The Italian start-up Credimi offers the largest digital platform for invoice financing and digital loans in continental Europe.
Credimi provides loans to companies using an almost completely automated risk assessment algorithm, helping companies simplify access to credit. The start-up has supplied a total of over 600 million euros to over 3500 Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Furthermore, Credimi is authorized and supervised by the Bank of Italy, meaning that it is subject to all capital, compliance and anti-money laundering and risk control requirements which apply to Financial Intermediaries. This ensures that the start-up is an even more reliable partner.
Innovation Origins talked with Ignazio Rocco, CEO and founder of Credimi, this is what he had to say:
How did you come up with an idea like this one for a start-up?
Before founding Credimi, I was a banking professional and a consultant. I had a real fascination with financial technology. So, in 2015, I wanted to invest in the fintech industry. Even though at first, I did not have in mind to launch a start-up. However, when I noticed there was a demand for fintech services in Italy, I decided to start a fintech company which focused on loans to SMEs. Plus, there were no other loan companies specifically for fintech in Italy. No one else was trying to serve the enormous Italian SME market either. Italian SMEs needed new services, faster and more flexible ones than those offered by the banks.
Do you only operate in Italy?
Yes, at the moment we are operating solely in Italy, but we are planning to expand to other European markets.
Did you create the technology that is used in your start-up?
Yes, we did. Our proprietary risk evaluation technology is almost completely automated and allows us to process and analyze thousands of data information in just a few hours. Our team evaluates the information collected this way and decides if a company’s request is eligible to be validated.
What makes Credimi different from other similar fintech start-ups?
Well, our business model is different from most competitors, due to our proprietary risk evaluation technology (which is almost fully-automated), on the one hand. And on the other, due to the fact that Credimi has been authorized to lend from its own balance sheet. Which means it can approve loans to companies in real time.
Also, Credimi is fast, it takes SME just 48 hours to know whether they are eligible for an advance. Then a few more hours to actually get the money. It’s simple, it only takes 10 minutes to apply for a loan. Most importantly, it is transparent. We have no hidden costs. In addition, we have special services for very small and micro businesses, which usually find it difficult to get financed by banks.
Who is the Credimi customer?
Credimi’s customers are all medium, small and micro businesses which very often need and ask for alternative credit and invoice financing solutions. As in faster, simpler, more accessible solutions than banks or other traditional avenues have on offer.
Did you have a role model when setting up the start-up?
I very much admire Xero, the online accounting software for small businesses, which offers a wide range of services. This is what we aim to do too: offer as many services as possible.
What has been the biggest challenge while building your start-up?
So, the biggest challenge was to build up the right team. I had no tech experience, so I needed to find other co-founders that would complement the team. That’s how Jacopo Anselmi, a 27-year-old anti-abuse strategist at Google, and Sabino Costanza, a talented project manager at BCG, came on board. Then I looked for other professionals in San Francisco and other Italian talents who would want to join the project.
What can we expect in the future from Credimi?
Credimi is currently focused on further expanding its client base, product range and talent pool. All that while still carrying on with its mission to help companies improve management of their working capital and their supply chain efficiency. In the future we will also be operating in other European markets.
How has the response been to Credimi?
We are receiving very positive feedback. The companies that use our services now number more than 3500 and they are satisfied by the speed and ease of our services. Also, the Italian innovation landscape believes in our project. Several of the most successful Italian entrepreneurs have privately invested €8.5 million in Credimi. Four principal investment funds have signed agreements to underwrite €300 million in loans originating from the platform, and contractual agreements have been recently upgraded to match our steady growth.
What is your ultimate goal?
Our mission and ultimate goal is to help SMEs grow and focus on their business and take care of all the needs of entrepreneurs: starting out from credit and small businesses technology.