MDOTM: Artificial Intelligence in the Asset and Wealth Management Industry

In 2021, MDOTM became the European leader in AI-driven investment strategies after raising a Series-B round and doubling Assets under Advisory (AuA). The company plans to open a New York office and expand its international operations. Representing one of the most active innovation hubs in Europe, Fintech District talked with MDOTM’s CEO Tommaso Migliore about how and where the industry is going. He also discussed how Fintech’s technology assists Asset and Wealth Managers, the rising popularity of Open Innovation partnerships with financial institutions, and the industry’s best practices for ensuring AI explainability and reliability in investments.

Tommaso, how can AI be used to improve the investment process? And how is it helping institutional investors improve their decision-making?

Making an investment decision is a very complicated and thorough process, you need to factor in a lot of information, and today, we live in an abundance of information. To get an idea, IBM estimates that about 90% of data has been created in the last two years alone, and this is not stopping any time soon. Quantitative approaches have been used for many years to support the investment process: from estimating expected risk and returns to building portfolios and managing risk. So why does it make sense to talk about Artificial Intelligence in investing? After decades of research, AI has grown to be a mature technology and has become the logical next step to bring a more adaptive and forward-looking way for managers to build holistic investment views by identifying information hidden in the noise of data. Today it can be used to build portfolios or enhance the strategic and tactical asset allocation.

Research shows that Open Innovation partnerships between Financial Institutions and Fintechs are rapidly growing. What makes them a win-win? And what are the key elements for success?

Over the last years, theAsset and Wealth Management industry has been on a journey of rapid change accelerated by massive regulatory shifts and a new competitive environment. And nowadays to compete you need to change and adapt even faster. Artificial Intelligence is bringing us into the assisted decision-making era, in which specialisation is crucial. This has led to the rise of Open Innovation partnerships, where fintech companies use their specialised know-how to develop new technologies and partner with financial institutions to support them in developing solutions that are more tailored and adaptive for end clients. Partnerships like these allow institutions to access cutting-edge technologies, acquire specialised know-how, shorten time-to-market, and reach new clients – making this a real win-win situation.

AI explainability and reliability have become a top priority, especially in investments. How did you manage to embed it into your proprietary AI? Could you give us some practical use cases?

Explainability is a non-negotiable aspect. In this sense, achieving explainability in Artificial Intelligence requires two main dynamics: the technology itself, and the internal processes. For example, when building ALICE® – our proprietary AI methodology – we embedded explainability right into the design of our systems. We didn’t develop the technology as ‘one big brain’, we developed it as a series of chains where the input is not necessarily connected with a respective output, it’s rather a series of inputs and outputs that ultimately connect together to create a final decision. This series of chains allows us to go back and track exactly what were the main drivers behind every decision that the technology makes. Regarding our internal processes, we have two teams. The first one being our R&D department of over 40 people, blending physicists, engineers, and finance experts who constantly supervise and enhance our AI. The second is the Mission Control team, which monitors the learning rate of our models and periodically meets with clients to explain the rationale behind ALICE’s insights to align their portfolios to the current market regime. This duet creates a process in which there’s a further effort to ensure that the technology is understandable and trackable.

Where do you think the Asset and Wealth Management industry is headed? What are your next steps?

What the last years have shown us, is that Artificial Intelligence and technology are here to stay. This industry is undergoing a massive change driven by increasing complexity and lower marginality. Technology has become the answer in order to cope with these dynamics. This is something not just in Europe, we’ve perceived it from our client base in the UK, Benelux, and the US – a real global-scale phenomenon. The future evolution of this phenomenon is twofold, on the one hand, client interaction will be completely digitalised, and on the other – thanks to Artificial Intelligence – assisted decision-making will be a must. The latter will allow for more adaptability and flexibility when it comes to making investment decisions, and will render the future of the asset and wealth management industry more adaptive, technological, and tailor-made for the final client.


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Patent box and R&D tax credit: regulatory news, business news

Regulations are constantly evolving and those who want to succeed in the fintech sector should not be left behind. New opportunities are created when the rules of the game change, and the professionals in the community can help by explaining them to us and enabling us to seize them. Raffaello Fossati of Fantozzi Associati explains the latest news on patent box and R&D tax credit.

What changes brings the repeal of the old Patent Box regime? What does the new regime introduce and what advantages it does provide to Fintech?

Art. 6 of the Law Decree 146/2021 introduced significant changes to the so-called Patent Box regime which was further amended in the 2022 Budget Law (hereinafter referred to as “New Regime”). Specifically, the New Regime represents a substantial shift from the former discipline (concerning the tax exemption availed on intangibles-related income) and hereby considers the research and development (“R&D”) costs with the exclusion of any intra-group expenses incurred in relation to the following IPs (either licensed or directly employed):
> copyrighted software;
> industrial patents;
> designs and models
These costs are deductible for the income tax purposes (both IRES and IRAP) at an increased total rate of 210% (i.e., at 110% more than the actual cost incurred). However, in compliance with the previous indications the option for the regime lasts for 5 tax periods, is irrevocable and renewable (as per par. 1 of the cited Art. 6). Finally, par. 10-bis of the 2022 Budget Law provides that in case if R&D costs were incurred for the development of one or more eligible intangible assets in previous years, the taxpayer can benefit of the referred 110% increased deductibility starting from the moment in which the intangible asset is registered on the overall costs incurred in up to maximum of 9 tax periods.

How does the management change for the patents and new software? Is the New Regime considered as an obstacle or, in turn, as an incentive for the innovation?

In the case of software, the New Regime could be viewed as a very appealing opportunity for increasing investments in innovation in consideration of the constant development activities carried out by “software houses”. In particular, the provisions of the old regime specified certain characteristics of the eligible R&D costs in terms of software development which were quite broad and, if the same applies under the New Regime, software houses would retain complete deductibility of the total operating expenses incurred atthe increased rate.

On an overall basis, however, the new regime reduces the incentive for producing profit generating IPs. What were the changes concerning the R&D tax credit?

As per indications provided in par. 45 of Art. 1 of the 2022 Budget Law, the amendments made with respect to the R&D Tax Credit were the following:
> R&D activity – 20% of allowable expenses up to a maximum amount of 4 mio EUR (for tax periods
2023-2031 the rate is decreased to 10% with maximum amount of 5 mio EUR);
> scientific and technological research as well as design and aesthetic ideation activities – 10% of
allowable expenses up to a maximum amount of 2 mio EUR (for tax periods 2024-2025 5% with a
maximum of 2 mio EUR);
> technological innovation activity – 15% of the allowable expenses up to a maximum amount of 2
mio EUR (for tax periods 2024-2025 5% with a maximum of 4 mio EUR).
Additionally, an indemnity was introduced for taxpayers who incorrectly benefited from R&D Tax Credit during the period 2014-2019, by allowing the ratification of the credit amounts used without a further application of penalties and fines.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the possibility for the simultaneous benefit from the Patent Box regime and R&D tax credit was confirmed.

In your opinion, how will these changes impact an innovative and agile reality like the fintech

The introduced changes in fact could be viewed as an incentive given to the taxpayers for a constant development and adjustment to the rapidly changing technological environment by providing the relevant tax savings in a medium-term perspective and thus releasing funds for the additional investment activities to be carried out by companies like Fintechs and startup.
The overall reorganization of both the R&D tax credit and Patent Box carried out since 2019 was clearly aimed at simplification, certainty and limitation of future challenges’ risks which are considered as important drivers of innovation. Subject to the final clarifications to be provided by the Italian tax authorities on the new Patent Box, we expect that startups and young Fintechs could benefit of both incentives and obtain relevant tax savings.
For instance, a company operating as a software house could avail of the Patent Box regime on the vast majority of its costs and be taxed only on the portion of profits which exceeds such development costs (e.g., no taxes should be due until the EBIT margin is approx. 50%).

Fintech lead generation, tips by BTREES

Btrees is one of the technical partners that Fintech District has selected to enrich its community. It’s a company specialized in providing diversified and multichannel services ranging from social media strategy, advertising, email marketing, SEO and much more. We asked founder Christian Zegna for some tips on lead generation, with a focus on the fintech sector.

How do you make the choice of channels for lead generation: what factors impact a FINTECH reality and what’s your advice?

The digital channels on which it makes sense to invest must be planned and chosen before starting the communication activities. In fact, they will influence the production of content and will affect the editorial style to be held. If we choose, for example, to use YouTube intensively, we will have to be prepared to make videos, while if we focus on Instagram we will need high quality images.

That said, the choice of channels to use is to be made according to some simple rules:

  • On those channels in which people talk there is a buzz and we can compare ourselves on my market, in this case on Fintech.
  • Which channels are frequented by my target and by my interlocutors?

There is also a third factor that is, in my opinion, fundamental: how many channels am I able to monitor and follow consistently?

In fact, people often underestimate the effort needed to update, manage and monitor their communication channels. In this sense, the rule is “few but well attended“: avoid opening many profiles and then not being able to follow them effectively. It’s better not to be present on a specific channel than to be present in an unprofessional way!

The Fintech world sees LinkedIn as its main channel. In addition to this platform the visibility Facebook and Instagram can provide should not be understimated especially through their platform ADV. In the European context, on the other hand, Twitter is given secondary importance. The creation and care of a blog, a strategy of vertical content on your specific activity, are in my opinion a winning choice especially if combined with an SEO optimization of your website and content.

How important is the target audience analysis and how should it be done?

The analysis of your target audience is undoubtedly fundamental. In putting into practice a marketing campaign we always address a starting target, which is defined in the business plan phase, and which is built by identifying the buyer personas, the interlocutors to whom my communication activity is addressed.

There are tools that allow me to analyze the audience I am able to intercept with my activities: Google Analytics, for example, returns demographic and personal data on visitors to my site, ditto for social business accounts. This allows me to understand how much my

activity is in line with my expectations in terms of audience. The analysis of this data allows me to calibrate my action, to assess its effectiveness and consistency with my personas. I can then adjust the pitch or, as often happens, discover new specific targets interested in my product and my activity.

How to choose the tone of voice?

The tone of voice must be chosen in a manner consistent with the soul of the company and representing the style and positioning the company wants to have on the market (both online and offline). In addition to consistency with the positioning of the company, it is very important to be consistent on the different channels. It does not always have to be “institutional”, I find it interesting indeed to find a personal tone of voice and identity, when possible. In addition to the tone of voice, I recommend choosing some terms, some keywords on which to focus and insist on in order to tie them to your identity and image.

In your opinion, what are the main lead generation strategies and tools that you would recommend to a company operating in the fintech sector?

At the level of strategy, always remember that before trying to acquire a lead I must have informed my audience of my existence (the brand awareness phase), I must have made them discover who I am and what I do and I must have aroused their interest in my business and my project. Only then will I be able to effectively ask him to leave me his contacts, to try my products, to meet me or to schedule a call.

A strategy for lead acquisition can be to use targeted advertising. At this juncture there are different types of ad hoc campaigns that can be implemented. For example, you can use SEA (Search Engine Advertising) campaigns on Google thanks to which, through text ads in the search results, can intercept a prospect specifically interested in my product because was struck by my ad during an active search phase.

With social media campaigns, on the other hand, I apply a “push” strategy with which I intercept an audience that is actually often doing something else… I have to be good at attracting their attention and getting them to notice me. In any case, the channels must be tested, measured… we often have big surprises and we are in turn surprised by the performance we get!

Today, a type of campaign that I would definitely recommend testing is the “lead ads” campaign, which is a specific format available on various social networks (Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram) that aims to generate new contacts.

The user who clicks on the ad is shown a form with a series of fields that can be customized (first name, last name, email, phone, role in the company…) that are actually pre-filled by the platform and speed up and facilitate acquisition.

When, how much and why can digital ADV be useful?

Today Advertising, especially on social networks is essential. Companies cannot, in my opinion, ignore the need to accompany their editorial activity with a media investment;it would be like preparing a juicy dinner for two and then eating it alone. Organic visibility (the free one for example) is now limited and will be increasingly so. Therefore, it makes sense to give a “boost” to your content with an adequate ADV budget. This is also a way to optimize your editorial investment and make it more effective

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A flight to Australia in the company of KPMG Sydney

We never forget our international vocation and today we go very far geographically but very close in terms of interests and objectives with an interview dedicated to fintech opportunities in Australia with Matteo Musso, Associate Director, KPMG Sydney.

Let’s start by exploring the fintech landscape of this country

The number of fintech companies in Australia has increased from around 100 in 2015 to more than
700 in 2020. In this context, there are some sectors in particular that stand out, in which fintechs in
Australia have succeeded in positioning themselves as world leaders, due to their capacity to
innovate and offer value-added technological solutions to their clients. Within those sectors that
stand out, there is the payments sector, particularly Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), the small business
lending sector, digital banks (also known as neo-banks), as well as the blockchain and cryptocurrency
sectors. With respect to investment, in 2020 Australia attracted 2 billion dollars of investment in the
fintech sector. This means investment in the fintech sector increased by more than 250% compared
to the previous year. In Italy in the same period, there was 150 million euros of investment. These
factors indicate that the Australian fintech sector boasts not only a large variety of players with
cutting edge technological solutions, but is also a sector with strong growth and the capacity to
attract global investment.

What opportunities does Australia offer in the payments industry?

The payments sector is the sector that boasts the greatest number of companies in the Australian
fintech sector. The strong growth we have seen in this sector is primarily due to the fact that in
Australia, most payments are electronic and Australians are used to using advanced payment
options that are also offered by the major banks. This has resulted in the creation of fertile territory
for the proliferation of payment companies within the local ecosystem. There are some data we can
analyse to further understand this phenomenon. For example, it’s possible to observe in Australia
that cash is used in only 27% of cases, and this percentage drops further to only 5% of cases if we
look at the part of the population that ranges from 19-39 years of age. In Italy, cash is used in more
than 80% of cases. For these reasons, we are convinced that Australia has the potential to become a
world leader in the payments sector. Some examples of Australian companies in this sector are Tyro
Payments, Zip and Afterpay. Recently we have also seen the acquisition of an Australian player by
the US global payments giant Square, which acquired the Australian company Afterpay for more
than 39 million dollars, which is not only the largest acquisition in Australian corporate history, but is
also one of the largest deals in the fintech sector.

What opportunities are there in the SME lending sector?

In Australia the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector is represented by more than two million
businesses employing around 5 million Australians. With respect to the sector regarding loans for
small businesses, we can see that one in four businesses are refused credit by the major Australian
banks. This is due to the fact that small businesses are often considered as less profitable and high
risk. This has created a ‘funding gap’ of around 90 billion dollars, which represents the amount of
credit that small businesses are unable to access via the main Australian lenders. This creates fertile territory for fintechs focused on the sector of small business (SME) lending, in that this funding gap is
considered to be a significant opportunity for investment and innovation in a market that at the
moment isn’t covered by the principal players in the sector in Australia. For this reason, in recent
years we have seen a proliferation of fintechs in the small business (SME) lending sector, offering a
value proposition with a strong technological component, with the objective of allowing small
businesses to have rapid access to credit. Some examples of SME lending players in Australia include
Moula, Judo Bank and Prospa. In our view, this is one of the sectors in which we will see significant
growth and innovation.

In collaboration with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) – for more information about opportunities to grow and expand in Australia, please visit:

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Funding Hub, an alternative financing for the real estate sector

Funding hub is the first Italian company specialised in offering alternative finance to leading real estate developers. It allows real estate companies access to much more flexible forms of financing than traditional channels, usually represented by crowdfunding platforms and other types of so-called traditional investors.

“We specialise in selecting and evaluating only the best investment opportunities, and are able to do this thanks to a sophisticated evaluation process that we have developed over the past few years,” explains Niccolò Pravettoni, CEO of Funding Hub. “This is why different categories of investors rely on us for access to these high-investment opportunities they would otherwise be unable to find on the market.

Funding Hub started dealing with alternative financing in 2018 and in about 3 years it has already financed about 50 investment opportunities throughout Italy by disbursing more than 20 million euros which have allowed its investors to benefit from returns of double digits on an annual basis. “We are currently focusing on acquiring new professional investors, both Italian and international, and our goal is to raise over 100 million euros within the next three years,” Pravettoni announced.

Funding Hub has chosen a streamlined and highly efficient structure made up by a young team that has always been passionate about new technologies and aims to bring them into a traditional sector such as real estate. By also collaborating with highly qualified professionals with decades of experience, it is able to develop new skills in order to offer its investors an optimal service.

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INNOLVA: interview with CEO Valerio Zappalà

Innolva was born 5 years ago from the merging of two 30-year-old companies: Ribes and Assicom. Today, as CEO Valerio Zappalà explains, “it represents a pole of reference concerning credit management protection services in the field of business information”. It is part of the Tinexta group, owned by the Chamber of Commerce and listed on the STAR segment of the Italian Stock Exchange, which includes more than 2000 people involved in innovation and development projects and is organised into four business units: cybersecurity, digital trust, credit information management and innovation & marketing.

Innolva mainly targets companies, public administrations, professionals and financial institutions by providing comprehensive information that feeds rating and scoring models, value-added services in credit management, anti-money laundering and real estate.

Our strengths are skills, technology and professionalism,” explains Zappalà. “Recently we have also developed a proprietary alternative scoring model that also takes into account alternative and non-financial assessment elements, intercepting so-called weak signals and allowing assessments of all types of companies and ensuring best-in-class performance.

With a strong focus on the value of data, Innolva works every day to create alternative solutions that allow its clients to focus on the evolution of their business through reliable tools, information and processes for everyday decision-making. The monitoring of risk and credit positions, for example, can count on highly technological and innovative services based on artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms that allow us to monitor and anticipate possible default positions,” says Zappalà. “This is why we are constantly looking for innovative partners who will allow us to embark on a path of open innovation. At the moment we are analysing areas such as payment performance or alternative valuation models linked to environmental, social and governance ESG issues.

Innolva looks at fintech with interest because “data is at the heart of business and technology, and in this sector these two areas come together in an innovative and virtuous logic. In the world of technology, the only constant is change, which is why we look to the fintech world to seize all those moments of technological discontinuity that allow us to take a step forward in the design and creation of solutions in our society. The fintech ecosystem will help us achieve our mission “close to those who look far ahead”.

The companies that collaborate with Innova, as its CEO explains, will be able to develop their creativity and expertise. The company in the Fintech District ecosystem, as a corporate member will provide its expertise, analytics technology and data for credit management. Billions of data points on millions of people, companies and properties will be made available to create models of use and evaluation,” concludes Zappalà. “Strong skills will be made available to read and interpret that information, and we will be at the side of all those companies that want to share this path with us in a virtuous and innovative way”.

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FUTURAE want to change the world of IT security

Futurae is a fintech that has developed and operates an authentication platform that which is extremely easy to implement and use, and enables simple and secure authentication of any user interaction on the web and on apps.

Digitisation with its increased security requirements continues to advance rapidly especially in the financial services sector and it is in this specific area that this platform offers solutions to the problems that businesses face due to strong customer identification such as exploding help desk costs, loss of customers due to an unsatisfactory digital experience and most importantly of all, against increasing fraud.

Futurae is currently in a strong growth and expansion phase. It closed its Series A funding round at the end of 2020; an investment that allows it to accelerate its European expansion also thanks to its experience in Switzerland with hundreds of customers. Its focus is now on Italy, France and Germany, where it already has other financial institutions as clients.

To develop its innovative solutions, Futurae relies above all on security, privacy and availability, and always innovates together with its clients in the spirit of open innovation. It has some experience behind it that it would now like to replicate by continuing to work with Italian banks and fintechs to ensure a strong authentication system for all their clients. that This system must alway work while maintaining the highest standards of security and ease of use.

Futurae’s international team, with many different backgrounds, is growing as the company itself, does to support its expansion strategy. It is looking for people with the right mindset and who know how to take responsibility and work as a team. “Win or lose, but always as a team” is the philosophy with which it aims to attract bright minds to change the world of IT security for all its customers.

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New crowdfunding campaign for Sardex. Why?

Sardex is one of the first fintech companies to have joined the Fintech District community, but it has never ceased to amaze us with its growth, enthusiasm and innovation. Marco De Guzzis, CEO of Sardex S.p.A, tells us about the latest news and his future goals.

Why did you decide to launch this campaign and what do you expect?

Sardex has always worked towards building an active and engaged community. The idea of involving our members in the company’s capital seemed a natural choice. Obviously, the operation is open to the entire investor market. Today Sardex is a solid reality, at the end of 2020 we had 10,000 open B2B accounts and over 120 million transactions in complementary currency: it is the right time to measure ourselves against the capital market and understand how we are perceived, also with a view also to a possible future listing. The first signs on the BacktoWork platform are very positive: in just over two weeks we have 140 subscribers for over EUR 640,000, and we still have a month to go.

How will you use the money raised?

To exponentially increase the benefits for those who are or will be part of the Community. On the one hand, to intensify the growth rate of subscribers and national coverage. The more the community grows, the more opportunities for participants. On the other hand, in technology. SardexPay is a fintech based on people and on a strong and shared value system, but technology is essential for the functioning of the community: marketplace, transactional platform, digital account, e-commerce integration, mixed sardex/euro payments need to be refined and evolved to improve the user experience and release new services.

What are your growth targets for 2021?

With the new 2020-2024 plan Sardex has changed its pace. In 2020, the number of new members grew by 78%, transactions exceeded 120 million goods and services exchanged without touching a single euro; we covered 15 regions in Italy, we doubled revenues from new services offered to members to finance investments in complementary currency and involved employees. The year 2021 should further strengthen these trends and the first signs are excellent. For example, new members are growing by over 80% and 145% in the new geographies.

The role of sardex and fintech in the pandemic

The pandemic has been a great accelerator in terms of the adoption of new technologies for many people and businesses. In a context that was certainly not easy, Sardex managed to fulfil its mission: to be at the service of the SME sector and offer them complementary credit instruments, opportunities to intercept and acquire new customers and manage collections and payments in an absolutely punctual manner. According to the ISTAT report on competitiveness, 48% of Italian SMEs risk collapsing due to a lack of liquidity, missing the train to recovery. We will be at their side. More generally, we are going through a very rapid phase of change and general reorganisation of the economic fabric, which may represent a dual opportunity. On the one hand, for the business system, which can emerge from this situation with renewed knowledge and awareness of many aspects, such as finance and technology. On the other hand, for fintech operators, who must now carve out a leading role for themselves in a market that has seen them emerge, continuall but not yet consolidated properly.

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How Plick embraces Open Banking and grows in the meantime

One of the fintech players who has best interpreted the philosophy of open banking with concreteness and initiative is PayDo. We asked their CEO Donato Vadruccio to tell us about the steps taken so far with Plick, his vision and plans for the future.

Open Banking in Italy. How is it developing from your point of view and what could still be done?

Open Banking is an unstoppable process because it is useful to all actors giving them the ability to offer the best services to users allowing the acceleration of innovation. The model, initially born in Europe on the basis of needs and intuitions, has seen a recent acceleration thanks to the European directive PSD2. Although Open Banking in Italy is now a reality, at present its concrete implementation seems to be lower than in other European countries.
We can say that the great challenge of digital transformation, necessary for our country’s system, passes through both Open Banking and API with the support of the fintech ecosystem which is in turn able to be a partner in the realization of this great opportunity of acceleration for the banking system, from credit to payments just to name a few examples.
Open Banking is synonymous with collaboration. In my opinion, we need to build a lot in the co-creation of useful services for companies and end-users.This can be achieved with more joint input from the different actors, banks, fintechs, companies, etc. In addition, some of the ongoing PSD2 interventions will simplify access and use of services.
In short, Open Banking can make a decisive contribution to the process of digitisation of financial services, but, above all,it can bring great added value to households and businesses.

How did Plick seize the Open Banking opportunity?

Open Banking represents the natural path for those who, like us, are fintech operators and provide high value-added services to Banks, Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions throughout Europe and can seize the opportunity provided by Open Innovation.
We have built a flexible infrastructure, which operates exclusively through APIs. We immediately seized the opportunity to publish our APIs on the main Open Banking platforms in order to shape open initiatives. On the one hand, this model facilitates the technical activation of Banks, Payment Institutions and also companies that use these platforms and, at the same time, enables the creation of high value-added services based on customisation, including process customisation.
I would like to remind you that PayDo with Plick has all the requirements to be a concrete partner, whose objective is to support and be an enabler, and not a competitor. We enable simplified payments, which are very useful for companies and individuals, with the possibility of affecting the processes related to the payment itself.

Which collaborations have you undertaken with both banks and platforms and with what results?

At the moment there are several banks and IMELs, in Italy and abroad, with whom we collaborate and to whom we provide our platform with different services, both for their retail and corporate clients. As far as Open Banking platforms are concerned, our APIs are present on Fabrick, Nexi Open and Cedacri, which are synonymous with guarantee and competence, and represent a further sign of trust for us. As mentioned earlier, the concrete result of these collaborations is mainly the advantage of simple integration and, in particular, the possibility of jointly building customised solutions, based on the specific needs of banks, IMELs or companies. These solutions often solve the need for optimisation of processes and underlying information, and not only of the payment in the strict sense of the word, which is obviously simplified thanks to Plick, which sends it via WhatsApp, SMS or email even without knowing the IBAN, throughout Europe and even in bulk.
This collaboration has enabled Open Banking platforms to implement solutions for businesses: for example, it guarantees mass mailings, such as in the case of refunds to customers by utilities or consumer credit companies or claims payments for insurance companies.

What are your next projects?

We are working on further consolidating our business in Italy, thanks to the partners who continue to choose us. We will continue to develop new services, such as the very recent “Digital Letter of Credit”, which was initially created to meet the specific needs of a biomedical company. We will soon be announcing new partnerships to support payment solutions and in some cases specific supply chains that will further demonstrate the open nature of our project.

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Sella Data Challenge: so a mutually beneficial collaboration begins

After the selection phase, the co-creation phase has begun. The Sella Data Challenge organised by Banca Sella in collaboration with Fintech District and the technological support of Fabrick continues in the name of open innovation. We asked Doris Messina, Chief Digital Transformation Office, to take stock of the situation and tell us about the next steps.

Did you expect such a high level of participation in the Sella Data Challenge from the Italian fintech ecosystem? How do you interpret it?

We are immersed in, and part of, the ecosystem and we appreciate its continuous growth; we have signed important partnerships and have others in the pipeline, and through the continuous dialogue we have with startups it has emerged how data is a fundamental resource for creating products and services that meet the expressed and unexpressed needs of customers.
At Sella we were confident that there would be interest and we are proud of the response, not only in quantitative, but also qualitative terms. The response obtained is a validation that of the choice of openness made together with the recent strategic plan and the first step in a path of creation, co-creation, learning and mutual growth. The large number of applications received allowed the selection teams to bring onboard different companies in terms of maturity, team composition and with heterogeneous use case proposals: from customer behaviors predictive models, to computing ESG scores and many other valuable projects

How is this co-creation phase taking place?

Co-creation for us certainly means doing things together, but also, and above all, making resources available and in common for others. By opening the data sandbox we want to allow participants to use Sella’s wealth of information and know-how to improve a product they already have, to add functionality or to create a specific use case that adds value to customers and at the same time allows them to grow. We are very careful to balance our presence at specific times when we make ourselves available, but without interfering with the specific creative and generative process of each team.
We ourselves are learning a lot from the relationship with the start-ups and this is also the phase in during which we improve and perfect the sandbox.

What is Sella’s role in this phase of the Sella Data Challenge?

We have been working with the teams to help them focus on a specific use case. We are now going through the preparation phase and our role is to support and assist them in giving meaning to and understanding the organisation and structure. In the coming weeks the focus will shift from technology to business with product manager colleagues providing information and feedback to refine what will then be presented.

In the light of the selected realities, what do you expect to see at the end of this phase?

In designing this initiative our focus has been on a mutually beneficial collaboration. We want to give the startups something that will help them grow and as they grow it will have an impact on the Bank and its customers. We therefore expect to see how creativity and collective intelligence can make leaps forward in terms of experience and service model, we expect to learn how to leverage the best of both worlds and build long-term relationships, we expect to build new services and products for our customers and for those of the startups that collaborate with us.

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