Italy’s largest neobank Aidexa has signed a lucrative deal with the country’s postal service provider, Poste Italiane, in another sign that the Eurozone’s third-largest economy may be catching up in fintech adoption.
The deal will let Aidexa offer Poste Italiane’s small and medium enterprise customers fast digital loans of between €10k and €1m. A spokesperson for the B2B neobank said that the new customer base is in the “hundreds of thousands” — a major uplift on the 2,000 SMEs currently on Aidexa’s loan book.
“We are proud to be the first fintech to offer our instant lending platform to such a key player in Italy,” said Federico Sforza, Aidexa CEO and cofounder.
It’s another encouraging development in the Italian ecosystem — a bright spot amid a slowdown in venture funding this year. Unlike larger ecosystems like the UK, Germany and Sweden which have shrunk this year, Italy is the region’s fastest growing startup ecosystem by funding this year.
Aidexa focuses on sole traders and companies worth up to €5m — the backbone of the Italian economy. It’s built its own software that uses open banking and machine learning to perform risk assessments on businesses and provide loans within 48 hours. It raised €45m in funding in 2020, the same year it launched.
SMEs are the Italian economy’s bread and butter, accounting for 80% of national employment and way above the EU average for exports. But they’ve been slower than their European peers to digitise.
One of the main reasons for this has been the lack of digitally enabled financing options for SMEs from the country’s biggest financial institutions: only 1.3% of SME loans in Italy were digital in 2021, according to McKinsey data provided by Aidexa.
One such institution is Poste Italiane — which, as well as being Italy’s largest postal network, is also one of its biggest financial services providers. It’s begun making moves into fintech in the last twelve months as Italy begins playing catch up with its European peers, and most recently invested $27m in a follow-on to Scalapay’s Series B.
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Amy O’Brien is Sifted’s fintech reporter. She tweets from @Amy_EOBrien and writes our fintech newsletter — you can sign up here.