Qonto, a French fintech company, is also launching in Italy the possibility for companies to activate financing in a short period of time thus expanding its offer by adding another piece in the path to becoming an all-in-one financial solution focused on SMEs and professionals throughout Europe.
To meet business needs, the offering leverages proposals from three partners – ViceVersa, faicredit, as well as longtime ally October – in order to meet the specific needs of individual businesses. In six years, the French fintech company has won 400,000 customers in the four markets where it has launched-in addition to France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, where it recently completed the acquisition of rival Penta-and is now focusing on expanding its offerings to one million within two years.
The idea is for “a Swiss army knife of finance for businesses,” as cofounder and Ceo Alex Prot points out: an agile and fast tool to which new features can be added as needed. Started six years ago as a business account for small and medium enterprises and professionals, it has gradually added a spend management section with card issuing and business expense management, electronic invoicing in Italy and integration of invoice management with accounting, and now flexible and fast financing for SMEs.
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Three directions for growth
The growth strategy focuses on three directions: “Expansion towards an all-in-one financial solution is just one part, to which we add a continental reach with local services, such as e-invoicing in which Italy excels, and the expansion of the target audience towards larger companies as well,” explains the CEO.
Qonto is thus aiming to disrupt an established order in which banks dictate relationships with large companies. “Traditional banks are reacting to the digital transformation of the market, but they are moving on retail because it is easier.On corporate services, much remains to be done and we are ahead with an appropriate offer that will also target the big guys,” Prot continues. Growth and customer satisfaction prove us right about the trust we have been able to win, but now we have to win it back every day by focusing on our strengths: transparent pricing, products adapted to needs, efficient customer support.”
The target of one million customers by 2025 is only part of it: “The goal is even more to reach profitability by that date: in the last two years we have doubled turnover, we aim to continue at double-digit rates with a solid business model that shelters us from the downsizing of fintech valuations in the last period.”
No new funding rounds are in sight for the time being, but Prot is convinced that the last valuation reached-4.4 billion euros in January 2022 when it became a unicorn-is not that far off from what it is now. Of the 600 million raised then, one hundred are earmarked for Italy, a market that contends for second place for the group with Germany: the Italian team has been strengthened to more than 70 people, marketing campaigns have been launched that will continue into next year, and ad hoc services are planned to be expanded, with F24 running alongside electronic invoicing.
“Italy is the market with the greatest potential with its SMEs,” but Prot must admit that there is still fine tuning to be done: “Specific products are still to be improved and especially SMEs are not yet familiar with Qonto, especially the possibilities it offers in terms of digital innovation.”
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First published in Il Sole 24 ORE. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the articles from the originals. In case of discrepancy, the originals will prevail.
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