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Italy brings its strong suits to Singapore’s fintech expo

Italian trade executive says 9 firms at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023 exemplify the diverse range of products and expertise Italy can bring to the table.

As the city-state continues to foster global connections, Singapore’s fast technological capabilities attract fellow mature markets such as Italy to become a valuable partner in unlocking new opportunities and strengthening existing trade relations in the fintech ecosystem.

Ilaria Piccinni, deputy trade commissioner of the Italian Trade Agency Singapore, asserts particular specialisations that Italy can bring to the table and they have been showcased in the recent Singapore Fintech Festival 2023.

“Singapore is very strategic, especially in this sector. And the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023 is the biggest trade show in the sector. Some of them may still be in a stage where they need some financial investments. That’s why I think that that could be very interesting for them to have the setups already participated in last year — which means that there is a high interest in the region and that’s why they are here again,” Piccinni tells the Asian Banking and Finance.

The city-state’s strength lies in its ability to form symbiotic partnerships with countries that offer unique goods and expertise. Italy, with its evolving technology landscape, holds immense potential for Singapore’s businesses.

The Italian pavilion, organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bank of Italy, and the Association of Fintech in Italy, aims to provide a platform for Italian companies to meet potential clients and investors.

Piccinni emphasises, “The biggest aim of showcasing digital companies is to give them the opportunity to meet important counterparts, possible clients, possible investors, and that's why they will be showcasing here at the SFF.”

Nine unique Italian fintech

In the eighth edition of the SFF, Italy represented nine homegrown fintech startups at the official Italian Pavilion in the Singapore expo.

These handpicked fintechs are EvenFi, FAIRTILE, Hodlie, MyMoney, Notarify, Scaling Parrots, SOLID, Nemesis by Undo Studios IT, and WAVENURE — all ranging from payment systems and credit automation to cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

The Bank of Italy, participating in the SFF for the fourth consecutive year, underscores the commitment of Italian institutions to the fintech sector.

AssoFintech, participating for the second time, had a significant impact at the previous edition, leading to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Fintech Association.

“This is our second participation in the Singapore Fintech Festival. We already participated last year and we could see that there was a very high interest from Italian companies to participate here. Back in Italy, we talked about which among the sub-sectors of the fintech industry could have been interesting for them. And we received very interesting applications, and so we brought those nine Italian companies [here at the SFF],” says Piccinni.

“Additionally, it is our mission to support these Italian companies to develop abroad, and we can give them higher visibility by adding them to the Italian pavilion,” she adds.

Italy has shown substantial growth in the fintech sector, particularly in lending to SMEs and supply chain finance. The Italian fintech market is estimated to be worth €882m in 2022, according to PwC’s study titled “5th PwC Italy FinTech Observatory.” Investments in fintech led by venture capital funds grew by 240% from the previous year, 2021.

As Singapore emerges as a strategic hub for the fintech sector, Piccinni expresses hope that the participating Italian companies can initiate collaborations in this dynamic market.

What can disrupt Italy’s connection to Singapore?

Addressing the challenges faced by Italian fintechs, Piccinni notes the rapid pace of the Singaporean market, offering higher possibilities for Italian companies to connect with the right investors.

She suggests that Italian startups can learn from the mature Singaporean ecosystem to attract investments and develop essential entrepreneurial skills.

“The main topic that is common within the two countries is the high innovation,” she states, emphasising that both nations boast innovative companies with cutting-edge technologies.

When asked about the lessons Italian fintechs can glean from Singapore’s industry, Piccinni emphasises the Singaporean approach to the market and the importance of sharing feedback. “They can share important points of views on the fintech industry. We as Italians can learn from the experience that the Singaporean companies are proposing,” she says, stressing on the significance of cross-cultural insights.

As Italy boasts of its unique approach to fintech, Piccinni points out “the particularity of Italian companies are customisable and adaptable” to the market needs. “Even though Italy is a mature market, there are still innovative ideas. The creativity of Italians goes out not only of course, in the fintech sector, but also in other sectors,” Piccinni concludes.

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