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Mambu’s cultural evolution from a three-person start-up to a global unicorn scale-up

Mambu culture started taking shape organically, almost unplanned, at a very early stage, when the company didn’t even exist yet. In hindsight, the foundation story - three friends with very different personalities and backgrounds but similar values, seizing an opportunity to democratise financial services while working on their masters degree - is already the archetype for what culture at Mambu means, as well as the building block for its evolution.

How culture nurtured the business at Mambu throughout the years:

  • It was the embodiment of the founders set of beliefs: authentic
  • Value put on culture among other pillars (e.g. technology) as a catalyst for growth
  • Talent density, talented people make one another more effective
  • Grew a flat, non-hierarchical organisation where leaders are available to employees
  • Stress on digitalisation of work processes to elevate the employee experience
  • Awareness of society’s cultural shifts and willingness to champion change
  • A disruptive product matched by innovative practices, eg. flexible work schedule
  • Cultural ambassadorship programme in order to foster company values

Today, culture permeates different areas of the business, from talent acquisition, to company meetings, through to the way feedback is shared among employees. By looking beyond employees' mere business performance, people who make Mambu a better place for everyone take centre stage and are celebrated during an awards ceremony eponymously named ‘outstanding Mambuvians’.

One of Mambu’s recommendations for all managers during the pandemic has been to not only check in more frequently with employees, but also offer more flexibility and show vulnerability to be able to bring the culture to a personal level. Next to this, a cultural ambassadorship programme was honed to help Mambuvians stay connected through organised activities.

Post pandemic, however, there will be new things to consider: what will going back to the office look like? How will offices accommodate the shifts in human interaction? In fact, the way Mambu will facilitate how people can collaborate together, is probably the company’s most culturally-relevant post-pandemic aspect. A hybrid approach with a good dose of flexibility will be crucial in this respect, and in scaling the business.

While it’s true that not all organisations have the mindset, time or resources to devote to company culture, it’s such a fundamental pillar that if values are in the right place, then companies can scale their businesses while growing a healthy culture too.

For more information about Mambu’s culture, revisit the Soaked by Slush podcast episode featuring Sofia Nunes, or read her op-ed article in the Handelsblatt (in German).

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Sofia Nunes
Sofia was instrumental in building Mambu’s unique company culture. She uses her passion for people and experience design to create an inspiring environment where people thrive and work to their full potential. Sofia was born in Portugal where she studied Clinical Psychology. In 2008, she was running psychometric assessments for local companies on a consultancy basis when she learned about the HCI program and decided to apply and met her Mambu co-founders.
Sofia Nunes