Already in its first year of life Wizkey received the Horizon2020 “SealOfExcellence” award for the highly innovative solution proposed but not only. This fintech is generating a lot of interest and has ambitious projects for the coming months, Founder Marco Pagani tells us.
Since the launch of your project, how have you grown?
In a year we have grown a lot, both internally – at a team and product improvement level – and externally, expanding the commercial network. The team is the main asset of WizKey: we have worked a lot in training, attracting senior advisors from excellent companies to help us in the most strategic areas, such as business development and attention to regulatory aspects. Together with the growth of the team the product development continues; the WizKey Define platform is now ready to support the credit market players. We are completing its implementation in both factoring and bond issuance. We will then proceed with the implementation of the AI for the automation of due diligence processes and the construction of a blueprint to link us with our customers’ APIs and facilitate the exchange of information. Product development follows commercial development. We work according to the lean approach, where customer and partner feedback is essential to drive priorities along in our technology roadmap.
Which of your products/services have attracted the most interest and by which target group?
The digitization of the credit market that we propose has attracted market players: in recent months we have received excellent feedback on the design of the platform and its main functionalities. The concept of permanent data room, the privacy-focused design and the certifications on the documents accompanying the credits have been particularly appreciated.
Alongside work on the secondary credit market, the world of factoring is our second area of commercial development which is opening up interesting scenarios: we are receiving numerous requests for experimentation following our presentation at SAP’s annual meeting last February. The third area of application, bond issuance, is still in the developmental phase and we hope to move shortly to the testing phase together with our strategic partners.
We did not expect the request received from several operators,far from our main sector, to prepare with them a “white label” product to be customized on business verticals of which wechad not thought. In the coming months we plan to start with a project on the secondary luxury market.
Have you started or are you starting open innovation projects? Or with what kind of stakeholders would you like to implement them?
We are currently not following open innovation projects, but we would like to find new partners to continue the development of the platform in the field of bond issues. We would like to launch a user-friendly end-to-end solution, especially for SMEs, starting from in 2021. We are well structured and able to develop/create a path of mutual growth with these market operators: in our team we have all the necessary skills (legal, IT, financial and commercial) required to structure operations of this type, as well as a deep knowledge of the critical issues acquired during/thanks to our previous work experience.
We have experimental projects that would allow financial operators to provide credit partly off-balance-sheet: in this case our partner would be a large merchant bank with blockchain experience, such as Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan.
You have recently received the Horizon2020 “SealOfExcellence” award for your highly innovative solution. Can you tell us more?
It was an important recognition of our work. When we started the project we had clear in mind what line to follow and we carefully analysed the ECB’s guidelines in the secondary credit markets, which are our starting point. Receiving the “Seal of Excellence” confirmed both our interpretation of the ECB’s recommendations and the design choices we made: the decision to use a public blockchain was a brave choice that has been rewarding us. We believe in the decentralisation of processes and the value of data, therefore privacy, all points confirmed by the responses we received from the market.
The recognition that the project is of great interest and utility, both nationally and internationally, is a crucial stimulus to move forward with technological development and our commercial efforts.
According to a recent report on the spread of blockchain knowledge in Italy, released by Tech Economy, more than half of the Italian people have at least heard about it. In a year the number of people who say they have never heard of it has decreased from 52% to 31%. From a cultural point of view is there still a lot to do as far as you’re concerned? Are you doing anything about it?
To date, many companies have decided to adopt blockchain technology and exploit its potential. Here we return to the topic of the actual need to use it in your business. There are companies that have found in the blockchain a tool allowing them to obtain an effective improvement of processes and/or a radical change in them, thus generating added value. Others have instead decided to approach this technology to follow a trend. This is a point to think about. The term “blockchain” continues to be a buzzword that has acquired a greater “collective awareness”: there are more in-depth studies by those who approach the subject and a desire to investigate its application potential in depth.
WizKey has studied this technology a lot, understood it and turned it into a core asset structurally integrated into its business processes. We still dedicate a lot of time to research and technological development, especially in the blockchain area and we make our knowledge available to the public because we believe that training is the real key to the conception and large-scale implementation of new business models through technological development.
We also dedicate a lot of time to dissemination in the blog section of our website and in the coming months we will be organizing a series of interactive workshops, producing live video and live prodcasts, looking for comparisons and interactions with different operators both on the Define product and the technology behind it.
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