Kalaway, an outsourced financial management for businesses

Kalaway is a young company that has recently joined the Fintech District Community. It was born with the aim of bringing together two very distant worlds, that of business and that of finance. Its Founder Alessandro Allamprese Males Rossi tells us how it operates and how it is growing.

What does Kalaway do?

The increasingly stringent regulations involving the world of credit have created strong information asymmetries and, consequently, very specific skills that are difficult to find within companies are now necessary. We have therefore decided to make the entire credit process more efficient by completely outsourcing all of the company’s finance. We provide our customers with increasingly vertical skills and innovative tools that can optimize corporate finance in a short time. We take care of everything: we source short, medium and long term finance, we negotiate the conditions for our clients and monitor them, we monitor the central risk and bank ratings of each institution, we purchase currencies for our clients as well as negotiate for them the guarantees required by the financial world.

What advantages does your solution offer?

There are advantages for companies both in terms of speed of access to credit and the optimal conditions with which to access credit. The time savings for both management and the CFO are considerable. Thanks to our innovative platform we are able to monitor everything that happens within the company’s finance and also exchange information with the banking system and the fintech world. All this allows us to follow our clients, whether they are SMEs or large industrial groups with a limited number of banks.

From its birth to today, how has Kalaway grown?

Kalaway is a young company that in a short time has managed to develop an innovative service in the world of credit, subject to strong changes at this time. Founded in 2018, in just one year it has managed to develop a solid client base by multiplying the number of companies and money managed. As of today, in fact, we manage almost one billion credit lines divided between small, medium and large companies. In 2019 we started to develop a platform to manage corporate finance internally and that represents a technological bridge between the corporate world, the banking world and the fintech world. To date we are in a moment of strong expansion throughout the country; we are opening an office in Milan and are planning to open offices in Spain, France, Germany and England in the coming years.

What are you working on today?

We are working on one of the most important projects for us in the field of Open Innovation, the Kalaway platform. We are trying to improve and optimize all the digital processes. The idea is to connect to other fintech companies by integrating their systems. We would also love to have joint projects with other fintech companies working in the SME lending sector.

How is your team composed?

At Kalaway, innovation and cutting-edge solutions are essential elements that are constantly nurtured by a young and dynamic team that is always attentive to dynamics of the sector. Our team is composed of highly specialized figures with complementary skills able to provide our customers with high-level consultancy. In Kalaway 60% of our collaborators are women in whom we see an added value in terms of innovation, determination and dynamism. Each of us contributes in a decisive way to the efficient management of corporate finance and to maintaining ideal relationships with the banking, fintech and fund world.

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How October supports Italian SMEs

In July, the French fintech October launched instant lending for SMEs. Thanks to a predictive analysis of credit risk it allows a fully automatic assessment of loan applications of between 30 and 250 thousand euros covered by a state guarantee. It is a continuously growing company and that is why we interviewed Sergio Zocchi, CEO of October Italia, asking him about its goals and projects and also about how the lockdown period was managed.

What are your business objectives for the end of 2020?

We expect the demand for credit from SMEs in the coming months to grow significantly as a result of the economic crisis linked to Covid-19. Thanks to the support of state guarantees introduced not only in Italy but also in France and the Netherlands, countries in which our platform is operative. We are convinced the only way to ensure business continuity, and facilitate the recovery of investments made, is to enable them to overcome the crisis. Our aim is to respond to the liquidity needs that SMEs face today in a quick and easy way. The new instant lending solution we introduced in July goes precisely in this direction. By fully automating the demand analysis process today, we are able to provide an instant response to this credit demand.

How did you cope internally with the lockdown period?

October, thanks to its 100% digital platform, continued to be operative and to evaluate all incoming requests which, as always, were analyzed on the basis of credit risk merit, taking into account the possible impact the Covid emergency has on some sectors. Despite the emergency context due to the pandemic, our lender community of more than 20,000 people continued to be very active and was attentive to the change in the socio-economic framework imposed by the lockdown, welcoming the many initiatives we proposed to support businesses.

Have you launched any special initiatives dedicated to the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem?

At this difficult time for Italian companies, we have implemented many initiatives aimed at facilitating their access to credit and filling the need for liquidity to help them overcome the emergency as quickly as possible. At the end of March, and independently from the support measures put in place by individual governments, we announced in all European countries, in which we are active, the automatic suspension for 3 months of capital repayments on active repayment plans waiving October fees as a further sign of our commitment. In addition to this, in order to protect our lenders, we have offered companies the possibility of refinancing their loans through public or private guarantees. Finally, July saw the launch of our new instant lending solution which, thanks to predictive credit risk analysis, allows us to fully automatically assess loan requests and provide an immediate loan proposal for credit requests between 30 and 250 thousand euros covered by the state guarantee.

Did you see any new trends during the covid19 emergency? Which ones?

Before the pandemic, SMEs turned to our platform to finance tangible or intangible investment projects for growth, but today companies need immediate liquidity to ensure business continuity. Plagued by declining sales and procurement difficulties, more and more companies are asking us for resources to finance the resumption of production activities, to meet current administrative expenses and to purchase warehouse stocks. What has changed is not only the destination of funds but also the sensitivity of companies to the timing of disbursement of funds, which today represents the main drive in the choice of a financial partner of reference.

From your point of view, since your arrival in Italy has the attitude of companies towards alternative forms of financing such as the one proposed by you changed? How?

Due to the contraction of bank credit, in recent years companies have progressively approachted alternative financing instruments such as direct lending, mini-bonds or advance invoices. The pandemic and the lockdown have also accelerated the dynamics of innovation that were already taking hold, including the use by businesses of digital solutions to diversify their sources of financing.

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FD Marketplace. Interview with Value4you

Value4you is one of the firms we have selected for our FD marketplace to support the community. It offers training in traditional and innovative finance issues for founders, entrepreneurs, managers and administrators and provides CFO services to companies to fuel growth. Fabio Scognamiglio tells us more about his point of view on the world of startups and what he can offer fintech through Value4you.

What are the strengths of the Italian fintech ecosystem and what are the ones to work on from your point of view?

The strengths of the Italian fintech ecosystem are exactly the same strengths as those of the Italian economic fabric, i.e. the entrepreneurial intuition, a “street sense” that is absolutely uncommon outside our borders and the flexibility we have in conducting business. However, weaknesses are also characteristic of the Italian ecosystem, two of these in particular being: the lack of ability to make synergy and the difficulty in thinking in terms of strategic planning in the medium and long term. For this reason, an initiative like Fintech District can foster the growth of innovative startups, sharing different skills and experiences and making them available to the community. Value4you puts itself forward as a partner of financial skills, through the Academy division, which provides training courses on finance issues, both ordinary and extraordinary, and the Advisory division, which brings a fractional CFO to an innovative startup.

What are the main critical issues facing innovative startups today and how can you support them?

Innovative startups are born around an idea, a project, a prototype, and therefore in most cases with a strong engineering or commercial expertise and often even both. Less frequent is the case where in startups, and even more so in innovative ones, there is a financial competence. This is the contribution that we, at Value4you, can make: we are a team of dozens of professionals, including CFOs and professors, able to integrate the missing financial management skills in two ways. Namely through training involving the main AFC issues (management control, financial planning, relationship with banks and other financial stakeholders, optimization of working capital, all economic and financial aspects of a deal, including the drafting of a business plan, evaluation of a company, etc.), including coaching, shadowing and personalized paths or through the introduction in the management team of a fractional CFO, who supports founders/CEOs together with a manager with many years of experience. Both are coming from SMEs and startups but also from complex and multinationational contexts. With a part-time engagement they follow all the financial aspects and become enablers of the growth of the startup itself. In this way the company avails itself of an experienced professional, who would probably cost too much to hire, with the flexibility to model his engagement and involvement in the initiative; in this way a fixed cost is made variable and the impact on the budget is considerably reduced.

How are the priorities changing with the covid19 emergency and how should the next few months be addressed as a startup from your point of view?

Covid19 has forced us all to change paradigms. Businesses that have failed to adapt quickly risk closure, due to lack of turnover or cash, but businesses that have been able to adapt quickly must also be on their guard. Those who have resources, or are using those of a public nature, must assess their sustainability in the medium term, especially if they are debt resources. How much more cash do I have to pay for fixed costs? How can I reduce them? Can I access the liquidity instruments of the PCDM? More importantly, can I afford them? In order to adequately answer these questions, especially at this moment in history, it is becoming increasingly important for startups to introduce specific financial expertise to the team.

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Flex Tax: interview with Fabio Pennella

Flex Tax is a Turin startup focused on the management of VAT accounting of the Forfeitory Regime. It recently joined the Fintech District community. Founder Fabio Pennella tells about its objectives and the latest news.

What is FlexTax doing?

FlexTax is a Suite that supports the accounting, administrative and financial management of SMEs. With FlexTax, you can get advice through dedicated professionals for accounting and tax returns. Manage your administration with applications such as tax simulators, billing systems, and management reports. Access to Fintech tools with the ability to send and receive payments or create wallets for tax provisions and management fees. One of the strengths of FlexTax is the possibility of having single access to use a suite of services and tools useful to the company, greatly simplifying the customer experience with significant savings of time and money.

The project was born 16 months ago in Turin and is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration where the experience and professionalism of accountants, consultants and developers converge. We are all united by the aim of simplifying the life of the owner of small and medium businesses and provide professional tools for its management.
We already have clients all over Italy. The platform is in rapid development. New tools and software applications are added every month. Soon, for example, will be active modules for billing and monitoring in real-time taxes and contributions, including those to be paid, counting advances and balances. In this way, for each invoice generated or registered, our users will always know what are the actual taxes amount to be paid.

How is your business developing?

In 2019 we focused exclusively on the VAT matches in the flat-rate scheme. From January we will extend the service to VAT matches in the simplified regime. During 2020 we will activate new services such as employee consulting and management, some legal services and in 2020 we will also start to activate the first Fintech services.

What do you expect from your entry into the FD community?

We joined the Fintech District because we believe it is the best place to exchange knowledge, build important partnerships and find a high-level experience that can support the growth of FlexTax.

What are your international goals?

We have structured the platform so that it can become a Services Market Place. In the future, we will be able to accelerate international scalability, even if for 2020 and 2021 our focus will be on the Italian market.

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