July 26, 2021

Paolo Maresca: "Fintech? The Italian market has great opportunities in credit for SMEs and in digital payments"

"The dematerialization of payment systems with the development of market verticals (GDO, Transport, etc.) and new business models for SMEs will bring a cross-industry revolution".

Paolo, graduated in Management Engineering, has over 25 years of experience in the Financial Services sector as a Partner of Accenture, both in Italy and in international markets, with expertise in strategy, M&A, Change programs, IT transformation, Marketing and Distribution. He currently works as a consultant for SMEs and Startups in venture capital operations. At the beginning of his career, he worked in Procter & Gamble. Since 2017 he is a member of Italian Angels for Growth, as well as an expert of the IAG Fintech Community. Let's get to know him better.

What is your background?

At Accenture I experienced the major transformations of the financial services industry globally, both in business and technology. An excellent experience in a leading company whose network I'm still part of today.

How did your passion for the start-up world come about?

Innovative business ideas and use of technology have in start-ups the highest degree of freedom and development potential: an irresistible challenge, together with the opportunity to help young entrepreneurs grow.

In 2017 you became an IAG business angel, where you are also part of the Fintech Community. Can you tell us about this experience? What also, in your opinion, is the added value given by the vertical expertise of each member to the network and the start-up founders?

IAG is a professional and entrepreneurial network with great capacity for aggregation and knowledge sharing. The investments and the results obtained over the years in Life Science and Digital have stimulated and integrated a growing number of angels like me who have great potential in other areas. I am convinced that even in new areas, such as Fintech and others that can be developed, IAG can act as an engine to help founders in the realization of their ideas, where the contribution of senior resources can be decisive in the execution phase, and then to drag investment in innovation in Italy.

Fintech is a world that is not limited to the banking sector but is made up of various players and protagonists. What is still needed to grow the fintech ecosystem in Italy, a country historically anchored to important pillars such as household savings and small and
medium-sized enterprises?

The Italian market is still behind in fintech compared to the major international markets, but for this very reason it presents excellent opportunities. There is great potential in savings, especially in managed savings, in credit for SMEs and consumers, in digital payments where the dematerialization of payment systems and the development of market verticals (large-scale retail trade, transport, etc.) will bring a real cross-industry revolution. There are also beginning to be substantial investments in Italy by Venture Capital and institutional operators, also favoured by the experimentation of regulatory bodies (Sandbox Bank of Italy, digital euro, etc.).

In your opinion, what is the future of Fintech in Italy and in the world?

There are great opportunities that revolve around new financial needs and behaviours: buy now pay later, instant credit, payment services enrichment and many others. Future developments with the maturation of transversal technologies such as IOT, Blockchain, AI. And there is no shortage of game changers such as digital currencies, with the potential impact on payment circuits, and asset tokenization. Not forgetting the challenges around processing large volumes of complex data and cybersecurity.