LAB Rupy Malizia Podcast Transcript

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Rupy Malizia: 0:00Do you have to have purpose to feel that passion and desire and drive to be able to drive that company forward, because it's never easy to grow a business or scale a business.

Amardeep Parmar:
0:14

Today on the podcast, we're talking all about how you can scale effectively without compromising your purpose. We dig into when you think about your purpose, how you hire the right people to align with that purpose, how you keep on top of things when the crisis comes in. How do you make sure that you don't lose sight of that, and we talk through different examples of how this has manifested at different roles of our expert today, who's Rupy Malizia, who's the Chief Strategic Transformation and change officer at HSBC Innovation Banking. She's had a long career in the financial markets and in banking and she's taken this experience from the global banking industry and now she's focusing energy towards innovation market and trying to really make a change, especially in the tech and life science industry.

Amardeep Parmar: 1:03

We're the BAE HQ and I'm Amar, and this podcast is powered by HSBC Innovation Banking. So, Ruth, you've talked to so many startups for your journey and HSBC Innovation Banking and we see so many people to work purpose. When do people define that strategy, that mission, those values? Is something you do right at the beginning or is it something you do as you go along? So it's a really interesting question.

Rupy Malizia: 1:26

I think that you can start off with purpose and say I'm very purpose driven, I want to find a cure for a disease or a solution for sustainability, and then you kind of drive on that basis and look for products that customers and clients would want to have. Or you say I've got a great product and I know that I can sell that and I'm going to push that forward. But, irrespective, you have to have purpose to feel that passion and desire and drive to be able to drive that company forward. Because it's never easy to grow a business or scale a business and you're going to have challenges.

Rupy Malizia: 2:00

Now without that purpose and if you just financially motivate, I do think that holds you back and the passion doesn't come across into kind of the discussions you have with investors and with clients and customers. And I think you need to have it to drive you forward. So I'd always say it's really early stage. It's even if you've got a product, find that purpose, find that reason. But even better if you have the purpose and then you find the product. I think that's even better.

Amardeep Parmar: 2:26

I think what a lot of people struggle with, too is they have this purpose and it becomes very pure right of like we need to protect this purpose, but then you also need to scale a business and you also need to have the business elements too. And some of that, too, is hiring your early team members, and they can be so important to the success of whatever you do. How do you find the right people at the early stage who are lying with your purpose and is it? Do you hire your mates, or how do you go about that?

Rupy Malizia: 2:50

I think that's. That's all family. That's a big thing that people tend to do, which is I have a family member, I can start the business with them. Be really smart about what you're trying to do. You need to look at other entrepreneurs and how they've done it and how they've scaled businesses and actually it's very purest because you know you're going to need a CFO, you're going to need a COO, you're going to need a marketing CMO person, you're going to need a, probably head of product.

Rupy Malizia: 3:15

Now there'll be small scale types of roles, but people that are also aligned to your passion but have that capability skillset and ideally they already have that experience would be fantastic. All of the early stages, bringing them in being complementary skillsets with yourself will enable you to grow that business with them. And I think that's going to really put you in a good space. If you don't do that and you just hire your mates because you're having a drink in the bar and you're saying, well, actually you know how about us all getting together, that could be a recipe for disaster if you've all got the same skillsets and that's not going to help you grow the business. And remembering, investors are commercially biased. They want you to grow the business, not have a great time. You can have a great time as well.

Amardeep Parmar: 4:00

How do you test for that in terms of there's lots of people maybe have the skill set in some way, but how do you make sure it's the right person for you in terms of their line before values in your mission? How do you make sure they're not just good salespeople who are pulling the wool over your eyes?

Rupy Malizia: 4:13

I've been in my industry for 25 plus years and I still get it wrong. When I get it right, it's absolutely amazing. You really feel it in your gut instinct. You go this is the great, great hire. I'm really pleased that I've hired them and it's making such a difference to you. Sometimes you think you have interviewed well and you hide well, but in that small time of that interview it's very difficult. So recommendations are a great starting point as well.

Rupy Malizia: 4:37

I've created a talent list across my decades of work to go okay, if I have this opportunity or I know somebody that needs this skill set, I'm going to match them up or I'm going to hire them in. I am doing that and I am bringing in people that I know from 20 years ago that I think, yeah, absolutely, they're going to be a great fit. It's important that you are okay with getting it wrong and it's important that you may need to coach and guide them or get external advisors to help do that, and it's just okay to get on that journey with them and just see how that progresses as well. But you see, that you're interviewing on, you need to be a little bit ruthless with what you're looking for and just look at other inspiring entrepreneurs to say how do they do it and who do they hire first, and go with that basis. I think.

Amardeep Parmar: 5:27

And one of the challenges, too, is you've got your mission, you really care about it, but then when the lights start getting brighter and you get all the attention, then it's a lot of people might lose sight of that as the numbers come in, as the investment money comes in, as the funding comes in, and when it's also, let's say, a crisis too, where you have this is what we're about. But you need to keep your investors happy. You need to keep your customers happy. How do you make sure that you don't lose sight of your mission in terms of crisis and when everything is going wrong?

Rupy Malizia: 6:01

Yeah. So purpose has got to be your DNA thread of why you're doing that, why you're running that business. I think that when investors invest, think of that as your own money. So don't just burn that cash in a way that isn't going to create an ROI, because it's still a commercial business, especially when you're in the early stages and when you get to IPO stage as well. It's really really important to think like that.

Rupy Malizia: 6:27

The crisis management is crucial to have the right people around you. If you've hired the wrong people at that moment of crisis, they are likely to step away. If they don't have the same purpose as you, so they're not brought into the organization. They can step away If they don't have the skill set and feel really exposed in the situation of a crisis, because that is all hands to the deck and you need those complementary skill sets singing together, they will walk away.

Rupy Malizia: 6:53

And I was talking to a founder recently at an event and they were saying to me that they'd hired a COO from a larger organization background and what happened is they'd hit a point where there was crisis mode.

Rupy Malizia: 7:06

They needed the COO to help them through that process. That COO stepped away and said actually I can't do this and disappeared, came back in and my advice to the founders was well, I think this is a sign for you that you've hired somebody in who you think has the pedigree that you need, but you need to be really mindful of whether that person has that purpose driven. Drive behind them to want to be with you through any moment of crisis. The good times are really easy. Good times mean you can put money to anything that you want to. You can throw money at people. You can hire people that you probably would take a chance on, which is great. But it's the moment of downturn that will hit you and you need to make sure that you've got the right team around you to get through that. And we all know that the economy goes through cycles and especially the innovation economy, super crucial to get the right people in.

Amardeep Parmar: 7:57

With that side of things. How do you know if your mission actually aligns the market and your customers? How do you test that? So let's say you really care about this one thing, but actually it's detached from reality. How do you find that out? How do you make sure that when you're trying to scale, that your mission is actually aligned to what other people care about ?

Rupy Malizia: 8:16

Your pet projects don't work. So I think that's going to be key. Unless you're incredibly lucky, you need to be testing at the marketplace. So I think you need to do test cases with the marketplace and that can be with friends and family to start with, to say, hey, I've got a product idea. What do you think?

Rupy Malizia: 8:35

Do some surveys, just test it out, get a reaction and be okay with the feedback. Don't take criticism badly. Learn from it and just say, okay, I'm going to evolve what that product is or I'm going to scrap that product before you get to investment stage. Because if you're starting down the investment route, if you're new to that investment rounds, they're going to necessarily they'll probably just say, well, actually the product is a great, there isn't a marketplace and they're going to remember you with that association and then that's not a great setup for you. If you want to come back into that request for funding, you do just need to test it out and get that feedback and get that criticism and just be okay with it and evolve it and just keep going or just can it, and just not worry about that.

Amardeep Parmar: 9:22

And one of the things you mentioned there about advisors earlier on is how during this process, especially as a founder, it can be so difficult, because we often see founders. They feel like they have to have all the answers and there's this pressure whether it's social media or it's from investors of you've got to know what's going on. But you've said there about how it's important to get other voices and to learn and try to be open. How do you feel about that? How do you feel that founders can make sure that they stay open?

Rupy Malizia: 9:49

Have your KPIs. So determine what your KPIs are. Now all the business books will tell you. Actually, Google will tell you. Probably chat GPT would tell you what are the top KPIs you need to be thinking about and that's really important for you. So to focus in on the top five KPIs and work on that basis.

Rupy Malizia: 10:07

Nobody actually knows everything. I think that's first of all. That links into imposter syndrome and you shouldn't know everything because you can't be a single expert unless you're a supercomputer. It's just not going to be possible to do that. So determine what your top KPIs are and use those as your benchmark of how you're going to communicate and how you're going to talk to investors and to the marketplace. But ensure that you have complementary skillsets that are also going to input into those KPIs that can help you move the organization forward.

Rupy Malizia: 10:38

I do think that some founders feel that this was my idea I'm the only person that knows how to do it and unfortunately, they're not going to be able to grow the company if they have that mentality. They do need to be open to other people working with them and just create that network around them to get advisors so that they can get the expert skills, and that could be, you know, people with fresh, innovative ideas. Or it could be people that are experienced in business that can help and are willing to help, give advice free of charge to help them kind of progress forward.

Amardeep Parmar: 11:08

So, before joining HSBC Innovation Banking, you're obviously at HSBC, the global company, and what are some of the things you've found interesting from what you've learned in your previous career and how that can apply to innovation space and where sometimes maybe people's gaps are, like you said, where that experience from those larger organizations could actually really help people as they're trying to scale?

Rupy Malizia: 11:30

Yeah, so interesting in the sense that working at HSBC was absolutely fantastic because it was a global footprint that I was working across, so very, very diverse and so many different ideas. I also worked in technology intentionally, because I'm not an engineer, but I wanted to get deep into tech to because that is the fabric of all organizations at scale. So understanding the technology side of things was really important, coming to a smaller organization but very, very high value and great opportunity. The problems are the same, it's just different scale, and I also find that with startups and companies that are going through scale up, the whole business acumen behind that is all the same. It's just different scales, scale of the challenge. You could be talking about a two billion challenge or a hundred million challenge or a one million challenge. They're actually the same things and you have to apply the same types of thought processes and experience behind that to get to the right outcome. So I think that they're very similar. It's just a scale thing and culture can be a different aspect as well. It's a differentiator.

Amardeep Parmar: 12:41

So your job title as well is one of the longest I know about.

Rupy Malizia: 12:43

I know.

Amardeep Parmar: 12:44

So, chief Strategic Transformation and Change Officer, could you explain a bit what that mandate is and what you're able to do and how that aligns with your mission and your purpose?

Rupy Malizia: 12:54

Yeah. So I think the way to look at it is parking my title, which is incredibly long CME is a change agent. So you know, I've worked in both operational and transformational roles and my job is really to help. How do organizations need to evolve, how do they need to take it to the next stage? And that could be anything.

Rupy Malizia: 13:13

Really, I like to push the boundaries, I like to think differently and also like to take people on that journey with me. But one of the things I have learned is I don't know everything and I need a body of people around me that know things that I don't know and just treat them as a virtual team to get to the outcomes that you want to get to. So I think the way to look at it is very long title. Really, what it means is a change agent. It's purpose driven, it's all about growth, it's all about scale, it's also all about evolutionary change and it's also about helping other people go through that journey themselves to get to the outcome that we're looking for. And that does mean that we're doing the right thing for our clients and our customers, growing the business for our shareholders, and also people want to be working in that place, in that organization, as well.

Amardeep Parmar: 14:04

We hope you're enjoying the episode so far. We just want to give a quick shout out to our headline partner, HSBC Innovation Banking. One of the biggest challenges for so many startups is finding the right bank to support them, because you might start off and try to use a traditional bank, but they don't understand what you're doing. You're just talking to an AI assistant or talking to somebody who doesn't really understand what is you even trying to do? HSBC have got the team they've built out over years to make sure they understand what you're doing. They've got the deep sector expertise and they can help connect you with the right people to make your dreams come true.

Amardeep Parmar: 14:35

So if you want to learn more, check out hsbcinnovationbankingcom. So you've also been at the bank of one of the most exciting times to be there. Lots of different challenges going on. How is your purpose and your mission and what you believe, and what the bank believes as well, in terms of thinking differently and backing innovation? How is that manifested? Are there any examples or stories you can tell us of some of the decisions you've made or some of the things you've changed while being at the bank? That aligns with some of the advice you're giving today.

Rupy Malizia: 15:03

Yeah, so I worked at HSBC Global Organization and then I made a decision to go to a smaller organization that backed innovation economy. I've always had that lean into innovation but really didn't know how to get into that space and I think one of the things that the role that I had in technology enabled me to work with Fintechs and also look at the technology within the organization and the talent that exists in organizations. I was fascinated about the sort of Fintechs and the startups that use technology to help find cures for diseases, and the biotech industry and the life sciences industry and this role came up and I was just also very fascinated about the young female CEO that we have. I wanted to come and join the organization and I thought it's a risk. I've always been in a big corporate organization tier one companies but I'm going to take this risk. And HSBC were fantastic. They said, look, have a go, come back if you want to and just give it a go, because I knew what my purpose was and why I was trying to do what I was trying to do.

Rupy Malizia: 16:12

So, coming into the organization, I didn't ever think that it would come back to HSBC and the word is boomerang back in and, I think the organization before it was called HSBC Innovation Banking. It was very purpose driven and it was a significant player in the market both in the US and the UK and in Israel and Hong Kong. I was very lucky to be where I was at that time to also then help the Silicon Valley Bank UK to transition into HSBC, along with many, many other people. It was a massive transformation agenda that we were driving and we did it at speed, but I also had confidence in the parent company that we had that we could do it with a lot of ease. There will always be challenges, but we've landed incredibly well.

Rupy Malizia: 17:03

HSBC was also in the innovation space and wanting to push into that sort of sector as well.

Rupy Malizia: 17:09

So I think this has been a perfect marriage and, using the global footprint we have and the product offerings we have in HSBC Group and you have this innovation economy that we're involved in and the deep expertise that's sit with a non-organization you put those two together.

Rupy Malizia: 17:26

It's quite a powerful organization that can help the innovation economy and the founders and the startups and also moving into IPOs and corporates. So I think that it's been a journey that I was quite reflective of it, but it used all my skills that I've acquired over the years and the experience I had at HSBC to enable me to be calm, cool and collected about the transition that we were doing and not to go into panic mode. And I think that leans into crisis management, that you've got to be calm, cool and collected, but you've got to be confident in your skills, that you have and what you can bring to enable that to happen and take people on a journey. And the crucial thing is through crisis, don't go into a room and shut the door and do what you need to do. You have to take the whole organization through that journey and have them participate and give them the confidence that we can land that well and be confident about it.

Amardeep Parmar: 18:25

And obviously there's so much going on in the bank still and we had Arpit in here recently talked about the expansion to different areas across the world, too what are some of the changes that are coming up soon that you're allowed to talk about that are really exciting going on at the bank that are kind of keeping you busy.

Rupy Malizia: 18:40

I think some of the changes if I'm going to lean on the transformational angle, obviously from a commercial strategy perspective and the branding we're out there. The teams are doing a fantastic job. They haven't changed just because the names changed. They're still the same people, they're still the deep experts and I think one of the things that I've been quite amazed about is when I talk to the relationship bankers, sometimes I think they're technologists and I kind of go your relationship bankers, but you really really know the tech deeply and I can align that to the conversations I used to have when I was in technology at HSBC and I kind of think are you an engineer? Because you really really know the sector very, very well. So that's just going to continue to evolve and grow. We're just going to put more investment behind that and support our colleagues to do their job really well and support the economy as well.

Rupy Malizia: 19:27

The things that we are going to be looking at is how do we create the internal aspects of the organization into an innovation hub, if you like, to enable scale-up. So when you're looking at growth, you're looking at scale-up and you have to think about all the component parts to enable that scale-up to happen. And technology is going to end up in that, and that could also be skills enhancements, it could be. You know. It's certainly maintaining our culture within a parent culture and I think there'll be investment on a user experience for our clients to make sure that they have the best user experience. They also have to recognize that we've just gone through a significant journey, but we are going to be upticking on what that will look like and what that will be and will be market-leading.

Amardeep Parmar: 20:11

And it's interesting there as well, like you said, about how, with the mission of HSBC and innovation banking in terms of supporting the innovation sector, there's a lot with tech and life sciences in those different sectors which are really making a huge difference, like you said. What are the things that you're most excited about personally as part of that journey?

Rupy Malizia :
From a life sciences perspective or just from a?

Amardeep Parmar:
So, as in like what's the bits that you're looking forward to working on, or like what are you most excited about?

Rupy Malizia: 20:35Well, I'm really excited about helping the organization scale.Rupy Malizia: 20:39

I'm really pleased that we've bedded into HSBC Group and there's still more things to evolve. I'm excited about the fact that we can leverage lots of products that we have around the organization in HSBC and that we can offer to our clients as well. And I'm excited about creating that innovation ecosystem within the bank as well as the external. Obviously, that's already part of our DNA, but to have the opportunity to create that innovation ecosystem so we're driving similar to a fintech banking organization. And then, personally, I'm just so excited to be involved in the innovation ecosystem with founders and just understanding what they do and what their challenges are and where I can advise on how you can do a scale-up and things to look out for. And I guess my passion really is leaning into the life sciences space, which is how to use technology and potentially AI to find cures for diseases, and that was my original purpose, probably 10 years ago. But interestingly, my journey is kind of taking me down that route and I'm getting exposure to an area that I've always wanted to be involved in.

Amardeep Parmar: 21:46

So obviously, one of the things which hopefully the audience knows as well they probably have heard that at some point in this episode too is that HSBC Innovation Banking are our headline partners, so they're the people that pay the bills, which is great for us, and you found out about that after we actually signed the deal right, and what's exciting about you're obviously here today. What's exciting about our partnership for you?

Rupy Malizia: 22:09

Yeah, I'm really excited about this. It was a funny thing that happened. I think you were at our offices. There was an event being held. Arpit had actually attended on that night. I found out the next day and said, well, why was I included in that? So that was just because I wanted to know what this is all about. And then I researched what BAE HQ is all about.

Rupy Malizia: 22:30

We met, you invited me on a panel and I was just blown away at seeing people in the auditorium, you know, full of diversity, diversity of thought, but also diversity and great ideas and I would say that part of my small mission could be around how do we help underrepresented founders as well as just founders in general. But how do we help underrepresented founders and how do we use our skills to advise where needed, to help them grow and overcome challenges? I think it's really, really important to give back. So I think this partnership, for me, is just fantastic. What you're doing with the ecosystem is fantastic, what I saw was fantastic, and I just think this is the beginning. So I'm excited about the unknown of where this is going to take us as an organization, with BAE as well. So, yeah, I think it's just super exciting. I can see the passion, I can see the purpose behind this organization and that's really appealing.

Amardeep Parmar: 23:31

Thank you so much for the support as well, because it's one of the great things for us has just been how there's so many different people at the bank who've supported us, whereas it's not just, oh, we've got one ratio with one person. Everyone we talk to the bank is supportive of the mission and it's at all levels, obviously. So you're at the top of that tree in the C suite, and then there's people at the beginning that associates, and what we've been really grateful for is just how many people are wanting to get involved and learn more and come to the events. And it does make a huge difference to us because when we're picking our partner, obviously there's one financial element, but, as you said, if somebody's backing us financially but doesn't really believe in what we're doing, then it's just going to be friction the whole year and we didn't really want that. And that was the really important things for us about why we picked you guys to work with is that we know you actually care and that's why I can vouch for you and I can do the advert in the middle of this podcast, say hey, innovation, banking.

Amardeep Parmar: 24:24

Wherever I said, I got those. The audience will have heard what I said, but I can say that whole heartedly because I know that you actually believe in us. It's not just a ploy and that's so important. People understand about that genuine belief that we've had and support we've had as well. So there's a lot more to come and that's by the time this comes up. A few more events announced. I think I won't say now because the dates might change and then that looks bad. So that's, we're out of the moment and before we move on to quick fire questions, is there anything else on the topic about scaling with purpose that you want to bring up that we haven't mentioned yet?

Rupy Malizia: 25:02

Well, I just think, just coming back to what you've just said just now and when you were talking about that, I could actually I can see why HSBC Innovation Bank is sponsoring BAE HQ and the reason why that is is because when I walked onto that floor back in November 2022, it's incredibly diverse, very, very diverse, and I can see that connectivity and I can see that passion between you know, with our colleagues in the organization that actually are driving forward to ensuring the innovation ecosystem grows and grows in UK and also recognize we need to get more underrepresented founders in that ecosystem and supported, and there is a real passion there. So I can see why that marriage and that partnership has actually worked really well. So I just wanted to just add that in.

Rupy Malizia: 25:52

From a scale up perspective, I think it is. You know, it is very simple. It is that purpose, strategy, mission, vision, getting people on board that have the right skill sets that can compliment you. You know, don't just think it's, you have to have all that information. It's a very lonely place if you end up in that situation and you can't grow a company like that and ensure that you test the marketplace with your product or ideas before you take it to the investors, because investors are commercially focused. They're not there to give you a favor or to say that's a great idea, of course I'm going to invest in you. They're there to make money, so they are there on a commercial basis as well. So I think there's always having that. And then, as you scale an organization, have technology underpinning you. Don't just throw people at it. Make sure you got the the slickest technology behind you. You can grow without growing the sort of uh, running the organization costs as well. So it's all these different things that you need to think about.

Amardeep Parmar: 26:51

Thank you so much for everything so far. The first question is who are free British Asians do you think are doing incredible work that you'd love to shout out for the audience to check out?

Rupy Malizia: 27:01

Okay, so I'm going to go for um, not the younger crowd, um, I am going to go for the Vin Murria, who was a board member at innovation banking. She actually broke the boundaries few decades ago actually. So she is a highly successful investor and advisor, but prior to that she set up her own computer software company and it was did an incredible job. Now that's kind of you know, a few decades ago. So you can imagine the environment would have been far more challenging than what underrepresented found is fine today. So I think she's she's an amazing person to to, to know and to follow.

Rupy Malizia: 27:44

I think the other one is Tej Lalvani that actually he is vital biotics, but he is on Dragons Den, as probably everybody knows that. But he's also an advisor on tech nation who, um, we're partnering with and our CEOs also as an advisor on on tech nation as well, and we're going to be doing a lot more work with them. But you know, it's great to see that he's grown an organization, a company, and he's not afraid to make tough decisions. And an example is when I was reading up on him, um, you know, making a decision that the marketing spend was a wrong. You know they spent far too much they open they, they approached too many stalls and he just said no, that's the wrong thing to do, we've got to change it, and was probably a painful decision to make, but the right decision to enable them to grow. So I think he's he's a great person.

Rupy Malizia: 28:30

The other one is Vishal Marria, who is context here, context here and he I think over the last 14 years he's been driving this growth of his company and he's a fastest growing, one of the fastest growing tech companies in the UK and it's just hit a unicorn status. So I think he's one to watch as well and to follow what he's done. How he approached the startup to the scale up to now is a unicorn, um yeah, so I think these are three that I would say that I certainly will be looking constantly to and just to see what they do.

Amardeep Parmar: 29:08

I think he's the only unicorn last year in in the UK. It's amazing that there's only one last year, but it's also amazing that it's somebody from a british asian backgrou nd who's built up that company over years to get to that stage, which is incredibly impressive in such a difficult market as well.

Rupy Malizia:

Yeah, definitely, and it's a growth market and a competitive market, and there's many of them that are trying to do the same thing.

Amardeep Parmar:

So next question is how can people find out more about you, find out more about what you're up to?

Rupy Malizia: 29:30

So I think, while I'm on LinkedIn um, I'm an executive member on the HSBC innovation committee, um I yeah, I'm not quite sure I'm not out there really, I'm just doing my job um, and I'm advising where I can advise um joining panels, when I can join them. Um, obviously I have a family, so it's kind of you know um I I share my time um, but yeah, I look, I'm on LinkedIn, I'm um at the innovation bank, so that's kind of where you find me and is there any other that the audience could help you today, that there's something you need help with or HSBC innovation banking needs help with, they could reach out about just around the innovation economy.

Rupy Malizia: 30:10

What more can we do? I think would be the key thing. How do we help those existing clients that are with us and, um, how do we make it even better for them? And then, how do we attract more clients to come to innovation bank, which has got such a deep expertise in the innovation economy? You know what do we need to do to to support them further.

Amardeep Parmar: 30:29

So thank you again so much for coming on today. Any final words?

Rupy Malizia: 30:33

Brilliant, thank you so much for having me. It's great to get to know you and the purpose behind BAE as well, so hopefully you know I'm going to see you guys thrive and grow um and help other founders do that. So thank you for having me.

Amardeep Parmar: 30:47

Thank you for watching. Don't forget to subscribe. See you next time.