99bros focuses on AI and multimedia to innovate insurance

99bros has recently joined the ranks of the insurtech start-ups and scale-ups belonging to the Fintech District community. To better understand its business, we interviewed Founder and CEO Claudio Cancellieri.

What does 99bros do and who is it aimed at?

99bros is a digital insurance brokerage platform which, thanks to an integrated system of artificial intelligence, multimedia content and specialised consultants, allows customers to choose the solutions best suited to their risk profile, managing the choice and subscription of policies quickly and easily online. We mainly target people under 40, individuals and families, offering the best solutions for car, motorbike, scooter, bike, home, life, health, accident, supplementary pension policies, and more.

How has it grown in recent months?

After the acceleration in Luiss Enlabs and the related funding received from LVenture Group and Lazio Innova in 2020, we are now on the market with the aim of increasing our customer base to be able so as to refine our machine learning algorithm better and better and to be able to offer our solutions to a wider audience, perhaps even outside of Italy.

Have you done or would you like to do any open innovation projects? What kind and with whom?

We don’t have any on the horizon yet, but we would like to do some with car manufacturers, for a very innovative service that has been running through our heads for a while ….

How is your team structured?

Our team is very “concentrated” and is made up of just five people: Roberta, who takes care of all the operations, Claudio, the CEO, Stefano, the CTO, Marco, who is the Sales Consultant, and Fulvio, who takes care of Marketing.

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Descartes, an insurtech against natural disasters

Descartes is a French fintech that puts itself forward to monitor fires in real time and to compensate clients transparently and immediately as soon as a fire occurs and according to the amount of burnt area. It can do this through the use of state-of-the-art satellite imagery and the development of machine learning and computer vision algorithms. Fire is just one example, this fintech offers insurance solutions for all natural disasters that are based on data proceeding to indemnify the client in very few hours.

Founded at the end of 2018 in Paris in the financial district of Defence by veterans of the insurance world and experts in the world of data and models, Descartes Underwriting has, in just over two years, achieved significant results: more than 150 customers worldwide between the corporate sector and also public entities and almost 20 million euros of investment thanks to a seed in early 2019 and an A round in September 2020.

“These investments have allowed us to strengthen our research of insurance models and solutions as well as to be more present all over the world. in fact We have, in fact, recently opened an office in New York and one in Singapore – explains Alessandro Girelli, Data Scientist & Business Developer – we also have an important partnership with Assicurazioni Generali that, thanks to its strong brand, allows us to have open doors ‘around the world. Generali, as well as all the insurers around the world with whom we work, provides us with the insurance capacity: more than 100 million euros in policy limits, and allows us to take out innovative insurance cover for large groups, multinationals, governments and public bodies”.

The Descartes Underwriting team consists of around 30 insurance and climate data and modelling experts, with an average age of less than 30 years and more than 15 different nationalities. Many are based in Paris but others work from other European countries, and from the new offices in New York and Singapore.

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The new goals of insurtech Neosurance explained by its CEO

A new partnership, an evolving business model in a changing market also due to the financial emergency. We interviewed Neosurance CEO Pietro Menghi to have him tell us the news of this fintech and its objectives for the coming months.

You have recently formed a partnership with a company: Sportclubby. What does it consist of? How do you enrich their offer?

We have had the opportunity of playing the role of an insurance and enabling partners for digital communities that offer their users a more complete experience because they are more protected.
Sportclubby is the most downloaded app in Italy for booking courses, camps and services dedicated to any sport, used by 500 thousand people, for more than 100 different sports activities. Thanks to this partnership, sportsmen and women can instantly activate a micro-insurance for any type of injury directly from an app and, once again from an app, report any claim. All this is done through a transparent approach, focused on the client and the context in which the need for protection arises. The policy can be purchased even for just one day and is valid 24 hours a day, even on the way to the gym or for those who attend online classes from home.
At first it was activated only in an “on demand” mode, but then we became able to analyze, in a big data key, the risks related to the various sports and respond to the specific need for coverage of people with a push offer, as soon as they are preparing to do physical activity or, purchasing a subscription or participating in a tournament or any other amateur competition. Especially among younger users, there is little awareness of the risks and possibilities of being covered from them; there is in fact a huge “protection gap”. Thanks to our platform, which combines machine learning and behavioral sciences, we will be able to offer Sportclubby users the right protection, to the right users, when they really need it and with the right style of communication.

Since your birth until today has your business model changed? How has it changed?

Neosurance has adopted an exclusively B2B2C model in order to enhance the relationship binding a digital community to its users, through the offer of relevant protection and assistance solutions. The revenue model of Neosurance, in addition to technological and consulting services in the realization of end to end insurance customer journeys, focuses on revenues from brokerage since we are an insurance broker. Our digital partner communities don’t incur any cost for this qualification. On the contrary, we offer them the possibility to monetize their user base in full and absolutely respecting their privacy.
Over time we have significantly expanded our end-user offer with a subscription, pay-per-use, instant insurance products and services on all channels. At the same time we have opened up to other insurance intermediaries, including brokers, agents and banks, the possibility of using our proprietary distribution platform, the Open Insurance Platforrm, as a Service. Thanks to this very important innovation, we have really managed to develop a win-win solution. On the insurance company’s side we maximize the scalability of the same insurance product cross-distributor and cross-channel; on the single channel side we maximize the effectiveness in sales because we are able to fully differentiate and customize each commercial proposal of the same product according to the channel, user and context. To all this, it should be added that the same platform is able to automatically manage both intermediation and reporting models, and that what is described on a single product is valid for “n” products, for “n” companies and on “n” countries at the same time.

From your point of view how is the fintech sector evolving in Italy?

Although smaller than in other more mature European contexts, Italian fintech is growing rapidly, even in the smallest insurtech sector. The sector is still relatively young and mostly characterized by solutions moving the sales channel online, assuming that the user is already aware and informed and spontaneously searches online for the policy for his/her needs.
Instead, we are convinced we need to add another perspective for the future of the industry: insurance can be bought, but rather sold. And in order to meet needs, customers and solutions at the right time, the most advanced technologies will make the difference. Certainly the digital acceleration, which has affected every sector in the year of the pandemic, has offered many stimuli also in this scenario, with a growing interest on the part of incumbents to enter into partnerships with innovative players to improve their offerings. However, we also need a global vision from day zero, which, by enhancing ecosystems, creates scalable and exportable models. Making possible ecosystems, proprietary platforms, DNA and international insurance and reinsurance network, blending of expertise specialized in insurance processes, legal & compliance, advanced technology, UX design: these are the distinctive and interdependent assets that make Neosurance unique in the world.

What impact is the pandemic having on the fintech world from your point of view?

New scenarios are emerging that will be at the basis of the growth of many fintech services: greater awareness of the interdependence between people, companies, sectors and countries, greater sense of precariousness and insecurity, a greater attention to the short and medium term, a strong thinning of the border between home and office and between the person and the professional. Practical implications of these tensions are an increasingly “systematic” attention to the risks of cybersecurity related to work in mobility and the use of personal devices; we will see a strong growth in the demand for protection solutions related to work as freelancers, and probably a different balance between property and shared economy in different sectors. The home has become the place where we work, study, do sport and shopping: needless to say, digital payments are becoming mainstream, with the unstoppable growth of e-commerce, but also of related fraud. Risks related to life in the home will also increase and attention to our own the health, our family and even our pets will increase, while unemployment will produce new situations of poverty, with the inability to cope with even basic expenses. And in view of a revival of moments and new ways of social aggregation, it will be necessary to prevent and manage new risks linked for example to urban micro mobility, rather than participation in events. The new challenge for those who work in insurtech will be to intercept these needs among people and SMEs, in the digital contexts they frequent, helping them to protect themselves with the right tools, to face this situation of uncertainty and instability with greater serenity and determination. Neosurance is working hard to do its part.

The Lokky Super Round told by its CEO

An important round for Insurtech Lokky that makes it put its foot down on the accelerator. We interviewed CEO Paolo Tanfoglio to understand what he has in mind for the coming months.

What are the main purposes of the round that has just ended?

This funding will allow us to further accelerate the strategy of growth and expansion in the Italian market that had already been undertaken at the beginning of 2020. In a challenging historical moment, this investment will allow us, in fact, to strengthen the platform and innovate the product offer in order to get closer and closer to the needs of customers, support marketing activities aimed at expanding the user base, implement new tools and customized solutions through the use of smart analytics and big data and consolidate our positioning also through partnerships with non-financial players.

Are there strategic investors for your business and if so, which ones and why?

The operation has seen the entry of strategic private investors including the business angels of Angels4Impact (A4I) – an association of more than 60 young BA’s – and E-Levation – an association promoted by G2 StartUps and focused on investments in insurtech and digital health. They also coupled our project with private investors active in the banking and insurance sector, not only in Italy, thus giving us the opportunity to leverage their strong expertise to accelerate the development plan.

What are the differences between the Lokky closeing this round and the one closing the previous one?

It has been over a year of work, but the current Lokky is deeply different from the previous one. At the time we were little more than an idea. We were starting to work on the most innovative aspects, but we shad no feedback from the market and the insurance industry. Today, instead, Lokky is a team that has been able to achieve its first successes both in terms of acceptance by the reference market and by the operators in the sector – first and foremost the insurance companies – who see us as an innovative, but at the same time strategic partner, to reach such a heterogeneous clientele as that of micro-enterprises, professionals and freelancers.

What is your positioning today in the Italian market? Has it changed with lockdown?

We are the first in Italy to position ourselves as a digital insurance partner for micro businesses, professionals and freelancers. As often happens, Lokky was born from a market need that we have personally experienced. Above all, due to the lack of solutions studied ad hoc based on the real needs of professionals or entrepreneurs. Thus, we have identified the friction points of the customer’s journey made inefficient especially by the poor digitalization and targetization of the services offered and, after identifying an unmanned market segment, we have started to build our offer.
Lokky solves these inefficiencies by accompanying the customer in all phases of the “supply chain”: we were, in fact, the first to introduce on the market a totally digital and real time experience for business customers. The customer accesses a highly personalized proposal, displays his quote, makes the payment and signs the policy directly on the platform in a few minutes. Currently Lokky meets the insurance needs of more than 200 types of micro, professional and freelance businesses, with coverage for liability, professional liability, legal protection, accidents, fire, theft and other damages. The proprietary algorithm – developed by our data scientists and already tested on more than 40,000 real clients – has made the insurance consulting process completely digital and automated through advanced customer profiling and real time product customization. Lokky was also born to be closer to the customer and its platform is natively ready to be integrated by external partners, both digital and physical.
The lockdown on the one hand has been an accelerator of this digitization process. On the other hand it has increased the level of uncertainty about the economic prospects of our customers. In response to the changing economic environment, we have decided to invest even more in services and technology that help our clients optimize their level of insurance coverage. In times of economic crisis our clients have historically decreased their propensity to spend on insurance. At Lokky we want to help clients reduce costs, but at the same time maintain an adequate level of protection by changing the coverage mix.

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The future of insurtech in the eyes of Matteo Carbone

On the occasion of the Fintech Nights Relive edition dedicated to insurtech we had the pleasure to guest Matteo Carbone, founder of IoT Insurance Observatory. We took the opportunity to ask him his point of view on the sector and what effect the coronavirus emergency is having and will have on it.

How has the insurtech sector developed in the last two years and what do you think have been the driving trends?

Insurtech has definitely matured over the past few years. On one side – the startups – we have progressively seen funding rounds with bigger tickets raised by more mature startups. On the other side – insurtech solutions adopted by incumbents – we have recently seen less “toys for CEOs” (the shining tools that are pretty easy to build but lat the time of a press release and one conference) and, instead, more initiatives focused on solutions that can have a concrete impact on the core insurance processes.

What will be the impact of the corona virus on the fintech industry in your opinion?

Let’s separate the answer into two parts. I believe that a lockdown of a bunch of weeks, when the restrictions will be ease, will not have changed customer behaviors and preferences structurally.
The most relevant real impact will come from the recession due to the lockdowns. It will probably increase the focus of incumbent on innovations that have the potential to deliver real impacts on the day by day activities. No more room for “toys for CEOs”. For vendors that have already done POC or pilots with incumbents of solutions that can help in this contingency, there are opportunities for accelerating the adoption. For vendors, it will be more challenging to pitch new clients in the next few months. There will probably be less capital available for new ventures: investors will tend to focus on the companies they currently have in their portfolios.

Will there be differences between Italy/Europe/US?

I’m currently advising insurers in more than 15 different international countries: each insurance market has a completely different story, culture (and bias), and structure. So there will be many differences. I suspect we will see a new wave of new early-stage insurtech initiatives emerge over the recession in the US. Let me elaborate further. Layoffs are starting to appear among existing US insurtech ventures. This trend will put high skilled professionals in the position to reinvent themself…this could create the new wave of insurtech ventures. Some of them will even access to capitals as the economy will start to recover. Startup funding has always been more available in the US than in the European markets.

What would be needed from your point of view today to foster the growth of fintech/insurtech in Italy?

To raise the financial sector innovation culture would be essential in order to foster growth. It is still too diffuse to hear opinions that considers insurtech only a topic for startups or a distribution approach. It’s a pity for a player in the insurance arena today not to pose the question of how to evolve its own model by thinking of which modules within their value chain should be transformed or reinvented via technology and data usage.

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The evolution of Claider, the app connecting policyholders and insurers

Together with Claider, one of the emerging insurtechs in the Italian scenario, we investigated the changing habits of citizens and the next challenges that await the sector in 2020. Here is the interview with Claider’s Client Advisors Sara Montanaro, Sara Partridge, Hélène Lefebvre and Sabine Wiederhold.

Statistics of Claider to date, with some comparison, to give you an idea of ​​the growth over the last few months.

Claider started in mid-2018 with the Business model and accrued the first 5 customers (Broker) who believed in the project. In 2019 we worked on the recognition of our brand and we reached about 20 partners in Italy, also thanks to the collaborations with SHARE software houses. Having a common protocol allows us to work on predefined our standards for transfer and updating data.
Today, negotiations are underway with relevant companies also at an international level which we should be closing shortly. As a result of the activation of business subscriptions, app users have also grown exponentially in recent months (around 50,000 users)

What type of insured customers usually turn to you and what advantages are most appreciated?

Everyone can download the app for free, create a profile and enter their policies. We have had very positive feedback, for example from the police, who appreciated the possibility of digital CID, with the advantage of readability and univocal interpretation.
Or by those who normally work at night as truck drivers, taxi drivers etc … who in the event of a claim can count on being guided through every step on their mobile phone and then send the claim to the insurer at any time. SMEs are very appreciative of the possibility of relying on a simple app to report claims that require multiple photos and documentation, with the big advantage of saving time and especially paper.

Since you’ve been on the market, how has the attitude of the insurance sector towards an innovative reality like yours changed?

Innovation in this sector is always a little scary. Some believe that offering customers a digital tool leaves them too independent or can be too complicating. Our goal is: to make people understand that technology is here to help, it’s not an enemy and that the users are accustomed to apps, even the oldest one.
The growth path we are experiencing with various insurance companies is not easy, but many are changing their minds. Furthermore, the advantages of digital transformation are obvious: you can be close to the customer even remotely and organize an entire office from any location.
Precisely because the idea of ​​speeding up the digitization process in the insurance field is more and more concrete, over the last few weeks a new association has been born, the Italian Insurtech Association of which we are constituent members. It will probably take a little longer to get into the digital perspective as a service for everyone, but we are convinced that by joining forces we will achieve these goals

How has your business changed following the Coronavirus emergency?

We have been on national alert for more than a month. Which for many sectors is objectively a crisis scenario, for Insurtech it can be a moment of opportunity. Now more than ever, is it clear that digital-based business models are essential for dealing with modern emergencies, even a pandemic!
Our business hasn’t changed. We have decided to invest energy and resources and give up a part of the income to participate in the digital solidarity initiative of the Ministry. An incentive that we offer to accompany the digitalisation of intermediaries, who perhaps has never before or have time to renew the business procedures.
Today is the right time to learn, try and acquire useful resources for the future.

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Andrea Severino and the future of the insurtech industry, despite and thanks to the coronavirus

It seems that one of the sectors that could register growth “due” to the pandemic is Insurtech. We asked Andrea Severino, Founder of Healthy Virtuoso, what he thinks about this forecast and how he and his team have reacted to this disruptive and unpredictable period.

How have you reacted to the covid19 emergency: how have you changed your business strategy?

Despite our grief over this huge emergency, we immediately wanted to take this as a great opportunity. As far as employees and collaborators are concerned, we decided to renew our trust by keeping our contracts active. We asked our suppliers to meet us halfway with the aim of ensuring mutual continuity in the business relationship and without imbalances between the parties. As far as business is concerned, we realized that the world has officially changed and we have already begun to think about the evolution 2.0 of Virtuoso, a platform that allows,even more than before, to increase employee engagement and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. We have temporarily suspended our activities aimed at finding new customers, but are receiving a higher rate of inbound requests than usual.

And the way you work with your team?

Little has changed for us. We are used to smart working and from day one we learned to communicate at a distance. This has always given us the freedom to live peacefully and compatibly with our personal commitments and the work we have to do. The sense of responsibility of the guys who work with us has always been the proof.

What initiatives for your users have you put in place and which will you put in place?

We have activated non-profit activities aimed at ensuring real support during this emergency. Specifically

  1. we have activated on our facebook pages a series of free Lives with specialists in psychology, meditation, yoga, home training (PT) and posturology.
  2. With Udemy we have distributed more than 200,000 free courses useful to pass the time and acquire new skills until resuming business (we ourselves benefited right from the first day).

Both initiatives have been very successful.

  • Over the next few days we will launch a new partnership with Adidas Training (formerly Runtastic Results) to further encourage training from home.
  • Soon we will introduce new exciting features on the app to demonstrate your Virtuoso lifestyle even without moving from home.

What do you think the impact of this emergency on the INSURTECH sector could be in the long term?

The world has officially changed, as well as people: the way we think, interact, make decisions and collaborate, but for the Insurtech sector, I think it is a great opportunity. Insurance companies have demonstrated the social importance they have, while people have begun to understand that even what seems impossible could happen at any moment, without warning and without distinction of race, color or social status. The great challenge is to enable these people to regain confidence in their insurers, and to have simple, clear and targeted access to the services they really need. On the business side, all negotiations are not only moving forward, but during this period we have also started to receive very strong interest from abroad. The budgets of some companies will certainly be reduced, but as far as the Insurtech sector is concerned, I think that where there is value offered by startups and willingness to innovate on the part of companies, there will be absolutely no problem !

Have you noticed any changes in your users’ “habits” in the last month?

Without doubt the average number of steps of the entire Italian population has decreased considerably, even if, as shown by the data and the strong success of the online appointments, the real Virtuosi have not given up their habits and either from home, or walking around 50 times around their building,they have continued to do everything they can to keep fit. We are really happy to see so much willpower.

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Time: interview with Paolo Dard

The Fintech District community is enriched with a new insurtech, TIME. Paolo Dard, co-founder, tells how this startup works and its next goals.

What does TIME do?

Time is an insurtech company, born in 2015 from the idea of 4 partners, belonging to three different worlds that have joined together. Two of the three partners belong to the world of insurance companies, a third partner is an expert in insurance distribution having the ownership of some brokers in Italy and then there is myself. I deal mainly with the world of information technology.

The company was founded with the aim of bringing together these three components: the world of insurance offerings made by companies, the world of insurance distribution and the world of technology. We have built a B2B platform connecting companies together with their distribution channel, be it brokers agencies or anything else, including the innovative channels that are emerging today, such as large-scale distribution, up to other sectors of entry such as aggregators.

What are you working on these days?

We are launching a new version of the platform and it will be called Time Social. It’s an initiative that wants to address the world of brokers, agencies and sub agents who are currently looking at new perspectives after the introduction in Italy of the IDD. This last came into force in September 2018 and is revolutionizing the world of insurance distraction in Italy.

Why did you choose to join the Fintech District community?

We recently joined the Fintech District and our goal is to network. Our goal is above all to team up with other players who have chosen the Fintech District before us and create critical mass together with them, constantly aware that we have a peculiarity, namely insurance, while most of the community has expertise in banking and payments.

Do you have internationalization goals?

Italy’s implementation of the insurance distribution directive (IDD) opens up many opportunities, both in the insurance world and in terms of offering and distribution. Time is therefore ready to export its model to other countries as a result of the evolution of IDD which we are sure will open this market to players who are currently operating in other contexts.

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Fintech Nights #2, this time we’re talking about insurtech

An exclusive evening of training as well as fun, to explore the opportunities and challenges of insurtech. This is the second edition of the Fintech Nights. We look forward to seeing you on 17th September on the rooftop of our headquarters in via Sassetti 32. Places are numbered, you can buy your ticket at this link from now or after reading in the next lines how the evening will actually take place. Without too much spoiling, here is the program, from the welcoming at 6 pm to the cocktail party: a special moment of networking under the stars.

The Fintech District team will open the evening with an overview of the theme and by launching some wide-ranging insights. We will start by telling you what Insurtech is and how this sector relates to the more traditional insurance world. We will surprise you by revealing how the history of insurance, born thousands of years ago, can still teach us something today. Of course, we will also venture in making some predictions for the future, asking ourselves and asking you what role insurance will play and, even before that, whether it will still be necessary to insure. Insurance has evolved and is still changing, as the onset of self-driving cars shows.

Below is an overview of the Insurtech market around the world to help understand market differences in terms of regulation, culture and size. We will focus on the most promising realities at an international level and on those entering the Italian market.

We can also observe interesting trends within our community. We will tell you about them to show you which are the business models present in Italy and what the startups operating in this sector think about the present and future of this market. Obviously, in this special evening, a section dedicated to Applied Innovation cannot be missing, with examples of collaboration between corporates and startups in the Italian market that will bring new ideas.

Special guests of the evening will be AXA and IBM who will talk to us about Insurtech through their concrete cases of innovation with a high technological slant.

AXA will show us the potential of the blockchain applied to the insurance world by talking about Fizzy, the first travel insurance based on blockchain and smart contract.

IBM will talk about how the IoT can transform insurance companies into preventive service companies.
During the evening, some insurtech companies from the Fintech District will also take part, bringing their own experience and point of view to the event.

By taking part in our second “Fintech Nights” evening you will be able to listen to and get to know Coverholder , Claider, GaiaGo, Healthy Virtuoso and Squarelife in person.

  • Coverholder – Fully digitised insurance brokerage and underwriting from carrier to intermediary. Offered on Coverholder’s cloud platform as well as in White labels solutions and an API platform integrating carriers and distributors.
  • Claider – Any claim, without pain. Claider is the revolutionary solution for digital insurance claims. The assistance App Claider supports claimants and the web app ClaiderNET supports claim handlers.

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  • GaiaGo – GaiaGO is a Mobility gatherer platform focused on the distribution of insurance products, aiming to offer a boost to sharing mobility models embedded into the territory.
  • Healthy Virtuoso – Virtuoso is the first white box for health that helps health and life insurance companies to lower the risk and increase the margin while acquiring new customers, strengthen the loyalty of the existing ones and collect precious customer behavioural information for the development of the 4.0 data-driven insurance policies and services.

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  • Squarelife is an insurance company that invents, designs, develops, produces, distributes and sells digital insurance products and solutions, reaching its customers directly or through partnerships.

The other insurtechs present in our community are Riskapp, Poleecy, Lokky, MioAssicuratore, TechEngines. Visit the page dedicated to our startups to learn more.

VIRTUOSO: interview with Andrea Severino

Virtuoso is an app that encourages people who are committed to following a healthy lifestyle by walking a lot, running, sleeping as needed and eating healthily. It does so through rewarding and challenging. It offers vouchers, free products and discounts acting as incentives.

It was created mainly to recruit insurance customers with whom contact is made usually only at the signing of the policy, that is when they have to pay and when there is a claim. So far it has already exceeded 80,000 downloads and can count on over 30 partners including Asics, Runtastic, Amazon and many gyms.

Virtuoso has recently joined the Apple Developer Program thanks to/with which it is preparing the program of stairs – up. “We are also working with the Italian Trade Agency for Commerce – says CEO & Founder Andrea Severino – and have joined the Global Scale-up Program, a program in which 120 Italian startups will go abroad for a period of 6 months and we are also preparing for our internationalization”.

As soon as the business model is approved in Italy, the team’s goal will be to bring Virtuoso quickly to England, Germany and France, and then to the United States. “We’ve already started talking to a lot of insurance companies in Spain and India. Today we are in the process of raising funds to speed up this scale-up process. In November, those who attend the Web Summit, in Lisbon, will find Virtuoso among the participants.

In May 2019 Virtuoso joined the Fintech District community because “in order to change and innovate a static sector such as finance and insurance I think we need to work together in a team to achieve great goals” explains Severino.

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