Mastering Fintech’s Future: Julien Vallet’s Journey from Startup Rookie to Visionary CEO

Julien Vallet: CEO Insights on Leading Finst to Global Fintech Success

In this insightful interview with Julien Vallet, the Co-Founder and CEO of Finst, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, we delve into his unique journey blending finance and aviation. Vallet, a French native now residing in Amsterdam, shares his dual passions for investing, trading, and aviation, revealing an unexpected side as a licensed pilot. 

His fascinating trajectory from dreaming of flight as a child to achieving his pilot’s license just before turning 30, amidst the onset of COVID-19, underscores his tenacity and dedication. Interestingly, Vallet draws parallels between navigating the high-pressure environments of financial markets and aviation, highlighting the transferable skills of quick decision-making, adaptability, and applying knowledge under pressure. His experience in these distinct yet connected realms has not only shaped his leadership style but also offers a unique perspective on the intersections between different fields. 

The conversation further explores Vallet’s decision to move to the Netherlands, driven by its rich trading history and vibrant entrepreneurial culture. As a Frenchman adapting to Dutch life, he reflects on the cultural nuances and the opportunities that Amsterdam offered in his professional journey, culminating in his current role at the helm of Finst.

Julien Vallet: CEO Insights on Leading Finst to Global Fintech Success
Soaring High in Finance and Flight: Julien Vallet’s Dual Passions

In a candid revelation, Julien Vallet, the CEO of Finst, not only orchestrates the complexities of a leading cryptocurrency exchange but also navigates the skies as a licensed pilot. His journey to the cockpit is as intriguing as his rise in the financial world. Julien’s story begins with a childhood dream, a dream that only took flight in the tumult of 2020. Amidst the global crisis, Julien accomplished a personal milestone, earning his pilot’s license just weeks shy of his 30th birthday. This achievement wasn’t just a check on his bucket list; it was a testament to his perseverance and ability to turn challenges into opportunities.

But how does steering a plane relate to leading a cryptocurrency exchange? Julien draws an interesting parallel: “In both fields, you face high-pressure environments and have little time to make decisions.” He reflects on how piloting has honed his ability to adapt swiftly and make critical decisions under pressure – skills that are equally vital in the fast-paced world of finance. Julien’s unique combination of passions underlines a powerful message about cross-disciplinary learning and its unexpected benefits in professional life. His journey is not just about following multiple passions but also about how these diverse experiences synergize to shape a more versatile leader.


Our conversation then takes a geographical turn as Julien shares insights into his move from France to Amsterdam. His choice was driven by a thirst for the vibrant entrepreneurial culture and a developed trading environment in the Netherlands. Julien recounts his early days at De Ziro, Europe’s largest online stockbroker, where he played a pivotal role in launching the French market. This experience was instrumental in shaping his career and, eventually, his leadership at Finst. Reflecting on his journey, Julien notes, “It’s a great country to launch a startup; people are driven, fast-moving, and business-savvy.” In his narrative, Julien not only charts his professional trajectory but also provides a glimpse into the cultural nuances that influence business environments and personal growth.

It’s a great country to launch a startup; people are driven, fast-moving, and business-savvy

Blending Cultures and Cryptocurrency: Julien’s Journey at Finst

Julien Vallet, the dynamic CEO of Finst, brings a refreshing perspective on cultural diversity and its impact on the workplace. With his company boasting 10 nationalities among just 14 employees, Julien emphasizes the richness that this diversity brings. “It really helps the business and our clients because we move faster, and we get to learn from each other,” he explains. This ethos of embracing different backgrounds isn’t just about inclusivity; it’s a strategic advantage, enabling Finst to navigate the complex, fast-paced world of cryptocurrency with agility and insight. Julien’s approach is a testament to the power of global perspectives in driving innovation and understanding in an increasingly connected world.

Diving deeper into his professional narrative, Julien shares his experience with De Giro, where he was among the early team members. He reflects on their mission to democratize access to financial markets, drawing parallels to his current venture at Finst. “The idea was to create a level playing field between retail and professional investors,” Julien recalls. His tenure at De Giro, marked by rapid growth and expansion across Europe, laid a solid foundation for his entrepreneurial journey. It’s evident that the lessons learned and the success achieved there have significantly influenced his vision and strategy at Finst, where he’s replicating a similar model in the crypto sphere.

The idea was to create a level playing field between retail and professional investors

Finally, Julien touches upon the transition from De Giro to founding Finst, highlighting the continuity in his team and the shared mission. “We’re cooking the same recipe in a different restaurant,” he says with a smile, acknowledging the similar challenges in the crypto industry that he once tackled in the stock market. This analogy captures the essence of Julien’s leadership – adapting proven strategies to new contexts while ensuring safety and transparency in the volatile world of cryptocurrencies. His journey is not just about building successful businesses but also about creating environments where diverse thoughts and experiences converge to innovate and redefine industries.

At just 23, Julien Vallet embarked on an entrepreneurial rollercoaster with De Giro, a journey that was as unpredictable as it was exhilarating. “I wasn’t ready,” Julien admits with candid humility, reflecting on those early days. Despite his youth and inexperience, he recognized the key to startup success: execution. It’s one thing to have a brilliant idea and a great team, but bringing that vision to life requires relentless focus and adaptability. Julien’s experience is a masterclass in the startup ethos, teaching that success isn’t just about great ideas; it’s about making those ideas a tangible reality.

Julien’s insight into building a successful fintech platform is especially poignant. He emphasizes the importance of scalability from day one, a lesson learned through the rapid growth at De Giro. “If you believe in your idea… always think that down the line, you’re going to have millions of users,” he advises. This forward-thinking approach is not just about technology or infrastructure; it’s about a mindset that anticipates and plans for future success. Julien’s journey underscores a crucial point for aspiring entrepreneurs: prepare for success as if it’s inevitable.

Execution is at least as important as the idea you have

Reflecting on his biggest mistakes, Julien shares an anecdote that resonates with the startup world’s quirks and challenges. He talks about the seemingly minor yet impactful decision of not protecting their domain with a password, a rookie mistake that affected their visibility on Google. This story, while seemingly small, underscores the larger theme of constant learning and adapting that defines the startup journey. Julien’s narrative is not just about the successes and strategic decisions; it’s also about the small, everyday choices that can have unexpected consequences in the dynamic world of startups.

Julien Vallet: Crafting Leadership and Legacy in the World of Fintech

Julien Vallet, the CEO of Finst, brings a unique blend of leadership and vision to the rapidly evolving fintech landscape. When asked about his ‘secret sauce’ of being a good CEO, Julien reflects on the continuous learning curve that comes with the role. “There is no training program to become a CEO,” he says, underscoring the importance of on-the-job learning and the ability to adapt. Julien emphasizes the crucial role of building a solid foundation by surrounding oneself with a team that shares the same vision and pace. He reveals that the core strength of his leadership lies in assembling a team that not only believes in the mission but also brings diverse perspectives and skills to the table.

Delving deeper into the nuances of effective leadership, Julien talks about the challenging transition from working in the business to working on the business. This shift, he explains, is vital for any CEO to understand and embrace. “You’ve got to learn that your role is not to be involved in every little detail,” Julien advises, highlighting the importance of delegation and trust. He also shares insights into the practice of taking time out with the team to think and reflect, away from the daily hustle. This approach, according to Julien, is not just beneficial but essential for fostering innovation and keeping pace with market changes.

You’ve got to learn that your role is not to be involved in every little detail

When discussing his vision for legacy, Julien’s passion for making a real impact on people’s lives shines through. He envisions a legacy where clients look back and appreciate how Finst helped them grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals. Julien’s dream is to enable people to say, “I managed to get a small down payment for my house by investing with you guys,” showcasing his commitment to adding real value to his clients’ lives. This vision for legacy transcends mere financial success; it’s about empowering people to make smarter financial decisions and improve their lives through informed investing. Julien’s leadership journey at Finst is not just about building a successful business; it’s about leaving a lasting, positive imprint on the world of fintech.

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