Intesa Sanpaolo has made an investment in the capital of BacktoWork24 through Neva Finventures, the Corporate Venture Capital of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, which invests in fintech companies that are synergistic with the Group’s activities or with new business models potentially disruptive for the sector. We asked Edoardo Reggiani, Head of Business Development and Innovation at BacktoWork24 to tell us more.
How will you use these funds?
Our first goal is to widen the network of investors who are approaching equity crowdfunding. The funds raised will allow us to implement an important marketing and education activity aimed, not only at reaching a greater number of investors but also at giving them the necessary tools to make informed and responsible investments. In addition to that, the funds will be used to further structure our team, and implement new features on our proprietary platform, with the aim of making the user experience easier than it is at present and even more intuitive.
What does this operation, carried out by Intesa Sanpaolo through Neva Finventures, mean for you?
The fact that an institutional player of this size has decided to enter this market through a structured investment is certainly a strong signal not only for us but for every player in the market; it’s a sign that equity crowdfunding in Italy finally has the potential to become a truly complementary tool for other types of financing/investment. We are obviously really proud about the outcome of this round but we strongly believe this is just a new starting point. We are firmly convinced the seriousness and professionalism, that were and still are, the basis on which our business was built, are the keys to being able, not only to scale the business itself, building trust among companies and investors but to finally consolidate a market that still today remains a niche.
Is this investment a first in the world of Italian crowdfunding?
It certainly is and the proof is that equity crowdfunding is finally reaching the level of interest that has already been registered for other areas of the fintech. From this point of view, Intesa Sanpaolo Group, thanks to its dedicated investment fund Neva Finventures, is certainly the most active and supportive institutional player in the Italian fintech ecosystem, providing not only major investments but also the opportunity of integration with classic financial products. Intesa Sanpaolo’s approach to the investment in BacktoWork24, which is not just financial but industrial, is a further demonstration of this and will allow us to experiment new and more complete ways to support the growth of startups and SME’s.
How will this news affect the crowdfunding industry?
In a nutshell: building trust. Investing in startups and SME’s is not a game and cannot be a fashion of the period. What we propose to investors is a risky asset class that must be tackled with the necessary tools and with precise logic. From this point of view, our goal is to become a benchmark for the market in terms of educational activities offered to investors as well as giving transparency with regard to the information about the companies looking for funds, which will be rigorously selected. The continuous confrontation with the first Italian banking group will allow us to further improve our controls dedicated to the safeguard of investors and companies, strengthening more and more the confidence in equity crowdfunding and in the opportunities it is able to generate.
Before saying goodbye, give us an overview of the activity of Backtowork24 and your recent growth
We’re growing very fast! In the first half of 2019, we were the platform with the highest number of successful campaigns in Italy and we more than doubled the raise of the whole of 2018. Our growth rate, which is markedly above the market average, together with the investment availability to be dedicated to growth, lead us to expect a further acceleration of our development. Stay tuned!