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Hard-driving UK fintech CEO confesses he was sleeping four hours a night

Running a profitable fintech can be a pretty intensive job, especially in 2024. At today's 2024 Innovate Finance Global Summit, OakNorth CEO Rishi Khosla spoke about how he stays healthy and productive; his most recent pursuit is more sleep.

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Khosla, who had "gone down to about four or five hours of sleep per night," recently begun incorporating a few more hours and noticed a significant positive impact. He also advises that you have a more conscientious diet and "put only healthy stuff into your body."

OakNorth staff may not always have the luxury of taking Khosla's advice. Employees have previously complained of working 15-hour days, and the company hasn't shied away from acknowledging it. Of course, like all startups and scaleups, working hours can be very cyclical; 2024 reviews on Glassdoor have praised the "improved cultural environment," and "pace of the company."

To get those extra hours of sleep, you might need to rethink how you approach meetings. Khosla says that meetings which are often scheduled for a whole hour "could be a twelve-minute block, it could be an eighteen-minute block." He also says that "sometimes its better not to have to schedule a meeting,"  and that "it’s amazing how out of habit we are in terms of just calling someone."

Khosla says OakNorth staff have a specific "DNA", which prevents them from wasting time on unprofitable pursuits. Staff always ask themselves "is there a very strong commercial rationale for doing" something, and if not, Khosla says "we're not going to test it."

This approach seems to be working out very well for OakNorth. Its most recent annual report showed profits of £187m, and it's one of the rare few to have been profitable for multiple years already in fintech.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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