AideXa is the new fintech bank dedicated to small businesses and vat matches, founded by Roberto Nicastro and Federico Sforza. The bank’s project, initially founded under the name of Pbi (Progetto Banca Idea), was announced in its broad outlines last March, at the same time as the announcement of the round seed, which was closed last June with a collection of $53.2 million (€45 million).
The round was attended, among others, by 360 Capital Partners, Bertoldi Holding, Banca Sella, Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa, Gruppo Generali, La Scogliera spa (holding company of the Fürstenberg family and owner of Banca IFIS), Banca IFIS, FB5 Investments (the holding company with which Sergio Bommarito controls the Messina credit servicer Fire Group spa), the ISA institute of Trento, Micheli Associati di Francesco Micheli and the communication company CloseToMedia.
At the same time as closing the round, the then PBI had announced the acquisition of Fide spa, a Molise company active in the sale of the fifth and financial intermediary registered in register 106 of the Testo Unico Bancario. Nicastro then spoke about the centrality of small businesses and the vat game in his project during his speech at the Milano Finanza Digital Week organized in collaboration with BeBeez at the end of September.
“The name is the natural evolution of Idea, preceded by AI which stands for artificial intelligence, while the X recalls technology and green sustainability,” Sforza explained. The new bank aims to respond to the needs very much felt by entrepreneurs: credit, speed (with credit answers in real-time), transparency, simplicity (5 data and 5 minutes for onboarding), and ease.
Without being a “Taliban of technological innovation: we will have a business banker staff dedicated to our clients,” assured Nicastro. AideXa’s target clients are: SMEs, companies, professionals, and freelancers, with a maximum of $11.8 million (€10 million) turnover and 50 employees. We are not talking about a niche: We are talking about 7 million players, which make up half of GDP and employment in Italy,” said Nicastro, who added: “We want to be a regulated fintech company because we think fintech and rules should talk more.”
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AideXa’s mission is to facilitate the work of the entrepreneur by accompanying him in the development of his projects and his company
The company’s goal is to make life easier for those who do business, taking advantage of new technologies and opportunities offered by open banking. With this in mind, by the end of the year, the first instant lending product dedicated to small businesses and VAT numbers will be launched: X Instant. It is a short term loan, available in real time and with transparent conditions. Currently the product is still in the testing phase.
In 2021, AideXa will launch innovative accounts and in 2022 it will become a true digital bank dedicated to SMEs, which will be financed through portfolio securitization, wholesale and customer deposits. There may also be retail funding, but it will play a marginal role. The new bank aims to reach 100 thousand customers in 5 years and to reach the break-even point within 3 years. After this goal, it could think about a stock market listing.
About 100 professionals, including employees (20) and partners (including Crif, Microsoft, Bip, Deloitte, Reply, EY, Bain & Company) are working at AideXa. The bank has also launched a significant recruitment plan for the period 2020-2022, which foresees the entry of around one hundred professionals, mainly with digital and quantitative skills: more than 20 entries will be made this year and more than 60 in 2021-2022.
“Despite the birth of numerous banks dedicated to companies at European level, the feeling that little has changed for SMEs. AideXa aims to revolutionize the sector”, said Nicastro again.
X Instant to be launched in 2021
“AideXa is designed for entrepreneurs and the key to meeting the real needs of business people is in that X factor. With technology we are convinced that we can facilitate the work of the entrepreneur with simplicity, speed, transparency and security. We intend to focus a lot on innovation, data and digital, remaining close to our clients thanks to the business bankers, specialized remote consultants, since the launch of the first product,” said Sforza.
Nicastro concluded: “Around our project, we have gathered investors of very high standing and very synergistic, completing the largest first round (seed) of financing ever made for an Italian fintech startup. Small companies are the backbone of the economic fabric of our country, they are worth half of GDP and are the main creator of new jobs and development and have very specific banking needs. Moreover, they are accelerating their vocation towards digital and new technologies also in reaction to Covid-19. Guaranteeing them fast, reliable and soft services, especially in an extremely complex period like the one we are experiencing, represents an important challenge for us but also a concrete support to the real economy.”
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First published in BeBeez, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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