Identifying the perfect fintech partner to accelerate innovation

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Identifying the perfect fintech partner to accelerate innovation 


The Italian and global fintech ecosystem is extremely complex, dynamic and frenetic. In the first Q1 of 2022, the number of fintechs more than doubled compared to 2019, going from over 12,200 to 27,500 (BCG) 
At the same time, also requests for collaborations/partnerships with B2B and B2B2C fintechs coming from Banks, Insurances and Service Provider acting in the financial market and other industries, have been continuously growing, driven mainly by:  

  • Competition with B2C fintechs: with their innovative and disruptive products, their digital service models, customer first and digital only, fintechs have quickly taken millions of customers away from traditional banks and insurance companies; 

  • New players: global big-techs broke traditional marketing paradigms, serving customers with one-stop-shop service models and high-value customer experiences. They have created a services ecosystem for their customers that embrace not only their products and services but also banking, insurance and investment services, either proprietary or in partnership, with third parties in embedded finance logic; 

  • New customers’ digital expectations: the COVID-19 pandemic forced the silver generation to use digital banking services and digital channels, making the elder understand that digital can empower and not substitute human relations, especially in the relationship between Relationship Managers and Private clients;   

  • Heavy demands coming from EU and local regulators: PSD2, PAD, POG, MIFID, ESG and other regulations absorb up to 70% of IT budget and capacity, making it difficult for traditional FI to invest in real innovative projects; 

  • The rise of crypto: despite resistance from financial institutions, and the recent collapse of some wallets and projects, cryptocurrencies have reached all generations of investors. Also, digital euro and other digital currencies threaten to make basic banking services useless by replacing them with digital wallets. 

A recent analysis shows that currently around 85% of the Financial Institutions, in the USA and EU, already have in place partnerships with at least one fintech and 37% of the remaining declare they will sign a partnership in 2023.  Although in 2022 the fintech market was hit by a significant decline in funding and capitalization (-32%), in terms of overall investment it still remains the most invested industry by Venture Capital, with 5,684 investment rounds in 2021 and 2,707 in the first half of 2022. 

Fintech Q2 2022 Report, ABN AMRO Ventures &

In this ever growing, hyper-dynamic global environment, Financial Institutions and investors are struggling to find the perfect fintech for their unique needs, whether they are looking for a partner or an investment.   

Except for the most innovative banks and insurance companies, and venture capital funds specializing in fintech, most financial institutions have not yet acquired the necessary skill and expertise in scouting, assess and evaluate fintechs.  
It is a complicated work that requires a deep understanding of the needs and complexities of financial institutions and an in-depth knowledge of the fintech market. It is not only about bringing fintech, financial institutions and venture capital funds together but, more importantly, helping traditional realities and innovative technology players, with different languages and perspectives, to talk to each other and build shared plans. 

The major challenge for fintechs is less about meeting financial institutions and more about meeting a qualified interlocutor, a decision maker who has both the business/operational need and the budget. Even more difficult for fintechs, is being able to transfer their value proposition, the use cases they are able to solve, and what concrete benefits they are able to generate in relation to the specific interlocutor’s KPIs. Meeting the wrong people is directly equivalent to closed doors. 
Very often start-up founders deal with a specific and highly technical topic. Even if their ideas are valuable, they may not have the full capacity to speak the same language of business, sales and marketing people who, from their side, have not the right mindset to understand too much technical things or have outsourced the relationship with technology providers to IT. Often, fintechs, developed their solution starting from different industries from banking and insurances, and don’t have the ability to translate their solution in relevant use-cases affecting these markets. 

Even financial institutions and service providers with dedicated innovation and fintech teams struggle to identify valuable partners, although an innovative mind-set or general fintech market understanding, the internal resources that should be involved in the search and selection of fintech partners – marketing, sales, IT, legal, compliance, UX, finance – are overloaded with their day-to-day activities and do not have the time or the number of resources to meet and evaluate dozens of fintechs on an ongoing basis and then select one. 

There are several players in the market that support the match between fintechs and financial institutions, but what are the limitations of the different actors operating in the ecosystem? 

  • Fintech portals are a short-cut for identifying fintechs through filters or through pre-built searches that compare similar players in the same market. However, these are researches conducted using mainly public data, collected from the web, which do not provide distinctive information based on KPIs that are relevant to the business of banks, insurance companies and VCs. For financial institutions, therefore, after identifying a group of possible fintech partners, the problem of figuring out which one is best remains in each case. 

  • Incubators and accelerators provide in-depth information but very often with a local perspective and mostly only on the fintechs that belong to their ecosystems.  

  • Big consultancies who are investing large budgets in building their fintech ecosystem, often do not have an agnostic perspective on the partners, because by having service models based on technology integration, the proposed partners may not be those that are characterized by plug-and-play and/or no/low code approaches, requiring more effort and higher integration costs.   

This is the complex and diverse arena we play in as Supernovae Labs, and this is why, for the second time (the first time in 2018) CFI named us “best fintech accelerator of the year 
Indeed, Supernovae Labs offers very unique features that make it the go-to partner in the process of identifying, evaluating, and selecting a fintech partner or investment:   

  • A team of senior people with a mix of competencies in technology, innovation, business and fintech, coming from some of the most innovative Italian and international banking realities. A team able to understand and speak both the language of financial institutions and fintechs, to understand their problems and constraints and with the ability to find win-win solutions; 

  • All in one perspective: we have experts coming from Marketing, Sales, IT, UX, Finance, compliance. We are able to interact with all the different business functions involved in the fintech scouting process, and to evaluate fintechs at 360 degrees; 

  • We have built, year by year, a strong and ongoing relationship with Italian and international fintechs and financial decision makers, so we have the resources and capacity to accelerate the matchmaking process; 

  • Our CEO, Carlo Giugovaz, has been named one of the most relevant thought leaders in fintech and innovation within the Italian and foreign market. 

In synthesis: fintech is a market where expertise counts more than marketing and scouting budgets. For both fintechs and financial institutions, identifying a skilled and experienced partner to support their business development activities–for fintechs–or the scouting process–for banks, insurance companies, and VCs–is critical to overcoming the difficulties arising from this fascinating but complicated market. 

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