Carbon tracking through payment? Greenly is ready

More and more often, values related to environmental sustainability appear in the business plan and mission of innovative global start-ups. This is a transversal emergency that must affect all sectors, and fintech cannot shy away from it. On the contrary, it can set an example for other industries by showing how technology can lend a big hand in tackling the climate crisis.

The potential of fintech is enormous, as demonstrated by companies such as Greenly. In this interview, Giulia Girardi takes an in-depth look at the mission and projects of this excellent company.

What greenly does and who it is aimed at?

Greenly is a company specialized in carbon tracking through payments. Our mission is to democratise access to carbon analytics to all businesses and individuals, and we do this through 3 solutions:
• Our app for individuals to track their emissions
• Our carbon accounting software for SMEs – through which we served more than 200 companies
• Our API for banks and fintechs to integrate emissions information within their banking apps – serving at the moment 13M users

How is your team structured?

It was founded in 2019 by Techstars alumni and Alexis Normand (CEO), Matthieu Vegreville, (CTO) and Arnaud Delubac, (CMO) – who decided to bring their expertise gained within health-tech company Withings on the quantified self to the fight against climate change.

How has your business grown in recent months?

To date – Greenly has raised a seed round of €500k and recently announced a bridge round of €2.5M and is currently on route to raise €10M to scale and internationalize their operations outside of France.

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

Greenly is open to connect with companies operating with payments or within the sustainability industry to make carbon analytics a new, easily accessible standard.

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Valore Condiviso: interview with Alberto Papa

Valore Condiviso is an innovative and sustainable project that aims to create value through real estate crowdfunding and share it with the proposing lenders of its community.

The operations presented on Valore Condiviso are the result of a negotiation that takes into account all the actors involved,.There is a particular attention to the NPL market that allows to give value to the so-called impaired real estate credits and solve debt situations in a sustainable way.

Valore Condiviso is the first platform in Italy that uses blockchain technology in the NPL sector and has recently launched its second project after successfully raising the target amount in the launch phase. The short-term goal is to strengthen the community and become a reference point in this niche sector.

Watch the interview with Founder Alberto Papa

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How does impact investing change during a pandemic? The opinion of Lita.co

Thanks to the availability of the French fintech LITA.co, operating also in Italy and dealing for years with impact investing, we have the opportunity to discover how both the preferences of investors and those of the projects presented have changed, due to the health emergency for the coronavirus. Stefano Rossi, Country Manager Italy of LITA.CO tells us how this fintech has operated and what he has noticed.

What does LITA.co do and who does it address to?

LITA.co is the first equity crowdfunding platform focusing on impact investing. Our goal is clear: to democratize impact finance. We empower common people to invest alongside with professional investors in companies that aim to generate a positive social and environmental impact, in parallel with a financial return. All the companies on LITA.co answer to at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals. We believe in the growing propensity of investors to take into account extra-financial criteria and we are committed to reconcile the needs of ethical investors with the financial needs of social entrepreneurs.

What impact has the health emergency on your business? How did you deal with it?

The COVID crisis had a strong impact for us, both in positive and negative way. As many equity crowdfunding platforms (not only in Italy) we experienced a decrease of interest related to some fields of business and investments. Indeed, COVID caused the failure of one of our campaigns: SEAY is a virtuous startup operating in the sustainable fashion industry, and as the crisis raised all the committed investors have been forced to step back. Most of them are working in the fashion industry too and, as you know, this sector suffered and it is still suffering the crisis, so they decided to exercise their right to withdraw the investment.
In the opposite way, COVID crisis and the forced lockdown highlighted social impact and sustainability topics for several industry, as the Italian agri-food production. Another campaign, Humus, was focused on this topic. The crisis gifted this engaging social impact startup an unexpected media exposure which led to new business partnerships and also to the successful overfunding of the equity crowdfunding campaign.

Have you launched ad hoc initiatives?

As group, we reset our fees on investors, encouraging a very good answer. As LITA.co Italy, we launched a call for sustainable enterprise working in the fishing industry and in the related supply chain: the award named “Premio Finanza Sostenibile per il Mediterraneo” (literally “Award Sustainable Finance for the Mediterranean Sea”) was born – in partnership with Chimica Verde Bionet and Legacoop – to valorise and enhance the sustainability in this so important sector. Furthermore, we participated to initiatives launched from other companies, like Entopan and Mamazen, to help startups and SMEs to boost their development after the crisis.

Have you noticed a change of attitude of investors due to the pandemic?

This global emergency has raised the awareness of the urgency of the green transition, as well as the economic and social impact of individuals’ behaviours. We are all more aware of the need of investments in healthcare, in widespread digitalization (to not leave anyone behind), in education and into social inclusion, as of course in green businesses. This trend was already set but we believe it will raise more and more in the next months.

And in the type of projects submitted?

We are perceiving more social openness to innovation. The time is right to leave behind the unsustainable Silicon Valley model and to experiment a new “Community Capitalism”. We must focus on communities and places as new centre of our development agenda, adopting new business models: profit companies pursuing social goals supporting the local economic development.

Which ones are the most successful today and why?

Today and in the future, projects and businesses with positive impact on communities will gain more and more attention from customers and investors. People pays more attention to brands with a clear and shared vision of the world, committed to a real positive impact on society and environment.

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FIN4CHANGE – Green Academy for Fintechs

There are in the world those who use Fridays to protest because they steal their future is being stolen from them at the age of 16, and those with a few more years on their backs and a company to manage, who choose to invest in the present time some of their time to do their part, doing this on a Friday same as the others. As the former secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said in 2015: “We don’t have a plan B, because we don’t have a planet B“.

Fintech District, in collaboration with InVento Lab, proposes a path to support Fintechs and Corporate Members in the implementation and activation of projects and actions, which, in line with the spirit of the SDGs defined by the United Nations, can contribute to the promotion of a sustainable society but at the same time generate value for the companies, communities and areas in which they operate as well as their workers and the environment in general.

Fin4Change (this is the name of the initiative) is a “green academy for fintechs” lasting 7 months, providing an interactive 6-hour meeting per month, on Fridays held in via Sassetti 32. After an introduction on environmental sustainability, concerning the impact of this last in the company on SDGs and B Corp, we will move on to the workshop phase, analysing the criticalities of the individual participating companies and identifying the areas of intervention to structure a project and validate it after analyzing the budget and impacts. After a pitch presentation, each Academy participant will implement the sustainability project in their own company.

We have chosen to follow this path together with InVento Lab, which is one of the 80 B Corp. currently existing in Italy. This means it is a company that uses the strength of business to generate positive impacts on society and the environment, with a view towards building economic models that are “regenerative” rather than “extractive”. InVento Lab, in addition to the classes, will also provide the digital platform InVento School to share training materials, participate in online meetings and create an active community, also involved through gamification methodologies.

As an alternative to the Academy, we also offer a softer path that transforms interested companies into true sustainability leaders. It is a customizable hackathon, “one-shot” that allows you to identify the most critical issues for sustainability in the company and choose those in which you can intervene to get to rethink your role in the company from the point of view of environmental sustainability.

Read more and sign up to take part in this academy HERE

Impact Now, powered by LITA.co

Of Belgian birth, Impact Now has also arrived in Italy thanks to LITA.co, startup of our community and the first European group for impact investing. Thanks to a tour through 7 cities in 3 months, it aims to offer training and opportunities for debate to those who work in companies offering a positive social and environmental impact. Fintech District has chosen to support Impact Now, explained to us in detail by Silvia Squarciotta, Manager of Impact Now Italia, and part of the investor relations team of LITA.co Italia.

What is Impact Now and what are its goals?

Impact Now is the first tour dedicated to impact investing as well as social and sustainable entrepreneurship. Organised in several cities, it brings together the protagonists of the impact ecosystem through training sessions dedicated to social entrepreneurs, speeches, roundtables on impact investing and a contest for the best business projects with a positive impact.

The tour is an idea of LITA.co, Europe’s leading impact investing group, which offers investment opportunities (through crowdfunding) in companies with a positive social or environmental impact, according to ONU SDGs. LITA.co is active in France, Belgium and, since 2018, in Italy too. The first edition of Impact Now was in Belgium where LITA.co perceived the need to gather all entrepreneurs, incubators, investors and institutions working every day for the development of a sustainable economy.

Since its first edition two years ago, Impact Now has achieved great results in Belgium allowing local entrepreneurs to meet with national and European networks of investors and business angels as well as offering a space for dialogue and open discussion. The latest Belgian edition took place from February to June 2019 in 5 major cities and it was the largest edition in terms of audience and success.

In Italy as in Belgium, we perceived the same need and wanted to implement this initiative in order to strengthen the synergies and collaborations between companies and investors that, in different ways, deal with social and sustainable entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs, startup incubators, academia, institutions and investors will see Impact Now as a new opportunity to deepen their knowledge, exchange best practices and collaborate with a common goal: long-term positive impact.

What is the program of the tour and how will each event take place?

From September to December the team and the partners of Impact Now will travel all over Italy, gathering in 7 cities: Catania, Rome, Naples, Florence, Bologna, Turin and Milan. In Milan, the winners of the Call for Impact will be awarded by the Partners.

Each event, taking place from afternoon onwards, is divided into two parts (registration is mandatory for both). In the first part, there will be workshops dedicated to entrepreneurs, to give them information and share programmes regarding incubation and acceleration promoted by local and national actors as well as best practices about impact measurement.

The second part is open to the public and includes many contributions: a keynote speech by experts in the impact sector, case histories of social entrepreneurship by B Corp companies or Ashoka Fellow entrepreneurs, a pitch competition for candidates for the Call for Impact and Impact Now Award. There will also be a roundtable on impact economy and investments with four speakers from different sectors who will share their experiences and discuss the opportunities and challenges of promoting and developing social entrepreneurship, sustainability and impact investments in Italy.

To whom is Impact Now addressed and why is it important to participate?

The tour is addressed at all – current and potential – impact makers: innovative startups, social and sustainable SMEs, social entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators, foundations, banks, investment funds, business angels, impact investors, universities, public institutions and all citizens interested in impact economy and in discovering more about impacting investments. Seats are limited; therefore, we recommend subscribing for free to each workshop and event via Eventbrite.

We invite everyone to take part because in LITA.co we believe that it is important to make our part in the development of the community of impact makers. We also hope to enrich the discussions sharing our experience in the opportunities offered by equity-crowdfunding for the development of social and sustainable companies.

For startuppers and social entrepreneurs Impact Now will be an opportunity to pitch their projects in front of our partners, business angels and impact investors, curious to discover new talents. Impact Now is also an opportunity for individuals who are not yet familiar with investments with a social or environmental impact, to discover both new social and sustainable projects, and the opportunities offered by impact investing.

Call for impact: what are you looking for and what do candidates win?

This is a competition for all social entrepreneurs who can apply on the website and present their projects during the Pitch session of one of the 7 events. The prizes are offered by LITA.co and many partners of Impact Now. You can apply to be preselected to pitch in one of the 7 cities. Jury members will have until December to select the final winner. Each Pitch will be streamed.

Did you collect any best practices or interesting stories during your tour in Belgium? Which ones?

King Philip, who is very sensitive to sustainability and social entrepreneurship took part in the final event in Brussels and officially announced the creation of a national mapping platform for all companies and startups having a positive social or environmental impact, encouraging the inclusion of such companies in the market and developing new and profitable synergies and collaborations.

Many European financial institutions and networks of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and investors took part in the Belgian tour and this was one of the most important results, according to Céline Bouton, the founder of Impact Now in Belgium, who expressed her satisfaction to this regard.

A special thanks from the Fintech District should go to the LITA.co team, which brought an event to Italy highlighting issues that are important for us all.

According to Silvia Squarciotta, Manager of Impact Now Italy, Impact Now couldn’t exist without the strong support and engagement of the entire team:

Stefano Rossi, Country Manager of LITA.co Italy, who strongly believes in the Impact Now project, allowing LITA.co to get in touch with local social entrepreneurs;

Sonia Gennaro, Marketing Manager of LITA.co Italy, in charge of communication and press for Impact Now.

Giuseppe Fazi, Investment Manager for LITA.co Italy.

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SalaryFits: interview with Moacir Giansante

SalaryFits is a fintech focused on financial wellbeing and sustainability that puts itself forward as an innovative channel aimed at providing value to individuals through their salaries thanks to a particular technology which optimizes process management and risk analysis.

Its goal is to facilitate those who have difficulty accessing credit lines and those who have very high interest rates. SalaryFits is a spin-off of a Brazilian company. Before arriving in Italy, in 2017, it was already active in Portugal, UK, Mexico, Spain and India.

Among its products, the one most suited to the Italian market concerns the salary-backed loan, as explained by Moacir Giansante, Country Manager at SalaryFits. It allows the employee to gain more control over financial expenses while remaining constantly updated about monthly charges.

SalaryFits has recently started a partnership with a benefits provider, Edenred, in Portugal: “It’s a very interesting synergy – comments Giansante – because it combines corporate welfare benefits with those concerning credit”.

In 2018 this fintech became part of the Fintech District community, “a very similar one to that based in London, in Canary Wharf: Level39 – explains Giansante – it is important for us to be part of an innovative environment like this, with a number of startups but also attended by financial institutions looking for new ideas “.

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