FD Marketplace. Interview with Leyton

Leyton advises clients all aspects of innovation funding, energy consultancy and capital advisory. We have chosen to include this firm in our marketplace convinced that it can contribute to the growth of the fintech ecosystem. Francesca Filippi will tell us how.

From your point of view, how will the 2020 trends in startup funding change?

Crises, especially this one due to the unpredictability of the pandemic’s evolution, have by definition a highly dynamic path, which forces to quickly adapt to changing, with constant reviews of forecasts and models and mind-sets. History has taught us, however, that crises also bring opportunities: the impulse to innovate and accelerate the path towards digital transformation are among the main ones of this crisis. Innovate to develop and bring to the market new solutions to fight the virus and face the new way of working and interacting socially that will await us at the end of the health emergency.
In the context of uncertainty that inevitably characterizes a crisis, we can assume, a slowdown, rather than a decline, in investment by venture capitalists and business angels, accustomed to investments with a degree of uncertainty. Increasing attention will be paid to the analysis of the opportunities to be financed, focusing on the ideas and start-ups that will be able to face the crisis and the areas in which new opportunities may arise, including Fintech and Insurtech.
A more structured government intervention in support of the Italian start-up ecosystem, the main driver of innovation in Italy, as requested by various associations, is advisable. At the Italian level, the first steps are being taken, through the specific liquidity support measures contained in the so-called “Decreto Liquidità” but also thanks to the Fondo Nazionale Innovazione. At European level, the launch of the European Scale-up Action for Risk capital (ESCALAR): a new pilot programme which invests in funds with an investment focus on scale-ups, to address the financing gap experienced by high growth European companies.
The entire Italian ecosystem, which now has over 11,000 innovative start-ups, almost 1,500 innovative SMEs, together with over 30 certified incubators, for a total of over 60,000 employees, is an asset to be safeguarded.

Three tips for startups/scale ups who want to move for funding today

As written above, access to funding sources will become increasingly competitive, whether it is fundraising or access to non-repayable and/or subsidised grants. In this context, agility, creativity and flexibility, which already characterise start-ups, will become even more rewarding factors.
Anticipating change, identifying new trends generated by the crisis and riding them according to an opportunistic approach will be a key success factor for access to funding sources.
Understanding the as is of one’s own reality and redesigning the to be towards the sectors “facilitated” by the crisis will allow both to be more attractive to funding bodies (venture capitalists or angel investors or financial or public institutions) and to identify the best funding opportunities available at regional, national and international level.

In a global ever-changing context, proactivity and resilience are “must to have”.

Relying on experienced professionals in innovation and investment consulting and financing, who can assess new trends and opportunities and the most suitable sources of funding, will accelerate the success of winning ideas.

What kind of services can you offer?

Leyton is a global innovation funding specialist, with more than 20 years of experience, dedicated to helping companies of all sectors and sizes improve their business performance. We offer a global and integrated approach to support innovation and fundraising. Even more during these uncertain times, Leyton wants to ensure that businesses are leveraging the tax and grant incentives available to them and optimising their financial performance.
We help start-ups, that are seeking investment from an investor, to identify successful new business, analysing the business contest and creating solid business model and business plan.
We identify tax reliefs, such as R&D tax Credit, to support innovation and investments, assessing eligible activities and costs and drawing up all necessary documentation. Grants-wise, we scout, at national, regional and European level, the financing opportunities best suited for fostering innovation and growth of each company at. We support companies throughout the whole process to obtain grants, verifying the eligibility requirements, developing the project proposal (writing and proofreading) and managing the relationship with funding bodies.

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AppQuality: new round, new goals

AppQuality, Italian crowdtesting platform founded in 2015 in Cremona, continues along its path towards and closes a round of investments of 3.5 million euros. CEO Luca Manara tells how they have worked to achieve this result and how they will work in the coming months by investing the new capital available.

What do you think were the factors that led you to this success?

An awful lot of much resilience, perseverance, discipline, confidence in the future and hard work. Every valuable result requires a lot of commitment, an agile, lean approach and a lot, a lot great deal of execution: there are no shortcuts. It was hard, but it was hard from the beginning, when we still didn’t even know if there was a market for what we were proposing, when the experiments we were doing didn’t give results, when the first prospects were slamming the door in our faces. But every closed door was something new that we were learning. And at the next door we would change our positioning, study the value proposition better and refine the compelling reason for buying.
Without doubt, metrics are also important: you have to go on the market, collect indicators and customers, you are not doing something of value if someone is not willing to pay for it, there are no free lunches.

How will you use the money you raise?

The entry of P101 will allow us to invest in the technology of our platform and therefore to offer companies quantitative and qualitative tools to develop the best apps and digital solutions. This will allow us to further increase the high quality and level of service we guarantee to our customers and to start working towards international expansion.
Today the User Experience drives the digital economy: companies compete in terms of UX innovation and quality in the development of digital products becomes a critical success factor. We’re entering this very field that will be increasingly central in the years to come.

Will your team change too?

The team will evolve a lot. We need to double it in a few months. Surely the figures that we will insert are both on the commercial side, to push the rate of acquisition of new customers, and also on the product development side, to further improve the services offered, the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of our solution.

Taking into consideration The Coronavirus, and the consequent push towards digital in Italy, what kind of impact are they having and what kind will they have on your business?

It’s Hard to give a precise answer: it’s a stormy sea, but I like to say that a flat sea is not for experienced seamen. In any case we are mainly experiencing positive effects. Many verticals are investing in digitization and in particular the fintech world. Many large banks are accelerating the development of their digital solutions because, if it was not clear enough before, these will be the main channel for customer acquisition and management. It is sufficient it to say that, according to some research done, 75% of the users of these solutions in the last month are new

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