BacktoWork24 and the investments of the real “crowd”

Last September BacktoWork24 took part in the House of Genius evening, an international format Fintech District has brought to Italy. It was an opportunity to listen to tips from people with very different sectoral backgrounds and also reflect on the next step as explained by Edoardo Reggiani, Head of Business Development

Why did you decide to participate in House of Genius? What made you curious about it?

Working every day on the growth of a young innovative company is certainly an exciting experience but you often risk being too busy with deadlines and various short-term tasks to be able to find a moment to analyze the problems through an external eye.

It immediately sounded like an excellent opportunity to be able to deal with “Genius”, with very different backgrounds and expertise with the aim of focusing on a specific problem within an already established format. Moreover, I thought it was an interesting and winning idea to get rid of job titles and the industry to which they belong. It was almost like doing a survey among anonymous users but in a super-efficient way in terms of timing and output.

Are there any tips that have been particularly helpful to you?

Without doubt, explaining a specific business problem in a limited time to people with very different sector backgrounds is in itself a very useful training, which can help you to better understand the leverage to use for “telling” the company outside.

It was very interesting and encouraging to see that we’re actually implementing many of the solutions proposed by the Genius. This is further confirmation of the fact that we have focused our improvement strategies well within the company! But not only: I was impressed by the understanding that user engagement solutions, which I already knew could be applied to other web-based services and that many “Genius” operating in other industries know well, are absolutely applicable to our industry and could bring significant improvements.

Since a major bank like Banca Intesa invested in you, what has changed and how did you grow?

Undoubtedly the round which closed in June strengthened our position in the market in an immediate and significant manner. The fact the first bank in Italy chose our platform to enter the crowdfunding market is undoubtedly an element of strong confidence for investors, both professional and retail, and for companies.

In addition to this, we have already opened several working groups with people belonging to the Intesa Sanpaolo ecosystem. This will allow us, in the coming months, to launch new solutions on the market, dedicated both to companies looking for capital and investors interested in including in their portfolio alternative investments.

What kind of crowdfunding projects do you think are most appreciated by the “real crowd” today?

An investor who chooses to use a crowdfunding platform to invest in a specific asset class – the risk capital of small businesses – does so with very different motivations and objectives, whether the investment target is a startup, a consolidated SME or a real estate project. What we are observing is that investors, both professional and retail, thanks to the investments’ offer on our platform, are increasingly diversifying their investments from a portfolio perspective.

This is an encouraging sign because it shows the market is maturing. In order to meet this need, we believe that a wide and diversified range of investments is needed, depending on the sector and stage of development of the companies. That is what investors expect. Any project that is well structured, with a complete and prepared team of proposers that makes it clear what can be the opportunities for return on investment, can certainly find the support of investors.

What will you do in the coming months?

In the next six months, we will definitely start to ground all the work set up with our new partner Intesa Sanpaolo and I can guarantee we will see some extraordinary outcomes! Stay tuned!

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Claider is increasingly international. In 2020 it reach the USA!

Internationalize to be a cut above or wait? This is one of the questions Claider asked the geniuses during the spring edition of House of Genius, an exclusive and international business game we chose to bring to Italy. In this interview, Francesco Bertani, Founder and CEO, tells us about his experience as a startup taking part in the event as well as the latest news from Claider.

Why did you choose to take part in House of Genius?

“The more you are in the thing, the less you see the thing,” says a Zen proverb. What I wanted, and what I got, was a different point of view, or rather more points of view regarding some key factors necessary for the development of our project. When you are involved in and work head on a project you can lose the vision of new opportunities. An external look on the other hand, even though forced simplification, transmits new creative energies.

How will the Genius’ advice help you? Will you apply any of it?

Just the reception of such different suggestions immediately triggered new ideas on how to approach the priorities of the Claider project. This was exactly the contribution I was looking for, and am satisfied with it. We are considering, together with our internal staff, whether to apply at least a couple of really interesting tips.

How is Claider doing today?

Claider is doing just fine. It’s a pioneer product and, as such, it has to deal with a world that talks a lot about digital but in actual reality is still hesitant to change. It understands the transition to Digital is not only to dematerialize procedures but above all to make a leap towards other paradigms, another modus operandi. This can frighten and I understand the feeling. Currently, we have about ten intermediary partners with about 35,000 Apps downloaded, but the agenda is full of appointments.

Have you implemented the English version? Any further step towards internationalization? Which market is most attractive?

Internationalisation is one of the priority objectives, in fact, we also wanted to ask the geniuses if expansion abroad could act as a driving force for the domestic market. Currently, the Claider App is in an English and French version and the sites are also being translated and published. The Claider team is now also international and has acquired native English, French and German speaking resources. First of all, we would like to go to the UK and Ireland, then to Switzerland, France, Germany and in 2020 to the USA.

Do you have any more news coming?

Freshly published in stores is the version of the App Claider with the module of video expertise and video inspection incorporated. And now the App is Tap & Claim & Adjust, so it offers the possibility to those who make a complaint to request the evaluation of the damage remotely by the experts appointed by the insurance, without physically receiving the expert, as per tradition, thus directly through the application. Even for an expert, the use of the Claider platform for video surveys is an advantage: it already knows who is interested, avoids having to carry out the survey and guarantees great flexibility. It is definitely a classic case in which demand meets supply, digitally, on the Claider platform.

Read more about what happened to Europass and GaiaGo when they participated in House of Genius. Apply to participate.

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House of Genius: the experience of GaiaGo

GaiaGo wants to offer the first electric mobility platform integrated with buildings to improve people’s mobility. This would be an electric mobility platform directly usable through a digital application and aimed at communities of people who want to use an electric mobility solution but above all who want a form of mobility that has a positive social impact.

GaiaGo is one of the three startups that last December took part in the pilot event of House of Genius Milan. House of Genius is a format invented in America that has become widespread in many countries of the world, and brings together, on a monthly basis, three exciting businesses, all three at an early developmental stage. Each presenter poses a specific set of business challenges to a panel of “geniuses'” coming from a range of different industries, with the objective of receiving fresh feedback.

From 2019 House of Genius will also take place in Milan, organized by Fintech District

To better understand what it feels like to participate in this event, in the role of a startup submitting their case to the group of “geniuses”, we asked Mattia Zara, Marketing Director of GaiaGo, to tell us about his experience

What struck you about the house of genius format?

By all means the innovation of the format: an Anglo-Saxon approach that allows for comparison of extremely productive ideas among professionals from different environments. The fact of presenting the business model to a panel of “geniuses”, revealing their identity only at the end of the meeting, makes a genuine and innovative comparison possible.

What did you learn from the “Geniuses”?

Acceleration and concreteness. “Geniuses” have helped us to unravel strategic and therefore practical doubts in the application of our business model. We have received advice regarding the activation of other revenue lines and on simplifying the understanding for the general public.

Would you recommend this experience to another startup? Why?

Absolutely yes, the comparison is always productive and the format, so designed, allows you to gather many ideas, concrete ones and immediately expand towards an international network.

To learn more about GaiaGo, watch this video interview. To learn more about HouseofGenius, visit the Milan chapter website.

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House of Genius is in Milan thanks to FD. But … what is it?

House of Genius is an international business game already active in over 30 cities worldwide. It is a non-profit initiative that helps start-up entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality by providing honest and open feedback. Fintech District has “imported” this format and is looking after the Milan session, maintaining the exclusiveness that characterizes it in other countries and thus bringing Milan, and Italy, into the list of locations in which this worldwide community is active.

Why is House of Genius special? Because thanks to its original format, which we will soon discover, it allows an honest and open exchange of feedback, unbiased by prejudices related to the “title”, the background or the name.

The format requires the 3 startups to explain their business and a key problem in 10 minutes to an audience of 10 geniuses who have 1 minute for each to solve it. There is also a moderator who checks the timing and makes sure nobody repeats what is said, but above all, verifies that the “rules of the game” are respected.

The main rule is what makes House of Genius unique in the world: no one can reveal who he is and what he does in life. Everyone is called by their first name until the end of the evening, breaks included. This “prohibition” ensures that during the exchange of insights, individual ideas are considered, without being linked to the identity of those expressing them. Neither the names of the geniuses nor the presentations and questions of the companies are ever revealed before the meeting to ensure that fresh and creative ideas emerge.

House of Genius is a networking event both in the evening itself, which creates a special atmosphere of confidence, trust and transparency, and in the following months. Participating in this format, in fact, both as a startup and as a genius, allows you to become part of a worldwide community of people coming from different countries and different sectors, of different ages and different cultures.

“Diversity” is a very important value for this format and is applied in the choice of the geniuses group. The more diverse the people making it up each time are, the greater the likelihood that the sharing of ideas is creative and innovative thus making it easier to think of solutions “out of the box”.

When we chose to look after the Italian section of this format, we asked ourselves how it would work and what reactions it would provoke. We also asked Samad Masood (Director Accenture UK and London Lead Moderator, House of Genius) who moderated the first session in Milan what his thoughts were.

What benefits do you think this format can bring to Fintech District and the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem?

We’ve found that the strength of House of Genius is the ability to give entrepreneurs insights from a diverse group of people that they may not normally have met in their normal day where often start-ups stay very much connected to others who have the same way of thinking and working. Milan and Italy as a whole are famous for many different industries across creative, engineering, digital, manufacturing, retail and social spheres. If our format can help the ecosystem here connect across these boundaries I think it will be a great success in building new ideas and opportunities.

What do you think might be the hardest things about making this format work in a new city?

We stick to a very tight timeline, and really restrict the amount of time each person has to speak – so our Geniuses and Presenters both have to speak clearly, briefly and to the point. Depending on the culture of the city we run these events this can be a challenge – but so far we have found that from Bangalore to Tel Aviv, across multiple US cities and in London, the format is always well received, even if it is surprising and difficult for people at first.

We are thrilled to put forward this kind of disruptive format to our community and to the whole Italian ecosystem, not just fintech, and we want to remember that the first one to really want to import this was Alessandro Longoni, head of Fintech District.

Why did you want to bring this format to Milan?

“I really wanted to bring this format to Milan, because I believe that it is well aligned with the Fintech District goals and values. In a world that is filled up with events where people show off their skills and products and scream louder than the others, House Of Genius is all about keeping it real, saying less but being relevant and straight to the point.

You are talking with real entrepreneurs that have challenges. For one night the pressure is not on them but on the Geniuses to prove that their ideas could really make a difference for the entrepreneurs. House of Genius is about levelling the playing field and stripping ourselves of titles. It is about putting ourselves in the shoes of others and trying to help brilliant entrepreneurs having success. It is qualified networking based on ideas. Something unseen in Italy, until now”.

Everyone can apply for taking part in House of Genius by filling out the online form. You can do this by visiting the official website of the Milanese chapter.

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