aim.store, ecommerce for SMEs in Russia and Italy

To find out what aim.store is all about we interviewed Evgeny Kaplin CEO & co-founder. This is what he told us

What aim.store does and to whom it is addressed?

aim.store is an e-commerce platform with an online shop as a service, addressed to small local businesses and to people looking for original local products worldwide.
With our solution, people will spend less time to find the unique original products they need globally, to select them like a local would do, and to buy them with free delivery and guarantee. At the same time, local small businesses will be able to sell online globally without fixed costs or dedicated resources needed.
We are currently focused on Europe and Russia, where there’s a strong interest for high-quality premium foods, beverages and fashion accessories made by small local producers across the Mediterrenean, in particular from Italy.
Our proposition is particularly attractive to small family-run Italian businesses, who are willing to open a new online sales channel, although they often lack the required time and resources to do that successfully. With a ready-to-sell shop on our platform, with AI-driven digital marketing to reach customers globally and personally and with integrated logistics, they can start selling online right away without any fixed cost or complex setup.
As a result, our solution is gaining traction on the market, with a significant increase in the number of shops opening on our platform, of engaged users and of returning buyers.

What stage are you in (seed, round a,…)?

We are currently in a pre-seed stage and we are planning a seed financing for the second half of the current year.

Have you done open banking projects or would like to do them and with whom?

We haven’t done open banking projects yet, while we believe that being in a bank’s ecosystem would be a win-win scenario for addressing the evolving needs of SMEs. In particular, we believe such a proposition would be of massive interest in Italy, where banks have a large number of SME clients willing to open a new online sales channel flexibly and cost-effectively. And where common SMEs’ pain points, like the lack of resources for online sales and marketing, or Italian sounding and product counterfeiting can be easily addressed with technological solutions.

Your team?

We are a multicultural team of professionals spread across Europe, Russia & CIS and South America, with the average age of 43 years and extensive experience in e-commerce, digital marketing, technological solutions, trade and finance. Many of us already successfully launched their ventures.

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Ventis. New clients for banks through ecommerce. How?

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Ventis is a startup founded in 2016 with the aim of creating new customers for banks through an innovative eCommerce that sells fashion, furniture and food and wine all over the world. This fintech is aimed at all European and Italian mass-market customers and is present in Italy, other European countries and also in the United States and China. Currently, Ventis is in the stage of scale-up, its primary source of investment is ICCREA Bank, lead investor, which has the majority of the company and invests for its growth.

OPEN INNOVATION

The potential partners for this company are digital banks, new banks and all financial operators in general. Fintech District could help it reach them thanks to the networking and events that are organized periodically and that obviously gives the chance to make matches and create connections.

TEAM

In Ventis the average age is less than 25, 24 and a half years. The team is composed of about one hundred people distributed in 3 headquarters, Rimini, Milan, and Rome. Their background is digital, IT and commercial and they are always looking for new staff, even young people to train, hunting them mainly in the universities of Milan and Romagna.

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A new crowdfunding campaign for Soisy

A new crowdfunding campaign for Soisy after the great success of last year, again with 200crowd. Pietro Cesati, CEO & Founder, tells about the next goals and the growth registered.

How much has Soisy grown since its birth and how is it evolving?

Soisy’s growth is always capable of surprising us. For example, in September we achieved a result that was +50% compared to the previous month. Today in Soisy we are originating 900 new loans per month which mean about €10 million worth of transactions per year. When we think we started two and a half years ago and the first month we made 17 loans, it is certainly a remarkable growth and it does not seem to stop. In the last year, for example, we quadrupled. Being in a market we are still exploring, things seem still easy, and we believe that it will still be possible to grow at these rates for the next few years.

How did the collaboration with Afone start and what advantages did it bring?

The opportunity with Afone was born quite randomly. At the Netcomm forum last year a person looking like Johnny Deep approached our stand but was actually Roberto Galati, the Country Manager of Afone, a payment gateway, a company offering a package of payment methods to e-commerces. He was not amongst our typical customers at that time because we were mainly there to meet e-commerce, but his idea was to add Soisy as a payment method to the suite of payments he was already offering to e-commerce. We explore this idea with him since we very much liked it. It took us a few months to implement it, mainly to solve legal problems. Fortunately, there weren’t many technological problems because both Soisy and Afone are high tech-companies! For a few months now Afone has been offering Soisy’s instalment payment method in its suite. This means all Afone e-commerce customers can easily add the Soisy instalment option to their payment methods without registering on the Soisy platform or signing a contract with us. They don’t even have to make a technological integration. They just have to sign the deal with Afone and get their payment method. This gives them an advantage, gives Afone the opportunity to offer a better product and, of course, gives us the chance to reach a wider audience of e-commerces.

In Soisy you believe very much in smart working: what are the reasons for this choice?

Soisy’s smart working was born from the need to reach people who were valuable to us but had no intention of moving to Milan. The first person we hired in smart working was working at Osimo and we absolutely wanted to get him on board in Soisy. We started doing smart working to be able to reach more people. That is the main advantage: we can expand enormously the number of people with whom we can work, but that’s not the only benefit. By doing smart working for years we have realized there are many other upsides. For example, being able to concentrate, since modern offices and open spaces are places of mass distraction: being able to work alone at your desk is a huge value given by smart working.

Why a new crowdfunding campaign? With what objectives?

The new capital raise relates to the phase in which Soisy is currently. We have validated the product and the market. This is a phase of pure growth in which we do not want to have distractions coming from the funding needs. That’s why we are looking to raise capital for approximately two and a half million euros. That should give us the financial peace of mind to get to the breakeven and beyond. What is the goal of this round? Certainly to continue improving the product. At the moment we are the market leader on e-commerce instalment payments. However, the world is moving and we must continue to invest in the product to be able to by o maintain this leadership in a market that is huge counting tens of billions of euros in transactions each year and growing because it follows the trend of the transition from the world of transactions in physical stores to the world of online transactions. To do this we will leverage the same crowdfunding campaign as we did last year. Last year our campaign gave us great satisfaction both for the results and the type of conversations we managed to have with our investors who decided to participate and our members and journalists who were interested in the campaign. Again this year we have not hesitated to organize a campaign that will raise at least one and a half million euro, a substantial part of our capital increase. Just as last year it will be featured in 200crowd.

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