us up into another bucket which turned out to be an extremely timely change. 

"We paid around 50,000 investors dividends in December, which slowed our system down a bit. For context, we are now hitting those peaks in activity on our platform every single day." 

How do you communicate with each other? 

"Teams are still doing their daily hangouts all via video conferencing now.

"On Slack, we've a few new channels, the remote cafe where people check in, it's a social place. There have been after work beer hangouts through Google Hangouts. I'm glad they changed it from social distancing to physical distancing. We want to keep it social."

How do you communicate with your customers?

"We run the Intercom system on our website for our team to talk to customers. We have blogs, newsletters, social media and email."

What is the best thing about working remotely?

"Really upping the game on the quality of my meals - lunch in particular, and getting to spend much more time with our kids." 

What is the worst thing about working remotely?

"Social elements, we are so lucky with the tech we have now and what that is allowing us to achieve, but I love spending time with our team and miss that."

What is the one piece of app/tech you recommend?

"Slack is a great tool." 

Do you have any tips to get through the lockdown?

"Be as flexible as possible and have as much 1:1 time (via video of course) as you can with your people. 

"We have found it doesn't matter how often something is said to a group - like 'our business is in a good position to get through', it needs to be reiterated in 1:1 conversation. 

"Everyone's stress range changes in this environment, often day to day - and whatever leaders can be doing to ease those anxieties the better for everyone."



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