The first Milan Fintech Summit is coming

On the 10th of December 2020, the first digital appointment of the Milan Fintech Summit will take place, in preparation for the second event in presence on the 4th and 5th of October 2021. Milan is champing at the bit to confirm its role as the capital of innovation with this international event dedicated to the future and evolution of financial services promoted and organized by Fintech District and Business International, with the support of Milano & Partners and the endorsement of ItaliaFintech.

The goal is to create business networking opportunities, strengthen the fintech culture and attract talents and investments in Italy, for a sector that has been growing well for a long time but in which there is still work to be done to reach other European countries such as the UK but also France and Germany, just to name a few.

The detailed programme of the Milan Fintech Summit will be presented on the 29th of September 2020 on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Fintech District, but we can already reveal that it is full of meetings and round tables dedicated to current trends and prospects for open innovation, with the presence of the most influential experts in the sector at both national and international level.

The absolute protagonists of the initiative will be the fintech companies, who can present their ideas, meeting investors, stakeholders and potential customers, but not only. The Milan Fintech Summit also aims to facilitate the development of new synergies because today collaboration with fintech companies represents a strategic opportunity for incumbents to develop new business models and remain competitive. This is why the entire business community will be involved from as early as December 2020 and in particular the C-Levels of the banking, financial and digital services, IT, cybersecurity and SME sectors.

It is now clear that in Italy too the future of financial services is Fintech and this is evident from the data: +27% year-on-year growth in the number of fintech startups and +30% annual growth in their turnover. The use of fintech services by the general public has grown by 54% YoY and it is expected that, in the next 4 years, the value of the sector will grow by 58% with 73,000 jobs generated.

It is also clear that Milan is the city where fintech grows and develops the most, as it is the city where 45% of the almost 300 fintech companies in Italy are located (of these, 56% are part of the Fintech District community) and has been chosen by the Bank of Italy to create a new Hub dedicated to fintech, to understand the market and to give impulse and coordination to the activities of the sector.

“The work done in recent years by Fintech District has contributed to the evolution of the sector and, also thanks to the constant relationship with local institutions, has made the city of Milan a point of reference – explains Alessandro Longoni, Head of Fintech District – Milan Fintech Summit aims to give a further boost for the growth of Italian fintech, to pool the efforts of all the players involved to consolidate the process undertaken and allow the sector to seize all its potential for systemic growth”.

“We are very happy to add ‘Milan Fintech Summit’ to our portfolio of events dedicated to the business world of the future – adds Carlo Antonelli, CEO of Fiera Milano Media – This consolidates the process traced in these years of constant attention to innovation in value creation processes and the fundamental need for life-long learning constantly aligned with the evolution of knowledge of today’s and tomorrow’s professionals”.

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Mapping Milan Fintech with Endeavor

Mapping Milan Fintech is a unique study, carried out by Endeavor Italy, which analyzes not only the presence of fintech in Milan but also the relationships that entrepreneurs have with each other and with the territory and institutions. Gloria Seveso, Manager – Entrepreneur Selection & Growth of Endeavor Italy, illustrates the key points

What are the distinguishing features of this fintech study compared to other similar researches? Who are the main recipients?

This study deploys a methodology developed by Endeavor Insight, with the support of various research institutes and universities including Kaufman Fellow, The World Economic Bank, and Columbia University. The focus is the network analysis, which offers an overview of main actors and the connections between them. Besides using pre-existing sources, the study is based on primary data, collected through surveys and direct interviews with entrepreneurs and representatives of support organizations. Therefore, the study captures the perceptions of the main players in the fintech ecosystem, hence highlighting qualitative aspects that are generally overlooked by other reports. With this regard, our goal was to raise awareness of those subjects who play the role of enablers to the challenges that fintech faces in our Country.

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Which one of the results surprised you the most and why?

The most obvious result is that Milan is struggling to launch fintech companies that are capable of scaling-up. Indeed, this is not surprising since it is a common characteristic of many sectors and at the Italian level. Among the over 80 fintech companies born in Milan in the past 5 years, only 5% have reached or exceeded 50 employees. This is a significant limitation considering that the effective growth of the ecosystem is proven to be driven precisely by these companies able to scale.

A more interesting result concerns the perception of meritocracy and the criteria needed to succeed. Less than 10% of respondents believe that gender (i.e. female or male) is a critical trait to be successful in fintech. Yet, less than 10% of companies in the sector have female founders.

Fintech that are struggling to scale-up. What are the three main reasons identified and, for each of them, how to make a change?

  1. Access to capital – Most venture capitalists look at fintech as a difficult sector to invest in, mainly due to the need for large set-up capital due to compliance with the regulation. Furthermore, international investors are often held back by a strong focus on the local market of Italian fintech startups. What can be done, is to create structured opportunities to interact with international investors and to increase the attractiveness of the local ecosystem.
  2. Access to non-banking talents – Companies in the startup and scale-up phase struggle accessing talent, especially with technical and managerial skills with previous experience in the scale-up space. This applies for instance to crucial positions, such as HR. To turn things around, institutions need to invest in attracting foreign talent, which includes encouraging the bring-back of Italian talents abroad. Both economic and legislative incentives are needed, yet these are not enough. We need to think about programs aiming at communicating the attractiveness of Italian companies.
  3. Regulatory compliance – Over 50% of respondents pointed-out regulatory compliance as the main challenge in the sector, mainly due to the uncertainty of the regulatory framework. Organizations like Italia Fintech are doing a brilliant job by bringing the fintech startups’ needs to decision-making tables. It is essential to create windows in which regulation is lighter, so as to respond to legislative needs without stifling innovation.

In this scenario, what role does Endeavor play / could play?

Endeavor is an international organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in the Countries in which it operates. Our core activity is to help companies that have passed the selection process through mentorship, support in fundraising and international expansion. The value of an ecosystem is recognized above all by the presence of so-called unicorns. Therefore, the role of Endeavor is to encourage their birth and thus generate a positive impact on the country’s economy.

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Mapping Milan Fintech with Endeavor

“Mapping Milan Fintech” is the new study through which the Endeavor Insights team analyzed the fintech landscape in Milan: the presence of startups, their growth, the connections between the many players in the sector, investments and mentorships received.

Created thanks to the contribution of the following partners, Fintech District, Bip and Simbiosity, this document contains focus not always found in the classic style industry reports. Endeavor made a precise choice in selecting territory to study: Milan and its Hinterland. They did so with capillarity and excellent knowledge of the context which helped detect interesting trends. But what most characterizes “Mapping Milan Fintech” is the particular attention paid to topics such as:

  • The role of ecosystems and aggregators
  • The importance of mentorship
  • Mentorship relationships, investment, past employments
  • Founder backgrounds

The result is a true uniqueness on the market: a snapshot of the current state of the sector in the Milanese territory providing all the necessary elements for those who want to have an in-depth knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the sector to better understand how to support its growth.

To carry out this study, 64 interviews with Milanese fintech entrepreneurs were carried out, as well as further analysis of 113 local fintech companies. To complete the picture, the Endeavor Insights team also analyzed 159 related profiles of local fintech founders.

Mapping Milan Fintech will be presented on Tuesday 4th February from 6pm at Le Village by CA in Corso di Porta Romana 61. To attend the event click HERE


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