Italy, a fertile breeding ground for Fintech

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SDA Bocconi hosted an important event on the Fintech industry, organized as part of the extra-curricular activities of the 1-year full time Master in Corporate Finance (MCF).
The event titled “Fintech: making money, creating social wealth” had the objectives to bring together some of the leading actors in the Italian Fintech scene. The panel of guest speakers consisted of players that are “hands on” in creating or financing Fintech ventures. The event was organized in collaboration with Hub 39, an Italian association that is establishing a network of professionals and businesses around the world in order to foster opportunities for internationalization of Italian business. Giulio Centemero, founder and chairman of Hub 39, envisioned the potential of the Italian ecosystem and in his words “Italy has a lot of knowledge and opportunities to offer, and this could serve as the ideal ground for the knowledge intensive industries at a worldwide level".

Centemero underlined that big traditional organizations are increasingly scouting and collaborating with fintech industries, and Hub 39 serves as an ideal node to bring together researchers, startuppers and fintech professionals with established industrial entities. Mr. Centemero also highlighted the importance of Fintech in improving the financial inclusion of populations in both developed and developing markets. The guest speakers of the Fintech event represented different segments of the Fintech world: new technology-based banking services, peer-to-peer lending platforms, cryptocurrencies, big data analytics and venture capital in Fintech.

Matteo Arpe, CEO of Tinaba and a Bocconi alum, with a long and successful career in major Italian investment banks, entertained the audience with his vision on the future of banking and a new model for financial services by Tinaba. He underlined the paradigm change where banks are not seen any more as “closed” and bureaucratic institutions, but are transforming themselves into “open” and accessible platforms of integrated services, thanks to digital technologies. Tinaba is now growing at a rapid pace by offering its customers a “full rounded” device that makes payments, crowdfunding campaigns and shopping experiences easier. Daniele Loro, CEO of Prestiamoci, introduced the platform Prestiamoci, the leading provider of peer-to-peer lending solutions in Italy.  Prestiamoci is the only platform in Italy registered as a regulated financial company and it enables borrowers to sell their loans on the secondary market without transaction costs. Last year the platform saw a rapid increase in usage due to the innovations brought on by the Italian regulatory system and the role of the Piani Individuali di Risparmio (PIR), an investment scheme that facilitates the flow of private savings to corporate securities. “We believe that we will already reach break-even in 2018,” Daniele Loro commented.

Other guests were Simone Monetti and Federico Pecoraro, two young Italian entrepreneurs that founded Chainblock, a company active in promoting solutions for the diffusion and usage of cryptocurrencies. Their speech strongly caught the attention of participants when they displayed a new model of automatic teller machine that converts euro notes into cryptocurrencies. Their showcase was followed by the speech by Marcello Sala, an experienced Italian investor in the field of Venture Capital who nowadays serves as Chairman of Apis Partners, an international VC firm that invests in Fintech. Mr. Sala underlined that Fintech is a double facet sector because it mixes business opportunities with social welfare. “Of course we are a for-profit organization but an important byproduct of investing in Fintech is financial inclusion and consumer protection,” Marcello Sala said. Later, Alberto Dell’Acqua, Director of the Master in Corporate Finance and moderator of the event, introduced Alidat, an innovative platform that provides data on the performance of asset managers and funds in the sector of alternative investments (Private Equity and Venture Capital, Real Estate, Hedge Funds, Infrastructure) at a worldwide level.

Alidat was developed by Fabio Zocchi, a former Bocconi student of Professor Dell’Acqua, who decided to take the challenge of developing a dataset of alternative investments after experiencing the difficulties of hand-collecting the data he needed for his Master of Science thesis. Years after graduation and with the help of Andrea Ardemani, a software developer with long experience in the field of programming and co-founder of Alidat, Fabio was able to create a platform that tracks more than 1.900 funds all over the world with more than 74.000 data points for performance (IRR, investment and cash multiples). The Alidat platform can now serve the needs of asset managers, wealth managers, private bankers and family offices as well as sovereign funds. Since last year the platform has been adopted by the Master in Corporate Finance of SDA Bocconi to train students on the management of portfolios of alternative asset classes.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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