Talking heads meet WiMLDS

Talking Heads meet WiMLDS is the second round of our new format launched before summer discussing digital strategies for Fintechs with Derev, Hoopygang and Plick. This time the Fintech District community meets a new reality that has just started writing its first chapter in Milan. We interviewed one of the two Italian organizers, Claudia Volpetti. Make sure you don’t miss the 12th of September to meet her and listen live to what she does.

What is WiMLDS and what is its mission?

WiMLDS is an international community of women interested in machine learning and data science. WiMLDS’s mission is to support and promote women practicing, studying or interested in the fields of machine learning and data science. We create opportunities for women to engage in technical and professional conversations in a positive, supportive environment by hosting talks by prominent female or non-binary data scientists and engineers, technical workshops, networking events and hackathons. We are inclusive to anyone who supports our cause regardless of gender or technical background. However, in support of our mission, priority for certain events and opportunities will be given to women.

When did it arrive in Italy?

The WiMLDS Milan Chapter was established at the beginning of 2018 as a local meetup group of the international non-profit community of  Women in Machine Learning and Data Science. This is a group for women who are interested in Machine Learning and Data Science

Which kind of activities does it do?

We meet to share knowledge and working experience in these fields, with the purpose of building a community of professionals. Our meetings are open to anyone and any support to our events is welcome. The WiMLDS Milan Chapter is organized by Carlotta Orsenigo and myself who are members of the Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics research group at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. On the meetup page “Milan Women in Machine Learning and Data Science” you can find any update on the forthcoming events and meetings. The one organized with the Fintech District is our next event.


What will we talk about at the meeting organized by Fintech District on the 12th of December?

More and more companies are using data science and machine learning for optimizing their business processes. This event, jointly organized by Milan WiMLDS and FinTech District, will host data science and machine learning professionals and researchers and who will share their experience in these fields describing applications used in finance and entrepreneurship. The presentation of WiMLDS will be followed by Carlotta Orsenigo’s speech on the theme “Green or non-green? Detecting sustainable crowdfunding campaigns via text mining “and that of Katarina Milosevic on” Forex forecasting with Deep Learning “. The meeting will end with a moment of networking

Make sure you have a place at the meeting, sign up hereIf you wish to stay uptodated about news, events and initiatives of the Fintech District, subscribe to our newsletter HERE 

“Fintech goes to Italy” in November

From the fundamental role of the ecosystem to accessing capitals, integration and dialogue between Fintech and Incumbent, up to the need of promoting internationalization: the “Fintech goes to Italy” route which the Fintech District offers during Salone dei Pagamenti, from 7th to 9th November in Milan, will address all the strategic themes for the growth of Fintech with the aim of drawing attention to a sector in continuous growth,both in Italy and beyond.

During Salone dei Pagamenti, “Fintech goes to Italy” will bring to MICO Milano Congressi thought leaders, entrepreneurs and managers of the international and national financial world. There will be numerous events to discuss together the development and growth prospects of the Fintech ecosystem in our country.

Following the route proposed by the Fintech District in collaboration with Salone dei Pagamenti means being able to access content and in-depth information in English and learn about the main Fintechs active in Italy as well as foreign operators interested in entering our country.

fintech goes to Italy

“Fintech goes to Italy” sounds international and it really is. It is an initiative designed to encourage dialogue and collaboration, to bring innovation to financial services and accelerate the growth of the Italian ecosystem with a view to openness to the world, collaboration and co-creation of virtuous initiatives in the sector.

From 7th to 9th November participants will find in the program conferences and meetings to observe the current situation of the Italian Fintech ecosystem and discuss how collaboration impacts on it. There will also be an opportunity to talk about Venture Capital and explore possible strategies to increase the attraction of capital. Thanks to prominent guests from all over the world, “Fintech goes to Italy” from Milan proposes to the whole country to adopt an international point of view and evaluate challenges and opportunities for the present and near future.

Just over a year after its beginning, the Fintech District has established itself as a point of reference for the Fintech sector in the country and for all those who, from abroad, want to know better when it takes place in Italy. Bringing Fintech to Salone dei Pagamenti, offering spaces for discussion and suggesting food for thought and growth, means making sure the sector has the space it deserves within the most important Italian event on payment innovation, for institutions, banking and non-banking companies, public administration and professionals but also for exhibitors, citizens and students.

“We are proud to open the event up to an international audience organized by ABI” commented Alessandro Longoni, head of Fintech District, underlining that “a session in English is an important starting point for the internationalization of the our market and a greater understanding abroad of the dynamics that govern it. We hope the benefits of greater international openness will fall on the entire Italian market “.

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PLICK: interview with Donato Vadruccio

Plick is the Paydo developed service suitable for all banks and financial realities that offer payment accounts. It allows payments across the SEPA area without having to know the payee’s IBAN. With Plick all you need is the mobile phone number or payee’s email address. As the CEO of PayDo Donato Vadruccio explains, “it’s an incredible advantage for those who want, or have to, make a payment without having an account or other services linked or parallel to their account”.

The platform was created in less than a year and, since April, has been available to customers of the first bank whch activated the service, Banca Mediolanum. Currently all of its customers can access Plick’s services through
the app in an easy and effective way. Vadruccio noticed that every customer uses Plick in his personal way: “someone pays for a car or a 3000 euro bike while there are even those who pay the deposit for a house. Plick is effective because it allows for immediate transfer to the beneficiary, it also guarantees when the asset is delivered!”.

After Banca Mediolanum, Credito Valtellinese will also start offering Plick services to its customers this summer, through a very similar pilot project. From September, Vadruccio and his team will continue the communication
campaign to make Plick known as rapidly as possible and not only to banks. They will also participate in numerous events and conferences, “the first on the agenda is the ‘Salone dei Pagamenti‘ in which we will have an active part”.

Being part of Fintech District for Plick means “being part of a community where startups find contacts, collaboration, cooperation and above all contamination. It is essential for startups to get to know each other, to know their problems, to swap experience and to derive value to grow together in an ecosystem that is becoming stronger and stronger thanks to Fintech District”.

“Undoubtedly, the difficulties in the fintech sector are many but we prefer to see them as incentives to find the best  solutions” Vadruccio explains, noticing that “In Italy, Fintechs suffer from lack of capital and have problems with customer numbers and critical mass but working together and pushing beyond Italian borders helps to create expansion”.

For Plick, internationalization is essential. “Plick is already international, serving all the banks in Europe – Vadruccio points out – the customers of Banca Mediolanum can already pay a customer in any part the continent. For us, the European development will be a fundamental path to follow, in part thanks to Fintech District”.

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We have taken “The Talent Route”

This July, the Fintech District joined the first global network of 11 independent fintech accelerators from Europe and Israel. The project is called The Talent Route and its aim is to connect startups and accelerators from all over the world in order to facilitate access to new markets and international talent. European accelerators can benefit from the program by becoming a reference point for Fintech and Insurtech startups in their own countries whose desire is to open up new markets.

Alessandro Longoni, head of Fintech District, believes that “This is a further step forward in the internationalization process already underway in Italy at the Fintech District. Our goal is to obtain new international opportunities and open up the Italian market to newcomers”. The collaboration between the 11 hubs from both Europe and Israel was ratified during the first Summit of European Accelerators organized and hosted by INNsommia in Valencia on the 5th of July.

Four of the eleven participants attended the event: Fintech District from Italy, INNsomia from Spain, LHoFT from Luxembourg and BlackFin Tech from France. As well as face-to-face talks, online participation included the other 7 accelerators: Fintech Aviv and JVP from Israel, Accelerator Frankfurt from Germany, Kickstart accelerator from Switzerland, B-Hive from Belgium, Startup Palace from France and Start-up Garage from Germany.

the talent routeIn the morning, the hubs involved in The Talent Route get to know each other, share information on the different innovative ecosystems of their countries and, at the same time, discovered the acceleration models of the companies involved. The summit also featured a speech from the CEOs of the most advanced startups in Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona who talked about their plans to expand abroad.

The success of this first Summit of European Accelerators suggests the need to implement agreements similar to the Talent Route to make Europe more competitive and united in the Fintech sector.

According to Antonio la Mura, Business Development Manager of the Fintech District, “The Italian Fintech ecosystem is achieving great results, and it’s time to make it progress to an international level. Our commitment is in supporting Italian companies in their process to become international. Joining The Talent Route is a coherent step towards the scouting of international business opportunities to provide to our Community. We share the same values and ambitions with the other Fintech hubs and accelerators that joined the program , and we invite all the Italian Fintech startups to get in touch with us if they are willing to know more about a specific market and count on our rapport and support in bringing their business to the next stage”.

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CONIO: interview with Christian Miccoli

Conio closed a three-million dollar round of financing in June, and now this fintech startup is rated at over forty million. It will invest the new capital in research and development and in the key sectors related to cryptocurrencies.

What does Conio do?


It is often referred to as the Italian Coinbase.” It deals with bitcoins and its mission is to make it easy for everyone to buy and sell bitcoins and, above all, to safeguard them. “The custody of digital coins – explains the co founder Christian Miccoli – is a highly sensitive and complex problem for which we have found a very innovative and very secure solution”.

Investors not only have credit in this “solution” founded by Conio but also in the potential of digital currencies and bitcoins and in the validity of the Conio team, which is able to work well in the present and to look to the future with concreteness and vision.

In Italy, Fintechs like Conio are forced to deal with a regulation that, especially in the financial field, “is extremely heavy and – points out Miccoli – requires very specialized skills as well as having special needs that can’t always be met immediately”. One way to give an answer and face the complicated Italian context is the collaboration between startups. That’s why Conio joined the Fintech District community: “For us it’s a good opportunity to connect to the rest of the ecosystem”.

“In Italy it is very important that so many startups are being developed – continues Miccoli – and that startups are able to collaborate, to share knowledge and skills between them to stimulate each other, support each other and increase the chances of success for all”.

According to Miccoli, Fintechs can make themselves heard by Regulators only if they work together and stick together, “asking for simpler conditions, such as those already present in other countries, for example in UK, Switzerland and Malta”.

Hoping that in Italy the situation will become more favorable for its business, Conio does not hide its intention to operate abroad, throughout Europe. To do so, as Miccoli explains, “we need the Italian legislation to be at the forefront and not create excessive barriers against development”.

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Talking Heads, starting from Oscar di Montigny

oscar di montignyIs it possible to talk about digital, innovation and technology in an intelligent and fun way at the same time? The Fintech District community accepted the challenge and launched a new event format to overcome it. The first event dedicated to the digital strategy for Fintechs was held last week.

Mattia Zara from Hoopygang and Roberto Esposito from Derev, as co-organizers, and Paolo Zanni from Plick as case study, participated at this event opened by Oscar di Montigny, innovator and author of the book “The time of the new heroes”. After this first date, sold out and full of ideas, others will follow from autumn. They will be evenings aimed at reinforcing the digital skills of the participants and will end with a great networking occasion.

At the center of the opening speech by Oscar Di Montigny there was the “Re-evolution of the disruption” and the need for a cultural change above all. According to him, the winners will be “those who know how to anticipate the new technological, social and market mega-trends, modeling the future as a system founded on the sharing of values”. oscar di montigny

Oscar di Montigny, with a TEDx style talk, told about his experience and the model of the 7Ps (person, people, partners, profit, prosperity, planet, peace) advising the public to have a holistic approach.

“You have to do real things that are necessary but above all you have to do positive and kind things” he said, warning the Fintechs in the public that “what you are working on might be old. You have to think looking to the future. Many companies that are currently very successful probably have their date of death in their DNA”. According to Oscar Di Montigny “Finance is now under siege and must be changed by those inside it and can rebuild it differently, starting from human values”.

Taking the definition of economics from the dictionary, he stressed that it is presented as “art”, so it should produce beauty. That’s why “Fintechs have to do beautiful things. Ask yourself if for you the human being is a goal or a means because finance has now transformed man in a means and itself in a purpose. It should be the opposite ”

Roberto Esposito, founder of Derev, intervened telling how his company was born and how it works, deepening together with a colleague the guidelines to follow in the use of digital strategies and social media if you work in the Fintech sector. From the data and his experience it has emerged that in the industry there is a lot of “shyness” and “those who influence are not on social networks or are exposed too little, so there are only potential influencers“.oscar di montigny

The evening continued with the intervention of Hoopygang Commercial Director Mattia Zara who spoke about content creation and Influencer marketing analyzing the new ways to “spread the word” with many funny and inspiring examples to learn from.

Before the final networking moment, Paolo Zanni explained what is Plick highlighting the social side of his experience. Plick is the service developed by the company Paydo that allows you to make payments across Europe, SEPA area, without having to know the payee’s IBAN.

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DEREV: interview with Roberto Esposito

The development of Fintech in Italy shows us what our country can become in the world but there are still many obstacles that slow down those who work in this field, according to Roberto Esposito, CEO and founder of Derev, an innovative startup, member of the Fintech District community, working in digital strategy, social media and crowdfunding sectors.

Derev supports large companies, institutions and public figures who want to be present on the web and use social media for communication initiatives or for launching crowdfunding projects.  “Italy hinders those who work in our field: regulations and institutions are not adequate for the evolution currently underway – says Esposito – the potential is enormous! We are very confident “.


Undeterred, Esposito and his team are following other parallel paths. “We are also active in foreign markets, mainly in the European market, where we are very much appreciated. In some cases not only as fintech free of impediment to business but actively encouraged at the operational level

The Derev office is in Copernico Isola for S32 but “joining the Fintech District was not a logistical choice. We have become part of the community for its values and for its mission at a national and international level. The best of Fintech in Italy is concentrated in the Fintech District, the true heart where we work to create the economy of tomorrow. Here, today, we see companies, startups and business models which, as they grow, will become common throughout the country “.

Crowdfunding is rapidly evolving and is becoming more widespread, according to Esposito. “It is no longer linked to the project of a single citizen but to large projects of collaboration with municipalities, administrations and large companies”. Derev helps these companies build and promote these complex crowdfunding initiatives throughout the country. Meanwhile, Esposito and his team are participating in many public events to make known what they do both in the field of digital strategies and social media as well as in the context of crowdfunding and the sharing economy. In October, Derev will be at the “Barcelona Leadership Arena” as an Italian guest, to showcase its entrepreneurial adventure and its growth in crowdfunding and digital in Italy and Europe.

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The first syndicate online investing in Italy by 200crowd and Pariter Partners

Thanks to the collaboration with Pariter Partners, an advisory and technology investment company founded by Jari Ognibeni and Matteo Elli, 200 crowd has created the first syndicate investing online in Italy.
Their goal is to invest in the round of Checkout Technologies, a company founded by Jegor Levkovskiy and Enrico Pandian which develops Artificial Intelligence at the service of the retail market
A few days after the launch, last June, the syndicates led by Pariter Partners had already collected investment orders for almost 100K euro.
This is the first in a series of syndicate that Pariter Partners will lead thanks to 200crowd to enable business angels and new investors to build a diversified and balanced investment portfolio. Matteo Masserdotti, CEO and founder of 200Crowd, satisfied with the “record” obtained, tells us how syndicate investing can influence the situation of Italian SMEs

The Italian context of Venture Capital is still in an initial development phase. Why were we left behind?
It is certainly a cultural problem. The development of Venture Capital requires the use of international best practices, both regarding the use of shared rules and behaviors as well as diversification and investment according to portfolio logic
According to the statistics (IBAN data 2018) the average portfolio of Business Angels is composed, on average, of only 2 investments and the resources allocated are on average less than 2 million euros. It is therefore clear that the Italian Business Angels, although equipped with important resources, are not diversifying their portfolio. In this way they drastically reduce their chances of returning to this typically high-risk asset class.

Who are your investors? What is the situation abroad?
Our lead investors are active people in the startup ecosystem and have significant entrepreneurial and investment experience behind them. People who decide to co-invest aim to have greater reliability in the selection and management of investment opportunities. Backers are usually managers or entrepreneurs who have a strong interest in investing in innovation. They invest in startups to diversify their portfolio. In the Anglo-Saxon countries this practice is much more widespread, the worldwide reference platform is Angel List

What could promote the dissemination of Syndicate Investing in Italy, especially among non-professional investors?
The first step would be the adoption of international best practices. Financial education and access to more and better information from companies certainly play an important role.
Thanks to the collaboration with Pariter Partners, 200crowd manages to reach an audience of very large potential investors. What numbers are we talking about?
In Italy alone there is an audience of one million people who regularly invest online. This is certainly an important starting point from which people interested in investing in this alternative asset class can emerge.

The Social Lender: interview with Cassandra Gnatta

The Social Lender is a direct lending, lending crowdfunding and P2P lending platform which aims to support the growth and development of SMEs and startups through the collection of capital deriving from private, professional and non-professional investors, but also from institutional investors.

Cassandra Gnatta, Marketing Manager of The Social Lender, reveals that its team is working to finalize a partnership agreement with a traditional banking institution of a territorial nature. “We aim to be included in their traditional banking services offer – she explains – The Social Lender would propose a diversification of risk and investment for their retail customers but also the possibility of accessing non-traditional credit for their businesses. The partnership with a recognized and well-structured traditional financial player would help this Fintech startup to support its growth at national level and from the research and developmental point of view.

the social lender
So far, the greatest difficulty encountered by The Social Lender in the fintech sector has been the barrier to entry raised by Incumbents towards startups like ours, also at a communication level. Gnatta explains that “it was also difficult to just get to sit down together to discuss common issues despite our intention to collaborate and create a win win project to improve the competitive advantage of all involved”

One day The Social Lender would like to be able to be listed on some international stock exchanges, especially in Europe, “but not now”. Gnatta confirms their presence at “Forum Banca”, in September: “we will take part in a round table in the Fintech Smart Village”. Perhaps they will also participate in the “Fee Only Summit” in Verona in October.

In this phase of growth, for The Social Lender “being part of the Fintech district means “to be part of a community dedicated to a sector with enormous growth opportunities and recognized both nationally and especially at European level. We are happy to be part of an innovative community that fosters a constructive exchange between the different players of the sector to obtain both operational and economic benefits”.

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Startupbootcamp ’s innovation Program is looking for you

Are you a startup or scaleup re-inventing the FinTech & CyberSecurity industry? Then Startupbootcamp is looking for you. Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp is a global startup and scaleup acceleration program with 20+ programs in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Miami, Mumbai, New York, Rome, Chengdu, Singapore, Mexico City, Cape Town, Barcelona, Melbourne, Hartford, and San Francisco.

On the 3rd of July,
Startupbootcamp will host a FastTrack in Milan, at the headquarters of the FIntech District. Waiting for its Italian stage, here we are with 5 Q&A to find out more about this international opportunity. 

1) What is a Startupbootcamp FastTrack event? What purpose is it organized for?

The Startupbootcamp FinTech & CyberSecurity innovation program, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is currently running an International FastTrack Tour to meet most promising startups and scaleups from all over the world. The concept of a FastTrack event is simple: 10 startups and scaleups present their innovative ideas, learn from personalized mentor feedback, as well as connecting and networking with fellow entrepreneurs from the local ecosystem.

2) What kind of ideas or talents are you looking for on July 3rd?

Any startups or scaleups operating in FinTech, CyberSecurity, PensionTech, RegTech, or InsurTech industries are encouraged to join the FastTrack event in Milan. We are also interested in enabling technologies such as Blockchain, Data & Behavioral Analytics, AI/ML, AR/VR, UX, Chatbots, and Biometrics.

3) What idea did you make of the Italian FinTech Ecosystem? What do you expect?

Startupbootcamp aims to innovate the FinTech & CyberSecurity ecosystem by providing the most promising startups and scaleups in the world a top-notch acceleration program based in Amsterdam, powered by partners, which include major global brands such as Amazon, Cisco, Rabobank, ING, ABN-AMRO, ING, NN, Capgemini, and others. We see a lot of promising companies and talent emerging from Italy, and we would like to help them accelerate their growth abroad as well, working closely with our partners, mentors, and investor network globally that we have built.

4) Which startups will participate in the event? How did you choose them?

Around 10 startups and scaleups will present their innovative solutions, learn from personalized mentor feedback, as well as connect and network with fellow entrepreneurs from the local ecosystem. We carefully curate all of them to make sure we have the right fit.

5) What do you think of the Fintech District initiative? What do you expect from our community from your point of view?

It is very important for us to connect to the local fintech ecosystem relevant to our global community to exchange expertise and look at new innovation initiatives. We have seen a lot of startup talent from Italy, and we already have several Italian entrepreneurs amongst our alumni network at Startupbootcamp globally. At the same time, we would be keen to get more of your network to participate in our programs, we’re always looking for relevant partners, and mentors as well.

Startups and scaleups interested in joining the Startupbootcamp FinTech & CyberSecurity program in Amsterdam starting in February 2019 can apply at this link.

Applications close on 20 August 2018.

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