Risolvi il tuo debito becomes Bravo to grow as a global brand

“Risolvi il tuo debito”, a fintech company of our community, operating in the area of private debt management and settlement, changed its name to “Bravo” with the goal of growing as a global brand.
Bravo’s goal is to offer a second chance to those facing financial problems by providing financial counseling to consumers to help them settle debts generated by consumer loans, credit cards, unsecured loans, and business loans – claimed on a personal basis.

We talked about it with Daniel Martinez, Co-Country Manager at Bravo.

What is Bravo’s mission?

Bravo aims to restore financial stability to those who intend to pay their debts but have found
themselves in a situation of over-indebtedness.

It is aimed at private individuals and credit institutions: it orients its customers so that they
can pay off their debts with the economic resources at their disposal according to a
customised programme created on the basis of their real economic possibilities.
In this way, Bravo contributes to the rehabilitation of its customers in the credit system from
which they would otherwise be excluded.
Bravo also provides financial education and advice on how to manage personal finances, so
that customers improve their relationship with money and do not fall back into debt.

What is the reason for the brand change? Is it related to new products or services?

The transformation of the brand, from “Risolvi il tuo Debito” to “Bravo”, is the result of an
evolution that began some time ago on a global level.

Aware of the importance of change, the brand decided to evolve under one name globally
while maintaining its principles and values, but transforming itself to better connect with its
customers and continuing with its commitment to financial education as a tool to responsibly
navigate the financial environment.

The rebranding, in fact, is accompanied by the integration of new financial solutions that
respond more comprehensively to customers’ needs and that will be presented in the coming
months.

Why did you choose Bravo as your new name?

The term Bravo was chosen with the intention of stimulating people facing financial
difficulties to believe more in themselves and look to the future with courage and positivity.
At the same time, it expresses the satisfaction of being able to celebrate the achievement of
financial freedom once one has completed the debt repayment programme and paid off all of
their debts, regaining financial stability.

What advantages does a credit institution gain from Bravo’s mediation?

The objective of Bravo is to improve the credit rating of those who have lost the ability to pay
their debts, guiding them towards repayment and thus extinguishing their debts.
Consequently, Bravo enables the re-insertion of liquidity into the financial system since, with
our programme, credit institutions have the opportunity to recover credit that would otherwise
be considered lost due to the inability of debtors to repay their debts.

How can being part of our community facilitate dialogue with other players and the growth of Bravo?

Being part of the Fintech District community offers the opportunity to share and learn from
the best practices of other Fintechs in the financial sector. This exchange of knowledge and
know-how can contribute to the continuous improvement of Bravo’s operations with the aim
of fostering innovation and improving operational efficiency.

In addition, being part of this community brings with it the opportunity to diversify service
offerings. For example, collaborating with other industry players to provide integrated
solutions to continue helping those who want to but can no longer cope with their debts.

With more than 14 years of experience in the field, we have successfully demonstrated how
our program can concretely assist people who find themselves in financial difficulty due to
debt. We are therefore convinced of the possibility of establishing strategic relationships with
other fintechs, opening up new business possibilities.

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IREN and BBVA launch a sustainable project to generate green energy and reduce citizens’ utility bills

Our Corporate BBVA in Italy and Iren luce, gas and services – the commercial business unit of the Iren Group, Italy’s leading multi-utility – joined forces for the launch of “Project Sustainability“, which allows the creation of a new Renewable Energy Community in Baganzola, a few kilometers from Parma, in a condominium of subsidized housing owned by the Parma 80 Consortium.

We talked about it with Ignacio de Loyola Gil Puertolas, Head of product and partnerships BBVA Italia, to better understand the goals and the details about the partnership.

What is the collaboration about and what are the goals and benefits for citizens?

The main objective of the collaboration is to contribute to the energy transition in the area, thanks to the generation of environmental and economic benefits for the citizens involved.The initiative has been launched in these very weeks and involves the installation on the roof of the condominium of a photovoltaic system with a total power of about 26 kWp.

Thanks to the system it will be possible to produce 100% green energy, avoiding the emission into the atmosphere of 20 tons of CO2 per year and reducing, at the same time, the costs of energy bills for citizens living in the Parma 80 building.

Within the project, the Parma 80 Consortium contributes to promoting a lifestyle based on the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the community, through urban and architectural redevelopment interventions, in line with the urban development strategies of the city of Parma itself.

What might be the future prospects as a result of the partnership?

This activity is part of a broader strategic collaboration agreement signed in 2022 by Iren and BBVA in Italy that it has at its core the joint commitment of the two companies to the ecological and digital transition.

In addition, this new agreement represents a step forward in the collaboration between Iren Group and BBVA for the implementation of mutual sustainable strategies, consistent with the framework agreement that, launched in 2019 and linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, provides Iren with a €10 million line of guarantees for green initiatives and projects from the Basque bank.

What might be the next steps?

This is an important step in the collaboration between the two companies, whose main goal is to keep developing initiatives with an environmental, digital and sustainable impact on society.

However, this is only the first milestone throughout a common journey, in which we are both committed to working side by side on such impactful projects, both for the benefit of our customers and for a more sustainable future. Watch the video to learn more about all the details of the partnership.

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Crypto-assets: a new framework with uncertain edges

The draft of 2023 budget law finally fills the regulatory gap on cryptocurrencies or “crypto-assets”; the new and more organic regulations concern the treatment of digital assets in different aspects, irpef, the application of the relevant substitute tax also by non-financial operators, stamp duty, ivafe and tax monitoring.

We talked about it with Edoardo Belli Contarini, Partner – Fantozzi & Associati, and Raffaello Fossati, Associate Partner – Fantozzi & Associati.

Why is the role of tax rules critical in the crypto world?

As for all financial instruments, taxation affects the net income of investors thus playing a crucial role in the choice of the asset allocation. In recent years, cryptocurrency price fluctuations attracted the attention of investors but the uncertainty over the tax treatment of capital gains and losses in various countries, among which is also Italy, together with the lack of proper regulation of the industry may have discouraged the more prudent investors.  For instance, in 2016 the Italian tax authorities affirmed that cryptocurrencies should be assimilated to standard foreign currencies with the effect of taxing the related trading only when certain circumstances were met. In addition, cryptocurrencies maintained abroad (also via exchanges) should have been disclosed in the tax return for monitoring purposes. Such an approach was not totally consistent with the legal definition of digital currency (see art. 1 legislative decree no. 231/2007 and art. 1 legislative decree no. 184/2021), according to which blockchain currencies are not at all similar to fiat currencies.

Which are the changes introduced by the 2023 Budget Law?

With the 2023 Budget Law, the Italian legislator finally fills the regulatory gap on cryptocurrencies with a more organic discipline covering personal and corporate income taxes, stamp duty, so called “IVAFE” and tax monitoring. In particular, the Budget Law adds a specific type of income related to the sale for consideration, exchange, refund or holding of crypto-assets, exceeding 2,000 euros in each tax period. In addition, it provides for the franking of crypto assets with reference to market value as of 1st January 2023, subject to the payment of a 14% substitute tax and regularization of the taxpayers’ position for previous years. In such respect, the regularization allows taxpayers to remedy the obligations due up to 31st December 2021 by means of amended tax returns and payment of a substitute tax for past income, corresponding to 3.5% of the value of the assets disclosed, as well as a penalty reduced to 0.5% of the same value for failure to indicate crypto activities in the tax return. On the opposite, the Budget Law introduced the possibility to carry forward (over a 4-year period) and offset any losses incurred.

How do you think this will impact the crypto world this year?

Despite some technical aspects that may undermine the benefits provided by the new discipline (e.g., criminal penalties may apply), the clarifications provided together with the possibility to have certainty on the past should be welcomed by the investors. They shall carefully evaluate the opportunity to disclose their crypto assets and consider the corresponding value as of 1st January 2023 in light of recent reductions in market prices. In case the franking of assets is deemed to be beneficial, the payment of the 14% substitute tax should be performed by 30th June 2023 (wholly or first instalment).

Considering the downward trend in cryptocurrency prices occurred in 2022, the cost of the substitute tax can be considered as appealing to the investors that are not able to provide evidence of their purchase prices or in case their purchase prices were very low, especially if they are considering the possibility of disinvestment in the near future.

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Opyn Pay Later: BNPL solution for the B2B market

Interview with Antonio Lafiosca, Co-Founder & COO at Opyn

What is the need from which Opyn Pay Later was born and who is it aimed at?

Opyn Pay Later is a type of short-term interest-free financing dedicated to the B2B market. The service allows, on the one hand, sellers to offer an additional credit service to the customer, and on the other hand, buyers to pay only part of the order at the time of purchase and to defer the rest of the amount in installments. We have found that the main need in the market is for more flexibility and simplicity in payment methods: well, with Opyn Pay Later it is possible and this makes the B2B world more inclusive and on par with the B2C world, always one step ahead on these issues. In particular, from the surveys we have carried out, it appears that the merchant’s need is to meet the customer’s availability without compromising its stability. Thanks to Opyn Pay Later, the seller gets 2/3 of the amount immediately, thus reducing the risk that any delays in payment will affect its liquidity. The buyer, on the other hand, has more time to pay, thus facilitating cash flow management, as well as the ability to up-sell and cross-sell product.

Why is it something new within the buy now pay later market?

Opyn Pay Later is the first Italian “Buy Now, Pay Later” service dedicated to the B2B market. Indeed, while the B2C sector is already well developed and known, the B2B sector has yet to emerge. Yet, according to a study by Hokodo, this segment is worth 2.5 times that dedicated to consumers. For this reason, we wanted to take up the challenge of devising and proposing a solution that could meet all the needs the business-to-business market requires.

Another innovation brought by Opyn Pay Later is that it can be used for both digital purchases (both remote and e-commerce) and physical in-store purchases through the “Pay by link” system for purchases up to 3K euros.

How do you expect the “Buy now, pay later” market to evolve on a European and international level?

The service is already active for the Italian market, but our goal is to reach Europe as well, during 2023.

We have to consider that the “Buy Now, Pay Later” market, according to Straits Research forecasts, will be worth more than $3.6 trillion by 2030 (with a 45% growth from 2022). Only in Italy, the sector will come to be worth 14.5 billion euros in 2025 (with an increase of 10.9% since 2021 – data from the B2C eCommerce Observatory of Politecnico di Milano). A market which, also internationally, is driven by the old continent: 8 of the 10 top players are located in Northwestern Europe, particularly Sweden and Germany. So we are talking about a sector expected to grow strongly in the coming years and in which we want to enter with a solution that differentiates itself from competitors.

Interview with Lexia Avvocati: the law firm for the fintech world

Lexia Avvocati is an independent law firm with extensive knowledge and experience in fintech, blockchain technology and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) dynamics. The firm supports Italian and foreign clients, such as banks, funds, exchange platforms, wallet providers and digital asset providers, in the launch and management of their operations in Italy and in dealing with the relevant regulatory authorities. Thanks to its multidisciplinary team, Lexia advises in relation to all issues affecting companies operating in the sector, starting from corporate, tax and regulatory issues to the fields of personal data protection, cybersecurity, intellectual property and consumer protection. We talked about it with Angelo Messore, partner at Lexia, and Francesco Dagnino, managing partner and founder.

What do you believe are the most important challenges to date from a legal perspective that the Fintech world is facing?

One of the main challenges for fintech projects is definitely the absence of a clear legal framework. Indeed, it is well known that technology develops faster than the law. But if the law does not provide a transparent environment for innovation, there cannot be a level playing field between innovative projects and market incumbents (or between domestic players and foreign competitors). An example can be seen in the recent EU regulation on crowdfunding, which Italy has not yet implemented. We know of a number of Italian crowdfunding platforms that are waiting for the Italian state to publish implementing regulations in order to become fully operational on a European scale. In these cases, the lack of a well-defined regulatory environment creates a clear competitive disadvantage for fintech companies.

Are there any major new developments in Europe that those operating in the fintech sector need to be aware of?

European institutions are often criticized for their overly conservative approach to regulating fintech entities compared to other countries. Indeed, they try to strike a balance between consumer and investor protection on the one hand and openness to technology and financial innovation on the other hand – a task certainly not easy to accomplish.
In recent years, the EU has taken several steps to stimulate innovation in the financial market, notably through the Fintech Action Plan and the Digital Finance Package. In this context, a key role in shaping the rules for Fintech operators will be played by the recently approved EU regulation on the “pilot regime” for tokenized financial instruments and the EU regulation on cryptocurrency markets. Other initiatives that Fintech operators should keep an eye on include the ongoing review of the EU anti-money laundering framework, the entry into force of the EU regulation on crowdfunding, the proposed legislation to create a legal framework for the use of artificial intelligence, and the current discussion on the regulation of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services.

When you work along with an emerging fintech company, what are the most frequent issues you face and how do you support it?

The crucial challenge we meet with our clients is to bridge the gap between the business idea they have and its implementation in accordance with the current regulatory framework. When working on Fintech projects, there are many technical, operational, business, financial, marketing, and legal issues. However, sometimes Fintech companies decide to postpone legal analysis by focusing on the other aspects of their project. In doing so, they underestimate the importance of the legal framework for defining their business model.
As legal advisors, we must first understand the innovative sector in which the client operates and its business model in order to design the best legal solution. Fintech companies operate in a highly regulated environment and must be aware of all the legal complexities of the sector in which they operate, as well as the opportunities that the regulatory framework offers them. We support founders in defining and structuring their business idea taking into account all relevant legal constraints, as well as in approaching regulators to identify the appropriate legal framework for their project.

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EU Digital Finance Platform

Interview with Christine Mai, Digital Finance Unit, European Commission

Earlier this year, the European Commission launched the EU Digital Finance Platform, a collaborative space bringing together industry and public authorities to support innovation in the EU’s financial system. Can you talk more about the initiative and from where this idea came?

The EU Digital Finance Platform is a key initiative announced in our Digital Finance Strategy of September 2020. On the one hand, this new website builds on the Commission’s outreach to the fintech community which highlighted the challenges facing innovative financial firms seeking to scale up their offerings across Europe. On the other hand, the Platform is a project that we continue to work on in close cooperation with supervisors and notably the European Supervisory Authorities. The objective is to build dialogue and offer practical support to innovative financial firms. In this way, we hope to help overcome the fragmentation we still see in the market for digital financial services and foster innovation for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

This platform provides different features. One of them is Digital Finance Observatory, acting as a single point of contact and knowledge for everyone interested in innovation and new technologies in the financial ecosystem. What are the available options, and what can a fintech do with them?

The Digital Finance Observatory is designed to stimulate interaction. Registered users can share content here and promote events, hackathons and research linked to digital finance. And fintechs can literally put themselves on the map: our European fintech map, which we hope will become a space that showcases Europe’s vibrant fintech ecosystem and lead to new discoveries and connections. At the moment, the map features only two Italian firms – so I would encourage your members to add their firms. It only takes a couple of minutes! We also have a Policy corner in this part of the Platform where we collect information on political and legislative initiatives at the European level, regulatory news and funding opportunities.

By browsing into the Platform website is possible to see, right next to the Observatory, a part indicated as ‘European Forum for Innovation Facilitators Gateway’. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

The Gateway is a single access point built to offer practical support to financial firms. For the first time ever, the information needed to contact national supervisors, as well as links to their innovation hubs, regulatory sandboxes and national licensing requirements can be found in one place. This section of the EU Digital Finance Platform also hosts information about the work of the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators. The Forum that brings together representatives of national supervisors in charge of innovation, coordinated by the European Supervisory Authorities. The objective is to foster exchange and mutual learning among the authorities involved, encouraging supervisory cooperation and convergence – another important factor in overcoming fragmentation. 

In the spirit of the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators and the collaboration among National Authorities, one of the platform’s pillars is “Cross-border testing”. Companies seeking to involve multiple authorities in a testing process can apply through the EU Digital Finance Platform via an online form. Could you please explain how this option would work?

Cross-border testing is a new initiative, driven by the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators and hosted on the EU Digital Finance Platform. The idea is to make life easier for financial firms that want to offer their products and applications across national borders. They can fill in a form and upload it on the Platform to launch a request for cross-border testing, contacting multiple national supervisors in one step. These supervisors can play different roles: regulatory sandbox, observer and recipient of test findings, with the opportunity to work together on specific cases. The testing itself will still take place at the national level, according to national laws, and any decisions on the award of a licence will be taken by the respective national authority, but we think this is a big step forward.

What are the next steps for this platform? Do you have any aspects you are particularly working on, and that will be released in the future? 

We are currently working to prepare the second phase of the Platform. The main novelty we want to add will be a Data hub. This will be a space where we intend to make non-personal, non-public data available to financial firms so that they can use it to test innovative solutions in close contact with supervisors. Our objective is to complement national innovation hubs and sandboxes as well as cross-border testing and create a new tool to support data-driven innovation. A lot of fine-tuning will still be necessary before we launch the Data hub – in the second half of 2023 according to current planning – and I hope that Italian fintechs and their feedback will play an active role in helping us build an attractive and useful offering here.

Mastercard and Treezor expand strategic partnership

This agreement reinforces a 5-year partnership and confirms Société Générale and Mastercard determination to support the rapid growth of Treezor as a European BaaS company. Being already a Principal Member of Mastercard, Treezor has onboarded some of the most disruptive fintech and both Mastercard and Treezor have supported the development of successful new players including Swile, Lydia, Qonto, Shine, and Pixpay.

As part of the agreement, Mastercard has made a minority investment in Treezor, which will help provide additional support through improved services, communication means, multi-rail payment infrastructure, and sales support from Mastercard’s local teams to improve Treezor’s success with fintech and corporates across Europe.

Mastercard’s technology, expertise, local teams, and support programs for fintech will accelerate Treezor’s European development across Benelux, Germany, Italy and Spain. Treezor will have priority access to new Mastercard products such as credit services, Open Banking, and the carbon calculator as well as the fully digital experience card programme ‘Mastercard Digital First’.

According to the Country Manager of Mastercard France, Mastercard has supported the BaaS player in the development of its product range and in its international expansion since Treezor inception. Mastercard has also accelerated Treezor’s neobanks onboarding via the Fintech Express programme, which Treezor has joined since July 2020. Mastercard has been a factor in accelerating the European expansion of Treezor, which is authorised to operate in 25 countries as an Electronic Money Institution and is regulated by the ACPR (French Prudential Supervisory Authority).

Société Générale group acquired Treezor in 2019 and has provided it with the expertise of a major international banking group in order to also satisfy the company’s financial needs and the shareholder stability that it needs to develop. Treezor also leverages Société Générale group to implement new payment services via API (e.g. Instant Payments, insurance, credit services) for regulated institutions and large corporates.

Congratulations to Treezor on this great news, which confirms the growth of our corporate network and proves once again that collaboration between different players can ensure growth for the whole ecosystem internationally.

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Selfrent and its new digital platform Difrently

Renting is a service designed to help companies innovate and equip themselves with technologies to run their business in a sustainable and flexible way by choosing to “use” instead of “purchase”.

Selfrent has created a new digital rental platform named Difrently to allow individual companies and SMB customers to finalize rental contracts in real time, choosing from a catalogue with thousands of assets.
Difrently stands for a “different way of renting”, an omni-channel digital service for B2B customers based on ecommerce. 

Selfrent relies on 3 strategic pillars to make a complex process simple through an innovative customer Journey from asset search to contract signing: 

  • Simple: it’s a straightforward renting experience.
  • Affordable: it is a small monthly fee for all desired products.
  • Fast: it is possible to subscribe the rental contract in 5 minutes. 

How does it work?
Let’s find it out with Giuliano Gaviraghi, Co-Founder at Selfrent.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW

Risolvi il tuo Debito: a name, a promise

Risolvi il tuo Debito is a company that addresses a specific target group of people who want to but are no longer able to pay their debts. Therefore, agreements with the relevant credit institutions lapse. 

Risolvi intervenes by getting to know each customer and his situation individually. 

Using Machine Learning and Big Data tools, it develops a savings programme that will get customers out of over-indebtedness. 

At the same time, while clients are following the programme, Risolvi il tuo Debito contacts their respective creditors and, through their versatile tools, they reach agreements that satisfy both parties.

The first operation was set up in Mexico in 2009 in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, that affected much of the global economy. They stepped in to help people who were over-indebted and realised that these people were not only over-indebted because of the crisis, but also because of bad economic education.  

This system has so far led Risolvi il tuo Debito to 400,000 clients worldwide and to resolving 300,000 debts

How is the company growing nowadays?

We talked about it with Piero Pietropinto, Consulting Team leader at Risolvi il Tuo Debito.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW

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Bcode’s winning strategy

Open Innovation is a winning and existential choice for companies, because it is impossible to lock knowledge inside the company in a global world with the Internet. If you lock knowledge inside a company, you struggle to innovate because you always start from limited cultural cues by definition, only internal cues.”

Andrea Ciliberti, CEO at Bcode.

Bcode is a Blockchain System Management software, specializing in notarizing data on blockchain, creating and managing tokens, and integrating blockchain solutions into business processes. As a spin-off of Politecnico di Milano, Bcode has created the first ready-to-use and easy-to-use platform that allows companies and freelancers to build and launch their own project on blockchain by notorizing data and creating tokens without having to hire a team of developers.

Its team consists of developers and software engineers who all have past experience in blockchain and come from consulting and project development in the blockchain field.

If you think that is not enough, the team includes professors and researchers as well and they have a strong business and marketing background in order to deeply understand market demands and turn those demands into easy-to-use products and solutions.

The company was born in late 2020, in 2021 it ended the first year with a balanced budget and in 2022 Bcode is basically doubling its revenue.

What is the secret? Open Innovation, of course.

Collaboration with technology companies through sales channels is the primary driver behind Bcode’s growth. They definitely understand that Open Innovation is not a fad, but a winning strategy and it’s existential for companies nowadays.

Let’s find out how they do that!

WATCH THE VIDEO INTERVIEW

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