Meet Cake: this is Yves

By Sophie Docx

We’re a fully remote team of over 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 Yves.

Name: Yves Bovin
Age: 45 
Role: Head of Legal & Operations, co-founder
Making Cake since: October 2018
Location: Glabbeek, Belgium

Tell us about your workspace picture

At Cake, we work completely remote. This means we don’t have a “real” office. Officially speaking, we do need to have an address somewhere. That is the reason why the registered office of Cake is located at my home address. 😀 

Audits or other official internal meetings usually take place at my home. This can be funny sometimes. During the first official audit in the early days of Cake, people from the audit team were scattered around the living room, the porch and the kitchen. My wife was banished to the bedroom for half a day. At that moment it became clear right away that we had to organise ourselves a little differently.

So my single-desk office was converted into a meeting room. Most days I work at my “conference table”. In my garden, I also have 2 large tables so we can sit outside when the weather is nice. Another advantage of remote working. 😎

Besides that, soccer cafeterias have become my second workplace. I have four children; three of whom play soccer. So about every weekday, at least one of them has a training session. During these sessions, I sit in the cafeteria working quietly with headphones on. With the Corona crisis, I haven’t seen football cafeterias for a while now, but I’m looking forward to becoming part of the fixed furniture of the cafeteria again next season. 😀

What do you do at Cake?

I deal with everything related to finance, human resources, corporate issues, grants, legal, auditing and regulatory affairs. So just about every topic my colleagues would rather not do. 😂 Except for Olivier, maybe.

I enjoy taking the paperwork, the administrative burden and legal concerns away from my colleagues so that they can deal with what they are good at. It makes me happy to help colleagues in a supportive role. I like to work in the shadows, where it’s not so hot.  

Compared to the average Cake team member, I’m a bit of an outsider. Most people are focused on building the product and bringing it to market. I enjoy reading legal texts, tax issues, accounting balances, privacy policies and especially general terms and conditions. In my opinion, the latter shows the soul of a company. Most general terms and conditions that are intended for consumers are filled to the brim with complicated sentence structures or incomprehensible terms that are not further explained. As if the company doesn’t really want you to read them, let alone understand them. It says a lot about those companies and especially about how they deal with their customers. And that’s exactly what we at Cake try to do differently. 

How did you end up at Cake? 

Mid-2018 I had my first meeting with our CEO, Davy Kestens. He was looking for someone who could get a license for a payment institution.

In my earlier days, I had already obtained a license for an asset manager, a broker and a fund manager, so I was very excited to potentially add another license to my resume. There was also something about the idea of Cake, even at its earliest days, that just “clicked” and made sense once you heard it. Less than 3 hours after our first conversation, I already let Davy know that I was participating.

Funny fact: All co-founders said “yes” and resigned from their full-time jobs within 12 hours after their first coffee with Davy. Well, everyone except for Peter van Hees, our head of product. He doesn’t drink coffee. He had a Red Bull.

Why Cake and not another company?

First and foremost, it is particularly fascinating to work with exceptional people. To build an extraordinary company, you need extraordinary people. And at Cake, we have some. 

In addition, our business model is extremely disruptive. The fact that, in this sector, we get our income from companies and not by leeching on consumers, while contrarily, letting those consumers share in our revenue, is unprecedented. 

With our business model, the changes in the market and the people we have on board, I believe we have the opportunity to roll out something incredibly disruptive across Europe. When something like that comes across, you simply have to go for it, as you rarely get such an opportunity in your lifetime. 

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”

Sheryl Sandberg

And let’s take a look at our company values. I feel they describe our culture incredibly well, and how things are going with us. In such an environment, I perform at my best. 

I used to be the CEO of an online broker, where I was responsible for just about everything within the company. Now I only deal with what, to me, is the fun part of a company: Legal & Operations. This gives me the feeling that I’m not really “working”, but that I’m having fun every day. 

Usually, I get up between 6 and 7 in the morning. This is quite early compared to most of the other team members. Before breakfast, I have already read three newspapers and sometimes “Het Staatsblad”, which is a central depository of important updates from all companies registered in Belgium. My colleagues find the fact that I enjoy reading it quite funny. I sometimes share interesting articles with the team via Slack, our internal communication tool. Every day, I tend to be working until about 10 in the evening. Not in one full stretch, of course. In between, I also do some house-hold tasks and prepare food for my family. I’m the chef of the house, you see.

On Saturdays, I catch up on some work that has been left lying around during the week. And every Sunday I empty my mailbox and make a plan for the coming week. Because every week, there will always be unexpected urgent tasks, I typically leave 1 day open in my calendar.

I absolutely love to work, which means I never get bored. The last time I was bored was on Friday, the 27th of June, in 1997. The day before, I had taken my last school exam and the following Monday I was allowed to start working. Since then I haven’t been bored for a minute; I just love to work! As Aristotle said more than 2,300 years ago: Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

What’s your most memorable Cake moment?

Obtaining our licence as a payment institution at the National Bank of Belgium in July 2019. This could then also be checked off of my bucket list. I received more compliments from my colleagues on that day compared to the rest of my entire 22-year career. That was really gratifying!

Another fantastic moment was the writing of our General Terms and Conditions. I was really able to put my own personality into it, within the legal framework. It gives me a kick when I see how many people actually enjoy reading our Terms and Conditions and tell us about it on social media. Our terms are really written to be read. And not to hide behind complicated fine print.  

Of course, the “offsites” with the team have been a lot of fun too. Actually, in our case we should rather call them “onsites” since we don’t have a “site”. 😀 Anyway, they are memorable to say the least. But what happened on the offsites, stays on the offsites… 

What’s your favorite cake?

My ex-mother-in-law’s traditional “toet.” It’s a typical apricot jam cake, based on an old recipe. She still regularly makes two pies, one for the 4 children together and one for me. I tend to completely eat mine within 24 hours. 😇 

Any topping on the Cake?

Humour. Anyone who knows me a little bit knows I like humour. Lots of it. And wine, especially French. And steak and fries with mayonnaise. Preferably entrecôte. And a Meukow VSOP to finish it off. With a piece of chocolate. Praliné if at all possible.