November 03, 2021

IAG INDEX - Fintech: a fast growing sector driven by women

The last five years have shown a constant trend: Fintech, a world that is not limited to just the banking sector, but is made up of various players and protagonists, has certainly been one of the fastest growing sectors.

A result also detected by the IAG Index, a gauge of the startup ecosystem calculated on the database of startups analyzed and selected for investment opportunities by Italian Angels for Growth (IAG).

Fintech has now become a fundamental part of the economy and the lives of millions of people, posing ever greater challenges to the pillars of the banking and financial system, but also offering opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic was a further factor in accelerating digital adoption, particularly in the payments sector.

The IAG team and its business angels have also paid increasing attention to the Fintech sector. In fact, IAG boasts a Fintech community among its members, made up of over 50 of the top managers from the main Italian banking and insurance institutions. In the last year, our organization has strengthened relations with the Corporate Partners of our network, dedicated several workshops to the topic, as well as organized a round table with the main players in the sector (Banca Generali, Nexi, Mastercard) to better understand the dynamics of collaboration, the technological trends, and the market contexts underlying the synergies between the large companies in the sector and the Fintech startups.

In addition, in the last 12 months, a substantial increase was found in the presence of women on Fintech startup teams: more than 1 in 3 startups has at least one woman on their team (35% of startups, compared to 25% in 2020).

Analyzing the development stage of companies where there is at least one woman on the founding team, in 2020 it is noted that the majority of startups (1 out of every 2) were in the Proof of Concept stage (while only 22.7% arrived to invoice). This figure changes significantly in the period June 2020 - June 2021: in fact, there are many more startups with a female presence that reach the so-called product-market fit and already have a substantial presence of revenues (35%).

ESG: a new criterion for selection

The new parameter analyzed by the IAG Index is the ESG factor. 37.4% of startups analyzed by the network of Italian angels have a "responsible" business linked to the environmental, social, or governance impact on companies.

The sample analyzed by IAG shows that the Life Science sector is most attentive to these aspects: more than 2 startups out of 3 have integrated sustainability criteria in the strategy to create value in the medium / long term.

In recent years, the Fintech sector has drastically increased its attention on ESG factors: to date, the startups that incorporate these criteria have definitely increased. Whether it is the securitization of non-performing loans in favor of economic recovery, or solutions that reduce the environmental impact linked to traditional financial systems or digital platforms that monitor CO2 emissions, now the frequency of Fintech startups related to ESG is increasing.

Fintech is positioned as the sector in which attention to ESG issues grows more vertically, for example overtaking the Digital sector (25% vs 14%).

To keep Fintech’s promise of innovation, it will be essential that the growth of investments continue over time, since greater development of this sector would also bring benefits to the entire national economic ecosystem. In addition to investments, the ESG components and a greater openness to the female gender must therefore be increasingly present.

“IAG confirms itself as a privileged observatory and catalyst for seed startups in the various referred sectors, with a growing capacity to attract female teams, mainly in Fintech and Life Science. This is also thanks to the efforts made by the members to create a more diversified and inclusive industry, and to partnerships with 'female' associations such as Angels4Women. The IAG Index portrays the evolution of the ecosystem seen through the eyes of IAG and also highlights the appeal of foreign projects of increasingly significant size and quality "says Carlo Tassi, President of Italian Angels for Growth.