AideXa, the new fintech bank dedicated to small businesses and VAT account holders, founded by Roberto Nicastro and Federico Sforza, has entered into a partnership with CRIF, a global company specializing in credit and business information systems and advanced digital solutions for business development and open banking.
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Aidexa aims to simplify credit access for entrepreneurs
The fintech company has in fact chosen to take advantage of CRIF’s solutions for smart onboarding and digital credit risk assessment: the Phygital 4X platform by Inventia (a CRIF Group company among the European leaders in digital onboarding, biometric video recognition and video collaboration services); EURISC (CRIF’s credit information system).
In particular, the chatbot solution developed by Inventia has made it possible for AideXa to build a sophisticated smart advisor system for prospects and customers who can investigate, directly via chat, the most suitable offer for their needs or be guided to a customer care operator for second-level support.
At the same time, the integration in the process of the SmartID identification solution – thanks to the perfect synergy of different technologies including artificial intelligence, biometrics and OCR – allows to simplify, in a few steps, the activity of remote identity verification, in compliance with regulatory provisions and best practices in the KYC (Know Your Cyustomer) and AML (anti-money laundering) fields. All this for the benefit of an agile and safe customer experience for the entrepreneur who, by entering only 5 pieces of data, in 5 minutes has the answer on how much he can have and under which conditions in a totally transparent way so as to receive, in case of positive evaluation, the amount of the financing in the following 48 hours.
“We aim, in a nutshell, to be a digital bank that wants to simplify access to credit for entrepreneurs. The integration of CRIF solutions has allowed us to build a fully digital onboarding process. In this way, we have achieved our goal of streamlining the bureaucratic process and making life easier for small entrepreneurs, offering them a simple, fast and transparent experience through the use of technology and processes. Thanks also to our partnership with CRIF, we have launched X Instant, an instant, short-term loan of up to $121,000 (€100,000),” commented Federico Sforza, CEO of AideXa.
Elisabetta Pancaldi, Senior Director of CRIF, said: “We are very happy to be at the side of an innovative fintech such as AideXa, in which we see the vocation of CRIF to offer innovative solutions, secure and with a rewarding customer experience. The onboarding systems, based on artificial intelligence technologies and facial biometrics, are primary assets able to serve the entire customer journey, allowing the creation of new business models and services in line with new market needs. CRIF has in its DNA continuous innovation, the use of the most advanced technologies and a solid culture of information management. For over 30 years it has been constantly investing to expand its ecosystem: this is demonstrated by the numerous acquisitions of fintech and innovative startups (such as Inventia and Strands in the last year) and the participation in innovation hubs spread nationally and internationally, to enable experimentation and cross fertilization between different cultural and technological domains.”
CRIF is currently the leading provider in Europe of banking and credit information and one of the main global players in integrated business and commercial information systems, credit management and marketing. Founded in Bologna in 1988, it now operates on four continents and boasts more than 6,300 banks and financial companies and 55,000 corporate clients, spread across more than 50 countries. In addition, for the sixth year in a row CRIF has been cited in the prestigious IDC FinTech ranking, ranking 50th in the world and at the top among Italian companies in 2019.
In April 2020, the company placed in private placement to Pricoa Private Capital (Prudential Financial group) a new $36 million (€30 million) bond within the $125 million (or equivalent in euros) shelf facility agreement signed in 2016. In November 2020, CRIF and American Express signed a partnership in open banking with the aim of accelerating the digital transformation of consumer and business customers. This month, CRIF invested in the we.trade platform, with which it also signed a strategic alliance. CRIF closed 2019 with consolidated revenues of almost $678 million (€560 million) in 2019, up from $616 million (€509.2 million) in 2018, when it had recorded $104.3 million (€86.1 million) in ebitda, against net financial debt of $177 million (€146.3 million).
The project of AideXa, initially born under the name of Pbi (Idea Bank Project), had been announced in its broad outline in March 2020, at the same time as the announcement of the seed round, then closed in June 2020 with a collection of $54.5 million (€45 million). Participants in the round included, among others: 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 Mexican credit servicer Fire Group spa), the ISA institute of Trento, Micheli Associati of Francesco Micheli and the communication company CloseToMedia. Contextually to the closing of the round, the then Pbi had announced the acquisition of Fide spa, a company from Molise active in the assignment of one-fifth of salary and financial intermediary registered in the 106 register of the Consolidated Banking Act. Nicastro had then talked about the centrality of small businesses and VAT numbers in his project during his speech at the Milano Finanza Digital Week organized in collaboration with BeBeez at the end of September 2020.
AideXa was officially launched in November 2020. Its mission is to facilitate the work of the entrepreneur by accompanying him in the development of his projects and his company: the goal is to simplify life for those who do business, taking advantage of new technologies and the opportunities offered by open banking. With this in mind, the first instant lending product dedicated to small businesses and VAT numbers was launched: X Instant, 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 real digital bank dedicated to SMEs, which will be financed through securitization of portfolios, wholesale funding and from customers. There may also be retail funding, but it will play a marginal role. The new bank aims to reach 100,000 customers in 5 years and to break even within 3 years. After this milestone, it could consider a listing on the stock exchange. About 100 professionals, including employees (20) and partners (including Crif, Microsoft, Bip, Deloitte, Reply, EY, Bain & Company) are working for AideXa. The bank has also launched a significant recruitment plan for the period 2020-2022 that foresees the entry of a hundred professionals, mainly with digital and quantitative skills.
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First published in Be Beez, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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