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Business Statistics: Italy

There were 3,749,330 business enterprises in Italy in 2018 and 95.1% of businesses in Italy have less than 10 employees.


  • As of 2018, Italy had 3,749,330 business enterprises.
  • 64.5% of all businesses in Italy comprise self-employed workers.
  • 95.1% of all businesses in Italy have less than 10 employees.
  • 99.8% of businesses in Italy are SMEs with less than 250 employees.
  • The annual revenue of 99% of all businesses in Italy is less than €50m.


  • There are 3,565,046 micro business enterprises in Italy with less than 10 employees.
  • A total of 3,746,109 SMEs in Italy has less than 250 employees.

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Co-Working Space: Italy

There are eight major co-working space providers operating in Italy. They are Spaces, inCOWORK, WeWork, Copernico, Impact Hub, Talent Garden, Regus, and Cowo. Cowo is the largest provider with 117 locations in Italy.



To identify the number of major co-working space providers in Italy, we first examined the locations listed on co-working databases such as Coworker, CoworkBooking, and Coworking.Coffee. As these databases include thousands of co-working spaces across hundreds of countries, it is assumed that they would provide a comprehensive list of active locations/providers in Italy. The website of every provider listed on these databases was examined to identify the number of co-working spaces that they operate. Among the 100+ providers examined, only inCOWORK, Copernico, Impact Hub, Talent Garden, and Cowo operate at least three locations in Italy.
To ensure that every popular co-working space provider in Italy has been examined, we next conducted a press search for articles that talked about co-working in Italy. The articles published by EU Startups, Flawless, and Big Seven Travel talked about the best co-working spaces in Turin, Milan, and other Italian cities. The majority of the providers considered the “best” were already listed in the databases mentioned above. Among the additional providers examined, only Regus operates at least three locations in Italy.
Lastly, we examined some of the largest co-working companies in the world that were not listed in the databases and articles mentioned above. We have assumed that global players similar to Impact Hub and Regus may also operate in Italy. Among the additional global operators examined, only Spaces and WeWork operate at least three locations in Italy.
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Registering a New Company: Italy

Generally, the Italian government and people are supportive of new companies setting up in Italy. There are several steps in the process of setting up a new company, and although they are not overly complex, it can take some time to comply with them all. It may be beneficial for new companies to engage professional help to assist with the process, including the establishment of bank accounts.


  • The registration process, while not overly challenging, has a number of steps and fees. Several government bodies require the filing of certain documents.
  • The process itself is not challenging, however preparing the relevant documents do contain certain nuances specific to Italy. Given this, it is recommended that prospective company owners seek advice on the preparation of the documents, to ensure they met the legal requirements.
  • There are a number of consultancy and legal firms that specialize in this area. Comprehensive advice can usually be obtained relatively quickly and for a reasonable price.
  • The Italian Government requires Public Deeds of Incorporation and copies of the Company bylaws be executed in front of a Notary Public. The company must then be registered, and the relevant fee of EUR260 paid.
  • This is a relatively quick process and takes 1 business day, in most instances. It is the Notary that files the registration, not the company owner.
  • The company needs to purchase official accounting books and register them. There is a EUR15 stamp duty per 100 pages and a EUR30 fee to register every 500 pages.
  • This can be completed within 1 business day and is relatively straightforward.
  • The company also needs to be registered at the local Chamber of Commerce in the Register of Enterprises. The process is not difficult. It can take between 5 to 10 business days.
  • If the company is to take on employees, it must be registered at the Istituto Nazionale Di Previdenza Sociale. This must be done within 5 days of hiring employees.
  • The process is not complex, and registration is usually completed within 1 business day.
  • The final step in setting up a company in Italy is ensuring the company will meet its tax obligations. The company, therefore, needs to obtain a fiscal code and VAT number.
  • Once these have been obtained the trading activity of the company needs to be registered with the Italian Tax Service.


  • The Italian Banking System is considered antiquated compared to other European Countries.
  • The process of setting up a new bank account can be time-consuming if all the relevant documents are not readily available.
  • Business bank accounts can not be set up online. Almost all the banks require an in bank interview before agreeing to open a corporate bank account. 
  • To set up a new business bank account, the following documents are required: passport or government identification, proof of address, tax identification code, certificate of incorporation, and certificate of good standing for any shareholder owning more than 20% of the company share capital.
  • The process can be time-consuming. New companies should allow for up to 4 weeks for completion.
  • If internet banking services are required, this will likely take additional time.
  • The Italian banking system is unique, and for this reason, it is recommended new companies engage professional help to assist with the process and minimize any delays.
  • It is difficult for new companies to secure business lending in Italy because of lending rates of approximately 4.2% annually and a low approval rate (approximately 25%).


  • There is a range of online tools that are available when starting up a business in Italy.
  • There are not as many government institutions or resources available as is seen in some other European countries.
  • While the government is supportive of local companies, there is a huge emphasis on foreign investors, and resources are often orientated toward these new companies.
  • The Italian government has implemented an "Italia Startup Visa" program, to encourage entrepreneurs from all over the world, to invest in the country.
  • Most of the information and resources available to new companies' comes from consultancy, legal, and accounting firms. There is usually a fee to access this information.


  • The most popular company type in Italy for a company of around 30 employees is a limited liability company.
  • A limited liability company can be set up with 1 or more shareholders. The company will also require at least 1 director.
  • The director does not need to be an EU citizen or resident.
  • Any entity in Italy is required to submit an annual tax return to the Italy Revenue Agency. As long as the company meets 2 of 3 criteria, it will not be subject to a financial audit.
  • The criteria include turnover of less than 8.8 million, assets of less than 4.4 million or fewer than 50 employees.
  • It is a requirement that 25% of a new companies' startup capital is deposited in the company bank account.
  • EUR10,000 is required as startup capital for new companies in Italy.
  • In most instances, a new company will need an accountant to manage their books.
  • One of the more complex areas when setting up a company in Italy is around Employment Law.
  • Employment Law is rigid in Italy. It is only recently that companies have been able to downsize if they are experiencing financial difficulties.
  • All new companies need to be fully aware of their Employment Law obligations.
  • If an employee chooses to litigate after being laid off, the company is required to pay the employee salary until the issues are resolved.
  • Getting rid of employees who under perform is an extremely complex process and in some instances can take between 3 to 5 years. Given this, new companies must obtain comprehensive advice before hiring employees.


  • The Italian government recognizes the importance of investment in Italy. There are a wide range of tax incentives to encourage the establishment of businesses in certain areas.
  • These areas include tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and foodstuffs.
  • The EU offers a range of grants to new companies that are working on projects or in areas of business that specifically relate to EU Policies. These are available to new companies in Italy.
  • An application for these grants can be made through the EU Authority based in Italy.


  • Italy is placed strategically in the center of Europe. This means it is a good location for companies considering expansion throughout Europe.
  • The Italian market offers access to a larger European market of over 500 million consumers.
  • Some strengths of the Italian workforce include gift design and mechanical goods.
  • The Italian government is extremely supportive of foreign investment in Italy.
  • Recently government intervention in Italian companies has decreased. This has been accompanied by an increased push towards privatizing a range of State-Owned Enterprises.
  • The increased privatization has opened up a range of new opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to set up companies in Italy.
  • Due to the location and easy access to the Mediterranean, Italy is particularly supportive of companies operating in the export/import industries.
  • The business startup costs can vary depending on the type of company that is established. Overall it is cost-efficient to set up a new company in Italy.
  • The Italian culture is very respectful toward social hierarchy. This includes business hierarchy.
  • Italians expect to see a suitable hierarchy in any organization they work for.


We extensively searched a number of industry publications, articles, and legal papers to determine how to start a new company in Italy. These sources provided us with an overview of the legal and regulatory process. They also enabled us to determine the required paperwork and processes that must be completed. We reviewed a wide range of government and local business consultancy websites to determine the current business climate, the receptiveness toward new business, and the resources that are available for a new company.

Finally, we considered the process of setting up a bank account. We reviewed the information that the various major banks make available as to the documents required and the process of obtaining these documents. We also reviewed various industry publications to determine the support and assistance available to a new company in completing this process.
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FinTech Climate: Italy

Italy has a fintech-friendly climate as evidenced by the growing collaboration among ecosystem players and the increasing number of people adopting fintech. Though Italy is not among the 30 largest fintech hubs in the world, it is among the ten emerging fintech hubs in Europe. The opening of the Milan Fintech District, the establishment of the trade association ItaliaFintech, and the running of the Italian Fintech Festival were among the initiatives that were recently conducted to promote the growth of the country's fintech sector.


  • There are several signs indicating that Italy is becoming more conducive for fintech startups and investors. For example, the Fintech and Insurtech Observatory of Milan Polytechnic observes that, in the country, not only are startups and players increasingly collaborating, but businesses are increasingly innovating as well.
  • ItaliaFintech was recently established to serve as the first trade association of the country's fintech sector. Nineteen companies were behind the creation of ItaliaFintech, and they were, Conio, Credimi, Epic, Fifty, Housers, Lendix, Modefinance, MoneyFarm, N26, Oval Money, Let's Lose, Raisin, Satispay, Soisy, Soldo, Virtualb, Workinvoice, and Younited Credit. Together, these companies serve more than 920,000 customers, 425,000 of which reside in Italy. The total amount these companies manage, in terms of savings, loans, or payments, is around €450 million.
  • ItaliaFintech aims to facilitate the access of consumers and businesses to fintech services, serve as a point of contact for fintech sectors players, improve people's understanding of fintech, and improve collaboration among players in the ecosystem.
  • Italy's first fintech district, MiIan Fintech District, was opened in late 2017 by the City of Milan and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance to promote the growth and development of the fintech sector. The district offers co-working facilities and office space for interested businesses.
  • FinTechStage and Fintech District held the first ever Italian Fintech festival in May 2018, with the festival bringing together more than 1,200 people from different parts of the country's fintech ecosystem. Investors, startups, insurance companies, banks, regulators, technology partners, and universities participated in the event. The primary goal of the festival was to increase people's awareness of fintech.
  • A legislative amendment mandating Italian financial and insurance authorities to set up a regulatory sandbox where the regulatory and legal aspects of financial innovations can be tested was recently enacted.



  • The growing number of people in Italy who have used at least one fintech or insurtech service points to the positive reception of fintech in the country. Milan Polytechnic's Fintech and Insurtech Observatory, in partnership with Nielsen Italia, recently reported that the yearly number has increased by 54% to reach 11 million users. Around 25% of Italians aged 18-74 have tried a fintech or insurtech service.
  • Consumers in Italy primarily use fintech applications for mobile payment (16%), budget management (15%), and instant person-to-person money transfers (12%).
  • A significant fraction of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also use fintech applications. For example, to communicate or transact with financial institutions, 55% of SMEs in the country use apps, while 92% use personal computers.
  • SMEs' awareness of minibonds, P2P lending, crowdfunding, and supply chain finance appears inadequate, however. Only 33%, 24%, 20%, and 12% of SMEs in the country are aware of minibonds, P2P lending, crowdfunding, and supply chain finance, respectively.
  • Fifty-one percent of Italy's digitally active population adopts or uses fintech.
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FinTech Companies: Italy

Fintech companies in Italy that received series A, B, C or D Funding are, Money Farm, Satispay, Credimi, Georges, Yolo Insurance, Casavo, MDOTM, and Oval Money while Axieme received only seeding round of funding.


  • is an online auto insurance agency through which users can buy cars, motorbikes, and van insurance.
  • The platform also allows users to convert insurance premiums into monthly premiums.
  • Users can edit personal data and manage active policies on the platform. It also offers on-demand assistance in case of accidents.
  • Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing are the lead investors.
  • Funding Received: $110,697,000 (€100 million)
  • Funding Date: October 15, 2018
  • The link to the website is here.



  • Satispay is a payment network that offers a smartphone application that can be used for peer to peer money transfer, in-store and online purchases and non-profit donations through a cross-platform mobile app.
  • Users can also set their weekly budgets and spend accordingly and can download the app, register with their mobile number, and link their bank account.
  • Funding Received: $16,599,750 (€15 million) Series B
  • Funding Date: July 18, 2018
  • The link to the website is here.


  • Credmi is an invoice financing solution for SMEs which allows merchants to anticipate the bills of business and receive financing through the sale of credit.
  • The service can be used by SMEs that sells products or services by invoice with a turnover of more than € 500K, their customers are companies based in Italy and not belonging to the Public Administration, the merchant has unpaid bills for amounts between €1K and €500K.
  • Credimi provides digital factoring solutions for companies in various sectors. It serves customers in Italy and Europe.
  • Funding Received: $11,066,550 (€10 million) by United Ventures, Vertis SGR S.p.A.
  • Funding Date: November 13, 2018
  • The link to the website is here.


  • Georges provides a robot to automate accounting for businesses.
  • It automates bank reconciliation, VAT returns, and statements and allows users to scan bills, receipts and provides expense management solution.
  • offers an end-to-end and advanced AI-powered accounting software. Georges is an accounting robot that aims to automate the accounting of freelancers and professionals.
  • Funding Received: $11,066,550 (€10 million) Series A by UAlven Capital
  • Funding Date: June 4, 2019
  • The link to the website is here.


  • YOLO is an insurance broker who distributes on digital channels produced by the major international insurance groups, created and distributed in innovative mode.
  • Yolo offers temporary goods insurance, people insurance, health insurance, and travel insurance policies on-demand.
  • It offers smartphone insurance, tablet insurance, laptop insurance, sports equipment insurance, holiday rental insurance, dental insurance, alternative medicine insurance, national/international insurance, school trip insurance, etc. Users can select the scope of insurance product and activate or deactivate insurance policy anytime.
  • Funding Received: $5,533,695 (€5 million) series A by Barcamper Ventures, Neva Finventures
  • Funding Date: February 4, 2019
  • The link to the website is here.


  • Casavo acts as a tech-enabled market maker within the residential Real Estate market. It offers hassle-free and quick transactions by acquiring properties directly and therefore cutting the sale time.
  • Casavo provides online, real-time evaluations and purchase offers in 24 hours to sellers, allowing them to sell within 30 days, after a maximum of 2 home visits.
  • Casavo works both with RE agencies and private sellers. It was founded in 2017 and is based in Milan, Italy.
  • Funding Received: $7,748,891 (€7 million) by project A
  • Funding Date: February 22, 2019
  • The link to the website is here.


  • At MDOTM, they develop AI-driven investment strategies for the financial markets and they work closely with their clients — Banks, Family Offices, Wealth and Asset Management companies — providing them with their systematic models that support them in their investment decision process.
  • Their artificial intelligence algorithms analyze different asset classes with specific models for single-stock equity investing and multi-asset class allocation.
  • Funding Received: $2,214,356 (€2 million)
  • Funding Date: November 23, 2018
  • The link to the website is here.


  • Italy is one among the lower ranked countries in Europe when it comes to financial literacy. Oval Money’s goal is to change this by helping people become wiser when it comes to financing. The app offers income and spends monitoring tools as well as step-by-step guides for using/saving/investing money.
  • Funding Received: $4,427,490 (€4 million) Series A
  • Funding Date: October 1, 2018
  • The link to the website is here.


  • Axieme is an insurtech company based in Italy with a European vocation.
  • It is fully focused on supporting the insurance industry in their digitalization journey.
  • This includes leveraging integrated innovation with technologies such as Chatbot & Roboadvisor, Insurance Wallet, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), and Fraud Detection. Axieme Insurance Software Solution comes with intuitive design, insightful tools and web-based system conceived as a plug-and-play platform.
  • Funding Received: $83,008 (€75,000) Seed Round
  • Funding Date: June 15, 2018
  • The link to the website is here.
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Digital Services Trends: Italy

Five trends in terms of digital services offered to businesses in Italy include the rise of specialty finance challenger banks, increasing focus on SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), growing adoption of PSD2 (payment services directive), open banking and APIs, the increase in fintech projects, and the rise in blockchain-based digital applications in finance and insurance industries.




  • The PwC report indicated that PSD2 use is growing, along with open banking, and APIs.
  • PSD2 enables bank customers — consumers and businesses, to use TPP (third-party providers), AISP1, and PISP2 (payment initiation service provider), to manage their finances.
  • While AISP provides access to the pool of transactional data of bank customers, PISP, in turn, is the payment service provider that enables an efficient payment data exchange in between the customer and the retail service provider.
  • With the consent of customers, banks are obliged to provide AISP/PISP access to their customers’ accounts through open APIs.


  • According to a survey carried out by the Bank of Italy, there are about 283 fintech projects developed by surveyed intermediaries. Out of the 283 fintech projects, 122 have already been approved or were under development, and 82 were already in the execution phase.
  • These projects cover various financial services such as remote transactions, client identification and execution of contracts, payment services and automatic services that are offered to businesses.



We started the research by directly searching for industry reports and market studies on the trends in digital services offered to businesses in Italy. In the course of the search, we came across a report published by PwC titled “PwC’s Top Trends: Financial Services” that provided detailed trends in the financial services sector in Italy. Thereby, we went through the entire report and identified three trends in digital services offered to businesses in Italy.

The research also found other reports with relevant information on the topic. A report published by ICLG contained information on the growing number of fintech projects for businesses in Italy. Further, the report explains how these projects revolve around various services offered to businesses in Italy. Another report published by Politecnico di Milano mentioned that there is a rise in digital applications offered by banks and insurance companies to businesses in Italy.
We have included the trends mentioned above as they are either published by leading consulting firms such as PwC, ICLG, and Politecnico di Milano. All the trends are about digital services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Italy as opposed to consumers. Also, all the trends provide information on current activities occurring in the digital financial services space aimed towards businesses in Italy.
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Google Pay Statistics: Italy

The research team could not find information on how widely used Google Pay is in Italy, the number of Google Pay users, the number of Google Pay payments by volume, the number of Google Pay payments by value (EUR), and the number of merchants accepting Google Pay in the country. We have, however, provided some useful insights below.



We began by scouring globally reputed publications that could have data on the statistics showing how widely used Google Pay is in Italy, the number of Google Pay users, the number of Google Pay payments by volume, the number of Google Pay payments by value (EUR), and the number of merchants accepting Google Pay in the country. A report by JP Morgan Chase Bank dubbed “THE CHANGING DYNAMIC OF PAYMENTS IN EUROPE; ITALY,” discussed the situation of cashless transactions in the country and provided insights about e-wallet penetration. It also provided the e-commerce situation as it relates to mobile payments but did not provide any statistics on the requested information.

The NFC World Knowledge Center shed more light on when Google Pay went live in Italy, as well as the specific banks that have partnered with Google Pay, but did not include any statistics as pertains to how widely used Google Pay is in Italy, the number of Google Pay users, the number of Google Pay payments by volume, the number of Google Pay payments by value (EUR), and the number of merchants accepting Google Pay in the country.
We also opted to was to check for information on statistical databases that report the payment methods at regional and international levels. We looked for information on websites like Europa, Statista, among others. We hoped that one or all of these sites would have published business stats' information. While Statistica provided information about the ways through Italians use mobile payments, it did not specifically highlight any statistics that relate to Google Pay usage in the country. We also found information on payment methods in Europe and information about the entry of Google.w The strategy proved futile as these findings did not provide anything specific to Google Pay's presence in Italy.
We also searched for information in financial publications and media publications in Italy with a focus on the payment systems in the country. Our objective was to see if any news agencies had published reports about the payment systems in Italy with user statistics. We hoped that this strategy would work as media companies publish information about different industries along with statistics from own or third-party research. We looked for information on sites like Financial Mirror, Euro News, Business Wire, and Finance Yahoo News, among others. While Business Wire provided insightful forecasts regarding the Italian mobile payment industry, the required information about Google Pay was not available.

Next, we used analytical apps to find information specific to Italy and Google Pay's presence from sites such as SensorTower and Similar Web. Similar Web only provided information about Google Pay’s popularity in specific countries and number of visits to the site globally but did not provide any statistics that we could use to triangulate the number of Google Pay users, the number of payments by volume or overall, or the number of merchants using the service Italy. For instance, there is no way we could use statistics on Google Pay rank by country or top categories and apps (by percentage) as used by Google Pay, to find the number of users in Italy. We initially thought this strategy would work as sites like SensorTower provide app intelligence data and may have published information on user stats for Google Pay.

Lastly, we looked for information published by the company Google or parent company Alphabet in its annual reports, press releases, executive statements, among others. The objective of this strategy was to see if the company had released reports on the stats of the Payment System in Italy as companies often publish information in the annual reports or press releases, about performance of products and services. However, this strategy proved futile as there was no information published on such statistics for Italy. At most, we found information on overview of the Google Pay app and its benefits etc.

There are various reason why the information could not be triangulated. For example, here are no reports, articles, publications available that provide information on Google Pay user stats in Italy. One of the probable reasons for this could be that Google Pay only went live in Italy in September 2018 and its presence and impact is not yet as significant to the extent of attracting attention. Reports also show that Italians are still largely inclined towards cash transactions hence less spotlight on new trends in mobile payments.
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Apple Pay Statistics: Italy

About 70 million euros (+60%) was processed by smartphones through Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in Italy in 2017.

Apple Pay — Italy

  • Apple Pay in Italy is recognized to be among the top leading websites in Italy with 3,088 web traffic statistics.
  • Top websites using Apple Pay include,,, and
  • Apple Pay is now supported in Italy.
  • About 70 million euros (+60%) was processed by smartphones through Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in Italy in 2017.
  • Apple’s wireless payment system Apple Pay is now up and running in Italy and they are into partnership with a handful of banks and popular retailers in Italy.
  • Apple Pay currently supports Boon, Carrefour Banca, and UniCredit in the Italian market.


Broad Search for Apple Pay Statistics

We looked into global statistical publications to see how widely Apple Pay is used in Italy, the number of Apple Pay users in Italy, the number of Apple Pay payments by volume in Italy, the number of Apple Pay payments by value (EUR) in Italy, and the number of merchants accepting Apple Pay in Italy.
The Mobile Payment Guide talked about Apple Pay coming to N26 Customers in Italy but no details about the expansion were given in regard to what we were looking for. Tech Crunch also talked about Apple’s wireless payment system Apple Pay, which is now up and running in Italy. However, nothing substantial was found.

Use of Analytical Sites

We made use of Similar Web, a data resource that pulls data across various platforms and presents statistics. The source provided the leading countries' usage statistics of Apple Pay by web visits but no data was found relevant to how widely Apple Pay is used in Italy and other significant data.

Exploring News Publications

We began exploring publications to see if we could locate the required data. Business Insider talked about the date Apple Pay was launched in Italy. Other than this information, we only found extraneous data.

Broadening Our Research

We broadened our research to cover Europe to see if we could find useful data. We came across Apple's regional listing of countries that supports Apple Pay.
At this point, we concluded that data was not readily available in the public domain to present how widely Apple Pay is used in Italy, the number of Apple Pay users in Italy, the number of Apple Pay payments by volume in Italy, and the number of Apple Pay payments by value (EUR) in Italy.
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Digital Banking: Italy

Digital banking is very common in Italy, and is more frequently used by young people. Laptops, desktops and mobile devices are the most popular ways to access digital banking. More information is provided in the following overview.


  • Banks in Italy are offering online banking services to help improve their relationships with customers. Such services are becoming a key feature to offer clients a complete service and to "reach any customer through any device at any time".
  • According to a survey, 98% of bank customers in Italy make use of online banking, while 84% make use of mobile banking.
  • The web is commonly used by Italians for financial management and product or service purchasing, with 56% of preference, compared to visiting a physical branch.
  • According to 58% of customers, the level of availability of a physical branch can convince them to switch to online banking.
  • Banking customers are progressively increasing the use of internet, with 37.4% of users making exclusive use of it for all banking operations. The population segment that makes bank operations exclusively from the internet is between 35 and 54 years, with an incidence of 44%.
  • Additionally, the value of investments in fintech (mergers, acquisitions, investments venture capital and private equity) reached $31 billion in 2017.


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Digital Banking By Industry: Italy

No direct information regarding the top industries that have had the highest uptake of digital business banking services in Italy could be found in the public domain. Below is an overview of the information that was available.


  • The online/digital banking penetration in Italy remains low and has reached just 34% in 2018. However, the penetration has grown consistently over the last ten years burgeoning from a paltry 12% penetration level in 2007 to the current level of 34%. Over the past 5 years, the penetration has grown consistently from 22% in 2013 to the current level.
  • Forty-six percent of the individuals who used the internet over the last three months in 2018 did so for availing internet banking services. This has number has grown from 31% witnessed in 2007.
  • According to data from the Polytechnic of Milan, the digital payment and online banking industry in Italy reached €220 billion in 2017 and grew by 10% compared to 2016.
  • Italians, compared to other European nations, have a strong penchant for cash as corroborated by ECB data which avers that Italians undertake 86% of their transactions in cash and only 14% with other solutions such as ATMs, credit cards, wire transfers, RID, and others.
  • The most recent trend in Italian digital banking transactions pertains to the use of debit cards for “m-proximity” and “m-payment” transactions, i.e. purchases and payments made via mobile phone, through banking apps.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo is the first digital bank in Italy and has 8 million multi-channel customers and 3 million app users. Forrester Research has ranked the bank's retail digital platform to be among the three best digital banks in Europe.
  • Other major digital banks operating in Italy include Revolut, N26, bunq, and Monese. The various facilities offered by these banks include budgeting tools, international currency exchange, travel insurance, cryptocurrency facilities, virtual cards, and foreign money transfers through TransferWise without incurring any foreign exchange fees.
  • The adoption of fintech in the digital banking space is on the rise in Italy and "the Italian Banking Association (IBA) has opened a pilot project on blockchain-based interbank reconciliations to a first group of 14 lenders." The same aims to bring more visibility "to exchange of interbank transactions, verifying the matching of correspondent accounts and highlighting discrepancies for automated remediation."
  • Some of the largest industries in Italy include the tourism industry; the manufacturing industry including automobiles, wooden furniture products, textiles, jewelry, footwear, appliances and spare parts, clothing, and machine tools; the agricultural industry; the service sector; and trade.

Research Strategy

No direct information regarding the top industries that have had the highest uptake of digital business banking services in Italy could be found in the public domain. All the information found catered around the top digital and traditional banks in Italy, an uptick in the retail scenario for digital banking, trends in the digital banking space, and the top sectors to which banks in Italy have the highest credit exposure. The primary reason the information could be missing could be the lack of disclosure by banks around their top clients or sectors due to competitive and confidential reasons. Also, some banks were found to track and provide digital services usage at the retail level but no such tracking or reporting was available at the business or industry level. Below is a deep dive into the various strategies that we deployed to find the information.

Our first strategy was to scour through industry reports on the digital banking sector in Italy from Deloitte, McKinsey, KPMG, Market Radar, Bloomberg, Reuters, among others. These industry reports are a key source of information for the industry profile, the client mix, and the revenue mix of various industries. Hence, the idea was to leverage them to check if any information around major business users of digital banking services in Italy was available. However, the information found gave an overview of the banking sector in Italy, the top challenger banks operating in the space, and the key regulations that have impacted the space. No pertinent information around the industries that had the highest uptake of digital business banking services in Italy could be found.

Our second strategy was to scour through credible databases and websites of key regulatory and other authorities in the banking industry in Italy such as the Bank Of Italy, the Italian Banking Association (ABI), the EBF, The Italian Banking, the Insurance and Finance Federation (FeBAF) database, IMF, among others. All these regulatory and banking databases are a potential source of information on exposure limits and key industries or sectors to which the banking industry is exposed in terms of its business to assess the risk exposure of the industry. Hence, we decided to leverage this research path. However, again all information found catered around broad industry statistics, governing regulations, the recent blockchain trends, and other fintech trends that are impacting the banking space in Italy. The Bank of Italy in its 2018 Annual Report did mention that the Italian banking exposure to households and lending to firms has continued to rise over 2018 but did not elucidate upon the key industries that leveraged digital platforms to garner this financing from banks. Hence, this strategy did not prove fruitful.

Our third strategy was to try to triangulate the information by scouring through the websites and annual reports of the top business banks in Italy such as Monte dei Paschi di Siena, UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, Banca Popolare di Milano, among others. The idea was to go through the filings, press releases, and websites of these banks and try to garner information around the key industries served by these banks through their digital services. The process of garnering the information on the top banks could have allowed us to triangulate the information by stating that since "X, Y, Z are the top industries utilizing the digital services of the top banks by market share in Italy they are very likely to be the top industries that have had the highest uptake of digital business banking services in Italy overall." However, none of the banks were found to disclose any such information in their filings. All the information found catered around the credit exposure of different banks to the various industries or sectors in Italy. Hence, the triangulation strategy did not materialize.

Our fourth strategy was to scour through media articles (from The Local, Ansa, Forbes, Bloomberg, Reuters, among others), statistical websites (such as Statista), and Italian banking blogs (such as HSBC Italy, Italy Profile, Bruegel, ZDNet, among others). All these are again potential sources where any industry-specific key data is available especially in terms of the services concentration of any industry. However, again no pertinent information could be located and all the data found was around the rate of digital penetration in Italy, top banks for business banking in Italy, and blockchain trends in the sector.

Our fifth strategy was to check for alternate data points for triangulation by expanding the scope of the search to banks offering digital and traditional business services in Italy rather than digital-only banks. Apart from major digital banks such as Revolut, N26, Intesa Sanpaolo, bunq, and Monese, no other pure play digital-only banks are operating in Italy, hence this avenue was explored. The idea was to check if any information around the key industries using services of digital+traditional banks in Italy is available and to utilize this as a proxy for the digital-only banks as well. However, thorough research around the leading banks and sectors in general through the above-mentioned sources did not yield any fruitful results. All the data found was concentrated on the services and product profiles of the various banks along with broad trends such as blockchain and digital transactions impacting the overall sector exposure by various industries in Italy.

Our sixth strategy was to triangulate the information in an alternate manner by using a bottom-up approach. The idea was to look at the largest industries in Italy that contribute the most to the GDP and then try to locate information around their share in the digital banking industry in Italy. The assumption here being that the largest industries contributing to the economy are very likely to be the leading ones using digital banking as well in Italy. While we were able to locate information on the largest industries in Italy, no information could be garnered around their share in digital banking. Therefore, the above hypothesis for triangulation could not be corroborated.
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Challenger Digital Banks: Italy

According to a PWC April 2019 report on "Specialty Finance Challenger Banks in Italy", the main players operating in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporate finance categories of the specialty finance competitive landscape in Italy include Credito Fondiario, illimity, Credito di Romagna (SC Lowy), and Banca Finint. Italy's main specialty finance challenger banks operate in the specialty finance competitive landscape with a banking license. The main players are further segmented into five broad categories that define their core business areas, i.e., (consumer credit factoring/leasing, SMEs and corporate, NPL and UTP, and corporate finance. Therefore, challenger digital banks in Italy offering banking services to businesses are those operating in the SMEs and corporate finance categories.


  • Credito Fondiario offers banks, financial institutions, and investors a wide array of vertically integrated services. Its core business revolves around all credit asset classes, such as performing and non-performing. Credito Fondiario website link is available here.
  • According to Hoovers, the company has an estimated annual revenue of $64.45 million.
  • The PWC report did not disclose the respective market shares of the four main specialty finance challenger digital banks in Italy. However, in the report, PWC indicated that these companies gained significant market shares in their specific segments.


  • Credito di Romagna, which SC Lowy recently acquired a majority stake rebranded to Solution Bank and its website is accessible via this link. The bank, according to Hoovers, has an estimated annual revenue of $19.69 million.
  • Credito di Romagna claims to be a challenger bank offering "financing support for local and international companies in complex and distress situation." Its offers institutional and corporate clients four main services, including NPL (non-performing loan) solutions, debt solutions, partner solutions, and corporate solutions.



  • Banca Finint is also another main player in the specialty finance competitive landscape in Italy. The bank operates with a team of approximately 300 specialists to identify the most appropriate products and solutions to meet client requirements (corporations, investors, and financial institutions) in their diverse areas of activity.
  • Based on the most recent sales data for Banca Finint, it had an annual revenue of €256,000 as of 31 December 2016.


To determine 3 to 5 of the top challenger digital banks that offer banking services to businesses in Italy, we started by first searching for precompiled reports on top challenger banks in Italy. Luckily, we found a PWC report titled, "Specialty Finance Challenger Banks in Italy: reshaping the lending landscape?", which provided a list of 14 main players and their core areas of specialization. We then proceeded to filter the lists by selecting those companies focusing on SMEs and corporate, and corporate finance areas. In this regard, we remained with four companies offering both services, which are Credito Fondiario, illimity, Credito di Romagna (SC Lowy), and Banca Finint.

Next, since the PWC report did not disclose its benchmarking mechanism to define the main players, we proceeded to check the revenues of these companies to rank them. We used Hoovers and company reported revenue figures. But since we found only four companies in the specialty and challenger domain, we decided to check their revenue to see how they compare against each other, and rank them from top to bottom based on revenue. On that note, we have presented them by their revenue figures, with those with the highest coming first, and that with the least last. However, we could not determine the market penetration for each company due to the unavailability of that specific information. Our attempts to uncover market penetration stats followed three distinct approaches elaborated below.

First, we started by searching for reports published by the respective companies, whether they have any mentions regarding market penetration. We started with this approach since most companies do feature in their annual reports information about their growth rates, market share, and even rate of penetration. Unluckily, all the reports by these companies did not feature any details about market share or penetration. Their financial records of those companies that publish did not feature any data on market penetration. The reports mainly included company-related financial data, with little to talk about regarding market share or penetration.

Second, we continued to explore industry reports focusing on the growth rate and market penetration rates of specialty and challenger banks in Italy. In this regard, we explored reports published by top market research vendors such as PWC, Deloitte, Markets and Market, Research Gate, among others, which often report such data, but failed to find that specific information. What we found in these reports were details regarding the challenger banks landscape in Europe, along with examples of companies from European countries.

Third, we tried to triangulate the value by combining the total revenues of the four main players identified and then calculating their share of the market. Unfortunately, this approach could only work with all the revenue of the 14 main players identified by the PWC 2019 report on specialty and challenger banks in Italy. Again, data on each company's market growth rate would be required to perform accurate arithmetic. In this regard, triangulation was impossible, and we concluded that based on the newness of this digital banking sector, it is highly unlikely to find full-reports with more exquisite details on the market unless they are paywalled. Moreover, with the rapid rise in digital banking disruptors, it is hard to accurately measure the penetration rates of each company due to increased competition, and new emerging companies offering more sophisticated solutions that disrupt the industry further.

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English Usage: Italy

Less than 1% of the Italian population use English as the first language while 30% of the population uses English as a second language.


  • According to 2018 data, the native English speakers account for less than 1% of the total population in Italy.
  • The total amount of native English speakers is as follows: 28,000 UK natives, 15,000 US natives, 2,900 Ireland natives, 2,200 Canada natives, 1,700 Australia natives, 600 South Africa natives, and 300 New Zealand natives.
  • There are not many companies using English as the first language in Italy. The only companies which are thought to be using English as the primary language in business are companies that use English as the primary language across all of their global operations.
  • There are only three online outlets which publish English content in Italy. Those are AGI (Agenzia Gionalistica Italiana), news site produced by the Italian Prime Minister's office, ANSA - the Italian News Agency, and EIN News which publishes Italian news in English.
  • According to official reports from Italian government, no Italian-based print media uses English as the first language. However, English publications are imported and available for purchase in bigger cities in Italy.


  • 30% of population in Italy speaks English as a second language.
  • In August 2019, Indeed displayed 1,840 English knowledge-based jobs in Rome. Overall, 4,398 jobs in Rome were displayed on Indeed in the same month.
  • Based on the number of job ads shown for Rome, the capital and the biggest city in Italy, 41% of jobs in Italy require the knowledge of English as a second language.
  • In media in Italy, everything that relates to entertainment such as movies, cartoons, books, are TV shows are fully translated from English to Italian. All the media content is fully dubbed due to the fact that the Italian dubbing industry is considered to be among the best in the world.


The number of companies that require the knowledge of English as a second language as regards to employment are not publicly listed. The reason for this is twofold — not all companies will specifically state that their employees need to speak English in their promo materials, job adverts, or other company media outputs. Secondly, the job market is always moving and new companies are emerging whilst other companies shut down on a daily basis. Therefore, it would be very hard to produce reports on the exact number of companies requiring specific skills such as English-speaking. For this data, we looked into the reputable English-based sources such as the BBC, the Italian-based government sources such as the Italian government website and Italian job boards, and the Italian statistics office. However, we were able to triangulate the data based on the number of job ads shown for Rome, the capital and the biggest city in Italy:
  • In August 2019, Indeed displayed 1,840 English knowledge-based jobs in Rome.
  • Overall, 4,398 jobs in Rome were displayed on Indeed in the same month.
Therefore, we can calculate the percentage of jobs that require the knowledge of English as a second language as follows:
  • 1,840 / 4,398 = 0,41
  • Based on the number of job ads shown for Rome, the capital and the biggest city in Italy, 41% of jobs in Italy require the knowledge of English as a second language.

From Part 02
From Part 05
From Part 06
  • "Traditional lending is losing ground in favour of specialty finance. In addition to widely known speciality finance areas (i.e. consumer finance, leasing and factoring) new specialised products are «attacking” business areas of more traditional players"
  • "Both specialist players owned by large international banking groups (like Crédit Agricole, Sociéte Generale, BNP Paribas, ING, Santander) and several independent specialty finance players (Compass, Banca IFIS, Banca Farmafactoring, IBL Banca, Banca Sistema) gained important market shares in specific segments."
  • "Based on the shift from banks to investors, the management of Bad Loans moved towards specialist players, which at the same time increased their role in the management of bad loans that are still on banking books: we estimate over €240bn of bad loans are today managed by specialist players (including also €50+ bn of banking bad loans)."
  • "SMEs have been largely (under)served by banks, but fintech players are about to untap their potential."
  • "However over the last couple of years, we have seen a new trend in the market where niche segments’ specialty finance players, new challenger banks, and fintechs were able to develop new ecosystems, focused on SMEs and new financing; the degree of dependence between SMEs and traditional banks is decreasing: out of #140k SMEs, 40.8% completely self-finance their business by not using bank debt, as of 20171 ."
  • "PSD2 enables bank customers, both consumers and businesses, to use third-party providers (TPP), AISP1 and PISP2 , to manage their finances. While AISP provides access to the pool of transactional data of bank customers, PISP in turn is the payment service provider that enables an efficient payment data exchange in between the customer and the retail service provider."
  • "But this type of innovation is also within the reach of companies: 55% of Italian SMEs already interact with financial institutions through an app, while 92% do it through a PC. "
  • "A good result, though improvable, as highlighted by the fact that alternative financing methods are still little known: the Minibonds are known only to 33% of the sample, P2P lending at 24%, Crowdfunding at 20% and 12% Supply Chain Finance. "
  • "The digital world is revolutionizing the Italian financial ecosystem», according to Marco Giorgino, scientific director of the Fintech & Insurtech Observatory, «favoring the emergence of innovative actors, bringing out new customer needs and new forms of relationships between users, companies, institutes financial and insurance."
  • "Another focus is on blockchain and distributed ledger and their banking implications: there are 275 services based on these technologies promoted by financial institutions in the past three years "
  • "The principle applications of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies deal with the management of payments (41%), the capital market (27%) and data and financial documentation."