Fido is an innovative digital credit & risk scoring platform that uses new types of data and artificial intelligence to verify the identity of online consumers and assess their reliability.
In September 2020, Fido closed a €1.1 million funding round. Among the investors, along with Giorgio Valaguzza of Ithaca Investments, Alessandro Fracassi of Gruppo MutuiOnline, Attilio Mazzili of Orrick, Fernando Spallanzani of Banca Privata Leasing, Giacomo Sella of Gruppo Sella, also members of Italian Angels for Growth with Gianluca D'Agostino and Giovanni Strocchi, IAG Champion for the investment. In addition, Crif, the global market leader, has recently entered the capital of Fido, recognizing the distinctive value of its scoring technology.
"What is Fido and how is it born?"
Fido is a digital credit & risk scoring platform. Our patent-pending technology utilizes new types of data, digital footprints, derived from consumers' online activities, while fully respecting privacy. The collection of this data is aimed at analysing creditworthiness, assessing lead quality and preventing fraud. Drawing on hundreds of non-financial signals (e.g., the type of browser and device used, email provider, mobile network operator, IP address), Fido feeds these alternative data sources with artificial intelligence and machine learning with the goal of increasing lending rates, reducing defaults, and supporting financial
"What is and what does an IAG Champion do?"
The Champion is the Angel who leads the investment, supports and challenges the founders, while keeping the other investors in the network updated and involved. It is a key figure, whose role has been perfected over the years by IAG (for example, since 2017 the champions are two for each target invested) and that represents a distinctive and innovative factor even compared to international Angel Network, as I have verified by comparison with my experiences as an investor in the UK.
"You are an excellence that is trying to revolutionize the Italian credit sector and beyond. What do you think are the barriers and opportunities for developing fintech in Italy?"
Barriers: Our service is mainly aimed at banks and credit institutions with very challenging accreditation processes for a start-up. Fido's scoring system is based on the analysis of personal data and must therefore obtain approval from both the IT department and the legal department.
It is important, both for the client and for us, to use Fido's technology in full respect of privacy and regulations.
Opportunity: Companies operating in the banking world have organizational structures and processes that often make the innovation process slow and difficult. The agility of Fido, combined with the experience of our team, allows us to develop innovative solutions that can bring great value very quickly. The ease of implementation of our solution allows us to be highly competitive in a market that, by its nature, is very complex and regulated.
The digitization of financial processes, the online platform management of transactions, both front- and back-end, and the unbundling of features into distinct and specialized products are some of the key factors that have catalysed the acceleration of fintech in the most advanced markets. When there is a gap to be made up, I see opportunities above all, also because the consumer market for financial services tends to align its behaviours and demands on an international level.
Italy started late but is catching up, as demonstrated by some good success stories in this area such as MoneyFarm, Conio, Satispay and illimity Bank, and soon Fido, I am sure.
"What value do you recognize in Gianluca? How important is it to have good investors on your side?"
Gianluca has a strong international network and always provides us with very useful insights on competitors operating in other markets. The selection of investors, like the selection of the team, is fundamental for the growth path of a start-up. Gianluca's role, as well as that of the other investors who have chosen to take part in the project, is not only to guarantee us financial stability but to help us get to where we want to be faster, as an integral part of our team.
"What value do you recognize in Marko and the Fido team? How important is the entrepreneurial ability of the founders to the success of a start-up?"
I've known Marko for several years, since thedays of Onebip, his first successful start-up and exit. Then I also got to know and appreciate Paolo over the years, during the launch of Digitouch and Audiens. It's a great advantage for the investor, both in sourcing opportunities and supporting companies, when you can leverage a strong relationship with a serial entrepreneur. This was a key factor for me in designing and presenting the Fido opportunity to the IAG community and catalysing Angel consensus on this target. The product and commercial development in the months following our investment and the entry of Crif have already proved that we were right.
"You have recently signed important partnerships and filed a patent in the US. What are your plans for the future?"
Our plans are clear and shared by all the partners. Our primary aim is to achieve leadership on the Italian market. However, the recent entry of Crif into the share capital of Fido is proof of how this project aspires to emerge beyond the national borders. In fact, we plan to launch our product in new markets as early as the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.
"After the support in the early stages, how does the role of Champion evolve in the story of a start-up?"
The Champion accompanies the founder in all the Early-stage phases and helps to identify the best Italian and International investors for the next stages of development. It is a mission that you do not leave until you have contributed to make the decisive leap to the company, ready to become a Scale-up and maybe... a future Unicorn. In the new Venture Capital fund that I am launching I will definitely bring with me the agile and proactive approach of angel investment.