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‘Three heads in one’: A day in the life of Hussein Ahmed, founder & CEO of Oxygen Bank

  • Hussein Ahmed is the CEO of Oxygen, a challenger bank tailored to digital native consumers and to freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs.
  • From walking his dog Oreo, to meeting VCs, to putting out email fires, here’s a typical day in Hussein Ahmed’s life.
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‘Three heads in one’: A day in the life of Hussein Ahmed, founder & CEO of Oxygen Bank

There are challenges that come with starting a challenger bank. And as the founder and CEO of one, you’re faced with the task of managing all of them.

Hussein Ahmed is the founder and CEO of San Francisco-based challenger bank, Oxygen. He’s not a stranger to startup chaos — he founded two other companies before starting Oxygen.

Ahmed started the bank after realizing there was a gap in financial services for freelancers and independent contractors — members of what he calls “the hustler generation”. The incentive came from his own personal experience as an independent contractor.

“I was consulting on the side and working out of a WeWork location, and realized quickly that to large banks, I was atypical in that I didn’t have an ordinary 9-5, office-based job,” said Ahmed. “I saw a gap in the marketplace for creatives, freelancers, and contractors. Oxygen was started as a bank for these people, the hustler generation.”

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But while the bank may be called Oxygen, Ahmed doesn’t get a lot of time to breathe. With a team spread all over the world, he has to remain present and accounted for at all sorts of hours.

Starting at 7:00 a.m. and ending at 3:00 a.m., here’s a day in Hussein Ahmed’s life:

07:00 a.m.: It’s me, my wife, and our dog Oreo — that’s kind of our household fusion.

So at 7, I wake up and take Oreo out for a quick walk. Then I come home and have breakfast with my wife.

08:00 a.m.: After breakfast, I kickstart the day with meetings. My early meetings are usually with a partner in New York. Today I’m meeting with — not sure I can say his name — let’s call him Mike, one of our partners on the East Coast. 

08:30 a.m.: I start catching up on Slack messages from the teams in Europe and San Francisco.


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