Meet Cake: this is Sven

By Sophie Docx

We’re a fully remote team of about 20 people spread across 3 countries, all working together to build Cake and improve the financial well-being of every consumer. Meet the people behind Cake in this blog series. Today, it’s up to Sven.

Name: Sven Lenaerts
Age: 27
Role: UX Lead
Making Cake since: November 2018
Location: Leuven, Belgium

Tell us about your workspace picture

You’re in luck! I recently upgraded to get one of the new iMacs. As a designer, I guess I fulfill the cliché of being an Apple fan. 🍏

Long before COVID-19, I was already working remotely for years. I’ve lived and worked in New York for about two years and ever since I moved back I’ve worked on international projects. So working for an entirely remote company like Cake and being productive at home is nothing new for me.

A couple of things usually accompany me at my desk:

☕ Coffee: It’s a bit of an unhealthy habit of mine, but I need two strong cups before I’m able to face the world. 

📓 Notebooks: I tend to continuously sketch as I’m working to explore ideas. My notebooks of choice are Moleskine’s with blank paper and a soft cover. 

🚗 A small metal model of a 718 Cayman: I’m a huge petrol head and a Porsche fan. Frankly, a mid-engined car beats anything, any day! They’re a reminder how engineering and design can work hand-in-hand and when it does that some superb things can be created. When I got this model a couple of years ago, this was a gift I received and it inspires my design ethic every day. Perhaps some day I’d love to do a car-related project.

Otherwise, my desk tends to be quite clean. I’m a bit of a minimalist with a great love for productivity. I’ll shout out a few of my favorite apps I use on a daily basis:

  • Things 3: Without a doubt, the best task manager on Mac
  • Fantastical: For people who juggle a couple of calendars, this is the app to do it
  • Day One: It’s my trusty digital notebook

Within the design team, we work with Sketch and Abstract. Although, I have to admit, I’ve become more and more a fan of Figma as time has been passing by. Design software is something that keeps evolving – I’m stoked to see what the future holds.

What do you do at Cake?

I work as UX Lead. Essentially it translates to working with the product team to make our ideas real in the form of wireframes. Eric, who works on our visual design, then takes those concepts and turns them into the pretty pixels you see in our app!

Our design process is a very collaborative one. Together with Peter (Head of Product), Eric (our awesome Visual Designer) and Benoit and Eliot (our Engineers) we meet on a weekly basis to discuss progress, ideas and critique each other’s work.

It’s a great collaboration, in which everyone can share their thoughts and we work together on making the experience for Cake’s users as great as it could be.

In terms of my own work, it often translates to conceptualising ideas, taking feedback from stakeholders and aligning them, taking ideas to the wireframe stage or polishing wireframes from others.

A few of the early wireframes of some of our app screens

I think you can summarise my role as the first step of starting to make what we want to do real and tangible.

Why Cake and not another company?

It all started with Peter and Davy convincing me to come aboard and I haven’t looked back since.

For me, there are a couple of highlights which make Cake special for me. 

First and foremost, it’s the transparent culture and the exceptional people who work here.

Secondarily, it’s the quality of the product and the idea. I’ve seen my fair share of startups, both national and internationally. The team that Davy brought together and with the work we’re doing I know we’re onto something. These conditions occur rarely and it’s great to be a part of something where it feels like the stars align and we have the chance to do something truly great.

Finally – I have a tremendous interest in finance and the financial market. Before Cake, I juggled a couple of excels around to manage my finances. I love financial news, do research for my own investment decisions and I actively trade stocks. Macroeconomics is something which has such a large influence on our society and lives. It’s super fascinating.

What’s your most memorable Cake moment?

I look back with a certain fondness for the early days. I recall that Peter and I have visited numerous coffee shops and restaurants at the most random times to discuss our ideas, sketch together and iterate to get to the current concept.

The early days: sketching and drawing in a coffee bar

We’ve explored countless design patterns and concepts and I’m proud of how thoughtful we designed the first version of the product. It’s without a doubt, the most thoughtful and iterative design process I’ve contributed to ever since I started designing. 😁

If you want to read more about our work you should definitely check out this interview with Peter and myself as well.

What’s your favorite cake?

Easy pick: I love red velvet cake. Although, if I can choose any baked good, a freshly baked madeleine is out of this world.

If I can pair it with good coffee, I highly suggest Mok for the fellow Leuvenaars. Although. There seems to be a continuous fight here whether Noir or Mok is better. Come visit and judge for yourself!

Any topping on the Cake?

Just wait and see – we’re just getting started! Check our open roadmap to see what’s coming up!

You might also be interested in this interview with Sven

Tell us about … user feedback

Are you ready to download the Cake app? It’s available for Google Play and on the App Store.