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Female entrepreneurs disrupting fintech industry in Italy

Publication date: 2024-05-08Reading time: 5 minutes

The number of companies in our community founded and led by women is growing over time, with significant achievements and investments raised. Much can and must still be done to incentivize female entrepreneurship in our sector and to enhance the role of women in the Italian fintech market, yet the numbers are positive.

As a recent McKinsey report also points out: if Europe were able to increase the presence of women in the workforce in high-tech sectors to 45% (or 3.9 million more women by 2027), it would close the talent gap while also achieving an increase in European GDP of up to €600 billion. BCG in one of its reports highlighted how female entrepreneurs also demonstrate better risk management, showing less inclination to overestimate their track record. Moreover, again according to the consulting firm, teams led by women present a positive work culture, are more communicative, collaborative and open to learning.

Our women-led community

Today, there are 22 companies that are part of Fintech District with female leadership, which means that have a female founder, currently active in the company in a managerial role. In 15 of these, women are leading as CEOs. Although this number represents a small percentage of our community, it shows a significant increase from just a few years ago.

While the issue of female entrepreneurship is key in today's society and cuts across all sectors, it takes on particular relevance in areas where finance and technology converge.

Female-led companies in the community

The 15 companies having a female CEO operate in several key areas of digital transformation in the financial world. Focused on Artificial Intelligence, we find Clearbox AI (founded in 2019 and led by Shalini Kurapati) that creates solutions for synthetic data generation, Tech Engines specializing in AI and IoT for insurance product and claims innovation (2016, Xuejing Zhou), and Vidyasoft (2015, Adriana Caione) that provides software solutions and consulting services in IoT, AI, and blockchain. In the world of investments, we find Doorway (2019, led by Antonella Grassigli, CEO and Co-Founder) that enables direct investments in Venture Capital by private and corporate investors, Easy-Trend (2022, Silvia Marziali) that offers signals on ETFs with a simple and accessible solution for financial analysis, allowing users to receive all the information they need to monitor their investments and operate autonomously. Last but not least, we have Wealthype (Formerly Virtual B, Serena Torielli, 2010) which supports financial advisors and banks in making the best financial decisions for their clients through its proprietary platform, that uses artificial intelligence to enable fully personalized and scalable advice while improving client satisfaction and network productivity.

At the intersection of sustainable investing and crowdfunding, we find (2014, Eva Sadoun - former CEO and now president), born to finance companies and cooperatives with high positive social and environmental impact (the country manager in Italy is also a woman, Sonia Gennaro). In the digital payments area, there are My Money (2017, Mara Vendramin) – with a patented multi-biometric and device-free payment system – and MyPass (2014, Guya Paganini), which allows access to tourist facilities and museums, by avoiding ticket offices and always accessing the best rate. In digital banking there is Tot (2022, Doris Messina), the all-in-one platform that aims to simplify the administrative and financial management of microenterprises, creating efficiency through a totally digital path. In the area of financial education, we find Neuroprofiler (2016, Tiphaine Saltini), which combines psychology, machine learning, and expertise to propose a new idea of "financial literacy" to the European market. Finally, in the area of insurtech, we find viteSicure (2019, Eleonora Del Vento) which, thanks to digital transformation, has innovated the experience of purchasing life-protection policies, making it sustainable, self-service and instantaneous, and Wallife (2020, Enrica Angelone, CEO and Co-Founder) which proposes insurance solutions to protect against risks arising from technological innovation and scientific progress.

Ability to attract investments

The value generated also emerges from their ability to attract investments from leading entities, including international ones: Doorway, has raised €25 million from the market, Wallife has raised €16 million boasting among its investors United Ventures and Aptafin; has recently raised more than €8 million and also has Phitrust Europe among its shareholders.

The raises of the younger ones are interesting as well: Clearbox AI has raised €775,000 from Mastercard and Italian Angels for Growth; Tot, in addition to Banca Sella, has The Techshop and Ulixes Capital Partners among its investors; viteSicure has raised €3.5 million thanks to RGAX, Reale Mutua Group, Digital Magics, CDP Venture Capital SGR (Fondo Rilancio), Apside and leading business angels. In 2020, Auriga entered the capital of Vidyasoft, and Wealthype boasts Azimut among its shareholders through its subsidiary Azimut Enterprises.

Leadership spirit

Interviewing some of the women entrepreneurs in the Community, we investigated the spirit in which these companies are led. Different but convergent approaches in fostering an inclusive and collaborative work environment emerged. 

  • Shalini Kurapati (Clearbox AI) favors collaborative, inclusive and democratic leadership in which confrontation is essential for team cohesion. People's vulnerability is seen as a positive element that makes the team more human, strong and open to transformation.
  • Antonella Grassigli (Doorway) puts the empathic relationship with the team at the center of her company, valuing the qualities and potential of employees. Through her leadership, she promotes a collaborative and inclusive environment, encouraging the personal and professional development of each team member.
  • Silvia Marziali (Easy-Trend) believes that an environment where every voice is heard fosters project success and that clarity of vision is central to guiding the team toward long-term goals.
  • Mara Vendramin (My Money) stresses the importance of vision, communication, decision-making and integrity in a good leader. Loyalty and honesty are prioritized, and resilience is key to addressing additional challenges, related to gender bias in the world of work.
  • Doris Messina (Tot) puts the focus of listening to customers and their needs, motivated by the idea that innovation happens every day and can concretely bring added value to the target audience.
  • Eleonora Del vento (viteSicure) has a strategic vision that puts sustainability and innovation at the center; her approach values diversity, empowerment, and resilience, for a corporate culture where technology meets empathy to satisfy today’s customers.
  • Maria Enrica Angelone (Wallife) focuses on people motivation, identifying purpose as a key element in making work meaningful. Collaboration and teamwork are essential to inspire people to achieve ambitious goals.
  • Serena Torielli (Wealthype) bases her leadership on a mix of 5 main elements consisting of practicality, strategic vision, creative thinking, listening skills and empathy.

Among the founders, now active in the company:

  • Alessia Toscano of Kle places determination, organization and kindness at the core of her leadership. She believes in a positive and inclusive environment where sharing ideas is encouraged. Transparency in decisions and clarity of strategy are key elements for success.
  • Lucrezia Guidone of myBiros emphasizes perseverance, determination, listening and collaboration as key elements. She believes that each team member can make a unique and valuable contribution to the success of each project.

It is certainly encouraging to see that the number of women-led businesses continues to grow steadily over time even in our sector, yet great results can only be achieved by being aware that more can and should be done to foster women's entrepreneurship, with benefits for all.

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