FD Marketplace. Interview with Joost Bergen (Startupbootcamp)

In the selection of professionals that we have made at the disposal of our community through the FD Marketplace there is also Joost Bergen, from Startupbootcamp. With his international professional experience we are sure that he will be able to make a great contribution to the growth of the emergent companies in the Italian fintech scenario. Let’s get to know him better!

From your point of view how is the fintech sector changing in these months and what will be the major trends?

  • Due to Corona, Fintechs are gaining more traction as banks see the urgent need to digitize their processes, for example, take their ability to process loan applications from SME clients quickly
  • Technology that enables working remotely with multi-cultural and multi-location professionals teams and that helps to engage with clients in a remote manner is becoming paramount
  • Many organizations are in survival mode and not exploring new things. Only those with a strategic focus and of course those that deal with regulation
  • Many investors are playing the waiting came. That said, some of them are putting more money in the companies in their portfolio that are more likely to make it.

How is the Italian Fintech ecosystem growing and how can it improve?

Since we have known the Fintech District we see that you continue to attract both local Fintechs and international ones. We believe that the links that the Fintech District has created in the past year to international ecosystems has and will continue to help the Italian fintechs to grow. An example is that based on discussions we had with one of the fintechs at the Fintech Distrct, we were able to link them to a Tier 1 international bank. We believe that there is a lot of potential to not only help the Italian Fintechs but also to bring more international players who want to scale to Italy to the Fintech District.

Four tips for startups and scale ups who want to collaborate with financial institutions?

  • Be clear and very focused what you offer and what you don’t offer
  • Partnerships are the name of the game—see how you can partner with other Bigtechs/ fintechs to be able to offer more and gain credibility
  • Understand which problem you solve and how you add value and at what part of the value chain you do so
  • Have you story ready end to end

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Wavenure in the UK thanks to the Global Startup Program

Wavenure has been selected as part of the Global Startup Program launched by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and managed by ICE, which have identified a hundred or so emerging and innovative Italian startups and has supported them on a project of scale up and internationalisation. Giulio Massucci, founder of this fintech, tells the experience.

“We at Wavenure had the opportunity to participate in the acceleration programme in London, as we had selected the UK as a target country linked to our activity. The UK was already a very interesting market for us, both for its size and deep knowledge in the field of asset management and for its strong ecosystem in artificial intelligence” tells Massucci.

The accelerator that guided us was Startupbootcamp, one of the biggest fintech, insurtech and cybersecurity accelerators in the world. It’s clear that joining their ecosystem has allowed Wavenure to face the challenges and has given its team the tools to successfully face and win them. “The opportunity has been very interesting both for the contacts with potential investors that we are currently evaluating and for the development of a series of business relationships aimed at UK financial players and asset management companies with which we started to sign partnerships to apply our system of Artificial Intelligence and more specifically our AI investment coach Braino to the management of investment funds”.

The first edition of the GSP started in mid-July and ended in mid-October. “It was a pleasure for us to spend the summer months in a stimulating city like London. The experience we had was that of a sort of extremely guided study holiday aimed at vertical excellence in the field of fintech – explains Massucci – Clearly, the startups that lived the London experience with us had a different core business from fintech (medtech, circular economy, etc.) but the fact of representing the future of Italian startups in terms of innovation allowed us to verticalize the training and growth path. One of the things that has made the difference is the climate of cooperation and sharing that has been created with other startups. Both in terms of the training part and in terms of field experimentation, techniques and experiences gained by other companies. We believe that this path of sharing is also important to address the approach of growth, internationalization, team development and the skills needed to compete”.

Evaluating the experience Massucci tells that “This initiative gave us a broader view of what the opportunities are and how best to implement them and above all are already producing the first results. What we are working on is the launch of new product lines aimed at investors, not to mention all the events in which Wavenure will take part and all the new partnerships that have been created in recent weeks. We bring home a great deal of organisational wealth, know-how and a culture of doing business that has matured internationally and a plan for representation and expansion in the UK which, whether Brexit or not, remains one of the most interesting markets in the field of financial services and in asset management in particular”.

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Soisy, a record crowdfunding campaign

One million and 250K euros in 8 days. The crowdfunding campaign that Soisy has made through Two Hundred Crowd was a great success, the result of the excellent synergy between the two companies both members of Fintech District. Let’s find out how it was possible to achieve this result together with Pietro Cesati, CEO and founder of Soisy.

When and why did you decide to launch the crowdfunding campaign with 200Crowd?

The campaign, launched on the 200crowd portal, was part of a plan for a capital increase of 1.25 million euros. Initially, our goal was to raise a maximum of 900K euros through equity crowdfunding and use other channels for the remaining amount.

However, the campaign immediately exceeded our expectations. We had set a record for the crowdfunding of a fintech company which had never been seen before. We reached the maximum limit in just 7 days and, when we reopened the campaign, we collected the 1.25 million euro aimed for in a couple of hours

It was quite natural to choose 200Crowd. We are both based in the Fintech District, we know them personally and know they work very well, because they take care of the campaigns they manage and can rely on a solid network of investors.

They are also among the first equity crowdfunding sites in Italy and have a huge passion for the fintech, just talk to them to understand this! The choice was therefore very easy.

More than 500 thousand euros in one day. Did you expect it?

We were very optimistic about the minimum share: we had foreseen that the campaign would last until January and, boasting a 500% annual growth rate, we counted on being able to convince investors.

What really surprised us was the final result and, above all, the timing: 24 hours for 500K euros, 7 days for 900K and just 8 days for 1.25 million euros. Fantastic! Too fast to realize it and be happy!

Now our goal is growth. We have to work hard to repay the trust investors have given us.

How will you use the money collected?

We have chosen to make this capital increase after having intercepted some signals from the market. Currently we are the only company in Italy to offer marketplace lending as in the rest of Europe there is not yet a well-defined competitive horizon . At the same time loans in Italy required for purchases in physical stores reach 23 billion euros while those requested online for purchases on e-commerce are close to zero. Many of our customers have also started asking us to offer our hire purchase with Soisy abroad.

Taking this into account, we understood that our strategy had to be directed in two parallel directions: a rapid growth of our business to exploit the absence of competitors, and an expansion towards the European market to meet the demands of our customers and start to build a strong presence abroad.

By 2019 we plan to reach and enter at least 2 European countries: e-commerce is mainly asking us to finance customers from UK, Germany and France. However, our expansion strategy has not yet been defined in detail and, by participating in StartupBootCamp in Amsterdam, we want to learn how best to manage it.

Soisy today in numbers and goals for the new year

Currently we have a growth of 20% per month and about 500% per year. Since deciding to focus on the e-commerce lending marketplace, in the second half of 2017 we financed, thanks to about 600 savers, more than 2000 customers allowing them to buy with installments on almost 100 e-commerce and partner stores, mainly in furniture, fashion and sport sectors.

The break even is scheduled for 2021, so at the moment our main objective is to graduate our business model through internationalization so as to position ourselves as market leader at a European level. .

As you said before, you have also been selected for StartupBootcamp. What do you expect from this program ?

This is a great opportunity. The StartupBootcamp acceleration program in Amsterdam is one of the most important in the world for fintech. The fact of being one of the 10 startups selected out of more than 500 companies from all over the world gives us a very important feedback on our choices

We believe that joining this program will allow for important developments in terms of internationalization and will help us to intercept foreign e-commerce and institutional investors faster.

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Swascan: interview with Pierguido Iezzi

Swascan is the solution for cyber security, in cloud or on premise, which allows all companies to identify, analyze and solve all critical issues and vulnerabilities concerning the web itself at a web application level and network level, as well as also performing the analysis of the code review.

As co-founder Pierguido Iezzi explains “with a simple click it allows to understand and obtain the analysis of technological risk both for a security governance issue and the legislative compliance to the GDPR in line with what is indicated in the Article 32 “.

In September, this startup was selected to join the Fintech District community: for the team and the platform itself “this was an extremely important recognition”. Being a member of the community, according to Iezzi, “is a big opportunity because it is definitely the most interesting Italian community in the fintech area. Furthermore, the series of events and initiatives that are organized are a unique opportunity for us to let us be known even more both in Italy and abroad.”

Entrance into the Fintech District was not the only autumn news for Swascan which was in fact also selected by the Startupbootcamp, the biggest European accelerator. “It was a very important combination – comments Iezzi -and is the confirmation of the validity of our technological platform and also of the competence and professionalism of our team”

It is not over! In these months Swascan is participating as speakers in a series of events, for a total of 8 in October and 9 in November. Among the main events are those organized by the Fintech District itself specifically dealing with security issues and the meeting between cyber security, banking and insurance sectors. “They are all very important occasions for us”.

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