Bridge arrives to link traditional and decentralised finance

Bridge is an innovative startup operating in the field of decentralised finance, i.e. that the ecosystem of financial applications lent disintermediately on the blockchain via smart contracts. Its mission is to become the connecting bridge between traditional and decentralised finance in order to enable an institutional adoption of this new financial
paradigm.

There are two main products that Bridge offers to the market: one is based on proprietary technologies and investment strategies to facilitate authorised institutions in listing products on traditional financial markets that have investment activities as an underline, while the second concerns the development of blockchain and smart contract products.

In recent months, Bridge has already established strategic partnerships with some of the most important players in centralised finance and is working on initiatives to accelerate technological development and support the internationalisation path to which the team aspires. In the future, it also aims to carry out open innovation projects with national and international institutions, in particular with family offices, asset management companies and digital companies.

Bridge’s most important asset has always been its team, with an average age of 29, featuring many different profiles – from mathematicians to software engineers and developers – and all with strong experience in blockchain and decentralised finance.

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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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R&D tax credit and the Patent Box. What about?

Edoardo Belli Contarini and Raffaello Fossati (Fantozzi & Associati) explained everything you need to know about the Research and Development tax credit and the Patent Box regime during a mentorship meeting with start-ups from the Fintech District community. Here is what emerged from their in-depth analysis, we share it with all those who are looking for help in learning more

What are the Research and Development (“R&D”) tax credit and the Patent Box regime?

They are both tax incentives aimed at stimulating R&D investments and intangible assets development in Italy. The R&D Tax Credit was originally introduced by art. 3 of Law Decree 145/2013 with a further clarification provided in the Ministerial Decree of 27 May 2015 and other subsequent documents from the Italian tax authorities and Ministry of Economic Development. These identified the following eligible R&D activities (reference is made to the OECD Frascati Manual):

  • experimental (theoretical) work carried out, without direct commercial use;
  • planned research and critical investigations for development of new and existing products and services;
  • acquisition, combination and use of existing scientific, technological and commercial knowledge (skills) for designing projects or plans for new or improved products and services (applicable also for prototypes not intended for commercial use);
  • production and testing of products, processes and services (not used for commercial purposes).

Starting from 2020 the R&D Tax Credit has been substituted with a new incentive called “R&D and Innovation Tax Credit” (“R&D+I”). The calculation mechanism has been simplified and depends on R&D type:

  • scientific and technological research – 12% of allowable expenses up to a maximum amount of 3 mio EUR in 2020, increased to 20% with a maximum of 4 mio EUR in 2021;
  • creation of new or substantially improved products (processes) – 6% of allowable expenses up to a maximum amount of 1.5 mio EUR in 2020, increased to 10% with a maximum of 2 mio EUR in 2021;
  • ecological transition and digital innovation 4.0 – 10% of allowable expenses up to maximum of 1.5 mio EUR in 2020, increased to 15% with a maximum of 2 mio EUR in 2021.

In turn, the Patent Box regime was introduced by Law 190/2014 (art. 1, co. 37- 45 Stability Law 2015) and subsequently amended by art. 5 of Law Decree 3/2015 (Investment Compact), updated by Ministerial Decree as of 28 November 2017 and provides for a partial relief of the income derived from the following intangible assets (“IP-related income”), also used in a joint manner:

  • software;
  • industrial patents;
  • designs and models;
  • know-how which consists of processes, formulas and information relating to experiences acquired in the industrial, commercial or scientific field which can be legally protected (secret industrial processes having economic value and being subject to confidentiality).

Who may avail of these tax incentives?

All the companies performing eligible R&D activities can avail of the R&D tax credit. It is worth keeping in mind that the discussed tax credit is available for all companies that invest in the above-mentioned activities despite their legal form, size, economic sector or “seniority” with only condition that the considered investment has to be include the element of “novelty” so that the benefit of this credit should be viewed as a reward for bearing the risk of failure.
Similarly, the Patent Box requires the performance of certain R&D activities as well as the ownership (or at least the license to use) an eligible intangible asset. If these requirements are met the existence of an IP-related income should give rise to a tax benefit for the firm.
Companies involved in insolvency proceedings are, instead, excluded from both the incentives.
The R&D tax credit is directly set-off with the other tax payments and requires:

  • a certification by a statutory auditor regarding the effectiveness of the costs incurred;
  • a technical report listing the activities carried out and the results achieved (generally provided by specialized firms);
  • a communication to the Ministry of Economic Development.

For the Patent Box regime, instead, there are some options to be considered which includes the possibility of:

  • requesting a ruling to the Italian tax authorities in order to determine the methodology and criteria for calculating the benefit;
  • or preparing appropriate documentation in order to avail of penalty protection in case of challenge.

Each option implies different requirements and allows to obtain the benefit according to specific timeframes.

What are the benefits of these tax incentives?

The more direct and immediate benefit relates to potential tax savings which for the Patent Box can be significant (up to 50% of the tax burden). The Patent Box may also increase the value of the firm in case of ownership transfer.
As it can be referred from the above, the R&D tax credit rewards innovative companies, regardless of the experiment’s (i.e., project or investment) success as such making the premium double fold in sense that the incurred costs are not only considered as deductible from taxable income but also a portion of them forms a tax credit to be used for offsetting other taxes and social security duties of the taxpayer. However, it should be mentioned that the R&D+I Tax Credit, introduced in 2020, can be used only to set-off other tax payments in three equal annual instalments starting from the tax period following the vesting one. The company can benefit from tax relief in an automatic mode, meaning that no application or ruling is needed to be submitted to the Revenue Agency with an exception for doubtful cases.
Indirect benefits of both the incentives relate to the need to formalize the R&D projects and the related outcomes. The Patent Box regime also requires implementing appropriate tracking and tracing procedures for R&D costs dating back to 2015 and for each intangible asset. This is expected to increase the awareness of the firms on the need to properly document their strategy connected to intangible assets development.

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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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The way to collaborative innovation? The Innovation Boarding Pass

Do you want to experience a method of collaborative innovation, replicable in everyday life that enhances your ability to impact concretely on business change? Do you need to reduce time to market and develop products and services keeping a constant focus on the customer? Fintech District invites you to take your place and be part of the Innovation Boarding Pass

This is an intensive 2-day workshop held in our headquarters in Via Sassetti 32 on 29 and 30 October and delivered by Innoblue Labs that will guide you through a structured and repeatable method to implement continuous innovation in your work processes and environment.

In this way, you will have extra gear for when you have to define or implement your own product and service strategies. The method is both useful when you have to design a new market offering and when companies need to re-think processes and organizational procedures in order to improve efficiency and deliver results in line with market and customer needs.

Innoblue Labs effectively combines Innovation Strategy frameworks and Innovation Design tools in a one of a kind path that usually is gathered through several courses & workshops on Blue Ocean Strategy, Design Thinking, Jobs to be done and similar topics. Innovation Design methodologies are not transmitted through a didactic approach but rather by means of hands-on activities with the aim of solving a design-challenge on a common theme. This makes the laboratory a unique experience and opportunity to achieve the right mindset and experiment with an effective methodology for collaborative innovation.

It’s a long and exciting journey, the one of innovation, and with the workshop of Innoblue Labs, Fintech District wants to offer the opportunity to get the best boarding pass on the market, a full-fledged kit of tools, skills and experience that allows those who participate to become able to take flight.

This workshop will take place in collaboration with SellaLab. For more information and to register, click here

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Talking Heads, starting from Oscar di Montigny

oscar di montignyIs it possible to talk about digital, innovation and technology in an intelligent and fun way at the same time? The Fintech District community accepted the challenge and launched a new event format to overcome it. The first event dedicated to the digital strategy for Fintechs was held last week.

Mattia Zara from Hoopygang and Roberto Esposito from Derev, as co-organizers, and Paolo Zanni from Plick as case study, participated at this event opened by Oscar di Montigny, innovator and author of the book “The time of the new heroes”. After this first date, sold out and full of ideas, others will follow from autumn. They will be evenings aimed at reinforcing the digital skills of the participants and will end with a great networking occasion.

At the center of the opening speech by Oscar Di Montigny there was the “Re-evolution of the disruption” and the need for a cultural change above all. According to him, the winners will be “those who know how to anticipate the new technological, social and market mega-trends, modeling the future as a system founded on the sharing of values”. oscar di montigny

Oscar di Montigny, with a TEDx style talk, told about his experience and the model of the 7Ps (person, people, partners, profit, prosperity, planet, peace) advising the public to have a holistic approach.

“You have to do real things that are necessary but above all you have to do positive and kind things” he said, warning the Fintechs in the public that “what you are working on might be old. You have to think looking to the future. Many companies that are currently very successful probably have their date of death in their DNA”. According to Oscar Di Montigny “Finance is now under siege and must be changed by those inside it and can rebuild it differently, starting from human values”.

Taking the definition of economics from the dictionary, he stressed that it is presented as “art”, so it should produce beauty. That’s why “Fintechs have to do beautiful things. Ask yourself if for you the human being is a goal or a means because finance has now transformed man in a means and itself in a purpose. It should be the opposite ”

Roberto Esposito, founder of Derev, intervened telling how his company was born and how it works, deepening together with a colleague the guidelines to follow in the use of digital strategies and social media if you work in the Fintech sector. From the data and his experience it has emerged that in the industry there is a lot of “shyness” and “those who influence are not on social networks or are exposed too little, so there are only potential influencers“.oscar di montigny

The evening continued with the intervention of Hoopygang Commercial Director Mattia Zara who spoke about content creation and Influencer marketing analyzing the new ways to “spread the word” with many funny and inspiring examples to learn from.

Before the final networking moment, Paolo Zanni explained what is Plick highlighting the social side of his experience. Plick is the service developed by the company Paydo that allows you to make payments across Europe, SEPA area, without having to know the payee’s IBAN.

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