Gerd Pircher, Chief Executive Officer HSBC Italy, with over 25 years of banking experience on his shoulders, is moving with passion and great interest in the direction of non-executive directorship roles, as well as supporting innovative start-ups as business angel. In IAG he is part of the FinTech community, a pool of angels specialized in this sector, which includes, according to the FinTech and Insurtech Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano, all digital innovations in the financial sector, regardless of which actor is developing and delivers the product or service.
Could you please give us an overview of your background?
I have been working in the financial world for over 25 years, and I had the privilege of learning to know it well, working in different realities around the world (Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Europe ...), and in different businesses, both in functions dedicated to customers and in planning and strategy roles. This gave me a complete view on winning (and not) business models in banking, insurance, and asset management world.
You have a strong experience in banking and finance sector and a deep understanding of business priorities, risks, and key challenges. Skills that you have decided to share in IAG, to support entrepreneurial teams with innovative and concrete projects. Can you tell us more about your experience as a business angel?
I chose to join IAG few years ago. I saw the opportunity to contribute to the growth of start-ups by sharing my knowledge. It is also true that I have relatively little experience in the start-up sector and still have a lot to learn. Therefore, relying on a structured association such as IAG allows me to share investments and experiences with senior investors who have been active in
the sector for years and to enrich my skills, also thanks to educational activities.
In IAG you are part of the Fintech Community. What is it and who is part of it?
IAG is a large and consolidated angel network, which has allowed us over time to create a series of verticals dedicated to different sectors, grouping business angels with relevant profiles and experiences, with the aim of creating a pool of angels that can constantly compare and actively contribute to pre-screening activities. Over time, groups have thus been created for Digital, Industry & Energy, Life Science, and now also for the FinTech world. The members of the FinTech Community are IAG members with relevant experience in this vertical, who wish to concretely support the development of young innovative companies linked to the supply of financial products and services through the most advanced information and communication technologies.
What is the value of this group?
A business angel is a person who invests capital as well as time and expertise to support motivated and talented start-up founders to develop business projects. With this new dedicated group, we can “live” this mission of the business angel in an even more concrete and tangible way for future FinTech’s in IAG portfolio.
How much interest is there in IAG for Fintech start-ups? Is it only for Italian companies?
This is an excellent question that I asked to various members of IAG at the time I was thinking about joining the network. I think the most honest answer is that the interest is there, but we still have a long way to go to a) understand the FinTech world as much as we know other sectors, b) make IAG more attractive in this way also as an interlocutor for start-ups in the specific sector and c) therefore create a credible track record also in this relatively new world. Regarding the geographical purpose, although there is an "I" in IAG, in the world of 2021, our scope must NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be only Italian.