Italian Challenger Bank AideXa Acquires Banking License from ECB, Will Offer Short-Term Credit Facilities

AideXa, an Italian banking challenger for small businesses, has reportedly acquired a full banking license which was issued by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Established by Roberto Nicastro, ex- GM at Unicredit, Banca AideXa aims to leverage AI and Open Banking to better serve SMEs based in Italy that have a turnover or annual revenue of less than €10 million.

AideXa secured €45 million in capital via a seed round in November 2020. Generali Group, Banca Sella, and IFIS took part in the firm’s round along with contributions from VCs, family offices, trade associations and several angel investors.

AideXa, which plans to hire around 100 additional staff members in the next few months, says that it is planning to break even within 3 years of operations and aims to acquire about 100,000 customers in the next 5 years.

Founded during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Banca AideXa has entered the market at a time when businesses are beginning to deal with new capital requirements while also covering post-lockdown recovery costs.

AideXa’s first product  “X-Instant” is described as a digital or online short-term credit facility that guarantees approval or rejection within 10 minutes.

As covered last year, Italy’s Fintech sector remains “weak” mainly due to low levels of investments, according to a report published in 2020.

There were 278 Fintech firms operating in Italy (as of June 2020), which is 49 more than when Big Four auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), released its previous report on the financial technology sector in the European nation (in mid 2019).

PwC’s report had revealed that Italy now has an emerging real estate segment, which is supported by lending and equity crowdfunding platforms. The nation’s digital asset sector has also grown in the past year.

PwC had claimed:

“[Overall,] Italy is weak [in terms of Fintech activity.] In the internation context, the Italian position about Fintech has been so far weak (in 24th place in the world according to Findexable) and the low investments play a dominant role in this ranking”

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