Founders Q&A: Emmanuel Anton

Get to know our Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Emmanuel Anton and learn about his Neo journey

Emmanuel Anton

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer

Emmanuel possesses extensive experience in project management as well as currency exchange platforms. Prior to Neo, he held positions such as Senior Business Analyst or Middle Office Manager and worked for several banks and brokers in London and Paris. Emmanuel holds a Master’s degree in Banking & Finance from Toulouse Business School.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I was born and raised in France, and I studied at the Jean Jaures University in Toulouse, where I received a Master’s degree in Foreign Languages Applied to International Business. Additionally, I also have a Master’s degree in Banking Finance from the Toulouse Business School. I have always loved languages, therefore on top of my mother tongue (French), I’m fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and can also speak German and Italian.

My career began in consultancy here in the UK, where I worked for Greyspark Partners as a project manager for brokers and banks (mainly Newedge and BNP Paribas). I met Laurent in 2014 when we were both working at another company, where he was also my boss, and I left two years later to create Neo in 2016.

A lot of my spare time is spend pursuing my love of sport – in addition to going to the gym I really enjoy surfing, cycling and spinning. Martial arts are another hobby of mine; I practiced Aikido for 22 years, as well as all types of boxing (French, English, Chinese, Thai and kick boxing).

2. As one of the founders of Neo please tell us about when you all first came together to begin the Neo story. 

Laurent and I worked together closely at a previous company, doing quite long hours and thinking about quite complex subjects. That was where we saw the limitations of legacy systems and the gaps in what clients needed and what the industry was able to provide. We thought it would be better to start from scratch but we needed to assemble a team.

I happened to know a brilliant tech guy with deep knowledge of finance by the name of Ian Yates who I knew would be the perfect CTO. Fun fact: he interviewed me when I applied for my first job. He was keen to join our new project, along with a few other former colleagues who were some of the best professionals I knew.

3. Tell us about your role at Neo.  

I’m in charge of the product at Neo (mainly, joys of being a startup), which involves supervising the development of the Neo platform. Acting as the link between the “business” and our IT, I translate the vision of our CEO and the needs of the clients into technical specifications that our IT team can then develop. I test the product, request improvements, raise bugs, demo the platform to the clients and collect their feedback.

4. What leadership skills and qualities are important in your position at Neo? 

There are five key skills and qualities that come to mind:

Resilience: working in a start-up is not easy, you experience ups and downs constantly, and you have to keep pushing anyway.

Unity: my team is mostly composed of friends and former colleagues that I brought into Neo. They trusted me to leave their former companies and I knew I could trust them from day one. I’m in charge of the product because I know the day-to-day of the clients and the operators, I live it among them each day, and I often step in to help when there is an activity surge.

Decisiveness: when something needs to be done, you need to be able to make a decision, quickly and for the right reasons. Sometimes you can ask your co-founders their opinion, sometimes there is just no time.

Multitasking: deadlines and priorities can and often do overlap, and it’s important to keep on top of things and juggle different tasks efficiently.

Flexibility: nothing ever works exactly as you expect, and you have to constantly adapt and learn not to be frustrated about it.

5. How has the treasury landscape changed during your time in the industry and at Neo? 

The number of fintechs has grown exponentially, some features that used to be ground-breaking are now the norm, and the regulation is stricter than ever. Clients who would only use their banks are now more aware of fintech space. Although that’s a good thing, since it means it’s easier to switch, that also means you need to fight harder to retain customers.

6. How do you see it changing in the next 5-10 years? 

I think the major change will be on payments: they will be instant, more traceable and payment companies will need to find other ways to make money because it’s going to become cheaper and cheaper.