Sonect, a Swiss fintech start-up, closed a €4.65m round led by Italian Angels for Growth (IAG), which opened the investment vehicle to investors from the fintech platform Doorway - a leader in equity investing for the professional and qualified investor market, which will collectively invest nearly €1.3m. Other foreign investors and family offices also participated in the round to facilitate the company's international expansion. The investment is an advance on the capital increase planned in 2022 to finance international development.
Sonect offers a cash pickup service at affiliated retailers, bringing the principles of the share economy to the cash management sector: any store can become a cash pickup point. The solution offered by Sonect responds to three needs: to allow consumer customers easier access to cash at any time and close to where they need it, compensating for the trend of reducing the number of bank branches and automated teller machines; to enable merchants to offer new services, which can also attract new customers, as well as reduce the risk of robbery; to allow banks both to reduce the cost of cash management and to guarantee proximity services even in the absence of physical tellers. In Switzerland, within three years, Sonect has become the largest ATM network with users in different age groups (15% students, 25% seniors and 45% adults). Moreover, since the beginning of May, Sonect has been operating in Switzerland on the TWINT platform, to which almost all Swiss banks with over 3,000,000 users belong. This has meant that, in just 5 months, Sonect has recorded a 600% increase in users and a 1,000% increase in transactions. The company is expanding its network internationally.
The service will become operational in Italy by the end of the year. To promote rapid diffusion, a partnership agreement has been signed with a leading Italian bank. The banking partner will be responsible for the onboarding of merchants, the promotional campaign with merchants and the promotion of the service to 1,200,000 customers who currently use the mobile banking app. A further agreement has been signed with a commercial network that brings in a further 34,000 merchants in Italy from which customers will be able to make withdrawals.
Expansion into Europe and South America is in the company's plans. In 2020, in Europe alone, there were 7.4 billion withdrawal operations while in Italy there were about 900 million: these are very significant figures, as it would already be enough for Sonect to be used for 2% of the total market value to guarantee extremely interesting profitability.
"Sonect represents an innovation that brings benefits to all players in the cash supply chain" -says Amedeo Cristofaro, Country Manager Italy of Sonect - "This is confirmed by the interest we are detecting among many industry players in Italy. The Italian market is strategic for Sonect and the development of the application in our country is also allowing us to acquire the technical and commercial know-how necessary for rapid expansion in other countries".
Almost 70 investors, including business angels from Italian Angels for Growth (IAG) and the Doorway community, have participated in this Club Deal. With this result, Doorway confirms the success rate of 100% in the closing of the campaigns, in the vast majority in overfunding, and exceeds 12 million of capital raised.
"We evaluated the project and fintech Sonect of interest and with potential for growth and international scalability, with limited competition. For this reason, we thought it appropriate to propose it to IAG members and the Doorway community" - commented Marco Bolgiani and Fabrizio Centrone 'Champion' of IAG, experts in the financial and payments sector who oversaw the Due Diligence. "We will continue to provide advice and support to the company to help it develop the business both in Italy and abroad".
"We are particularly pleased with this result obtained by Sonect, both for the development possibilities that it opens up for this innovative solution, and because it represents the third Doorway campaign, out of 20 carried out, that exceeds one million euros in funding" commented Antonella Grassigli, co-founder and CEO of Doorway, recently named Business Angel of the Year.