Estonian e-commerce and fintech start-up Montonio has been joined by two top lawyers – Silja Kichno and Triin Tiru – who will build and lead the legal department of Montonio. The plan is to create two units that mutually support each other: a team focusing on legal issues related to Montonio’s products (product legal team), led by Silja, and a team responsible for Montonio’s day-to-day business, its development and expansion (core legal team), led by Triin.
Silja previously assembled and led the international legal team at the recent start-up unicorn Veriff and worked as a product lawyer at Swedbank. “I know from my start-up experience just how important it is to work effectively with other departments,” claimed Silja. “In traditional companies, lawyers are very often the bottlenecks. We, however, are focused on growing and supporting the business on the go. At Montonio, lawyers are involved from the very beginning of product development, which provides the confidence that, from the legal point of view, we’re developing our service in the right direction from the start.”
Prior to joining Montonio, Triin was an associate partner and attorney-at-law at the law firm NOVE. In addition, she has been teaching contract law at the University of Tartu for years. “I see tremendous potential in the people and business model of Montonio as well as in the field of e-commerce, and there was a strong inner urge to jump on that rocket and ride along. The chance to join Montonio in this relatively early but crucial stage of growth, to have a say in the development of the company and be responsible for solving the legal issues essential to Montonio’s success, is incredibly inspiring and makes my eyes shine.”
A fintech start-up has to notice every legal nuance
As Montonio is a fintech company, there are a great deal of legal regulations and issues to consider. For example, two separate licenses are necessary for the provision of payment services and credit intermediation services. In addition, great attention must be paid to the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, which means making sure that all the money flowing through Montonio is legal. A background check is carried out with respect to each new online store: who their owners and beneficial owners are and what products they sell. Also, the rules for payment services may vary from country to country, each new market requires a thorough legal groundwork.
Although both Silja and Triin have their own areas of responsibility, they plan the future of the legal team together. “Our goal is to build a strong legal department whose competence would be equivalent to a law firm specialising in e-commerce. Our ambition is to grow an international team – when expanding on new markets, we’ll initially be using law firms, but in the long term we want to assemble a team that supports Montonio’s operations from legal side in all countries where we provide our services.”
What is Montonio?
Montonio provides payment links, card payments, automatic shipping label printing and instalment solutions for online stores and focuses on improving the user experience of shopping carts. Montonio’s services are currently used by more than 4500 online stores in the Baltics and Poland.